Controversy is brewing around Skull and Bones, the laughably un-secret secret society par excellence at Yale. Descendants of Geronimo, the 19th century Apache warrior, are suing the shadowy senior club for allegedly stealing the remains of their ancestor in 1918, and for keeping it at their New Haven tomb ever since.
MSNBC writes that
According to lore, members of Skull and Bones — including former President George W. Bush’s grandfather, Prescott Bush — dug up his grave when a group of Army volunteers from Yale was stationed at the fort during World War I, taking his skull and some of his bones.
The skull evidently now sits in a glass display nicknamed, well, “Geronimo.” Those tapped might even have to kiss the contested skull to join the super-secret society.This rumor has gained more traction in recent years, since in 2005
Yale historian Marc Wortman discovered a letter written in 1918 from one Skull and Bones member to another that seemed to lend validity to the tale. The letter, sent to F. Trubee Davison by Winter Mead, said Geronimo’s skull and other remains were taken from the leader’s burial site, along with several pieces of tack for a horse. ‘The skull of the worthy Geronimo the Terrible, exhumed from its tomb at Fort Sill by your club and Knight Haffuer, is now safe inside the T — together with is well worn femurs, bit and saddle horn,’ Mead wrote.
Read what the Geronimo family thinks after the jump.
While the letter explicitly states that the remains of Geronimo were exhumed, Wortman told MSNBC that he is skeptical that the bones actually belong to Geronimo. Regardless, Harlyn Geronimo—the Apache warrior’s great-grandson—believes Skull and Bones possesses remains of Apache origin, and that those remains should be returned anyway.
What we’re more curious about is not whether Skull and Bones has Geronimo’s skull—or any skull for that matter—but rather how Bonesmen actually feel about local and national attention they’ve received due to this lawsuit. Are they perturbed? Or are they filled with narcissistic glee?
Let’s go with narcissistic glee. Or at least they’re just attention whores. Make that secret attention whores. There’s even a great new bucket of conspiracy—more DaVinci Code than National Treasure—about how those who exhumed the remains were cursed! One commenter on the WSJ blog tells the chilling tale of his cursed “F-in-law.”
My x father-in-law was a Bonesman in the same class with Prescott Bush. You might want to check on how that generation of S&B died. My F-in-law was a tortured soul and all of the intelligence and $ couldn’t make his end better. Maybe Geronimo’s curse? Better watch where you put your lips boys and girls.
Actually, that’s good advice in general. Current society members are like just taking in the publicity with a few extra gin and tonics while they wait for fortune to bow at their feet. But they’ll need therapy one day. As “MRRETALIATION” at the Drudge Report wonders in his comment, “Don’t they have to skullfuck Geronimo in front of the current members in order to get initiated? That’s what Jeff told me.”
(Lingbo Li also contributed to this post. She’ll be unveiling her full IvyGating prowess in the coming days. Stay tuned. She’s dangerous.)