Excavated Pipe Suggests William Shakespeare Smoked Pot

Photo: Moviestore Collection/REX USA
Widely regarded as the greatest English-language writer of all time, William Shakespeare penned approximately 38 plays and 154 sonnets in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. And now, new evidence suggests that he may have written some of this ground-breaking prose while under the influence.

South African scientists found 400-year-old tobacco pipes discovered in Shakespeare's Stratford-Upon-Avon garden contained cannabis, reports The Telegraph.

Excavating the garden and surrounding areas in an effort to learn more about the life of the iconic playwright, the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust unearthed 24 fragments of early 17th century clay pipes. The fragments were then loaned to the University of the Witwatersrand for forensic testing, where a sophisticated technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry was used to analyze the pipes. Of the 24 fragments tested, cannabis was found in eight. And of those eight, four came from Shakespeare's property. (Though evidence of cocaine was also found in two pipes, neither of them were from the Bard's garden. As he himself implies in Sonnet 76: "Invention in a noted weed," yes. "Compounds strange," no.)

So... puff, puff, write? We'll never know.

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