Was William Shakespeare a Pot-Smoking Hippie?

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A South African anthropologist wants to dig up William Shakespeare's bones to find out if the playwright smoked pot. He got this crazy idea from an earlier study which turned up pipe fragments in Shakespeare's garden that were coated with a marijuana residue.

Francis Thackeray from the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg is asking the Church of England for permission to exhume the almost 400-year old bones. But it's not that easy.

The bones of Shakespeare have a curse, bestowed upon them by the poet himself. The grave stone warns "Blessed be the man that spares these stones. And cursed be he who moves my bones."


Undeterred, Thackeray claims he can conduct his study and avoid the curse. He wants to scan the bodies of Shakespeare, his wife and his daughter without disturbing their bones. When he does disturb items in the playwright's tomb, they will be non-bone body parts like teeth, hair or nails, if they are still present.

Besides the bard's preference for smoking reefer, Thackeray could use this forensic information to determine the relative health of Shakespeare and possibly his cause of death. The Church of England has not processed Thackeray's application so it will be a while before a decision to close or open the tomb is made. Until then, we can only dream about having Shakespeare as the unofficial spokesman for NORML. [LiveScience]