25 Bizarre Facts About Each US State, Part 1

Posted by , Updated on May 24, 2024

Each US State is often associated with something unique. For example, South Dakota is known for Mount Rushmore, Arizona features the Grand Canyon, and Florida is famous for the notorious Florida Man. The United States has a vibrant and occasionally bizarre history that spans more than two centuries. Usually, these quirky and unusual elements fade into obscurity, so our goal is to bring them back by showcasing the strange peculiarities of each US State. Our lists are limited to 25 items, making a two-part series necessary. Are you ready for a coast-to-coast journey to discover odd tidbits? Welcome to 25 Odd Facts About Each US State, Part 1.

Stay tuned this time next week for part 2!



Alabama - Heaviest Member of Congress

dixion hall lewisSource: https://www.politico.com/story/2011/10/sen-dixon-hall-lewis-dies-at-age-46-oct-25-1848-066708

Senator Dixon Hall Lewis was an Alabama Democrat and the heaviest member of Congress in history, weighing 500 pounds. He served eight consecutive terms before dying in 1848. The Senate made a special seat for him and his carriage had heavy duty springs installed.


Alaska - Freakishly Large Produce

broccoliSource: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2014/08/20/341884706/why-vegetables-get-freakish-in-the-land-of-the-midnight-sun

With unusually long summer days, Alaskan farmers can grow some crazy big produce. In recent years, they’ve been able to produce a 35-pound broccoli, a 65-pound cantaloupe, and a 135-pound cabbage.


Arizona - Mystery Castle

mystery castleSource: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/mystery-castle

There’s a castle built in Arizona near Phoenix by a man named John Gulley. What’s perplexing about this castle is that he built the entire thing by himself over the span of 15 years. Moreover, he abandoned his wife and daughter to do it, and no one knows why. Later, after his death, his wife and daughter were contacted by his lawyer saying they now owned the castle. It was the first they had heard from him since his disappearance.


Arkansas - Dead Blackbirds

blackbirdSource: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343605/1-000-blackbirds-fall-Arkansas-sky-New-Years-Eve.html

On the last day of 2010, 1,000 blackbirds fell out of the sky, dead, in Beebe, Arkansas. Authorities had their theories of why it happened, from high winds to stress-related trauma, but couldn’t figure out anything conclusive.


California - Emperor of the United States

emperorSource: https://www.history.com/news/the-strange-case-of-emperor-norton-i-of-the-united-states

In 1859, San Francisco was home to the first Emperor of the United States, Joshua Norton I, or so he claimed in the bulletin newspaper. The editors published it as a joke. Still, he paraded around the city pretending to be the Emperor, and many began to play along, giving him free meals at restaurants and listening to his comical proclamations. He even made his own currency.


Colorado - Blucifer

bluciferSource: http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2014/03/17/the_blue_mustang_is_part_of_several_conspiracy_theories_centered_on_denver.html

Denver International Airport had a 32-foot blue Mustang sculpture installed in 2008. Officially, its name is Blue Mustang, but locals have another name for him – Blucifer. Why? Well, first off, it killed its sculptor, Luis Jiménez, after part of it fell off and severed his artery. With its glowing red eyes and fierce demeanor, many believe its demon-possessed, and some conspiracy theorists have claimed it’s on top of a hidden bunker for the New World Order.


Connecticut - Brains in Jars

brainSource: http://www.slate.com/blogs/atlas_obscura/2014/10/06/brains_in_jars_at_the_cushing_center_in_the_yale_medical_library.html

Once belonging to pioneering neurosurgeon Harvey Cushing, 550 human brains inside of jars were passed on and given to Yale University. A custom-built room in their medical library was made to house the brains.


Delaware - Raining Money

dollarSource: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/helicopter-rains-cash-delaware-marina-article-1.1432566

A Delaware man’s dying wish was for $10,000 to be dropped over the town of Lewes, Delaware, from a helicopter, and a year after his death, they made it happen. The money was made up of denominations of $5, $10, $20, and $50 dollars. It literally rained money that day.


Florida - Dwarf Tossing

Ritch_WorkmanSource: https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/Florida-Ban-on-Dwarf-Tossing-Could-End-131177158.html

Oh, Florida, we all know you’re full of weird and crazy things. In this case, Rep. Ritch Workman tried to have a 1989 law banning dwarf tossing in bars repealed, saying it “limited employment options for little people.”

Need to hear more about insane antics in Florida? Look no further. We got you covered with 25 Craziest Things Ever Done By Florida Man.


