From Cannibalism to Bear Wrestling, the Strange Laws Still in Force Across the U.S.

Most people are probably guilty of jaywalking or speeding, but you may have broken a lot more laws than you realize due to archaic decrees still in force across the country.

A series of strange laws from various states were never revised or repealed, meaning they're still technically applicable, although it's doubtful you'd serve jail time for these infractions.

Although you could, in theory, be punished for using an X-ray to work out a person's shoe size or pawning an artificial limb.

But as a reflection of how much society has changed in just a few centuries, some fines include the princely sum of $1.

Legal firm Schmidt & Clark scoured the law books to compile a list of the weird and wonderful laws which still exist in the 21st century, as they revealed it's illegal to collect seaweed at night in New Hampshire, but during the day is fine.

Actor Matthew McConaughey confirmed in a Twitter video on Monday he's not running for Texas governor, saying it's a "path that I'm choosing not to take at this moment."

While likely not a factor in his decision-making process, it's illegal for atheists to run for office in the Lone Star state.

"No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, in this State; nor shall any one be excluded from holding office on account of his religious sentiments, provided he acknowledge the existence of a Supreme Being," the Texas Constitution states.

The law firm added no two sessions of commercially-sponsored bingo can take place within 48 hours in North Carolina.

Another game-related law covers Arkansas, as they said: "It is illegal for pinball machines to give away more than 25 free games to players who keep winning."

It would be a different story if it were in force in Nevada, although in the Silver State you're banned from using an X-ray to determine someone's shoe size.

"In California, it is illegal for frogs that die in frog jumping contests to be eaten," they warned. They clarified that you're allowed to own as many frogs as you like to use in jumping competitions.

In Idaho, you can't eat people, as anyone who ingests the "flesh or blood" of another person is guilty of cannibalism.

Another food-related law is from Iowa, where margarine is strictly regulated, as it's not allowed to be branded with words or symbols associated with dairy cattle, including "butter, creamery, or dairy."

There's a ban on pawning artificial limbs in Delaware, as they explained: "No pawnbroker shall take or receive as a pledge or pawn any artificial limb or wheelchair for that matter."

According to Schmidt & Clark, in 1989 Florida passed a law making it illegal to toss a person with dwarfism.

The rules covered "anyone who owns an establishment where alcoholic beverages are offered from allowing any contest or promotion that involves the exploitation or endangering the health of any person with dwarfism."

In Hawaii, and Vermont, a clothesline counts as a "renewable resource," and as such there's a "ban on banning them."

A host of animal-related rules still exist, with one covering llamas in Georgia.

The website said: "A llama activity sponsor or llama professional is not liable for any injury to or the death of a participant in llama activities because of the risks that are associated with these types of animal activities."

While in Louisiana, tempting as it might be, bear wrestling is illegal. Our money is on the bear.

All activities surrounding a potential bear match are also prohibited, including admitting someone into a location where a fight is taking place and promoting a bear battle.

Pigs are legislated in Minnesota, where you're not allowed to "run in a contest, game, or other similar activity in which a pig is released and where the object is the capture of the pig." And it's worth noting this law also extends to chickens and turkeys.

This next one most likely only applies to zoo visitors in New York, as it's illegal to take a photograph with a big cat in the state, without a permanent barrier.

Racoons drew the short end of the straw in Virginia, where it's illegal to hunt on Sundays, apart from trash pandas.

Another Sunday-related rule applies in Colorado, where it's illegal to sell vehicles on that specific day.

The rule is known as a "blue law," which covers restrictive activities on a Sunday, historically the day of rest.

The Colorado Office of Policy, Research and Regulatory Reform (COPRRR) recommended this be repealed in their 2016 "sunset" recommendations.

Excerpts from the report said: "Currently, the statute states that motor vehicles cannot be sold, bartered or exchanged at any place, premise or residence on Sunday...

"Motor vehicle dealers are authorized to sell automobiles on Sunday in a majority of states. In fact, there are currently 34 states that allow Sunday sales of motor vehicles.

"The General Assembly should repeal the prohibition on the sale of motor vehicles on Sunday in Colorado."

Another law a few Mississippians would fall foul of is the ban on having more than one illegitimate child. It's punishable "by imprisonment in the county jail for no less than thirty days or more than ninety days." The misdemeanor could also see them fined $250.

Washington requires public building doors to swing outwards, Wisconsin will fine people $750 for not closing gates on private roads, or rivers or streams.

In Wyoming it's illegal to ski while drunk, so better save the hot toddies for the end of the day. And in West Virginia, you'd be fined $1 for each offence if anyone "curses, swears or gets drunk in public."

File photo of skulls and a bear.
File photo of skulls and a bear. The strangest laws still in force across the U.S. have been revealed, from cannibalism to bear wrestling. boyan1971 / Michel VIARD/Getty Images

Update 11/30/21, 11:22 a.m. ET: This images in this article was updated.