I have a fascination with state oddities. Every state has those little eccentricities that make them unique. Some add charm, and some make you scratch your head, leaving you wondering, “What on earth were they thinking?” Away from odd numbered speed limits, kicking machines, and confusing road signs, it seems each state has certain laws that are outdated, impossible to not break, or simply absurd. As you’ll see below, South Carolina has many such perplexing laws. Here’s a few of the stranger ones. Yes Virginia, these are city and state laws that were, or still are, actually on the books.
SECTION 16-15-50. Seduction under promise of marriage: A male over the age of sixteen years who by means of deception and promise of marriage seduces an unmarried woman in this State is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined at the discretion of the court or imprisoned not more than one year.
I think we can agree that falsifying the promise of marriage for the sole purpose of a little action is an underhanded thing to do, however there’s hypocrisy everywhere. There’s no punishment for seducing a married female with the promise of nuptials. There’s no punishment for being a married male seducing another married female using that same tactic. Funnily enough, there’s no punishment for being a female, single or married, promising marriage to a male in return for some fun. Apparently South Carolina didn’t think that was necessary, assuming that the male would probably head far away from the bedroom should such an offer be made.
SECTION 58-17-3400. Any railroad company shall be liable for damages for any horse frightened as a result of the violation of the provisions of this section by any of its employees.
This is an extension of the “Removal of hand or lever cars from track and leaving it near crossing shall be unlawful” law. Unless there’s a state employee monitoring a horse’s heart rate, or Mister Ed calls the police saying that the midnight train to Georgia scared the glue out of him, I’m not exactly sure how South Carolina planned to uphold that law. It’s also as if rails are laid down in ares where no other animals exist, that train tracks only attract horses. How did the employees of any railroad company handle it? I’m sure, “be quiet, you’re going to scare the horse” isn’t something you plan to have pop up in your work conversations. Scare the workers, no. Scare the horses, pay the fine! It goes part and parcel with folks thinking more highly of animals than people, probably with good reason.
SECTION 20-7-8915. Playing pinball machines: It is unlawful for a minor under the age of eighteen to play a pinball machine.
Let’s get this straight. If you’re 17 you can’t watch an x-rated movie, you can’t gamble, and you can’t play a pinball machine. Someone deemed the actions of hitting a flipper to launch a marble towards bumpers an adult activity. Trying to wrap my head around this one, I have yet to think of one psychologically damaging thing about pinball machines. Has a pinball machine ever been blamed for a murder or a suicide? I don’t believe Stern or Williams was ever the target of a lawsuit due to someone else’s deviant behavior. Yet, at some point, the state of South Carolina made it a illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to play a pinball machine. Just imagine playing pinball and having an officer ask for ID. No, it doesn’t make any sense to me either.
SECTION 13-13. Restrictions on operation and use of residential apartment complex swimming pools.
On the surface, this doesn’t sound so bad at all. My train of thought goes more along the lines of letting a complex decide, but if they’re going to enact a safety law, why not with a pool? When you read the law, a pattern emerges by the time you read subsection (b): It shall not be unlawful for any swimming pool at a residential apartment complex or building to be open or used between the hours of 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. if a certified lifeguard is present at the swimming pool during the period in which the pool is open between 11:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., for the purposes of supervising the users of the swimming pool and of maintaining order at the pool. It’s then that you realize a lifeguard isn’t legally obligated to be at his observation post until 11. Call me crazy, but I was always of the belief that you could potentially drown at any time, even before 11. If you’re taking a dip in the pool and run into a problem at 10:30 pm, you’re on your own.
SECTION. 4-27. Confinement of bitches in heat and stray dogs.
I’m not making this up, that’s exactly how it’s written on the books in Clemson, South Carolina. I suppose the wording could have been a bit better (or our own vernacular changes, for that matter). The juvenile in me does find this pretty funny, and it gets better with subsection (b): It shall be the duty of any police officer to impound any such bitch not confined as required herein. Done laughing? Through the snickers and giggles I can understand where this law is coming from. How many of us read that law and immediately think of pets? Like they say, simple minds amused simply.
