"Of all the tales about Skull and Bones booty — the skull of [President] Martin Van Buren: not true, Pancho Villa: not true, Geronimo: possibly true," says Robbins. "Of all the rumors, that one has the most plausibility. The letter included a very detailed description of the skull."
As part of her research into what she calls "the country's most powerful elite alumni network," Robbins interviewed over 150 Bonesmen. "They say there is a skull in a glass case just inside the entrance to the Tomb and they've called it Geronimo."
Almost two decades ago, another Native American, Ned Anderson, attempted to obtain the skull. He claimed that then-Congressman John McCain and then-Congressman Morris Udall arranged for him to meet Jonathan Bush, the first President Bush's brother.
"According to Ned, they brought out a skull but it was obviously a skull of a ten-year-old and they were trying to bluff him and tried to get him to sign papers saying that he would never speak about it again," says Robbins. Anderson claimed that he rejected the offer.
The 1918 letter was authenticated by Judith Schiff, the chief research archivist at Yale's Sterling Memorial Library. "I think a lot of people thought it was just a legend, but the letter says that students dug up the bones and thought it was Geronimo's," says Schiff. "Prescott Bush and the others were at Fort Sill, getting ready to go fight in World War I as part of Yale ROTC, and they may have been roaming the area and had a chance to bring it back to Yale or sent it somehow."
But is it Geronimo's skull? "Your guess is as good as mine," says Schiff. "They thought it was Geronimo's skull, but who knows?"
Another Skull and Bones expert, writer Ron Rosenbaum, has his doubts. "There is no evidence that the skull brought back to New Haven by Prescott Bush and those other people was Geronimo's skull," he says. "Local anthropologists say the grave was unmarked. Skull and Bonesmen like to boast about it, but it's more likely that they were conned by some locals who said, 'Hey, you want to buy Geronimo's skull?'"