Pennsylvania, a state known for its rich history and diverse culture, is also home to a collection of laws that seem to have been frozen in time. These weird laws in Pennsylvania, some hilarious and others puzzling, continue to exist on the books, despite their apparent irrelevance in the modern era.
You Have to Look at the Past to Understand the Current
While some of these laws stretch the bounds of the imagination, they offer a fascinating glimpse into the past. Many of these laws were passed in response to specific circumstances or cultural norms of the time, and though they may no longer be enforced, repealing them can be a process fraught with red tape and expense.
Let’s embark on this fascinating journey through some of the most bizarre laws that still exist in the Keystone State.
1. Fortune Telling for Profit
Under Pennsylvania law, profiting from fortune telling is considered illegal. The law prohibits activities such as reading tarot cards, using crystal balls, casting spells, or making potions for personal gain. This weird law in PA harks back to a time when such practices were viewed with suspicion and often associated with fraudulent activities.
2. Hunting in Water
In an odd twist on animal rights, Pennsylvania law prohibits the hunting and killing of animals in water. This means that whether an animal is large or small, if it’s treading water, it’s off-limits to hunters. It’s also illegal to send your dog after a swimming animal – a peculiar specification that suggests an interesting backstory.
3. Restrictions on Fishing
Fishing in Pennsylvania comes with its own set of strange rules. Anglers are prohibited from using goldfish, comets, koi, or common carp as bait. Additionally, catching a fish with your bare hands is considered illegal. This weird Pennsylvania law creates an image of the state’s early efforts to regulate fishing practices and protect certain species of fish.
4. Proximity to Bathroom
In a bizarre nod to domestic orderliness, Pennsylvania law states that a bedroom cannot be more than 200 feet away from a bathtub, shower, or toilet. This rule seems to be in place to prevent accidents, but it leaves one wondering about the events that led to its creation.
5. Tying Horses to Poles
In the town of Tarentum, located in Western Pennsylvania, there’s a law that prohibits tying a horse to a parking meter or a streetlight pole. Interestingly, the law does not extend the same protection to dogs. This is one of the weird PA laws that testifies to the town’s history and the evolution of transportation.
6. Sunday Laws
Like many states, Pennsylvania has its share of “blue laws” – laws designed to restrict activities on Sundays. These laws, many of which were created with Christian principles in mind, have largely fallen out of use, but some still exist on the books. For instance, it was once illegal to conduct sports, music, or theater performances before 1 p.m. on Sundays.
Local Weird Laws in Pennsylvania
While the state laws provide a general overview of Pennsylvania’s curious regulations, a look at the local level adds color and specificity to the legal landscape.
7. Firearm Use at Weddings
One of the weird laws in Pennsylvania prohibits the discharge of firearms at weddings. This law sparks many questions, not least of which is: what circumstances led to its creation?
8. Singing in the Bathtub
If you’re a fan of belting out tunes while taking a soak, beware! In Pennsylvania, it’s illegal to sing in the bathtub. This law leaves room for interpretation – is singing in the shower also prohibited, or is it only the bathtub that’s off-limits?
9. Restrictions on Women Co-habiting
In Pennsylvania, a law exists that prevents more than 16 women from living together under one roof – the reason? It’s considered a brothel. This law seems to be a relic from a time when societal norms were quite different from those of today.
10. Makeup Permits
In the town of Morrisville, women are required to have a permit to wear makeup. While the practicality and enforcement of this law in the 21st century are questionable, it stands as a testament to the town’s unique history.
11. Mules and Trolleys
In Pittsburgh, you’re not allowed to bring your mule or donkey onto a trolley car with you. While trolleys (and donkeys) are less common today, this law paints an intriguing picture of Pittsburgh’s past.
12. Sleeping on Refrigerators
Last but not least, one of the most bizarre laws in Pennsylvania forbids sleeping on top of a refrigerator outdoors. While this law may seem laughably irrelevant today, it surely has a story worth telling.
These weird laws in Pennsylvania give us a glimpse into the state’s rich and colorful history, providing both amusement and intrigue. While they may seem outlandish and outdated, they stand as reminders of the state’s past, adding to its unique charm.
Here are some more commonly asked questions about weird PA Laws:
What are the weird laws in Pittsburgh?
In Pittsburgh, it’s illegal to bring your mule or donkey onto a trolley car with you.
Is fortune telling illegal in PA?
Yes, it’s illegal to profit from fortune telling activities such as reading tarot cards, using crystal balls, casting spells, or making potions.
What are the blue laws in PA?
Blue laws in Pennsylvania were designed to restrict activities on Sundays. For example, it was once illegal to conduct sports, music, or theater performances before 1 p.m. on Sundays.
Can you walk with a beer in Pittsburgh?
While Pennsylvania state law doesn’t prohibit public consumption of alcohol, local ordinances can restrict it, and Pittsburgh has such an ordinance. So, no, you can’t walk with a beer in Pittsburgh.