Wow, what’s up with the crazy laws, dude?
Have a question for an SC attorney?
Like South Carolina, or any state in the union for that matter, North Carolina has its share of laws that make little to no sense. Whether it was the era or someone with an agenda, this state has seen many a wacky law or something stating the all-too-obvious. To make sure that South Carolina isn’t alone, check out some of the laws that are (or were) on the North Carolina books.
SECTION. 5-8. Use of vehicles.
Stay-cationers, be warned: saving gas money by having your family picnic at the local cemetery is not only creepy, but it’s also illegal in North Carolina. The law states: It shall be unlawful for any person to enter the city cemeteries with a vehicle, except for the purposes of carrying material to make graves, building monuments, carrying tombstones or other material for ornamental purposes, transporting a dead body for interment, conveying therefrom a dead body exhumed, or other legitimate business related to the city cemeteries. Bummer. It does appear that all bets are off regarding mausoleums! Sure, they lack the sunshine and singing birds of a grave yard, at least you won’t find yourself with a fine and court appearance.
SECTION. 12-43. Vehicles not to be driven on sidewalks.
Thank you, Captain Obvious. They needed a law for this? Isn’t it listed somewhere in the North Carolina DMV manual as something you shouldn’t do?? Common sense, anybody? I understand the need for shortcuts, particularly when you find yourself in back of a tractor or some slow moving vehicle with no passing lane to be found (oh, have I found myself in back of a few crawlers, too). It seems pretty cut and dried that driving along a sidewalk isn’t the best decision to make, yet Dunn wanted to make sure you knew to stay on the road. Utility poles, trees, bushes, people and their pets, hazards to be found every few feet, driving on a sidewalk, it all reeks of being a bad idea. This seems to be one of the better “just so you know” laws on the books.
This drug/substance law is both backwards and ahead of its time. A legal triple whammy, this law gives North Carolina the ability to fine you, imprison you, as well as tax your stash. Divided into several sections, this law details the various tax fines on the very substances that shouldn’t be in your possession to begin with. .40 cents for each gram of harvested marijuana separated from it’s stems and stalks, a whopping $3.50 per gram if it hasn’t been separated. $50.00 per gram of cocaine, $200 for any substance sold by weight, it goes on and on. Whether this law has been responsible for “sell high, carry low” (no pun intended) remains a mystery.
SECTION. 14-401.5. Practice of phrenology, palmistry, fortune-telling or clairvoyance prohibited.
Those fingers in my hair, that sly come hither stare, that strips my conscience bare, it’s witchcraft . . . or at least 61 out of the 100 counties in North Carolina seem to believe. Palm reading, spirit contacting, fortune telling, all banned in more than half of the state of North Carolina. Fear not, future clairvoyants, there is a workaround. Provided you’re an amateur, the safe ground for your practice lies in setting yourself up in a school or a church. The trick winds up in trying to talk the building owners into leasing you space. The schools might not be so hard. The church would be the trick, as I’m sure the only ghost they want summoned is holy. If Dan Brown can rile a church, one wonders what a fortune teller could do. I’m sure it would be fun to watch.
Geez, what’s up with the crazy laws, dude?
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It turns out that the crew of the Enterprise had to go no further than Frisco, North Carolina to discover new life forms (an analogy for another time, although this yankee may hear it from his editor soon enough).
Situated between Cape Hatteras and Buxton, there it is: a 12 portal UFO with several green men pressed against the windows. Whether they’re merely observing or pounding the glass for a way out is up for debate. Apparentlym they’ve adapted nicely to life in North Carolina. A glance to the right shows a boat resting on the grass. If you can’t beat ’em, fish with ’em, I suppose.
