Did Shakespeare Smoke Pot?
Pot gave bard a creative boost, says scientist who wants to open grave
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 29, 2011 2:21 AM CDT
Updated Jun 29, 2011 5:10 AM CDT
The grave of William Shakespeare is seen in the Holy Trinity Church in Stratford-upon-Avon, England.   (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
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(Newser) – An academic is willing to risk falling afoul of a 400-year-old curse to find out whether William Shakespeare was a pothead. South African anthropologist Francis Thackeray, who discovered marijuana and cocaine residue in pipe fragments found in the bard's garden, believed pot gave Shakespeare a creative boost. He is seeking permission to open up Shakespeare's grave in a church in Stratford-upon-Avon, LiveScience reports.

Analysis of hair, teeth and fingernails in the grave could reveal evidence of drug use as well as clues to how Shakespeare died, Thackeray says. His proposal is likely to meet stiff opposition from other academics, as well as from Shakespeare himself. The stone covering over the bard's grave bears the warning: "Blessed be the man that spares these stones. And cursed be he who moves my bones." Thackeray notes that the curse doesn't refer to teeth.