Dude, they’re gonna dig up William Shakespeare’s dead body…to see whether or not he was a stoner! Researchers have already discovered pipes with weed-resin on ‘em near his home, so now some South African scientists have asked the Church of England for permission to open the dude’s grave so they can drug test him and finally determine whether or not some of the master’s brilliant poems and plays were written while he was stoned.
“Shakespeare’s skeleton could reveal clues about his health and death, the question of the man’s drug use depends on the presence of hair, fingernails or toenails in the grave,” says Francis Thackeray, the director of the Institute for Human Evolution at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, who in 2001 found evidence of marijuana resin on pipe shards discovered in Shakespeare’s garden. Thackeray’s research will use a portable technique called laser surface scanning, which will allow him to digitally scan Shakespeare’s cadaver without actually having to touch it.
Experts have long speculated whether weed played a role in Shakespeare’s genius. Thackeray and many others also think Shakespeare made some cryptic references to weed in his work, one being Sonnet 76 where Shakespeare says something like “invention in a noted weed.” But, weed wasn’t used to describe marijuana until the prohibition era, around 1929, and even still it was a pejorative. Anyhow, smoking weed was probably something Shakespeare would have kept on the down-low because weed-penalties were hella harsh 400 years ago, about the time of his death.
If you think modern day prohibition is bullshit, old-school prohibition was even worse! As a result of the Inquisition, weed was banned during the 12th and 13th centuries, about 80 years before Shakespeare was born, and Pope Innocent VII went as far as to proclaim weed “an unholy sacrament of satanic mass” (one reason why we LOVE IT so much). So back then…stoners we’re often tortured and killed by the barbaric Catholic Church just for smoking weed. So it’s not like Shakespeare was gonna go all public and shit about being a stoner.
“I have suggested that Shakespeare was being careful not to make explicit reference to hallucinogenic properties of hemp, on account of possible associations with witchcraft and leading possibly to the burning of books,” Thackeray has said.
Anyhow the possibility that some of the best literary works in existence came from a mind that was STONED is still too much for some even in this day and age. Professor Stanley Wells of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, the dudes who loaned-out the broken pipes for the weed-resin study, can’t handle the truth. He said the positive marijuana conclusions were “regrettable” and that scientists are “trying to suggest that Shakespeare was not a great genius, but somebody who produced his writings under an artificial influence…”
Dude, there’s nothing artificial about pot, except the TV show WEEDS, and to even suggest that somehow smoking it diminishes, rather than enhances creative genius, is outrageous…egregious…preposterous! Anyone who’s ever read Hunter S. Thompson, William S. Burroughs or listened to Bob Dylan will tell you that.
For now, Thackeray waits to hear back from the Church of England for permission to study Shakespeare’s corpse, which is placed behind some big-ass rock, in the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford-upon-Avon, bearing the poetic warning: “Blessed be the man that is STONED” er…uhm…we mean…”Blessed be the man that spares these stones. And cursed be he who moves my bones.”