World’s Strangest Laws
October 11, 2016
Unless you’re planning a jewelry heist, no one sets out to intentionally break the law. However, there are some laws on the books that could have you slapped with a major fine or even an arrest. A lot of these strange laws crop up when traveling. You could be blissfully going about your vacation, snapping selfies at an ancient Greek temple only to be slapped with a heavy fine.
Apparently, it’s against the law to wear high heels at the ancient Greek ruins. Good to know, right?
When Is a Custom Not Like a Law?
Don’t confuse customs with the law. In England, you’ll often find people saluting a lone magpie sitting on a branch to ward off bad luck. That’s not against the law. However, putting a stamp with a picture of the monarchy upside down on a letter is against the law. Here in America, we take our cue for how long winter will be based on whether a particular rodent sees its shadow. Custom. In Baltimore, it’s an offence to take a lion to the movies. Law. (Don’t ask.)
Many of these strange laws are holdovers from generations past. Back then, it made sense for these things to be enacted even if it was a problem that impacted only a handful of citizens. Today, when these laws crop up they are often exposed for their silliness. That doesn’t automatically mean you can get around your potential fine or even fight the law in court. You can shame the particular jurisdiction on social media in the hopes of earning a reprieve or pardon.
The only way to changes these strange laws is to go back to how they were enacted. It becomes the responsibility of whatever governing body holds sway over the legislative branch at the moment. Translation: Good luck getting a law changed.
In the meantime, it will help to review this collection of laws to see where you might cause offense. As any first-year law student will tell you, “Ignorantia juris non excusat.” That’s Latin for “ignorance of the law excuses not.” That means you’re going to get fined — whether you like it or not.