Fake Mustaches and Sleeping Bears

In Alabama, it was reportedly illegal to wear a fake mustache in church if it caused laughter.

When Enacted: The exact year of enactment is not well-documented. However, like many such peculiar laws, it likely originated in the 19th or early 20th century.

How and When Enforced: If it was enforced, it would have been sporadically and perhaps more in the spirit of maintaining decorum rather than as a rigorously policed statute.

Why Enacted and Why It Made Sense at the Time: The law may have been enacted as a measure to maintain reverence and decorum in a place of worship. In past centuries, churches played a more central role in community and social life, and maintaining a solemn and respectful atmosphere during services was considered very important. The use of a fake mustache to provoke laughter could have been seen as disruptive or disrespectful to the solemnity of religious services. Therefore, such a law, while seemingly odd today, fit into the broader context of ensuring appropriate behavior in important communal spaces.

It’s important to note that many of these quirky and archaic laws are often cited in popular culture and literature without thorough historical documentation, so their origins and the context of their enforcement might be somewhat obscured by time.

 

In Alaska, it was reported to be illegal to wake a sleeping bear for the purpose of taking a photograph.

When Enacted: Probably adopted after Alaska’s statehood in 1959, during a period when both wildlife conservation and tourism were becoming increasingly significant.

How and When Enforced: The law likely served more as a deterrent to protect wildlife rather than as a frequently enforced regulation. It would have been part of broader wildlife protection laws.

Why Enacted and Why It Made Sense at the Time: The primary reason for enacting such a law would have been wildlife protection. Disturbing a sleeping bear is not only dangerous for the person involved but also stressful and potentially harmful to the bear. In the context of Alaska, where wildlife tourism is prevalent and bears are a significant part of the natural ecosystem, ensuring their protection and minimizing human-wildlife conflicts would have been a reasonable legislative goal. The law also reflects a growing awareness and concern for animal welfare and the impact of human activities on wildlife.

This kind of law, while it might seem peculiar at first glance, underscores a very practical and serious consideration about wildlife conservation and public safety. As with many old laws, its exact origins and applications might be somewhat obscure today, but the intent behind it remains relevant in terms of respecting and protecting wildlife.

Don Leith

By Don Leith

Retired from the real world. A love of research left over from my days on the debate team in college long ago led me to work on this website. Granted, not all these stories are "fun" or even "trivial" But they all are either weird, unusual or even extraordinary. Working on this website is "fun" in any case. Hope you enjoy it!