An Insider's Look at the Palladian Order
of Skull and Bones
"The Palladian Rite"
or "The Palladian Order of Skull and Bones", known intimately
among its members as "The Order" or "Bones", does exist
on the University of Arkansas campus. The Order has founding roots
in Freemasonry. Bones, a self-styled "society with secrets", remains
one of the most secretive and most enduring of student tap societies
at the University.
Why a Secret Society at the University of Arkansas?
have existed at many institutions of higher learning. Legend
states that the Palladian Rite was founded on May 1, 1876 under
the direction of prominent 33rd-Degree Scottish Rite Freemason
General Albert Pike.
Accuracy of this allegation has never been confirmed
or denied, but exists as part of the rich legend and culture
within Skull and Bones.
We are taught that Bones was created to cultivate
like-minded students for later service within the higher degrees
of Freemasonry, that Pike loved Fayetteville and was an early
supporter of the college.
#1", the first Masonic lodge in Arkansas, is located in
*The Supreme Council of the
Scottish Rite, southern jurisdiction, (governing body over the
Scottish Rite of Freemasonry) doesn't seem to be a directly
affiliated with any activities of the Order.
Facts About the Order
Many people seem concerned that
the Palladian Order of Skull and Bones is something like the movie
"The Skulls", which was almost purely fiction and based
on an old Masonic "cousin-society" - The Skull and Bones
of Yale University. Furthermore, people often inquire about gifts
of money, cars, or sexual favors during initiation. Sorry...
no cash, cars, or prostitutes. No secret espionage or one-world order.
Purely hollywood fluff, but wasn't
that movie fun to watch?
at Yale, the very most a graduating member receives is a small financial
endowment and a grandfather clock on his wedding day.
Yale faction of Skull and Bones was founded in 1832 by William Russell
and is based on the Masonic student organizations Russell witnessed
in Europe. Once considered to be the gentleman's track to success
and political prestige, the Freemasons of the seventeenth century
were indeed powerful. It was in this genre that Russell created a
secretive society- hoping to restore to Yale the intrigue of secretive
societies lost once Phi Beta Kappa became public.
In fact, almost all
secretice student socities in existence have direct roots to Freemasonry.
Even fraternities have roots in Masonry: The motto of Sigma Chi, "In
hoc Signo Vinces", is taken from Knights Templar Masonry. The
men of Sigma Chi are good men, some of the most powerful and promising
men on campus.
light, and benefits that comes with affiliation within Skull and Bones
are very much secretive. Bonesmen extend an uncommon preference toward
one another throughout life.
The Palladian Order of Skull and Bones
is a secretive tap society, founded on May 1, 1876 at the University
of Arkansas. On the second Thursday of April, a certain number of
Junior-year students are selected for candidacy and are extended an
invitation for affiliation on "Tap Day". This invitation consists
of a small booklet with a skull and crossbones pledge pin therein,
as well as information regarding the first gathering. Initiation soon
follows, and the members serve out their senior class year as active
The Men of the Palladian
Rite, the "Order of Bonesmen", do not hold secret orgies, galling
ceremonies or profane worship. Nothing nefarious, insidious, or generally
unappealing occurs near or within the working of the Bonesmen. Quite
Unlike the fine men of "Skull and Key Society", whose strong
membership is primarily from certain powerful Greek-letter fraternities
with long histories on campus, Bonesmen
are selected from both fraternity and non-fraternity men.
Our appreciation and loyalties for the men of these strong houses
run deeply. Brothers under the skin, we do not forget our own.
Indeed, since we have
never competed with fraternities for members we have long enjoyed
a symbiotic relationship therewith. May the brethren of the University
continue to prosper and succeed!
The Palldian Rite recognizes no specific sister society; however,
Bones has annually admitted a select few female students into privileged
affiliation. Often, these "sisters" have gone on to very
successful careers. The Rite does not select sisters neccesarily
on the basis of sorority status, but
by their level of ambition and like-mindedness. Once admitted and
duly received, the sister is protected for life.
Bonesmen are not permitted to acknowledge membership if asked by a
non-initiate, but are not required to leave the room at the
mention of "skull and bones".
You can only determine
a Bonesman by his pledge pin, which he must always wear from the first
day of class until Initiation Night (fall semester). Whether naked
or clad, barefoot or shod, a neophyte must always have his pledge
pin on or about him. The pins are returned to the Order during the
Initiation, where a mark or impression is lastingly laid upon the
candidates. Pins may be lost or stolen, but the mark of Skull and
Bones remains with the Initiate for life.
