Every state has a host of weird, cool, or scary facts, but they also have some facts they’d rather you didn’t know. These are facts that aren’t quite majestic or interesting. (In fact, they’re just sad.) Don’t worry, your state definitely has one.
And here it is. You’re welcome.
1. It’s illegal to buy sex toys in Alabama.
You need a doctor’s note. Meanwhile, produce prices continue to skyrocket. Don’t eat the salad.
2. Alaska: The Antisocial State
If Manhattan had Alaska’s population density, there would be 28 people on the island. You also can’t see Russia.
3. Arizona’s has the worst-named natural feature.
Even Wikipedia thinks the aerial shot of this volcano near Flagstaff looks like a “toilet catastrophe.” It’s politely called S.P. Crater, but the real name is “Sh*t Pot.”
4. Why IS there an S at the end?
Befuddling foreigners for years, it’s actually illegal (technically) to mispronounce “Arkansas” while in Arkansas. The law’s been on the books since 1947. (Actually it’s a combination of Sioux and French pronunciations that led to the silent S. Now you know.)
5. California’s environmental legacy
The California grizzly is the state animal, and appears on California’s flag. Settlers in the 19th century marveled at its majesty. So of course they shot them all and now they’re all dead.
6. Colorado has terrible stoner humor
They had to replace the 420 mile marker in Colorado with this because it kept getting stolen. I understand everything can seem funnier when you’re blazed, but come on, guys.
7. Connecticut once banned driving while gay
Okay, so at least they got over their gay-induced driving panic, but in 1970, a man was denied a driver’s license because of his sexual orientation.
8. Delaware desecrated a cemetery
A cemetery was flooded when the Delaware River was rerouted, and to this day, tombstones still wash up on shore. Didn’t anyone ever watch horror movies?
9. Florida really likes to masturbate
Okay, to be honest, everything about Florida is pretty embarrassing, but that doesn’t mean Florida doesn’t love itself. A lot. In public. (Seriously, public masturbation is an issue.)
10. Georgia is serious about soda
Georgia is home to Coca-Cola. On State Coke Day in 1998, a student was suspended for wearing a Pepsi shirt.
11. Hamsters and hummingbirds are illegal in Hawaii
If these little critters got out, they would cause widespread ecological damage. Guinea pigs ad chinchillas are okay, though.
12. The drop a potato on New Year’s in Idaho
Instead of a ball, New Year’s revelers watch a potato descend in Boise. Unfortunately, it kind of looks like something besides a potato.
13. Illinois stole a leg from Mexico and won’t give it back
An Illinois infantry stole General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna’s prosthetic leg during the Mexican-American War. Mexico has repeatedly asked for it back, but Illinois sticks its fingers in its ears and pretends not to hear.
14. Indiana can’t do math
In 1897, state legislators tried to pass a bill that would legally make pi equal 3.2, because decimals are scary.
15. Iowa had a prisoner with a weirdly poetic last meal
Sentenced to hang for murder in 1963 (yes, hang), Victor Feguer requested a single olive with pit as his last meal, and said he hoped a tree would grow from his body as a sign of peace. But if he wanted peace, he probably shouldn’t have killed people.
16. Kansas likes hands-on learning
In 2008, Kansas State University’s wind erosion lab was destroyed. By a tornado.
17. Kentucky once rained meat and people ate it
The meat was likely horse, and it likely came from puking vultures. That didn’t stop the barbecue in 1876.
18. Louisiana is in jail
One out of every 86 people in this state is incarcerated, making it the highest rate in the world.
19. Maine doesn’t have a Cabot Cove
Cabot Cove of Murder She Wrote fame isn’t real, luckily. If it was, it would have the highest murder rate in the world.
20. Maryland taxes toilets
Proponents of the mellow yellow practice will save money in Maryland, where flushing a toilet is taxable. It comes out to about $2.50 a month.
21. Massachsetts is windy
Chicago stole the name “Windy City,” but actually, Massachusetts has them beat, with 13 of the top 20 windiest cities in the country.
22. Who falls for the Nigerian prince scam? Michigan.
Alcona County lost over a million dollars in the famously stupid scam. In 2007.
23. Minnesota is touchy
Sinclair Lewis wrote Main Street, which criticized the closed-mindedness of Minnesotans. True to form, Minnesota banned the book.
24. Mississippi is racist (but you knew that)
Despite the fact that Kermit is canonically from Mississippi, the show was banned in 1970 because it featured a racially integrated cast.
