During the 6th Century, it was customary to congratulate people who sneezed because it was thought that they were expelling evil from their bodies. During the great plague of Europe, the Pope passed a law to say “God bless you” to one who sneezed.
There still are some weird laws on the books. In Washington state, it is against the law to boast that one’s parents are rich. In Maryland, it’s illegal to play Randy Newman’s “Short People” on the radio. In Alabama it is illegal to play Dominoes on Sunday. And in Minneapolis, double-parkers can be put on a chain gang.
In 1313, King Edward II enacted that “You are forbidden from dying in parliament.”
An old statute in Kentucky states that men who push their wives out of bed for inflicting their cold toes on them can be fined or jailed for a week. A 100-year-old law in Willowdale, Oregon makes it illegal to swear during sex. An odd law in Minnesota makes it illegal to hang male and female underwear on the same washing line. In Melbourne, Australia it is illegal for men to parade in strapless dresses – but they are allowed to cross-dress in anything with sleeves.
An old law in Russia allows a police officer to “beat a peeping tom soundly.” In Texas, two categories of men are exempt from peeping tom charges: men over 50 and men with only one eye.
A pregnant woman can urinate anywhere she wishes, including a policeman’s helmet, according to a London local by-law. But in Vermont, women require their husbands permission to wear false teeth.
In Virginia, horses of more than one year old are prohibited in a place of worship. In Tennessee, shooting any game other than whales from a moving automobile is against the law. In Normal, Oklahoma you could be sent to prison for “making an ugly face at a dog.”
Judges’ robes were not always black. In fact, they used to be as colorful as predicted by the fashion of the day. However, to mourn the death of Queen Mary II in 1964, judges wore black robes… and never changed back to another color.