Friday, July 8, 2011
Smoking the Bard's Bones?
A gentleman named Francis Thackeray, a palaeontologist from South Africa, has petitioned the Church of England to exhume Shakespeare's bones, and that of his wife and sister. It's very unlikely he'll get his way, but he wants to submit the bard's skeleton to a laser technology that will shed light on the cause of death. When Shakespeare died in 1616 at the age of 52, the cause of death was not listed. Thackeray also wants to prove that Shakespeare smoked pot, by analyzing his teeth, hair, or fingernail samples. In 2001 Mr. Thackeray analyzed several clay pipes excavated from Shakespeare's garden, that contained traces of cannabis and cocaine. Interestingly enough, several of Shakespeare's plays and poems mention the "noted weed." Pot was grown in England at the time, and used for rope and textiles, and presumably smoking.