You’ve heard the expression “The law is an ass”. Well, sometimes it’s a crazy ass!
In this list, we will bring you a mind-boggling bunch of rules that can only be described with one word… ridiculous. Historical laws which will make you go “hmmm”. Plus things that sound made up but actually land people in hot water today. It’s one wild journey. Find out why Blood and Honey isn’t the most bizarre thing associated with Winnie the Pooh. And what do the Russians really think about your underwear?
Here are 25 Bizarre Laws That Still Exist Today.
Always wear socks around a monarch
Let’s start as we mean to go on, with a truly ridiculous law from Great Britain. Socks are a part of day to day life. I’m wearing socks right now, not that you especially need to know that, but I’m making a point.
It’s just something I do every morning, pull on a pair of socks. Totally my choice. Or is it? Spool back a few hundred years and things would be quite different. It was a brave person who appeared before Queen Elizabeth I in open toed sandals. In fact you were chancing it coming within 300 meters of the monarch minus some socks! As the seventeenth century began, James I took over and things started to cool down. More than can be said for your poor tootsies on a hot day when Lizzy was in town!
Rats are vermin. I know they’re kept as pets, however their reputation on the whole is a grim and dirty one. That said, I’ve got to feel a little sorry for rats based in the state of Montana. Why? Because you can only sell a rat to someone if they plan to feed it to something else, or use it in a scientific experiment.
Cruel yes, though it seems there’s a serious reason for the law. In 2019 it was reported that rats cost the US economy a staggering $19 billion per year. These little furry invaders cause chaos of all kinds, from spreading disease to damaging equipment. For instance, electrical wires are practical to you and me, but tasty looking to a hungry rodent. So, while it appears ridiculous to buy a rat in order to give your beloved python a nice dinner, there is a method behind the madness.
Winnie the Pooh
Have you ever felt there should be a law against the iconic children’s character Winnie the Pooh? No, me neither. Over in Poland however, they feel a little differently. This was based on an incident involving a playground and a distinct lack of underwear. Not only does the honey-loving little bear go commando for his adventures, but he also attracts attention in the town of Tuszyn for not having any genitalia.
The matter was raised during a private discussion among officials that leaked to the media. The officials were trying to decide whether Pooh would make a good mascot for a public playground. They ultimately ruled him out from mascot duties, based on his bottomless appearance. Yes that’s right, a fictional bear. We’re not saying this became part of the constitution or anything, but it’s an interesting case of how binding, and ridiculous, decisions are made at a local level.
Various places across the globe are known for their loving and respectful attitude toward dogs. Does that kindly attitude go overboard in some situations? It certainly does. In the city of Turin in Italy, you can incur a fine of $650 for not walking your precious pooch.
Now that’s actually something we are on board with.
Keeping a dog cooped up in a house all day is terrible, and getting them out and about for some exercise and fresh air on a daily basis is vital. Several hundred bucks is a little steep but hey, animals are people too. Turin takes this idea a little too far however, by insisting you do it at least three times a day! I can’t throw sticks and pick up poop all that time, I have videos to host. Even Rover would find this idea ridiculous I’m sure.
Queen of fish
I mentioned royalty and socks a little earlier, a strange little law that was thankfully repealed a few hundred years back. Of course, with such a long-standing institution as the British monarchy, you’ll find some outdated rules are still on the books in the twenty-first century. Can you believe that if a whale washes up on the shoreline, it’s technically the property of the Crown? You are obligated to tell the King about this unfortunate sea creature, in case they want to come down and pick it up. And things get weirder when it comes to fish, specifically a sturgeon.
You might not think the King owns the water, but you’d be pretty much wrong. His influence extends to any sturgeon caught within his borders. I can see him maybe wanting to accept a juicy fish, but a beached whale? What would he do with that? Answers in the comments.
