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Strange But True Laws

Most laws people can really get behind – no speeding, no drinking while intoxicated, no violence towards another, no stealing, no looting…the list goes on and on. This doesn’t mean people don’t still break them, but they’re understandable laws created to keep order and public decency.

But other laws just leave you scratching your head. We’ve found some strange but true laws from all over the country we thought you’d like to hear about.

  • In Goodyear, Arizona, it’s illegal to spit within or on a public building, road, sidewalk or park. The offense is punishable with a fine of up to $2,500 or six months in jail. We agree this is lousy etiquette not to mention a sanitation issue, but…jail time?
  • In Arkansas, visitors must pronounce “Arkansas” correctly. Per state code, the acceptable pronunciation is in three syllables, with the final “s” being silent, with an accent on the first and last syllables.
  • In Connecticut, pickles can’t be sold unless they bounce when dropped from a one-foot height. This dates back to a 1948 law created after two pickle packers tried to sell pickles that were deemed “unfit for human consumption.”
  • While we think this should be an actual law in all 50 states, Idaho is presently the only state in the nation to ban cannibalism, which refers to the “non-consensual consumption” of another human being.
  • In Galesburg, Illinois, “fancy riding” of any bicycle is strictly prohibited. This includes riding with both hands off the handle bars, feet off the pedals or “any acrobatic” moves while on a bike.
  • In French Lick Springs, Indiana, all black cats must sport bells around their necks on Friday the 13th, dating back to a law enacted in 1939 as a “war measure” to keep the general population from experiencing undue stress.
  • In Iowa, anyone who tries to pass off margarine as real butter is in violation of a misdemeanor punishable by a $625 fine and a month in jail.
  • Don’t get carried away with your road rage in Rockville, Maryland. Here, it’s illegal to swear on any street or highway, punishable with a $100 fine.
  • In Massachusetts, it’s prohibited to dance to the Star Spangled Banner, a law which dates back to an apparently excessively patriotic time in 1917.
  • In New Hampshire, it’s forbidden to collect seaweed from a beach during nighttime.
  • And right here in Rhode Island, thanks to one of those pesky “false personification” laws, it’s unlawful to impersonate an auctioneer.

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