In his own lifetime, Shakespeare saw only about half of his plays enter print. Some individual plays were published in quarto, a small, cheap format. In 1623, seven years after Shakespeare’s death, his fellow actors John Heminges and Henry Condell put together a collection of his complete plays. Heminges and Condell were in a position to compile Shakespeare’s complete plays, because they, like Shakespeare, worked for the King’s Men, the London theatre company that produced all of Shakespeare’s plays (in Elizabethan England, plays belonged to the company that performed them, not the dramatist who had written them).
It ought to be simple, therefore, to say what Shakespeare wrote, and what he did not: the plays that were included in the First Folio must be by Shakespeare, and those that were excluded must be by someone else. After all, Heminges and Condell were in a better position to know what Shakespeare wrote than subsequent scholars or secondhand sources.
However, there are a number of complications that have created the concept of the Shakespeare Apocrypha. The Apocrypha can be categorized under the following headings.
The Shakespeare Apocrypha.
From the Crime Library comes the case of the Chowchilla Kidnapping where 26 students and their bus driver were kidnapped and buried alive in a moving van.
Ed Ray had stopped the school bus to see if the apparently broken-down white van needed help, and although it was a typically sultry Central California afternoon in the small town of Chowchilla, the peculiar man at the bus door was not an optical illusion caused by heat.
Two things about the stranger caught Ed’s attention: the guns he was holding and the nylon stocking stretched over his head.
Being solely responsible for the 26 children still on board, Ed opened the door, hoping to avoid the use of the firearms on either himself or one of his charges.
The strange man quickly mounted the steps inside the bus and ordered Ed to get up and move to the back of the bus. The children, ranging in age from 5 to 14, had various reactions to the appearance of the newcomer. Some thought it was a prank and giggled, while others became frightened immediately. Before they could react, and before Ed had moved down the aisle and reached the back seat, two more masked men appeared from around the back of the “stalled” van and jumped into the bus.
Too bad the rest of us are living in the 21st century but this is a start.