A little digging reveals that this structure is a Pennsylvania made, pre-fabricated house manufactured in the late 60’s and early 70’s, called “Futuro.” These structures landed . . .errr . . . are standing from New Zealand to Pensacola, Florida. About 100 were built and with good reason: just look at it. I’m not sure who would want to live in this Unidentified Laugh-In Joke Wall and evidently only a handful of folks made the quantum leap to Futuro. Eastern North Carolina wasn’t spared the invasion, however, as the saucer sits in Frisco to this day, presumably still waiting for a sign of intelligent life.
If the opportunity presents itself, I’ll ask the aliens, “how’s the fishing?” Until then, come on . . . what’s up with the UFO, dude?
I love lazy drives. Sundays on an old country road–music or the talk radio station on–so relaxing. If you’re like many Carolinians, you’re taking your kids to the park on a warm day. A great family outing with slides, swings, a basket of food and a pitcher of lemonade, all of the key ingredients to take things at slow pace.
The park will also assist you in making sure you’re able to keep things slow, particularly your car. Frank Liske Park in Concord, North Carolina, takes that extra step to help keep your speed in check by letting you know exactly how slowly they want you to drive.
Not twenty miles per hour, not fifteen miles per hour.
Nineteen. Yep. Nineteen miles per hour.
Nineteen miles per hour must be the scientifically proven, just exactly perfect, road-tested-by-silver-haired-women-with big-hats speed limt safe enough for vehicular traffic, children at play, and insuring that Canadian Geese can safely cross, as well. This is a speed limit that’s sure to give speedometer watchers fits, making sure that the needle lines up perfectly at the 19mph space.
Because in Frank Liske Park, speed kills . . . even at twenty miles per hour.
I mean come on: what’s up with the speed limit, dude?
Signs sell the establishment, whether by store name, logo, or catch phrase. Once in a while you’ll come across a sign for an establishment that’s quite the eye catcher. Once in a very long while you’ll come across one that will make you think twice as to what you just saw. One such sign is for tnaruatseR ileD & raB s’igiuL, otherwise known as Luigi’s Bar & Deli Restaurant located in Charlotte, North Carolina. As you drive by, it’s the one sign that instinctively makes you cock your head to the side.
Sign right side up, sign right side up, sign right side up, sign right . . . wait, what?
My best guess in this case is that the placement is intentional, since the human eye is capable of relaying enough relevant information for the brain to decipher. I can’t imagine a series of workers setting that large sign down on it’s post, the owner presiding over the sign placement, everyone stepping back and then realizing it was a mistake.
Let’s just hope that the food isn’t served the same way.
Many of us have encountered some funky street signs. Some might be poorly worded, some may have poor placement. I’ve never encountered a sign arrangement quite like this one, located on highway 29 south in Concord, North Carolina.
Seven signs bunched together, supposedly guiding you in two different directions, showing three points on a compass, yet managing to highlight four different highways. Factor in that you have three arrows pointing in three different directions, steering you towards two different lanes/highways for trucks. Adding insult to injury is the lone 601 south bypass. The only sign of it’s kind, this diversionary roadway, wherever it is (I’ve yet to find it) does nothing more than add to the mind numbing confusion of this cluster of signs.
The longer you stare at it, the less sense it makes. I’ve seen cartoon characters suddenly grow multiple arms, point them in every direction, give directions saying “he went that-a-way” and have it make as much sense as this.
One can only imagine the weary traveler, sifting through mapquest printouts, looking to confirm that he or she is on the right path, only to be met with this NCDOT conglomeration. Or if you don’t have the luxury to stop at a red light with an attempt to make some sort of sense of this roadside mess. If you have to making a judgement call while passing that at 45 miles per hour, be prepared to u-turn it around for another look. And another. And Another. Of course those of us from the north could take this as North Carolina’s bit of Yankee repellent. Maybe they can understand this, I sure can’t.
I mean seriously, what’s up with the road sign, dude?
Editor’s Note: We researched the regs governing the standards for placement of road signs. We couldn’t locate standards for placing multiple signs together at an intersection. We have asked NCDOT to explain why this signage could not be better consolidated into a more readable layout.