Sunday, June 15, 2014

One Weird Fact About Your State—Part 3 of 5, Massachusetts to New Jersey

This the third of my five part blog, each week dealing with ten states listed alphabetically.

Everyone's home state has special…and weird…claims to fame, maybe even weirder than you realize.  For every proud historical landmark, event and hero your state has produced, there are countless bizarre ones it can claim.  I hope you enjoy these random pieces of trivia about the states.

Massachusetts—Lobster was once so abundant in this state that it was given to slaves and prisoners.
The state used to have so many lobsters that they'd regularly feed the lobsters to prisoners, slaves and other groups who usually ended up on the short end when it came to food. Some professional servants even inserted a clause in their contracts that they would only be given lobster twice a week, not wanting to eat lobster all day, every day.

Michigan—a university in the state offers a license to hunt unicorns.
Even though the Unicorn Hunters of Lake Superior State University haven't officially existed since 1987, the unicorn hunting license can still be obtained from the website. Created partially as a PR stunt in 1971, the Unicorn Hunters engaged in other whimsical activities such as burning a snowman on the first day of Spring and holding an annual International Stone Skipping Tournament.

Minnesota—a Minnesota father would only speak to his son in the Star Trek language of Klingon for the first three years of the child's life.
For the first years of his son's life, d'Armond Spears only spoke Klingon to the young child as a sort of linguistic experiment. In the beginning, his son would talk back in Klingon occasionally, but because Spears' wife and others would still speak English, the language didn't stick. As the boy grew up he didn't want to speak Klingon, so he claimed he hadn't retained the language.

Mississippi—a Phantom Barber once broke into people's homes and cut their hair while they were sleeping.
During WWII, the town of Pascagoula was plagued by a series of mysterious nighttime haircuts. A panic erupted when girls, particularly blondes, would wake up to find part of their hair had been cut and in some cases their whole heads had been shaved. The Phantom Barber was never caught, so not too much is known beyond a few scattered clues, including a man's footprint found in a victim's room.

Missouri—The town of Tightwad is home to the Tightwad Bank, which draws customers from across the country.
Tightwad Bank is a legitimate bank in the town of Tightwad, and the owners are aware of the humor behind the name, as many customers around the country choose the bank just for the joke. Various merchandising items such as shirts can be bought from the bank's website.

Montana—Montana has a replica of the shire from LORD OF THE RINGS.
The Hobbit House is a replica of J.R.R. Tolkien's shire and has been located in the Cabinet Mountains since 2008. It's a no children and no pets house with full kitchen, one king-size bedroom and a second small bedroom with single bed. The current rate (June 2014) is $295/night for 2 people with a 3rd person for an additional $50/night.

Nebraska—The landlocked state has a navy, and anyone can receive the state's highest honor of "Nebraska Admiral."
Despite not having access to large bodies of water, the state's highest honor is to become a Nebraska Admiral. Anyone can receive a nomination, which is then sent to the governor to decide whether a Cornhusker is worthy. The honorary certificate reads:  "And I [the Governor of Nebraska] do strictly charge and require all officers, seamen, tadpoles and goldfish under your command to be obedient to your orders as Admiral—and you are to observe and follow, from time to time, such directions you shall receive, according to the rules and discipline of the Great Navy of the State of Nebraska."

Nevada—There's an Area 51-themed brothel here.
The Alien Cathouse, an Area 51-themed brothel 85 miles from Las Vegas, is meant for those with sci-fi fantasies. It was built by brothel mogul Dennis Hof [owner of the Moonlite Bunny Ranch 6 miles outside Carson City, Nevada] and has been running since 2012.

New Hampshire—A group of Robin Hooders once paid expired parking meters before tickets could be handed out.
A six-person group going by the name of Robin Hood and his Merry Men were sued in 2013 by the city of Keene for putting money in random people's expired parking meters and filming ticketing officers. In December, a judge dropped all chargers against the Robin Hooders.

New Jersey—Napoleon's penis allegedly resides in this state.
Professor John Lattimer kept what is allegedly Napoleon's penis in his Englewood bedroom until his death in 2013. Reporters were allowed to film the penis after Lattimer's death and found that Napoleon's complex might not have been caused by his height.

Next week is part 4 of 5 covering New Mexico through South Carolina.  Stop by to see what these states have to offer.

4 comments:

Ashantay said...

Phantom Barber? Creepy! Love the idea of a Unicorn Hunting group - I'd burn a snowman on the first day of spring - absolutely! Great list today - thanks for the laughs.

Samantha Gentry said...

Ashantay: I'm thinking the Phantom Barber might be more of an urban legend than a fact...I don't see how someone could break into a house and cut someone's hair (or shave their head!) without that person waking up. Oh, well...since that happened during World War II, the perpetrator is most likely no longer around.

If you live in one of the northern states (such as Michigan, for instance) burning that snowman is most likely a great ritual to make winter get out of town. :)

Thanks for your comment.

Marlow Kelly said...

Although I'm not from the U.S. I loved this post. It was fun and interesting at the same time. So many story ideas came to mind.
The poor girls with the nighttime haircuts must have been drugged, don't you think?
Great job

Samantha Gentry said...

Marlow: I'm glad you liked it. Two more weeks and I'll have covered all 50 states plus Washington D.C.

Thanks for your comment.