Skull & Bones - The New World Order?
In the plush grounds of the prestigious Yale University in Connecticut a grim, grey building known as "the tomb" sits amid the affluence and elegance of America's most illustrious law school.
What lurks behind the imposing entrance to the spooky cavern is a mystery to all but the chosen few who are initiated each year into the ultra-secretive Skull & Bones society.
The fraternity, established in the early 1830s and modelled on German university sects, counts myriad Senators, CIA staff and state department diplomats amongst its membership.
It has also nurtured three US Presidents, William Taft, George Bush Snr and George W Bush, as well as the current President's 2004 democratic opponent John Kerry.
To all intents and purposes the society is an "old boys' club", a harmless gathering of promising young men where they can share stories, jokes and a few beers.
But over the years Skull & Bones has earned a more mysterious reputation as a secret power base for the elites, who covertly control everything from politics to the stock market. While gathered in their sandstone Yale bunker, these hugely influential men are said to carry out satanic rituals and indulge in bizarre sex ceremonies.
Conspiracy theorists say these men have banded together to create a New World Order and divide power over our lives among themselves.
So could these hugely influential men be involved in a dastardly plot to dominate the earth, or are they just a bunch of spoiled rich kids messing around in a dank, creepy clubhouse?
It is the complete lack of any official story that started tongues wagging about the group in the first place.
When probed about their involvement with the society both George W Bush and John Kerry have refused to discuss their time with the organisation. The rules of the covert club instruct members to leave the room when anyone mentions the words Skull & Bones.
However, some information about their shadowy practices has leaked out.
In 2001 a team of Yale students secretly filmed the courtyard of "the tomb" and observed "pledges" to the fraternity, being forced to kiss a human skull and act out a mock murder.
As part of the macabre ceremony of initiation, senior members of the group dress as the devil, Don Quixote and the Pope before shrieking at the new "bonesman" as he cowers on the stone floors. The new member is then tapped on the shoulder with a sword, thus finalising his arrival into the sect.
Only 15 new bonesmen are admitted to the fraternity each year, and those members have gone on to form the nucleus of America's power elite.
Officially, these leaders are saying nothing about Skull & Bones, leaving the conspiracy theorists to fill in the gaps.
At a meeting with university students following the 2004 election, police arrested and tasered a member of the audience after he asked losing candidate John Kerry about his membership of Skull and Bones. The video of the incident has been used by conspiracy theorists to highlight the lengths bonesmen will go to in order to avoid answering questions about the society.
Legends of its power extend to almost every sphere of life as theorists see the hand of the secret group everywhere.
Among the historical acts attributed to Skull and Bones are:
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ The formulation of the United Nations, with bonesmen appointed to key positions
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ The Vietnam conflict which was pushed forward by presidential aide McGeorge Bundy, a noted member of the society
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ The Gulf War launched by George Bush Snr as a conquest to provide contracts for members of the sect in the military-industrial complex
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ The attacks of 9/11 orchestrated to offer a free hand in foreign policy to bonesman George W Bush
Ã¢ÂÂ¢ The rigging of the 2004 presidential election where democrat member John Kerry conceded victory too early to his fellow society member
Other great acts of sabotage and thievery have also been laid at the doorstep of the fraternity.
According to theorists George W Bush's great grandfather is said to have robbed the grave of legendary Apache chief Geronimo and returned with his skull to "the tomb".
The society has also been accused by former members of indulging in sexual abuse, which saw a court order banning the admission of women to the sect handed down in the late 1980s. It was later overturned.
- The level of secrecy surrounding the group suggests they have something to hide and is excessive in comparison with other groups.
- Hundreds of members of the sect have gone on to hold very powerful positions, including that of President. If they had banded together, a conspiracy to control America's key political and financial institutions would be within their power.
- Former bonesmen who have left the society claim they witnessed satanic rituals and eerie ceremonies during their time inside the fraternity and its "tomb".
- No evidence has been produced to show any sort of collusion between George W Bush and John Kerry.
- There are countless other gentlemen's clubs and secret societies that do not allow their members to discuss what happens inside their meetings.
- Though the men who join the society go on to hold high office, this is not unusual. In Britain, Germany and all over the world, leaders often join elitist clubs at top universities. It is only normal for a well-respected school like Yale to produce a large number of very successful graduates.
- The planning of the Gulf and Vietnam wars was carried out by hundreds of military, diplomatic and political personal, most of whom were not members of the Skull & Bones group. These measures were also voted on by the senate and congress, where there are only a handful of bonesmen.
- There is absolutely no proof that any satanic abuse of members or non-members has ever taken place at "the tomb".
The fact that so many of the world's most powerful men have passed through one tiny fraternity at an elite US university is certainly suspicious. Skull & Bones becomes even more shadowy as the deafening silence about its methods and intentions leave room for conspiracy theories to grow.
However, there is nothing to suggest that these men have even kept in touch with each other, let alone banded together to dominate the world. On the other hand they do hold some of the most influential offices in the US and the fact that they hold the potential to wield unimaginable power if they did co-operate is very worrying indeed.....