If all this talk of catching fish has made you hungry, we have just the thing. A rundown of how food and ridiculous laws come together. Proceed with caution though, it may give you indigestion…
Fried chicken needs to be eaten with your hands. It’s one of those facts of life that can’t be denied. That said, not everyone wants greasy fingers. In which case, they’d better not do their eating in the city of Gainesville in Georgia, where reportedly you are banned by law from consuming chicken with handy utensils. This strangely draconian rule is in support of the city’s status as the poultry capital of the world.
Chickens really do lay golden eggs in Georgia, with the breeding of these feathered friends bringing in $1 billion plus to the state economy every year. I’m not sure what the punishment would be for someone caught in Gainesville eating fried chicken with a fork. I’m guessing they’re made to lick the fingers of everyone in the vicinity? I even grossed myself out with that idea. Maybe you know what they do. Let us know in the comments.
A pickle is apparently not fit to eat if you throw it down and it doesn’t bounce. You’re not hallucinating, this is an actual and legal system that was established in Connecticut to work out whether pickles were any good or not. The legend goes that two workers by the names of Sidney Sparer and Moses Dexler were busted selling substandard pickles in 1948.
According to research undertaken by the State Library, one Frederick Holcomb, the state’s Food and Drug Commissioner, declared that bouncing a pickle was a great way of showing whether it was fresh and tasty. A $500 fine followed for the criminal pickle salesmen. What happened to the pickles? Best not to talk about that.
Pizza is delicious, and surprise pizza is even better. Let’s say there’s a knock at the door and there’s a delivery person holding a freshly-made pizza. Who sent this treat to your doorstep? Do you care? I wouldn’t, just give me that melted cheese and extra toppings. However, in the state of Louisiana they not only discourage you from sending someone a pizza out of the blue they punish them.
We should add some more detail here, you see it’s a little more complicated than that. For one thing, the law seems to be protecting innocent folk from being harassed. That may sound ridiculous, I mean how could pizza be a problem? Well, how about if the person who sent it expects YOU to pay for it? That’s just rude. Still, when the mischief maker faces a fine of $500 and six months behind bars, you’ve got to wonder if this law is sensible.
Let’s move on from stuffed crusts to being just plain stuffed! Marriage is a legal minefield when it goes sour, a string of costly divorce settlements tell us that. But there’s a whole bowl full of nightmares when you’re bound in holy matrimony too, as our next section shows us…
The relationship between men and women has thankfully become more equal over the centuries. That said, it only takes a ridiculous law or two to remind us there’s still a way to go.
In the state of Vermont, a wife may find it tricky obtaining new chompers without permission in writing from their husband! This is apparently still a thing today, meaning that the legal system can truly take a bite out of you if you try and go it alone.
Redressing the balance slightly, if you’re a married couple in the island country of Samoa, dates are important. Birthdays usually mean fun and laughter, however, if you do the classic husband thing of forgetting the big day, you may find yourself in trouble with the law.
No “honey I got you a present, it just hasn’t arrived yet” here. Samoan authorities hold you to these sacred vows. And if you keep being forgetful, you might even wind up in jail.
Sadly it’s bad news for women again with this next ridiculous law which hails from Bolivia, South America. In a rule so regressive, you could cover it in furs, hand it to a club and call it a caveman, a married female isn’t technically allowed more than one tipple during a night out.
Amazingly, it appears a lady can’t be trusted to compose herself and behave properly under the influence of alcohol. Whereas men of course sprout wings and wear a halo after a night at the bar.
You haven’t seen anything yet when it comes to a country’s bizarre rules and regs. Time for some absolutely ridiculous laws, some of which will really surprise you. After that I’m going from the ridiculous to the really ridiculous for the last few entries on our list…
“Idiots” can’t vote
I don’t think it’s controversial to say that when a country goes to the polls for an election, there will be a variety of people casting their vote, some of whom may be suffering from mental health issues. Does that give a state the right to bar people from exercising a democratic right? That sounds way out of line.
