If you're planning to visit Alabama any time soon, make sure you don't challenge a bear to a wrestling match. It could land you in jail since bear wrestling is a Class B felony in the Yellowhammer State. And if you're thinking of dressing as a nun to go trick-or-treating in Mobile, think again. Impersonating a nun or other member of the clergy is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of $500.
These are just two examples of the many wacky statutes on the books, not just in Alabama but in states across the nation. Here are a few more that might make you wonder what lawmakers were thinking:
- It's illegal to collect rags or paper in Indianapolis on Sundays. Don't go rag or paper collecting on legal holidays either, or you could be subject to a fine. However, it's generally okay to collect rags and paper after 7:30 a.m. and before 5:30.
- Don't skip your Saturday night bath in Barre, Vermont. There is a law on the books requiring all residents to bathe every Saturday night. Washing on other days of the week is apparently optional and left to the discretion of the residents.
- When attacked by a bird, you can throw a rock at it in Indianapolis. However, it is illegal to throw stones at birds if you're not acting in self-defense.
- Michigan will pay you to throw rocks at birds. But only if you kill them, and only if they're starlings or crows. The state pays three cents for each starling killed and ten cents per crow.
- Florida forbids the tethering of pregnant pigs. It is also illegal to confine an expecting sow to a cage, crate or other enclosure that prevents the pig from turning around freely.
- You can't sell your eyes in Texas. "The Eyes of Texas" is the official song of the University of Texas, and they are apparently not for sale. Nor are any other bodily organs, under penalty of law.
- Pinball is not for children in South Carolina. For some reason, you have to be at least 18 to play pinball in the Palmetto State.
- In Belvedere, California, dogs must not appear in public without their masters on a leash. The city council probably intended to make sure the canines rather than the humans were leashed.
- If you have political ambitions in Tennessee, don't participate in a duel. The state prohibits people who have been in a duel from holding public office.
- Only genuine smack-downs are permitted in Louisiana. State law prohibits the exhibition of fake wrestling matches.
This is only a sampling of the many crazy laws still on the books in states across the US. In addition to avoiding breaking obvious laws like posted speed limits in your town, you should also take care to avoid whaling in Oklahoma or selling blue ducklings in Kentucky. Remember, ignorance of the law is no excuse!