Unusual substance found in William Shakespeare's garden

Was William Shakespeare A Stoner?

William Shakespeare may have been under the influence while penning some of his most famous plays.

According to research from the South African Institute of Science, clay tobacco pipes dating over 400 years ago, were found in the playwright's garden. Using a technique called gas chromatography mass spectrometry, scientists were able to analyze the particles left behind. This method is so sensitive that anything smoked out of the pipes leaves a residual trace, even after centuries.

But what exactly was Shakespeare smoking?

Results of this study (including 24 pipe fragments) revealed traces of cannabis in eight samples, nicotine in at least one sample, and in two samples definite evidence for Peruvian cocaine from coca leaves.

To avid readers, this may not come as a shock. In several of Shakespeare's sonnets, the author writes about strange drugs and "weed" (in Sonnet 76, he mentions the "invention of a noted weed").

Chances are he wasn't high while writing "Romeo and Juliet," but hey, you never know.

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Rare Shakespeare folio found
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Unusual substance found in William Shakespeare's garden
Antique and rare books including English playwright William Shakespeare's (1564-1616) first folio are lit by candlelight in the library at Longleat stately home, Wiltshire, England, February 1968. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
LONDON - SEPTERMBER 7: The previously unknown 1623 edition of William Shakespeare's First Folio, described as the most important work in the English Language, which will be going under the hammer at Bloomsbury Auction house on October 7, 2004 in London. The book, which is expected to fetch GBP1 million, was inherited by a Mancunian woman from a distant relative and turned out to be one of only six original copies in private hands. (Photo by Graeme Robertson/Getty Images) *** Local Caption ***
Antique and rare books including English playwright William Shakespeare's (1564-1616) first folio are lit by candlelight in the library at Longleat stately home, Wiltshire, England, February 1968. (Photo by RDImages/Epics/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 01: Man reads third folio of Shakespeare's plays in his rare book library, England, Great Britain (Photo by Kathleen Revis/National Geographic/Getty Images)
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