Georgia - Possum Drop

possumSource: http://mentalfloss.com/article/53373/strange-states-georgias-new-year%E2%80%99s-eve-possum-drop

On New Year’s Eve, roughly 4,000 Georgians head out to Tallapoosa to play games, listen to music, eat food, and watch a taxidermied possum named Spencer drop from a building as a countdown for the new year. This possum drop tradition was started in 2000 and has since blown up to be a huge event. Take that, New York!


Hawaii - Kamehameha Day

kamehamehaSource: https://www.hawaii.com/blog/king-kamehameha-day/

Though the United States was born out of rebelling against the English monarch King George III, leaving a lasting culture against monarchies, Hawaii is the only state in the Union to have a holiday celebrating a monarch, King Kamehameha.


Idaho - Name Mystery

idahoSource: https://www.webcitation.org/5kwpoRl6A?url=http://encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia_761565515/Idaho.html

No one really knows where the word “Idaho” comes from. Before it was a state, it was called “The Colorado Territory.” Politician George M. Willing put forth the name “Idaho” saying it was a Native American word for “gem of the mountains.” He admitted later that he made the whole thing up. Because of that, Congress initially shot the name down, but later it became so popular with the locals they decided to officially name it Idaho in 1863.


Illinois - Devil Baby

devil babySource: https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1916/10/the-devil-baby-at-hull-house/305428/

In Chicago, Hull House has long been rumored to be haunted, but things took a turn toward the bizarre in 1913 when word spread about the Devil Baby living there. Locals from far and wide grew fascinated with this story of a baby that spoke all sorts of profanities and had cloven hooves for feet. People came to Hull House in droves to see it. Even The Atlantic sent out a reporter to write about it.


Indiana - Kokomo Hum

kokomoSource: https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/the-persistent-mystery-of-the-kokomo-hum

In Kokomo, Indiana, some residents have complained about a strange noise that gives them headaches. Reports began in 1999 and described it as a low, persistent grumble that would only go away if you left town. Others had more extreme symptoms like diarrhea and nosebleeds. Of the 45,000 residents, only a handful of residents have been “hearers” to the hum, and scientists say they aren’t imagining it. Something, indeed, is out there making the noise.


Iowa - James T. Kirk

birthplace kirkSource: https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/2081

In Riverside, Iowa, there’s a monument that reads, “Future Birthplace of James T. Kirk – March 22nd, 2228.” When local Trekkie Steve Miller read Making of Star Trek in 1968, it said Kirk would be born in a small town in Iowa but didn’t specify which one. Like a boss, Miller proposed making Riverside the town at a council meeting. His motion passed unanimously. Since then, the town radically became Star Trek themed, and in 2009, it was recognized as Kirk’s birthplace in the Star Trek remake film starring Chris Pine.


Kansas - The Honking Tree

witchitaSource: https://www.kansas.com/news/local/article1073393.html

In this state, on highway K-96 between the Bentley and Maize Road exit right outside Wichita, stands a tall tree considered a monument by locals. If you honk at it, you’ll be granted good luck, or so they say. Locals love the tree so much that when it was threatened to be torn down in the 90’s, they banded together to save it and won the fight. Oh, and it also has its own Facebook page with thousands of followers.


Kentucky - Moonbow

cumberlandSource: http://mentalfloss.com/article/59107/15-things-you-might-not-know-about-kentucky

We all know about rainbows, but an even more rare phenomenon is a moonbow. During full moons on clear nights, you can see the moonbow at Cumberland Falls on the Cumberland River near Corbin.


Louisiana - Nic Cage Tomb

new orleansSource: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/nicolas-cage-s-pyramid-tomb

A Louisiana burial ground, famous for being home to psychic Marie Laveau, also has another bizarre tomb built by Nicholas Cage himself. Built in the shape of a pyramid, this white tomb has the inscription, “Omni Ab Uno” which is Latin for “Everything From One.” No one knows why Cage built the tomb other than assuming that’s where he wants to be buried when he dies.


Maine - North Pond Hermit

north pond hermitSource: https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/04/north-pond-hermit-maine-knight-stranger-woods-finkel/

In the 80’s, Christopher Knight drove away from home into the wilderness and never looked back. For 27 years, he lived a solitary life in the woods, surviving mostly by stealing things from local cabins nearby. He built an entire campsite and never once purchased anything or spoke to anyone during that time. After years of larceny, he was finally caught and arrested in 2013.