25. Missouri has a margarine black market
Margarine cannot legally be yellow in Missouri. Illegal yellow margarine dealers can face 6 months in jail.
26. Montana almost didn’t get associated with Miley Cyrus
Is that good or bad? Anyway, the character was almost called “Alexis Texas.” Alexis Texas is now the stage name of a porn star, so there’s that.
27. Nebraska drank the Kool-Aid
The sugary drink was invented here, so the state declared it the official state beverage.
28. Nevada gives you cancer
The nuclear testing in the Nevada desert is suspected to have caused cancer in hundreds of people, including actor John Wayne.
29. New Hampshire has a bitter irony
The “Live Free or Die” license plates are made by prisoners.
30. New Jersey sucked up to Donald Trump
Everyone makes fun of Jersey, but they kind of deserve it. One time, they tried to use eminent domain on an elderly woman’s home so Trump could build a parking lot for his limos.
31. New Mexico’s first graduate didn’t make it to the ceremony
Sam Steel was the one person in his 1893 graduating class at New Mexico State University. Just the one. But he was fatally shot before he could get his degree.
32. New York had a riot over hats
In 1922, New Yorkers rioted for 8 days over whether it was socially acceptable to wear a straw hat after September 15. Multiple people were arrested in this display of rational adult thought.
33. We bombed North Carolina (almost)
In 1961, two nuclear bombs fell on North Carolina, each larger than the one dropped on Hiroshima. Needless to say, they didn’t detonate, but one came a little to close, with only the safety switch prevented a disaster.
34. Everyone forgets about North Dakota
It was admitted to the Union in 1889, but due to a clerical error, North Dakota wasn’t technically a state until 2011. No one noticed.
35. Ohio might want to do something about that.
Ohio’s Cuyahoga River is so polluted that it’s caught fire. Several times.
36. Oklahoma doesn’t know the difference between a fruit and a vegetable
Oklahoma declared the watermelon its state vegetable in 2007, claiming that it’s related to cucumbers and gourds and therefore not a fruit. But we think it’s because they don’t like salad.
37. Oregon has a tiny park
That’s it. That’s the park. No dogs, please.
38. Pennsyvania doesn’t care how good the storage is
It is illegal in Pennsylvania to use a milk crate for anything other than containers of milk. The law was enacted to prevent the reselling of stolen milk.
39. Rhode Island has the worst mascot ever
We’re sorry about this, guys. This is so gross. The Rhode Island School Of Design is apparently run by 12-years-olds because its mascot is “Scrotie,” who is a giant dong, and, better still, the basketball team is called the “Balls” and the hockey team is called the “Nads.” School spirit!
40. South Carolina is wary of pinball
It is illegal to play pinball in South Carolina if you’re under 18. We assume Duke Nukem is okay.
41. South Dakota could be better
The Pine Ridge Indian Reservation has a life expectancy of 48, second only to Haiti. It’s got one of the lowest standards of living in the Western hemisphere.
42. Tennessee is grisly
Tennessee brought back the electric chair in 2014 as an alternative to lethal injections, which are scarce. Just don’t ask them to give up killing people. The chair is from 1916, and is built of the wood from the gallows it replaced.
43. Texas likes to burn stuff carelessly
The coal power plants alone in Texas produce as much pollution as the entire country of Egypt.
44. Utah needs a dictionary
In 2006, a teacher in Utah wrote about homophones, or words that sound the same. Moral panic ensued and the teacher was fired because the word kind of sounded like “homosexual.” The school board thought use of this word promoted the “gay agenda” rather than, you know, literacy.
45. Vermont is short
The tallest building in Vermont is 11 stories, making it the shortest tallest building in the country.
46. Virginia clearly didn’t do the reading assignment
This classic was banned in 1966 on grounds of being “immoral.” Author Harper Lee set up a fund in response. The fund was to educate the school board, because she figured they must be illiterate.
47. Washington makes horses cry
Sex with animals was not officially banned until 2005, when a man died from internal injuries following sex with a horse.
48. West Virginia likes pizza a lot
West Virginia has more pizza places than it does gyms.
49. Wisconsin gave up on birds
At least in Madison. Domestic cats kill so many birds that the city’s official bird is the plastic lawn flamingo.
50. Wyoming prefers the stairs
There are only two escalators in the entire state of Wyoming.
And there you have it! What terrible (or not so terrible) thing is your state known for?