The Yale Skull & Bones Society

… a secret society with an interesting membership

The Skull and Bones Society is a quasi-secret society that purports to recruit students, of selected family background, attending Yale University. Quasi-secret because its existence is well established and even its membership appears to be known, though its undertakings and internal affairs are not of public record.

The existence and doings of this society as well as investigations into the validity of the many interesting and provocative claims that exist about it are not within the context of the NewRuins project. However, the fact that the ownership of Deer Island is by the society, or the Russell Trust Association (see below), appears to be accurate does provide a more challenging environment within which to investigate the ruins. The Thousand Islands International Tourism Council is quoted as saying “Deer Island is owned by the Skull and Bones Society of Yale University, whose members include former President George Bush.” It is noteworthy to add that our current president Bush, is also a member.

A quick search with for “Skull and Bones Society” will show about 1,010 matches. Apparently most of these pages, if not all, are negative in content ranging from politically opposite perspectives to the equivalent of a good old fashioned conspiracy. A search for “Deer Island” on one of the resulting links was called “George Bush – The Unauthorized Biography” by Webster Griffin Tarpley and Anton Chaitkin. It provides the following description of the Skull and Bones Society and its use of Deer Island:

“The order was incorporated in 1856 under the name “Russell Trust Association.” By special act of the state legislature in 1943, its trustees are exempted from the normal requirement of filing corporate reports with the Connecticut secretary of state.

As of 1978, all business of the Russell Trust [which founded Skull and Bones] was handled by its lone trustee, Brown Brothers Harriman partner John B. Madden, Jr. Madden started with Brown Brothers Harriman in 1946, under senior partner Prescott Bush, George Bush’s father.

Each year, Skull and Bones members select (“tap”) 15 third-year Yale students to replace them in the senior group the following year. Graduating members are given a sizable cash bonus to help them get started in life. Older graduate members, the so-called “Patriarchs,” give special backing in business, politics, espionage and legal careers to graduate Bonesmen who exhibit talent or usefulness.

The home of Skull and Bones on the Yale campus is a stone building resembling a mausoleum, and known as “the Tomb.” Initiations take place on Deer Island in the St. Lawrence River (an island owned by the Russell Trust Association), with regular reunions on Deer Island and at Yale. Initiation rites reportedly include strenuous and traumatic activities of the new member, while immersed naked in mud, and in a coffin. More important is the “sexual autobiography”: The initiate tells the order all the sex secrets of his young life. Weakened mental defenses against manipulation, and the blackmail potential of such information, have obvious permanent uses in enforcing loyalty among members.

The loyalty is intense. One of Bush’s former teachers, whose own father was a Skull and Bones member, told our interviewer that his father used to stab his little Skull and Bones pin into his skin to keep it in place when he took a bath.

Members continue throughout their lives to unburden themselves on their psycho-sexual thoughts to their Bones Brothers, even if they are no longer sitting in a coffin. This has been the case with President George Bush, for whom these ties are reported to have a deep personal meaning. Beyond the psychological manipulation associated with freemasonic mummery, there are very solid political reasons for Bush’s strong identification with this cult….

Skull and Bones — the Russell Trust Association — was first established among the class graduating from Yale in 1833. Its founder was William Huntington Russell of Middletown, Connecticut. The Russell family was the master of incalculable wealth derived from the largest U.S. criminal organization of the nineteenth century: Russell and Company, the great opium syndicate.

There was at that time a deep suspicion of, and national revulsion against, freemasonry and secret organizations in the United States, fostered in particular by the anti-masonic writings of former U.S. President John Quincy Adams. Adams stressed that those who take oaths to politically powerful international secret societies cannot be depended on for loyalty to a democratic republic.

But the Russells were protected as part of the multiply intermarried grouping of families then ruling Connecticut. The blood-proud members of the Russell, Pierpont, Edwards, Burr, Griswold, Day, Alsop, and Hubbard families were prominent in the pro-British party within the state. Many of their sons would be among the members chosen for the Skull and Bones Society over the years.”

A list reported to be of Skull and Bones members by a Mr. Eric Samuelson, located on the Internet, does indeed include the name of George Douglas Miller who gave at least one of the structures on Deer Island to the society. The date of his membership is given to have commenced in 1870. It is unknown how or when the society came to own the entire 50 acre island or whether it was all in the original gift. Also on the same list of society members are:

1917 – Prescott Sheldon Bush
1948 – George Herbert Walker Bush
1968 – George Walker Bush

and, most curious in light of the 2004 Democratic presidential candidate to opose George Walker Bush …

1966 – John Forbes Kerry

While this is most interesting, it would seem unlikely that such noteworthy individuals (most particularly past and current United States presidents) could be frequenting the island without creating an obvious spectacle at some point in time.

Whether or not the Skull and Bones Society of today engages in the type of activities alleged by the various accountings available in print or on the Internet is open to the reader’s speculation but it remains a curiosity that so very little of this particular island’s history is well documented.

Please do NOT contact us about visiting this island or anything related to conspiracy theories about Skull & Bones. NewRuins has absolutely no association with the ownership of this island! Do NOT expect replies to foolish inquiries.


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