Top 5 Secretive Societies
#5. Casque & Gauntlet - Dartmouth
Founded in 1886, Casque & Gauntlet is extremely exclusive and while membership is not secretive, their practices remain a mystery.
Admission Difficulty: 6/10 - A Dartmouth reporter detailed that they tap juniors after a 12 hour forum in which they decide who is worthy. They admit roughly 30 members every year.
Notable Alumni: Nelson Rockefeller, Dr. Seuss
#4. Quill & Dagger - Cornell
Arguably Cornell’s most exclusive senior society, Quill & Dagger remains largely secretive in their exclusive Lyon tower. Although there are only about 25 members each year, roughly 12 are listed in Cornell’s annual “Top 25 Most Influential Undergraduates.”
Admission Difficulty: 8/10 - Past alumni speaks for itself: 11 Rhodes Scholars, 7 Congressmen, 2 World Bank Presidents, 10 Olympic Medalists, 7 US Congressmen, 6 Pulitzer Prize winners.
Notable Alumni: Roald Hoffman (Noble prize chemist), and from 1913-1984, Quill & Dagger had at least one member in the US Congress every single year. Five members served on George W. Bush’s administration and from 1930-1950, the chairmen of Standard Oil, Sunoco, and ConocoPhilips were also all members.
#3. Porcellian Club - Harvard
Porcellian is arguably Harvard’s most exclusive Final Club. Also known as the “Porc” or “PC,” the Porcellian Club was founded in 1791. Rumor has it that ”if members of the Porcellian do not earn their first million before they turn 40, the club will give it to them.” The club includes roughly 8 men from the sophomore, junior and senior classes.
Admission Difficulty: 9/10 - As Harvard’s most exclusive final club, you need to be the best of the best to become a member there. Considering President John F. Kennedy’s father was not offered membership should also attest to the difficulty.
Notable Alumni: President Theodore Roosevelt, Winklevoss Twins, and Oliver Holmes (Associate Justice of the Supreme Court)
#2. Seven Society - University of Virginia
Arguably the most secretive society in existence, membership is revealed by the black magnolias in the shape of a “7” on the grave of the deceased. The founding year of the society is unknown, but legend has it that 8 influential individuals were once invited to a card game, and only 7 showed up. To contact these elusive members, you must place a letter on the Thomas Jefferson statue’s right arm.
Admission Difficulty: 10/10 - The Seven Society is comprised of only 7 living members at any given time, so good luck.
Notable Alumni: Edward Stettinus (Secretary of State under Roosevelt and Truman), Frank Wisner (Head of CIA during the 1950s).
#1. Skull & Bones - Yale
Of all these secret societies, Skull and Bones is the most notorious. In 2004, both Presidential Candidates were members, John Kerry and George Bush. Even recently in 2009, a prominent US lawyer named Ramsey Clark filed a lawsuit against Skull & Bones requesting that the remains of Geromino (a prominent Native American who fought against Mexico in the late 1800s) be returned. Skull and Bones is also rumored to own Martin Van Buren’s remains, the 8th President of the United States.
Admission Difficulty: 10/10 – Good luck. Tapping day was April 20 in 2009, and April 15 in 2010. Aside from that, little is known about what goes on there.
Notable Alumni: To name but a few: George W. Bush, John Kerry, William Taft, Henry Stimson (US Secretary of War and Secretary of State)
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