11/08/2022 “Strange History”   Leave a comment

Today is a good a day as any to look back through history to find some strange rules, laws or customs. In the past I’ve shown some seriously strange laws still on the books in this country. Now let’s take a trip back into history look at some of their foibles because in truth some of theirs are way stranger than ours.

  • It was once proposed in the Rhode Island legislature in the 1970s that there be enacted a two-dollar tax on every act of sexual intercourse.
  • A law was passed in England requiring all corpses to be buried in a wool shroud, thereby extorting support for Britain’s flagging wool trade. The act was repealed 148 years later, in 1814.
  • The average age of Elizabethan and Jacobean brides was about 24 and their bridegrooms around 27. The primary reason for delayed marriages was to limit births among poor people. The higher the social status, however, the younger the age at marriage.
  • As in Abraham’s time, it was the custom among men in Rome, when swearing to tell the truth, to place one’s right hand on one’s testicles. The English word testimony is related to this custom.

  • When a Chinese bystander ashore was killed accidentally by a cannon salvo of greeting from an English ship, during the early days of the China-Western trade, the English were forced to turn over to China the hapless gunner, who was promptly strangled.
  • The Tinguian people of the Philippines have their own way of kissing. They put their lives close to each other’s face and quickly inhale.
  • In 1853 Illinois passed a law that required any black entering the state and staying more than 10 days to pay a fine of $50. If he could not pay, the black could be sold into slavery for a period commensurate with the fine.
  • Over the centuries, playing cards have been put to strange uses. They became the first paper currency of Canada when the French governor, in 1685, use them to pay off some war debts. In 1765, the year of the Stamp Act, when every pack of playing cards was being taxed one shilling, they were also used for class admission at the University of Pennsylvania. Napoleon even used them as a ration cards during the French Revolution.
  • The town of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, England, carries on the multi-century custom called the “Weighing-in Ceremony.” In early May, the town’s mayor, mayoress, deputy town mayor, deputy mayoress, town clerk, and district counselors representing wards in the town’s boundaries are weighed in order to learn if they have grown fat at the public trough.

ISN’T HISTORY ENLIGHTENING?

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