In simpler times, when the U.S. was still in its formative years, a number of strange ordinances, and even state laws, were passed to address new and specific situations. On many occasions, these laws addressed a single issue or a local fear or superstition. For example, a number of cities actually banned Rock n’ Roll music as they believed it was a bad influence and quite possibly the work of the devil.
Over time, these laws stay on the books, but there is a general consensus (even among law enforcement) that they are definitely as silly and unnecessary as they sound. The longer these laws go without violation and without enforcement, the more likely they are to fall into obscurity and eventually forgotten.
Some of these laws are still on the books but most of them have been removed during routine clean-ups, so rest easy; you can now humiliate that rock in Colorado, and you might be able to bring your lion to a Baltimore movie theater!
10. Maryland Is Awfully Picky About Who You Can Bring to the Movies
This is an awfully strange law, but at least we can attempt to understand why it may be in effect – a lion could very well kill a lot of people if crammed into a small theater with them. What no one seems to know or remember is why this issue had to be addressed. All we can surmise is that someone at some point in time wanted to bring a lion to a Baltimore theater for a night at the movies. No one is entirely sure if this actually happened since a theater massacre involving a lion doesn’t seem to be in the history books. Anyone’s best guess is that MGM may have planned to bring a lion for the release of one of their films (due to their infamous roaring lion at the top of all their films) and Baltimore decided to quickly pass a city ordinance in fear of public safety.
9. Illinois is Very Passionate When It Comes to Fighting Animal Cruelty
Illinois is very serious about their anti-smoking laws. It’s one of a number of states that have banned smoking from public places like restaurants and bars, and it just may be the only state that has banned giving a lit cigar to a domesticated animal. No one seems to be sure why it specifically targets domesticated animals. We can only assume this means it’s legal in Illinois to give a cigar to the lion you just brought to the movies.
This may just be a very specific clause in animal cruelty laws, or Illinois may have had a very serious problem with household pets blowing their second hand smoke into the faces of children during their weekly poker games.
8. Make Sure You Wear Your Sunday Best In Alabama
In Alabama it is actually illegal to wear a fake mustache in a church. This is most definitely an obscure city ordinance. We like to think an alarming number of old-timey bank robbers were hiding out within the church congregation, so they passed this law to eliminate their disguises and weed them out. Unfortunately the reasoning isn’t nearly that awesome; the law states that it can’t be a fake mustache that “encourages laughter”. We can understand why a church may have wanted their congregation to focus on the preacher, but it must have not taken too much to make people laugh back when this law was put into effect.
7. Watch Your Mouth in Michigan
Michigan has a number of odd laws still on the books and watching your mouth is one of them. It’s actually illegal to say “God” or “Jesus Christ” in vain. This is bad news for well over half of the population. Fortunately, virtually no one in law enforcement is going to enforce this law. However, in 1999 a man was taken to court for the violation of a 117-year-old Michigan law that states no one can use obscenities or vulgar language in front of women and children. Just to be on the safe side, it may be best to mind your language if you’re ever in Michigan.
6. Don’t Have Too Much Fun in the Snow When Visiting Aspen
This is quite a shocker. In Aspen, where people go specifically to enjoy the snow for a number of recreational activities exclusive to the weather, it is illegal to throw snowballs. This must mean both of two things:
1) The jails in Aspen are filled with children demanding that they be allowed their phone call.
Let’s just hope local law enforcement ignores this ridiculous law.
5. If You’ve Got An Issue With Rocks, Stay Out of Colorado
Do you just hate rocks? Do you hate the way that they always look at you with their rocky smugness? Maybe you hate the way they strut about like everyone in the room owes them something? If this describes your feelings towards rocks, you better stay out of Colorado. In Ski Country you can’t mutilate, maim, injure, or deface rocks. We don’t even want to know what Colorado law enforcement would do to someone who threw a snowball at a rock in Aspen. The state allows the death penalty by lethal injection so it may be best to not try and find out.
4. New Hampshire Is Pro-Zombie
It appears we may have proof that the state of New Hampshire is secretly run by zombies. Out in the Granite State, it is illegal to go hunting in cemeteries, making a first line of defense against a zombie apocalypse impossible in New Hampshire.
In all reality, hunters were probably using cemetery grounds in large numbers and the state received an influx of complaints about respecting the dead. This reasonable explanation is too boring, so we’re sticking with the Zombie Politician Theory.
3. You Should Plan Lunch Carefully in Indiana
You really need to watch what you eat in Indiana. Not because of an obesity epidemic, but due to legally enforced common courtesy.
If you use public transportation and you don’t live in Indiana, you have probably stood next to someone (on more than one occasion) that had a serious case of dragon-breath. There is a simple solution to this ordeal:
Move to Indiana!
In Indiana it’s actually illegal to use public transportation within four hours of eating onions or garlic. The odds of police enforcing this law now are probably slim, but if you make enough of a scene about the stinky gentleman next to you, something just may get done about it.
2. Better Think of Another Valentines Day Gift
This is another one that is most obviously a weird city ordinance that was passed to take care of a single incident. Unfortunately the memory of exactly why it had to be passed is lost to history.
Somewhere in Idaho it’s technically illegal to gift someone a box of chocolate that weighs over fifty pounds. However, chocolate fans everywhere can rejoice since the law has probably been wiped off the books or is no longer enforced.
It’s probably safe to assume that no one has made such an order in quite some time.
1. Hey, Just Leave Bigfoot Alone
In Washington, there is an Undiscovered Species Act that legitimately addresses the harassment, trapping of, or shooting of “a primate mammal variously described as Bigfoot, Sasquatch, an ape-like creature or a subspecies of Homo Sapiens.”
This is good news for that precocious group of adolescent young boys that hide Bigfoot in their tree-house. The inevitable stand-off between the children and a mob of armed locals that don’t understand the creature now has legal ramifications.