In New Mexico, people deemed to be “idiots” by authorities were denied the opportunity to choose who would govern them. This outdated attitude discriminated against those who surely need a voice in society more than anyone. Things were so ingrained that it took until 2016 for the law to be amended. It also enabled people who’d served prison sentences to regain their own voting rights and not be stigmatized for their previous lives as lawbreakers.
What happens in Nebraska…
In the state of Nebraska, your medical history can actually prevent you from getting married. How ridiculous is that? The nature of this law is quite specific, and refers to the catching of STDs. Or, as the authorities put it, venereal disease, which sounds pretty old-fashioned. Either way, the punishment is harsh, meaning that even if you knew about your partner’s issue and wanted to exchange vows, you couldn’t.
Love clearly can’t conquer all here! In 2020 it was reported that attempts were being made to alter this rule, which dates back to approximately the 1940s. On a more positive note, it doesn’t appear to have been enforced. Quite how you’d do that in the first place is a mystery. One I don’t want to think about too much to be honest.
Water pistols have been the cause of hi jinks for as long as I can remember. Not that everyone on the planet thinks they’re so fun. And one person whose opinion certainly matters is former Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen.
He reacted with force to an incident in 2023 where a tourist caught up in a water fight suffered a blast to her right eye during Cambodian New Years, otherwise known as Sangkranta. Hun Sen proposed outlawing the guns, though he stood down as premier the same year. Luckily his son Hun Manet took over, so it looks like this particular demand passed into law.
Other sources state that water pistols are not welcome in the capital Siam Reap during New Year. The government poured cold water on people’s fun. As long as they don’t put that water in a gun, it’s all legal.
Pirate pen pals
According to an Australian law that dates back to the 1950s, people who live in Victoria state face years behind bars for getting mixed up with pirates. So far, so understandable. It’s not like pirates haven’t been prosecuted for the past few hundred years. Help a pirate with their business and it’s guaranteed you’ll wind up behind bars.
Here comes the ridiculous part though. Victoria law states you could face jail time for corresponding with a modern-day Bluebeard or Captain Jack Sparrow. He might call it a rum situation. Or maybe I should walk the plank for making that joke.
When times are tough, people have to sell their precious possessions. And it is heartbreaking to imagine someone needing to offer an artificial limb, or even their wheelchair, because they’re so hard up.
Delaware takes a tough approach to any potential business in this area by imposing a $10,000 penalty for pawnbrokers who might be considering a prosthetic by way of payment. While this sounds ridiculous at first, I can see where they’re coming from.
The law here doesn’t exactly help an individual wanting to make some fast cash from their equipment. But at least they aren’t struggling to get around because they can’t afford it. Managing to keep your “wtf”-ometer in check so far? Wait till you see what’s coming for the last part of our video. Number one is going to bend your mind into a pretzel, as Jerry Seinfeld once said…
Let the insanity begin. Now, I don’t know if you’re a religious person but there’s one thing you probably shouldn’t do as a devout follower of the faith, and that’s walk into a church wearing a fake mustache.
Why you would need to do that is anyone’s guess but clearly someone has because in Alabama there is a law relating to this situation. Adding an extra layer of craziness to proceedings is the fact you will get in trouble if it makes people laugh. This suggests that if you went in there with a really convincing fake and no-one noticed, then you’d get away with the perfect crime.
If you live in Florida, if you’re a man and you enjoy wearing women’s clothing, then you might want to pay attention to this next part. You can flaunt your fashion sense in any way you please it seems… except one.
The stickler is that you mustn’t wear a strapless dress. Yes, the male shoulder is clearly deemed to be offensive enough to warrant a thin layer of material being hung over it at all times. That’s going to play havoc with your tan lines. Not that I’d know about that.
Deed in the dark
It’s generally accepted that, when settling down for a night of you know what with your special friend, you often leave the lights on. Depending on who you’re with you might want the lights to be off, but I’m not here to judge.
Anyway, if that’s your thing you’ll enjoy Hungary’s capital Budapest. There you’re not permitted to see what you’re doing while spending quality time with your spouse or partner. It’s the ultimate case of lights out, and a logistical nightmare to boot.
