This article is dedicated to the memory of Tim Russert, as he was the only journalist to have had the courage to ask both 2004 presidential candidates (0:54) about the implications of their involvement in the same secret society while in university. He died, on the job, of heart failure in 2008. He was fifty-eight years old.

Occultism features prominently in many secret societies. One of the best known is a Yale club called ‘Skull and Bones‘ whose members meet in a clubhouse called the tomb. It is the oldest senior class landed society at Yale. It owes its notoriety to the fact that both of the presidential candidates in the US elections of 2004, namely John Kerry and George W. Bush (who, incidentally, are also 9th cousins, twice removed,) are members.

The society’s alumni organization, the Russell Trust Association, owns the society’s real estate and oversees the organization. From 1978 until his death in 1988, business of the Russell Trust Association was handled by its single trustee, Brown Brothers Harriman & Co. partner John B. Madden. Madden started with Brown Brothers Harriman in 1946, under senior partner and senator Prescott Bush (Bonesman 1917,) who was the step-brother of George Herbert Walker Jr. (Bonesman 1927,) father to George H.W. Bush (Bonesman 1948 [nickname: Magog,] head of the CIA, and 41st president,) father to Jonathan James Bush (Bonesman 1953 banker,) and grandfather of George W. Bush (Bonesman 1968 [nickname: Temporary] 43rd president.) As a sidenote, U S Federal District Court Judge John Walker (Bonesman – not listed on Wikipedia’s list) 1st cousin to Bush 41 and, once removed, to Bush 43 was a judge in April Gallop’s law suit against Dick Cheney for his failure to evacuate the Pentagon on 9/11. Prescott Bush was also a founder of the Union Banking Corporation which was seized by the United States under the Trading with the Enemy Act for its business ties with Nazi Germany.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s fortune was inherited from his maternal grandfather Warren Delano. In 1830 he was a senior partner of Russell & Company. It was their merchant fleet which carried Sassoon‘s opium to China and returned with tea. John Kerry‘s maternal grandfather, James Grant Forbes, was born in Shanghai, China, where the Forbes family of China and Boston accumulated a fortune in the opium and China trade. Kerry’s paternal grandfather, Frederick A. Kerry (born Fritz Kohn), was born in the Czech Republic. The Kerry-Kohns were Jewish, but the family concealed its background upon migrating to the United States, and raised the Kerry children as Catholics. Richard John Kerry, John’s father, also graduated from Yale.

Yale happens to have had a great number of these clubs throughout its long history. The three most exclusive are perhaps ‘Skull and Bones,’ ‘Scroll and Key,’ and ‘Wolf’s Head.’ The logo of ‘Skull and Bones’ features the number 322 displayed under, you guessed it, an image of a skull and crossbones. Of the three, ‘Skull and Bones’ members were said to be the ones who took care of the ‘dirty work.’ Many members went on to very high ranks in diverse fields, but there did seem to be a lot of athletes amongst them.


The skull and crossbones symbol was used on the flags of privateer (pirate) ships. It was also used on the military caps of SS officers in the Third Reich and was refered to as ‘Totenkopf’ or death head. Special rings were also crafted for SS officers in recognition of their personal achievement, devotion to duty, and loyalty to the Fuhrer and his ideals. The US military is quite fond of skull art which adorns many different unit patches in all branches of service. It is, however, a favourite of the US special forces.

The femur symbolize strength and stability, and two of them in a cross represent the duality of man and the connection between the material world and the spiritual.

The skull and crossbones is also used frequently in freemasonry. From gravestones to aprons to the hilts of ceremonial swords, the motif is prevalent. Said to symbolize a raising from the dead, the symbol is used in the 3rd degree ritual during which a Mason is elevated to the level of Master Mason.


Both of these aprons belonged to George Washinton. Note the skull and crossbones adorning the one on the right.

There are numerous theories as to what the number 322 references. Some claim it is a biblical reference to Genesis 3:22, some believe it is a door number (31:57,) some say it is a reference to March (or Mars) 22nd, the Spring equinox (and the day the Georgia Guidestones were erected.) Still others suggest that 322 refers to the death of Demosthenes (in 322 B.C.) and that documents in the Tomb have purportedly been found dated to Anno-Demostheni, such as in the following example. (There’s no good reason why it can’t stand for more than one of these things. There’s also no reason it must stand for any.)


This letter was written in 1860 but is dated A.D. 2182. The number 322 is added to the date of some ‘Skull and Bones’ documents. This is all good and well, but what does the number itself mean, and what is its particular signifigance? Why was it chosen above all other possibilities, and why is it displayed so prominently on a secret society’s logo?

The occult has many strange practices. For example, when making a sigil or when casting a spell, certain letters (usually vowels) will be removed from the word or words in question. This was also done in medieval portraiture when text was included on the canvas as well as on certain legal documents. It was common practice during the middle ages.

In the book “Secret Societies and Subversive Movements,” Nesta H. Webster shows her readers a cipher used by Masons and some other secret organizations to encrypt and decrypt sections of text.

The key to this cipher is that it starts at the letter ‘M’ and continues backwards towards ‘A’ goes on to ‘Z’ and follows to ‘N’ all the while counting up from 1 to 26. The letter ‘G’ is special in that it is number seven in both this cipher and in the regular alphabet. The letter ‘T’ is also number twenty both ways. The final result is displayed below.

M-1, L-2, K-3, J-4, I-5, H-6, G-7, F-8, E-9, D-10, C-11, B-12, A-13, Z-14, Y-15, X-16, W-17, V-18, U-19, T-20, S-21, R-22, Q-23, P-24, O-25, N-26


Why this cipher was chosen to begin on the letter M may have something to do with the fact that the letter ‘A’ then falls on number thirteen. Perhaps it was M for mason. Who knows?

Anyhow, when the number 322 is deciphered using the above code, the result reads KLL.

Having removed it’s vowel, that’s quite a motto, isn’t it?