Bonesmen do not have to wear red ties on Thursdays, but on that day
each are required to wear their skull and bones pin on the inside of
their shirt, covered by the outer shirt lapel...further disguised by
This is done to keep the pins - and the Order - closer to the heart
than any other.
"Bones" gets its name from a significant symbol within the Order - the
biblical rib which was offered up by Adam. Each man receives a bone,
upon which is deliniated his secret name. This bone is placed in the
bonepile at the start of regular, stated meetings.
Bones may, at its
discretion, admit one faculty each year into the Order.
Bonesmen are fiercely loyal, extending
privileges and nepotistic, preferential treatment to fellow members
"over any other", be it in college or in the professional world. Moreso
than any fraternity, the bonesmen remember their oaths of preferentiality.
Bonesmen are taught certain identifying
signs by which they may recognize a fellow Bonesman, especially if
he be in distress and in need of assistance. As with Freemasons, members
of the Palladian Rite are sworn to immediately come to the relief
and assistance of a fellow bonesman when certain signs and words are
given demonstrating distress or need. A Bonesman cannot refuse to
comply with such an appeal if he can comply without injury to himself
or his business.
Refusal to comply with a genuine call
of distress is ill-advised.
Bones is not a religious organization, nor is it a religion - Bones
has always taken good men regardless of their professed faith. Bones
is not Freemasonry, although the ceremony Initiation closely resembles
Roughly speaking, the Order meets to discuss socioeconomic and geopolitical
issues - submitting a report each year to the Club of Rome and other
"Bones" requires their members to wear certain identifying things
on particular days of the week, which is a reminder of one great and
The Order, although one of the
oldest organizations near campus, as a rule has never solicited nor
received monies from the University. Conversely, each member is required
to name the University in his will. A Bonesman loves his Alma Mater
with unyielding devotion and promises to donate throughout life.
Although there are no fees for belonging
to the Skull and Bones, the Order requests that all members make an
annual contribution to the University "when he may do so
without material injury to himself or to those who have prior claim
the Order Selects its Members
saying much - which would even more seriously violate the obligation
of secrecy - let's say that Bones takes its members based on a prescribed
and carefully monitored selection process. No more than 3 members
each year may be associated with a Greek Fraternity. No fewer than
3 members must be either pre-law, pre-med, or business majors. Bones
prefers members to be active in the leadership of student organizations,
often even student government. Bones compels loyalty from its members
above all other.
Junior-year men who are interested in being considered
for membership may make themselves known by appearing on the "old
stone steps of Old Main" at precisely 7:55 p.m. on the first Thursday
of October. They shall be dressed in suit and tie, and will bring
with them an official receipt from the University showing that they
have made a financial donation of no less than $100 to the University
In addition to this receipt each man must present
his full contact information, declared major, and reasons for seeking
affiliation. After a time of consideration the society will contact
their selections for further interrogatories. (Again, Tap Day isn't
until the second Thursday in April.)
While the act of donating to the University cannot
guarantee a tap position, the society has long held such benevolence
in the highest esteem. Those who benefit the University receive the
light of the Order.
and Bones...Good or Bad?
lived your life so far without knowledge of Bones; what would be so
different, now? Bones is just Bones, nothing more. Unusual traditions,
like swearing to name the University in their wills, makes Bones a
rather "shoe" anachronism. Frankly, the meetings are dry and stuffy
at times. No alchol or intoxicants are ever allowed within an assembly
of Bonesmen. A Bonesman must hold an open-minded position regarding
geopolitical socioeconomics and the pervading ramifications of American
foreign relations...now more than ever as we see the world embracing
the Light of Reason..
Tradition is important within Bones; however, a few of the members
have expressed an interest in changing the age-old doctrine of admitting
only men. Personally, we feel the time is long overdue for admitting
worthy female students equally into the rights, light, and benefits
of this ancient and preferential society - not merely relegating them
to "sister" status. While the Patriarchs are not amused
by this marked break from tradition, things change.
For many, Bones has remained but a whisper; most
have no knowledge of it whatsoever. The occassional rumor from fraternities,
the whimsical allegations of sleepless conspiracy theorists, even
benign imitations inspired by Bacchus - where the Skull and Key resides....these
have long been the only sources of alleged information into the enduring
If someone is offered a tap, they have been evaluated for their student
involvement, ambition, willingness to receive a tap, and those strengths
he (or she) will bring to the Order. If they accept, let them accept
for the right reasons. If they reject, it is our sincere hope that
they first understand that which they refuse.
Perhaps you will be one of the lucky
few who are asked the words: "Skull and Bones...will you receive?"