Category:
Law

Attorney Larry L. Archie

image

Via a chain of transmission that extends through our own Chuck Shepherd and longtime WU-vie Professor Music, we get the astonishing picture above, the kind of advert favored by Attorney Larry L. Archie.

Posted By: Paul - Thu May 07, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Eccentrics, Law, Advertising

Noise Complaint

The joy of neighbors! Police gave 91-year-old Yvette Vachon of Quebec a ticket for $148 after her neighbors downstairs complained she was making too much noise. Apparently her la-z-boy style rocking chair was too loud.

However, after reviewing the complaint (and possibly swayed by all the media attention the case was getting in Canada) the city cancelled the fine. [National Post]

Posted By: Alex - Mon May 04, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Law

Is cannibalism illegal?

Turns out there are no laws in the U.S. specifically outlawing cannibalism, except in Idaho, which has this statute on the books:

TITLE 18
CRIMES AND PUNISHMENTS
CHAPTER 50
MAYHEM
18-5003.  CANNIBALISM DEFINED -- PUNISHMENT. (1) Any person who wilfully ingests the flesh or blood of a human being is guilty of cannibalism.
(2)  It shall be an affirmative defense to a violation of the provisions of this section that the action was taken under extreme life-threatening conditions as the only apparent means of survival.
(3)  Cannibalism is punishable by imprisonment in the state prison not exceeding fourteen (14) years.

What's going on in Idaho that inspired this law? A 2011 article in the Journal of Law and Social Deviance explains:

In Idaho, anthropophagy (called cannibalism by statute) is illegal. The statute makes it an offense to drink human blood or consume human flesh, punishable by up to fourteen years in prison. The law was conceived in 1990 as a response to fears that ritualized practices involving sexual abuse and torture of minors would include anthropophagy. The legislators criminalized the consumption of human blood and flesh out of a concern that children would be sacrificed, eaten, or forced to consume the tissue of murdered or necrotic bodies during ritual practices.

But what about placenta-eating (a practice that's been discussed a number of times here on WU)? Wouldn't the Idaho statute make this practice illegal? Yes, technically it would. But the same article argues that if Idaho ever tried to send anyone to prison for placenta eating (or any other non-harmful, consensual form of cannibalism — ingesting blood, etc.), their statute would probably be ruled unconstitutional as it violates a fundamental "right to privacy."

Posted By: Alex - Sat May 02, 2015 - Comments (9)
Category: Food, Law

Nagging as divorce cause

The 1947 case of DeWaal vs. DeWaal established nagging as legitimate grounds for divorce (in Nebraska). I assume this was before the availability of no-fault divorce. (A quick google search reveals that Nebraska only adopted a no-fault divorce law in 1972.)

Note that Mrs. DeWaal argued that her husband was at fault (and not herself) because he went to motion picture theaters and read "sensational magazines."


(left) The Harrisburg Evening News - Oct 28, 1947; (right) The Lincoln Star - Oct 24, 1947

Posted By: Alex - Sun Mar 22, 2015 - Comments (4)
Category: Law, Lawsuits, Husbands, Wives, 1940s

Ouija Board Inheritance

A follow-up to my Ouija board post of last week. This may be the only case of a Ouija board involved in an inheritance dispute.

When Mrs. Helen Dow Peck died in 1955, she left almost her entire estate to "John Gale Forbes," whom she met via Ouija board. Which is to say that John Gale Forbes was not a corporeal entity. Mrs. Peck's surviving (flesh-and-blood) relatives sued, arguing, in essence, that Mrs. Peck was clearly nuts. The court eventually agreed and voided her will. This has established the legal precedent that ghosts can't inherit money. Read more about the case here.


Corpus Christi Caller-Times - Mar 13, 1956

Posted By: Alex - Tue Feb 24, 2015 - Comments (11)
Category: Law, 1950s

Breaks Will

A great moment in the history of 'oops': Back in 1911, a lawyer accidentally tripped and smashed the phonograph record on which Hodson Burton had recorded his final will, revealing where he had hidden his fortune. (If this lawyer was true to form, I'd guess he still made sure to submit a bill for his services.)

I wonder if Hodson Burton's fortune has ever been found.

Posted By: Alex - Sun Feb 01, 2015 - Comments (6)
Category: Law, 1910s

A Singular Will

Source: Notes and Queries, Nov 6, 1858.

Posted By: Alex - Sat Sep 13, 2014 - Comments (4)
Category: Death, Law, Nineteenth Century

Okay-Doke!

This was a great moment in American law. From the New York Times - Feb 7, 1935:

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jun 11, 2014 - Comments (6)
Category: Law, Judges, 1930s

Having a child in a stagecoach

In 1709, the German legal scholar Dr. Heinrich Klüver published the following important work (which, amazingly, is available in its entirety on Google books): Kurtzes Bedencken über die juristische Frage: Ob eine schwangere Frau wenn sie wärender Reise auf dem Wagen eines Kindes genesen, für selbiges Fuhr-Lohn zu geben gehalten sey?

Translation: Brief consideration of the judicial question: whether a pregnant woman, bearing a child while traveling in a stagecoach, is obliged to pay a fare for it or not.


Substitute Greyhound bus for stagecoach, and you have a question still relevant for present-day weird news scenarios.

Dr. Klüver's answer was: No, the woman doesn't have to pay an extra fare for the newly arrived baby.

His reasoning was that: 1) the baby wouldn't take up an extra seat if the mother held it in her lap.

And 2) The driver must have seen that the woman was pregnant when she boarded the coach, so he should have been aware of the possibility of her giving birth and charged her extra at that time, if he felt it was necessary.

Posted By: Alex - Fri Aug 09, 2013 - Comments (3)
Category: Babies, Law, Eighteenth Century

Why Riots Happen

The Zimmerman verdict which, whether you agree or disagree with it, is racially highly charged. Then this story comes out of the same state at the same time. Apparently only certain races and one gender are allowed to stand their ground in the wonderful F-state.

Posted By: patty - Sun Jul 14, 2013 - Comments (14)
Category: Law

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Alex Boese
Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.

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