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Funny and Forgotten Laws of the U.S

Updated on April 12, 2010

You may wonder what happens to the outdated or just plain weird laws that our enterprising government has created throughout the decades. A surprising number of them stay on the books for the entertainment of the masses. ( okay that's probably not true but life's a matter of perspective right?) Below are some I've come across that I think you'll enjoy, along with theorys on how they came about or how they could be broken

These stories are for entertainment purposes only.. but the laws are real.

West Virginia

A person may be placed in jail for up to six months for making fun of someone who does not accept a challenge or dare.

Whistling underwater is forbidden.

Legally you can beat your wife if it's done on Sunday , in public, and on the courthouse steps.

And how could you possible break these laws....

Saturday began very pleasantly for Mr. X and Mrs. Y. They woke up and decided to visit the local public pool. Mrs Y dares her husband to try whistling underwater. When he refuses she continued to taunt and tease him until, with huff of wounded male pride, he plunges his head underwater to attempt a whistle. Emerging from the water he sees his wife being cuffed for taunting him. Mr X chuckles silently to himself as he approaches Mrs Y. But he is surprised to find a pair of cuffs being slapped on his own wrists. Charge - 1st degree underwater whistling.

Sunday morning the couple is released on bail and as they stroll out Mr X is contemplating taking his wife to the courthouse for lunch....


It is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body in a funeral home or in the coroner's office.

Donkeys may not be kept in the bathtub

All civilians must own a rake

Goldfish are not to given away to lure someone to enter a game of bingo.

And why would this be illegal?

Little old Marylou hosted a weekly bingo game at her home every week. As a door prize she began to give away little goldfish, which turned out to be a big hit with the bingo crowd. ( It is worth mentioning that Marylou is a bit eccentric. ) One night when she had a house full of bingo players, two little old ladies headed up the stairs since the downstairs bathroom had a line they deemed to long. Marylou had always asked her guests to confine themselves to the downstairs bathroom but these two just couldn't wait. Opening the bathroom door both women let out an ear shattering scream when they saw a large and smelly donkey standing complacently in a large tube. They bolted downstairs, screaming obscenities the whole time. This created something of a panic and the remaining players bolted for the front door as well

Unfortunately Marylou had forgotten to buy a rake this fall and some leaves had wedged in the screen door a bit, which then created a bottle neck as dozens of aging bingo players tried to force their way out. Finding the way blocked began to whip the ladies into a real frenzy, even those who didn't even know what it was about. With a sharp snap the screen door popped off and the aging rioters waded their way through knee high piles of leaves. This had been such an ordeal that the entire bingo club kept right on running .

A few blocks away there was a funeral home which was hosting a small memorial service. The door had been left open to prevent the room from becoming too stuffy on this balmy night . Heads across the room began to snap up as a rusty sounding screams were heard coming down the street. The whole herd of women rushed past the funeral home, still screaming obscenities, which caused two elderly women and one older man attending the memorial dropped dead in shock.

New York

It is illegal for a woman to be on the street wearing tight fitting clothing

It is illegal to throw a ball at some one's head just for fun.

The penalty for jumping off a building is death.

While riding in an elevator, you must stand with you hands folded and speak to no one.

Why were these laws passed?

A group of young men were goofing off in front of a local bar with music from the band inside blasting out through the doors. Two members of this group, Jack and Joe, were slightly inebriated. Joe accuses The boys were snacking on some peanuts when Joe accuses Jack of being too drunk to walk and chew at the same time. In response Jack spins around and began walking backwards down the sidewalk while still eating his peanuts. Jack yelled out "Tell me if I'm going to hit anything". Too bad for Joe a young woman in very tight fitting clothes walked by distracting them . With a shouted oaf Jack fell backwards over a fire hydrant. Naturally he didn'f find this as amusing as his friends. To get even with them Joe dashed into the bar and up the stairs to the roof. He took a rubber ball from his coat pocket. Taking careful aim he hurled the ball at Joe's head. His aim was true and it bounced off Joe's head with a resounding Whack!. This of course caused Jack to start laughing uncontrollably. Meanwhile Ted, a slightly less inebriated friend, saw the danger in the situation and ran into the bar to get Jack off the roof. He decided the elevator would be faster and rushed in the doors as soon as they opened. He began shouting for Jack to get off the roof before the elevator had even made it there. Meanwhile Jack, hearing some strange muted shouting, turned around to see where it was coming from. At that very moment a very large ugly rat came running towards him and skittered right over his foot. With a high pitched scream he jumped back and fell right off the roof.

Eventually paramedics arrived and whisked Jack off to the hospital. After several hours of surgury the doctors annouced he would be okay. Unfortunately a law had just passed that declared the penalty for jumping off a building would be death.


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    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 7 years ago from California Gold Country

      This was great--- there have been many articles written about silly, outdated laws-- but your explanations of how they (probably) came into being are priceless.