Maryland - Ouija

ouijaSource: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/ouija-7eleven

The first Ouija board was created in an apartment building that now stands as a 7-Eleven. Elijah Bond and Helen Peters created the board and even asked it what it wanted to be called. Bond grew such a close relationship with the board, his tombstone was made into one.


Massachusetts - Gloucester Greasy Pole

GreasyPole_GloucesterSource: https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-greasy-pole-at-saint-peters-fiesta

In Gloucester, locals grease up a 200-foot horizontal pole extending from a pier with all kinds of slippery things, like banana peels, axle grease, and Tabasco sauce, among other things, all in honor of Saint Peter. The pole is roughly 25-feet above the ocean and contestants try to walk across it to reach an Italian flag at the end. Anyone who can successfully do it essentially gets bragging rights. This act of madness has been going on since 1927.


Michigan - Devil's Night

fireSource: https://www.thrillist.com/lifestyle/detroit/10-weird-things-that-happened-in-detroit, https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/detroit-city/2017/10/31/detroit-only-21-fires-fought-devils-night/817349001/

It was 1983 in Detroit and juvenile delinquency was rampant on the eve of Halloween, causing 650 major fires in the area. This led to naming the night before Halloween, “Devil’s Night.” Things reached a fever pitch in 1984 when firefighters had to put out 810 fires, and officials sounded the alarm to clamp down on the practice. Since then, government officials created “Angel’s Night” with concerned Detroit residents patrolling neighborhoods together to stanch out the problem.


Minnesota - Three-Year-Old Mayor

tuftsSource: https://www.today.com/parents/3-year-old-james-tufts-becomes-dorset-minnesotas-newest-mayor-t37976

In the small town of Dorset, Minnesota, twenty-two residents casted their ballots and elected a three-year-old boy named James Tufts as their mayor. Tufts philosophy on leadership boiled down to “being nice and no poopy talk,” which, in light of recent leaders, is pretty good advice.


Mississippi - The Phantom Barber

barber toolsSource: https://www.southernliving.com/halloween/mississippi-phantom-barber-video

It was 1942 and residents of Pascagoula not only had to worry about their boys fighting in World War II but also a strange and eerie figure stalking the streets known as The Phantom Barber. As their population soared due to war material manufacturing, a mysterious figure broke into people’s homes and cut pieces of their hair as they slept, hence the name. Few clues were left behind, and to this day no one knows its identity.


Missouri - Great Flood of 1993

missouriSource: https://www.nytimes.com/1994/12/06/us/life-in-prison-for-saboteur-of-river-levee.html

During the Great Flood of 1993, 24-year-old James Scott purposefully removed several sandbags from a levee, causing 14,000 acres of flooding and destroying many buildings in West Quincy. Why did he do it? He wanted to strand his wife on the Missouri side of the border so he could stay in Illinois and party with his friends. Scott was convicted and received the maximum penalty of life in prison.

Photo: Featured Image - SiBr4 and respective authors of base files, Map of the United States with flags, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 1. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 2. Athanasia Stfn, The best barber must have the best tools., CC BY-SA 2.0, 3. Lorie Shaull, Former 2015 Mayor of Dorset MN, James Tufts reacts to losing a re-election bid for Mayor of Dorset 2017, CC BY-SA 2.0, 4. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 5. Cody Carlson, GreasyPole Gloucester, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 6. User:Something Original, Elijah Jefferson Bond Gravestone Rear Detail, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 7. John Hayes, 100 Mile Wilderness (1), CC BY-SA 2.0, 8. Geraldshields11, New Orleans, Louisiana views 07, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 9. Design219, Cumberland Falls Moonbow panarama, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 10. Scott Nazelrod, Kta 053 2011, CC BY-SA 3.0 , 11. Marshall Astor, Future Birthplace of Captain James T Kirk, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 12. Cameronloyd03, Kokomo-downtown1, CC BY-SA 4.0 , 13. Publicdomainpictures.net (Public Domain), 14. Sebastian Bergmann from Siegburg, Germany, Idaho welcome sign, CC BY-SA 2.0 , 15. Anthony Quintano from Honolulu, HI, United States, King Kamehameha Day Lei Draping Ceremony Hawaii (34390411734), CC BY 2.0 , 16. PxHere.com (Public Domain), 17. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 18. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 19. techbint, Brains in jars!, CC BY 2.0, 20. Mike Sinko, Blucifer at the Denver International Airport, CC BY-SA 2.0, 21. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 22. MaxPixel.net (Public Domain), 23. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain), 24. Pixabay.com (Public Domain), 25. WikipediaCommons.com (Public Domain)