The 7 Most Legendary Collegiate Secret Societies

There are a couple of images that come to mind when you think of secret societies, like masks, special handshakes, weird chants and underground tunnels, to name a few. But do real collegiate secret societies live up to all the hype and tradition? Have they updated their old-school traditions? And what do current students think of them? Take a look!


1. Skull & Serpent, Wesleyan University

Wesleyan has a rich history when it comes to secret societies, and one of its most notorious groups is the Skull & Serpent, an organization founded in 1865 that actually has its own tomb on campus (even spookier, no current student seems to know who’s buried in the tomb!). The society allegedly pulls its members from three Greek fraternities on campus—The Eclectic Society of Phi Nu Theta, Alpha Delta Phi and Psi Upsilon—and many of the members have gone on to be influential administrators and trustees at the school.

Think secret societies are serious all the time? Think again! The members of this society put together a hilarious Harlem Shake video in their chambers. But did the video ruin the mystery of a group that was formerly known for being underground?

Kate Masters, a sophomore at Wesleyan, says that the student body was split when the video first came out. “Some people thought it was great that members of a secret society weren’t taking themselves too seriously,” she says. “But some people thought that the video was really obnoxious and labeled it as a publicity stunt from a dying society.”

Does the Skull & Serpent’s public online appearance ruin its history of total secrecy? The jury’s still out!


2. ANAK Society, Georgia Tech

Founded in 1908, Georgia Tech's ANAK Society is the oldest known secret society on this urban campus. The honor of being a member is bestowed upon juniors and seniors who illustrate high leadership capabilities and a fierce love for Georgia Tech.

Wondering what the word "Anak" means? It turns out that it's actually the name of a biblical figure who was considered the forefather of a race of giants.


3. The Night Riders, Norwich University

Though this secret society no longer exists (or does it?), the Night Riders of Norwich made quite the impression nationwide during the 1990s when they were at the center of several lawsuits. Various cadets at this military college claimed they were hazed and severely beaten by members of the group. Throughout the press coverage on the group, the Norwich community remained split on their opinions of the Night Riders. One camp thinks that they were a group of unknown students trying to help cadets across campus, and others believe they were an organization of rebels trying to inflict pain and suffering on first-year students.

Though the university later banned secret societies because of all the negative attention they gave the school, you have to wonder: What happened to the members this society, and where are they now?