The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1807  Tuesday, 1 November 2005

From: 		Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>
Date: 		Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Subject: 	Shakespeare's Body

Experts plan to exhume Shakespeare's body
Nov 1 2005


Controversial plans to dig up William Shakespeare's grave, to find out 
whether he was murdered by his son-in-law, have been revealed by 
American scientists.

The US experts, who are convinced the Bard's death was anything but 
natural, are hoping to be granted permission by his descendants to 
exhume his body.

Shakespeare died on his birthday on April 23, 1616, and was buried two 
days later at Stratford-upon-Avon's Holy Trinity Church.  His grave has 
remained untouched for more than 350 years, but now American 
pathologists want to disturb his resting place, in spite of warnings of 
a curse on Shakespeare's tomb if anyone tries to disturb his bones.

They are convinced scientific advances including DNA testing will end 
years of speculation about Shakespeare being murdered.  Professor James 
Starrs, of George Washington University in the US, said: "Shakespeare 
has made it clear that there is no justification for removing his bones. 
However, there is some consideration of foul play and the possibility 
that we could positively identify his body, so permission for this 
project becomes easier to find."

Chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust Professor Stanley Wells 
said: "There is not the slightest reason to suppose that Shakespeare was 
murdered by his son-in-law, or that opening the grave would produce any 
evidence relating to the authorship of the plays, which is beyond all 

"On the other hand, if exhumation of whatever remains may have survived 
would put a stop to rumour and speculation, I should not object to it. 
"I think it could be very useful to clear the air and some Shakespeare 
DNA would be incredibly useful. There is a lot we do not know about 
Shakespeare's death."

Other famous exhumations include the bodies of Johann Sebastian Bach and 
JFK's assassin Lee Harvey Oswald.

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