Shakepeare’s Badass Quartet

By Ron Rosenbaum The Chronicle of Higher Learning February 7, 2016 Have you noticed that every few years a controversy arises over a claim that an old portrait found in someone’s attic is the true face of William Shakespeare? Most recently the British...

The Great Ivy League Nude Posture Photo Scandal

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Times Magazine January 15, 1995 One afternoon in the late 1970’s, deep in the labyrinthine interior of a massive Gothic tower in New Haven, an unsuspecting employee of Yale University opened a long-locked room in the Payne Whitney...

The Subterranean World of the Bomb 

By Ron Rosenbaum Harper’s March 1978 Did anyone ever tell you about the last letter of Our Lady of Fatima? It’s more than a dozen years since the night it was revealed to me, but I remember the circumstances exactly. I was in an all-night place called the Peter Pan...

Novelist Edna O’Brien Explores the True Nature of Evil

By Ron Rosenbaum Smithsonian Magazine July 2016 Love and Evil. Two great mysteries that have obsessed the greatest writers and thinkers for as long as people have thought and written. For a long time Edna O’Brien, the celebrated Irish-born, London-dwelling writer, has...

Secrets of the Little Blue Box

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire October 1971 The Blue Box Is Introduced: Its Qualities Are Remarked I am in the expensively furnished living room of Al Gilbertson*, the creator of the “blue box.” Gilbertson is holding one of his shiny black-and-silver “blue boxes”...

Salinger, the Swamis, and the Secrets

By Ron Rosenbaum The New York Observer June 27, 2013 I’m standing outside an imposing four-story graystone townhouse. Located on a leafy, blossoming block of East 94th Street in Manhattan, it’s the headquarters and worship center of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda...

The Last Secrets of Skull and Bones

By Ron Rosenbaum Esquire September 1977 Take a look at that hulking sepulcher over there. Small wonder they call it a tomb. It’s the citadel of Skull and Bones, the most powerful of all secret societies in the strange Yale secret-society system. For nearly a...

Travels with Doctor Death

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair May 1990 Three lives hang in the balance this morning as Dr. James Grigson pulls up in a gleaming white Cadillac, ready to make his rounds. The tall Texan with one hand on the wheel and one hand on his flamboyant golden cigarette holder,...

Return of the Wanderer

By Ron Rosenbaum Vanity Fair June 1992 New York is a city famous for its talkers, its riffers, rappers, and raconteurs. But let’s face it, a lot of them are seriously overrated—depend on canned routines and canned Attitude, self-congratulatory cynicism and stale camp...