Despite the Meatballs-esque itinerary, serious stuff has happened because of these friendships. Most famously, the initial plans for the Manhattan Project were allegedly hashed out in between all the kumbaya-ing and fly fishing. So, to reiterate: The blueprint for the 20th century's most horrifying weapon, the monstrosity which made the Cold War possible and killed over 200,000 Japanese people, was likely begun on Bohemian Grove grounds. Keep that in mind when you read about...
The Weird-Ass Initiation:
Simulate a human sacrifice in front of a 40-foot-tall mechanical owl that speaks with Walter Cronkite's voice.
On the first Saturday of the encampment, a dramatic ceremony known as the "Cremation of Care" takes place. Not "dramatic" like "I'll slit my wrists if I gain another tenth of a pound. I swear I'll do it this time, you'll be sorry," but "dramatic" like it's part of a play. A play in which the personification of the world's worries, Care, is burned to ashes in front of a giant owl as an audience of the world's most powerful men look on.
The play begins on an island in an artificial lake. Druidish robed people muck about in front of a 40-foot owl like they've got nothing better to do when (surprise!) a boat with more Snuggie-clad Bohemians and a fake corpse start making their way to the island.
That corpse is "Care" with a capital "C" and the corpse then starts talking trash to the Hoodies, bragging about how the worries of the world will never leave them. It's at that point that the voice of Walter Cronkite gravely rolls forth from the owl, instructing the cloaked worrywarts that the only way to banish Care is to kill it with fire. So they do.
Care's fake body is laid on the Altar of Fellowship and lit. Then the fireworks go off and everyone starts singing. It's like Disney's Tiki Room came to life, but only after you burned a corpse in it, and with Richard Nixon, Mark Twain, Henry Ford and Colin Powell in the audience, egging you on. Which would be really crazy, since three out of four of them are corpses themselves, or really awesome, because you're hangin' with zombie Bohemians.