One very strange thing about New York is a rule concerning footwear. Famously known as the city that never sleeps, it has some ridiculous ideas when it comes to making yourself comfortable. Apparently, you can fall foul of authorities by wearing slippers after 10 pm.
This specific and bizarre law seems to focus on those who venture into, say, Central Park in a pair of fluffy bunny slippers, or whatever your slipper of choice is. How it applies when you’re indoors isn’t clear. Though the image of a SWAT team crashing through your bedroom window when you’re preparing to go to bed is pretty amusing
Pinball wizards not allowed
It isn’t the case now, but there was a time when pinball was a symbol of youthful rebellion. These days kids are busy collecting Pokemon and expressing their freedom that way. However, nothing says a good time to me more than spring-loading a metal ball to fire back and forth on a classic pinball table. You get a lot of them based on popular franchises, like this cool example from The Avengers. So this next law seems even more ridiculous in that context.
South Carolina bars you from playing pinball if you’re under 18. Utterly ridiculous. The thing with the bouncing balls and the flashing lights and crazy noises is inappropriate, but playing video games where you shoot up Nazis for hours is perfectly fine? Make it make sense!
Here’s one more reason to hate Vladimir Putin… you’re not allowed to wear sexy undies in Russia. The saucy yet silly law was reported on in 2014, with Belarus and Kazakhstan getting in on the act. In fairness, this isn’t an attempt to crack down on intimate business.
The rule is actually related to personal hygiene and what the items are made out of. 6% of cotton or more is apparently enough to let your private regions breathe and avoid the risk of irritation and such. That’s where the stats on lingerie come tumbling down, so to speak. Many of these contain less than the recommended amount, and the ruling hasn’t gone down well with lacy underwear-loving sections of the population. Imagine if your government suddenly stuck its nose into your personal
Dying in Parliament
Images of politicians taking a nap in Britain’s Houses of Parliament are freely available. In some cases, they look so comfortable they might conceivably be dead. Which amazingly leads to a brain-boggling legal tangle. In a ridiculous turn of events that could only happen in an ancient institution like this, passing away in Parliament can be classified as breaking the law.
The history books reportedly imply that a state funeral is needed for someone who slips off his mortal coil whilst listening to a debate about scones or whatever. Now, if you think this law sounds a teensy bit too ridiculous you’d be right. Some have pointed out that prosecuting someone who requires a ouija board to enter a plea isn’t a great way to spend taxpayer money. Nevertheless, it shows how the older the law can be, the wilder things get for us hundreds of years later.
Taking the shine off
Across the English Channel in France, the republic is in a strange situation. Despite not having a monarch since the late nineteenth century, the kings and queens still have a surprising amount of influence on the population.
Take the Palace of Versailles. This beautiful structure is a feast for the eyes. But, there’s a catch! If you’re in the former king’s bedroom and you happen to see a light shining out the window, it’s grounds for prosecution. Not only that, but you can’t put a light on within five kilometers of the Royal glass! To give you an idea of how ridiculous that is, it means that the nearby football team doesn’t use floodlights on its pitch, and can’t play high-profile games.
Can you imagine if there was a rule like that in America? That would bring down the government faster than anything in history.
If you were angry about this, you haven’t seen anything yet. Our number one spot is taken by something so ridiculous, so crazy, so wild, that you can only cry out with the injustice of it all. Take a deep breath because this law is cold. And I mean really cold…
What kind of a sick society prevents its people from enjoying a bowl of ice cream? If you’re walking around New Jersey, and it’s after 6 pm, and you have a hankering for a double chocolate chip or salted caramel scoop, forget it. The authorities have decided you will not be enjoying that sweet treat.
It doesn’t appear to be a crime across the whole state, just in Newark. And there’s a silver lining in that you can grab an ice cream if you have a note from your doctor. That’s a double-edged sword though isn’t it… what kind of doctor is going to give you permission to eat ice cream? Still, a win is a win I guess.