C.S. Lewis put the chronic in the 'Chronicles of Narnia' by slipping cannabis edibles into the first published instalment: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1950). Or so a Christian conspiracy theory would have you believe.
According to the theory, Lewis - who was born 118 years ago today - laced drug, tobacco and alcohol references into his work to sow vices in children. And his character the White Witch, who used dark magic to plunge Narnia into perpetual winter, was also a drug dealer.
The interpretation centers on the White Witch's corruption of Edmund - one of the children who stumbles upon the fantasy world of Narnia after walking through the wardrobe. The White Witch tricks Edmund into her service by conjuring a box of Turkish Delight and promising to give him more once he does her bidding.
That's no ordinary Turkish Delight, according to Peter and Mary Stephens of The Homemaker's Corner. They say that it contained hash. So how did a conservative English professor like Lewis learn about cannabis edibles? Same way most of us do - by experimenting in college.
The Stephens support their theory with a quote from E.L. Abel's Marihuana: The First Twleve Thousand Years (1980).
"As in India, local officials in Egypt were alarmed at the large numbers of inhabitants who used hashish directly or in confections, many of which were exported to Europe," Abel wrote. "Among the variety of confectionery treats containing hashish that were sent abroad were 'Turkish Delight,' square pieces of hashish containing sugar and gelatin which were a particular favorite of the students at Cambridge University in England."
So Lewis may have known about this particular type of hash edibles. But did he deliberately incorporate them into his story? Yes, according to the Stephens, who point to Edmund's behavior as proof of drug use.
"Lewis portrays Edmund as eating this greedily, and the more he eats the more he wants it - implying addiction," they write. "This is explained in that the witch (or Queen) knows that the Turkish Delight is 'enchanted' and that once a person has tasted it, they will want more and more of it and, if allowed to, would eat themselves to death."
Or maybe there's a simpler explanation. Children like sugar. And if you don't stop them from eating candy, they'll gobble it up until it makes them sick. For evidence, see every November 1st since the tradition of trick-or-treating began.
But while we're on the subject of conspiracy theories, here's another one to consider: The Homemaker's Corner opposes cannabis use, but their initials spell THC. Subliminal messaging, perhaps?
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