The Daily Mail is reporting that a team of scientists have applied to have William Shakespeare’s remains exhumed to establish how he died.
Mystery has shrouded the Great Bard’s death since he passed away in 1616, something the team of palaentologists believe they can solve with the use of modern technology.
Interestingly though, the team risks invoking a curse which Shakespeare himself said would befall anyone who moved his bones.
Carved into the stone slab covering his grave is the following
And cvrst be he yt moves my bones.
Bleste be ye man yt spares thes stones,
To digg the dvst encloased heare.
Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,
"Good friend, for Jesus' sake forbear,"
"To dig the dust enclosed here."
"Blessed be the man that spares these stones,"
"And cursed be he who moves my bones."
This has been taken so seriously that not only have his remains never been moved by Church or State, but workers too were careful not to disturb the grave during the restoration of the church in 2008.
If exhumed, Shakespeare wouldn’t be the first famous person to have been raised from the grave.
Website PopCrunch has a list of 30 Famous People Who Were Exhumed along with the reasons for it.
In many instances it was to move the famous person to a new cemetery, but from time to time there have been more interesting reasons – take the example of Sammy Davis Jnr who’s wife had his body exhumed so she could take out the $70,000 worth of jewelry that had been buried with him.
That aside, the idea of exhuming a body is an interesting one for Family Historians.
If you had the opportunity to exhume a body of a relative to find out more about how they lived and died, would you do it?