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Whose skull beneath the skin?

7 January 2010

Alas, poor somebody… somebody knew him…. well, maybe.

It appears the economic mess largely created by  Skull and Bones Society alumni George Herbert Walker Bush and his numskull spawn has finally caught up with the elite secret society.

NEW YORK — A human skull that apparently was turned into a ballot box for Yale’s mysterious Skull and Bones society is going on the auction block.

Christie’s estimates the skull will sell for $10,000 to $20,000 when it is auctioned on Jan. 22. Fittingly, the auction house has agreed to keep the seller’s name a secret. On Monday, it described the person only as a European art collector.

The skull is fitted with a hinged flap and is believed to have been used during voting at the famous society’s meetings. The auction house said it also may have been displayed at the society’s tomblike headquarters on Yale’s campus in New Haven, Conn., during the late 1800s.

Hard times are hitting us all.

It’s been rumored for years that the skull dates slightly later than the 19th century, and belongs to that great anti-immigration leader, Geronimo (who died in 1909 in Fort Sill Oklahoma) — which would have made the private Yale University’s possession illegal under the 1991 Protection of Native American Graves and the Repatriation of Human Remains and Sacred Objects Act.

A less well known, but intriguing, rumor holds that the skull was acquired in the 1920s, belongs to someone else, and made its shady way to Yale via a shady character:

Three years after [Pancho] Villa was buried, someone dug up the corpse and stole the head. Who, or why? Woodrow Wilson can be eliminated as a suspect—he died in 1924. General Pershing wasn’t known to hold grudges. Obregón’s amputated arm (like Santa Ana’s leg) had been saved and made the center of a memorial, but there is no evidence he went about collecting other people’s body parts. Theories range from probable (old enemies still out for revenge—with their own ideas about justice—or ghoulish souvenir hunters), to implausible—a favorite with American newspapers of the time had Villa’s head stolen by California gangsters in the pay of an Oklahoma spinster with an unrequited love for the ex “movie star”. There is another popular gringo suspect: George W. Bush’s grandfather.


A story that has taken on popularity since the 1990s is that the head was taken by members of Yale’s ultra-secret Skull and Bones society, which uses a human skull in its rituals. The society is connected with the York Rite Masons (Poinsett’s “Yorkistas”) and both George Bushes are members of the organization. Prescott Bush, father of the first George Bush, also a member, was inducted a few weeks after the head disappeared, and, it is said, was in México at the time Villa’s head disappeared. How anyone would have known that the student joining the organization in 1926 would havea son who ran the CIA and later would be president of the United States and a grandson who would also be president, is never quite explained. Or why they wanted the head. Villa’s headless body was cremated and interred in the Monumento de la Revoluciónin Mexico City in 1972.

(Gods, Gachupines and Gringos, page 299, ©2008, Richard Grabman)

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