Monday, December 14, 2009

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The Facebook privacy snafu really is the gift that keeps on giving (if you're a gossip blog). Here are the elect to Yale's Skull & Bones secretest society partying on their private island (we think) near the Canadian border.

Last night we got to see a video of their "tomb" on High Street in New Haven. But that isn't their only secret lair.

Haruko Castro is a 2008 Yale graduate who was named by both the Yale Rumpus and an anonymous IvyGate commenter as a member of Skull & Bones. One of her Facebook photo albums, that was made public because of the social networking site's new "open" policy shows her and several people who were listed by Rumpus and IvyGate's as the Skull & Bones '08 class. In the album, they appear to take a ferry ride somewhere and then hang out in a wood-paneled bungalow with skull and crossbones and animal heads covering the walls. That sounds a lot like the Skull & Bones compound on Deer Island.

Deer Island is a forty-acre retreat on the St. Lawrence River in upstate New York that was reportedly given to Skull & Bones "at some date prior to 1949." According to a report in The Atlantic, the Island was once a well-appointed facility complete with "tennis courts," "softball fields," and "catered elegant meals." These days and sources told The Atlantic that Deer Island is "just a bunch of burned-out stone buildings" and "a dump." In spite of the supposedly Spartan conditions on the island, new Skull & Bones inductees reportedly still visit the Deer Island each year.

Apart from the various Skull & Bones regalia lining the walls of the cabin, there isn't much in Castro's photos that you wouldn't encounter at a typical college house party. The alleged Skull & Bones members appear in the pictures along with discarded cans of Keystone Light, liquor bottles, and a copy of michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

The most interesting thing about these pictures is that they depict a group that looks entirely like ordinary college kids. Skull & Bones is often described as an elite, exclusive group of old white men who meet together to plot world domination. In truth, the society went co-ed in 1992 and, if these pictures are the real deal, the modern Bonesmen seem to be a reasonably multicultural crew whose main aim is getting wasted and dancing their pants off.

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Mysterious, Maybe Murderous Yale 'Dauphin' Releases Video of Skull & Bones' Secret Lair

A Yale freshman who called himself the Dauphin is believed to have terrorized his peers with death threats, ritualistic vandalism, and a hit and run accident. Among his rumored loot: Secret society video footage, which has since surfaced on YouTube.

The video, uploaded by new YouTube user Dauphinish and caught first by IvyGate, looks like it could belong the vaunted secret society that counts three generations of Bushes as its members. Unfortunately, vaunted secret societies don't really have publicists, so it's hard to confirm. (Yalies, take a stab in comments?) There are gothic arches, dust, skull imagery, and a stray coffin lying around. Dauphinish has tracked his video with what can only be described as conspiracy theory electronica:

But here's the rub: Though Dauphinish claims he is a 58-year-old Syrian, he sounds an awful lot like a certain Yale frosh who used to call himself the Dauphin. A Yale Daily News article from November 2007 says a mysterious Branford frosh—thought to be responsible for vandalism, death threats, and vehicular assault—"withdrew from the University for medical reasons." This paragraph, however, becomes the money shot, in retrospect:

Those who considered the student a friend said he told them he had broken into the tomb of Skull and Bones and shown them video footage to prove it. He also showed them books he had stolen from Scroll and Key and had chalked the word "Dauphin" on walls throughout Yale's campus.

The Dauphin's identity was never confirmed or made public. His YouTube upload was on December 4, 2009. Points of query:

  • 1. Is the Dauphin back?
  • 2. Who was the Dauphin, anyway? Did his paranoid Yale fantasies exist before he got there? And, does admissions screen for that?
  • 3. Unless, of course, Dauphinish is actually a 58-year-old Syrian, which could actually be a good thing: If the Skull & Bones mythos has reached the Muslim world, perhaps we can convince them that the failed international policies of the Presidents Bush were not symptomatic of an actual strain of political thought in America, but some peculiar Skull & Bones mating ritual. (Little known hazing task: Destroy the economy of a third-world nation of your choosing.) Then all we have to do is nuke the tomb, and radical Islam will go away. Hooray, Dauphin solved terrorism!
  • 4. Or, what if Dauphin was actually innocent, and it was all a frame, because he knew too much? Check out this commenter at the Yale Herald:

    Conspiracy theorists, start your engines.
  • 5. Should someone alert the Dauphin's parents that their kid might be in the midst of a second manic episode or something?
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