This feature charts the history of secret Yale society 'Skull and Bones', which grants members lifelong access to power and privilege. Like other secret societies, 'Skull and Bones' has spawned many rumours about its arcane rituals and concern about the veiled access to power it offers. "Skull and Bones is a Free-masonic association. You could call it a death cult," says commentator W. Tarpley. The society meets in the 'tomb', a crypt-like building where skeletons are kept. Novices have bags placed over their heads, and have to swear an oath of secrecy. Founded in the 1830's, the elite institution has been the springboard for Presidents, tycoons and CIA men alike. Members have included the most powerful American families: the Tafts, Harrimans and Rockefellers. Today its most famous alumni are George W. Bush, whose father, grandfather and many other relatives were members, Bush's likely challenger at the next Presidential election. All deny it. Other Bonesmen helped fund George W. Bush's rise to power, yet he claims he doesn't even know if the society still exists. But his alleged association with the society raises doubts as to the viability of his position: "They swear to take care of each others' interests. When one of them becomes president of the United States, then it's time to ask questions," comments Professor R Bunch. This report tracks down former members to try and fill in the blanks and examines whether we should worry about the influence of secret societies on the world's most powerful democracy.
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