7 Ridiculous Things Cities Decided to Ban

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If you want to have a pet goldfish, park in your own driveway, or die, here are some places you probably shouldn't live.

1. Satan

If the Son of Perdition is looking to vacation in Florida, it looks like he'll have to skip the town of Inglis. In 2001, the town of 1400 residents banned Satan by official decree, thanks to a proclamation written by Mayor Carolyn Risher. One of the five official copies hangs on Risher's wall next to a poster of Elvis and a print of The Last Supper. The other four were rolled up and sealed into wooden posts marked "Repent, Request and Resist," which were then staked into the ground near the town's four entrances. If you're wondering, the decree reads in full:

Be it known from this day forward that Satan, ruler of darkness, giver of evil, destroyer of what is good and just, is not now, nor ever again will be, a part of this town of Inglis. Satan is hereby declared powerless, no longer ruling over, nor influencing, our citizens.

2. Dying

Bad news, residents of Falciano dal Massico, Italy: There's no more room in the cemetery, so you'll need to find someplace else to pass away. To solve the city's post-mortem overcrowding situation, Mayor Giulio Cesare Fava issued the following ordinance in March 2012: "It is forbidden, with immediate effect, to all citizens resident in the municipality of Falciano del Massico, and to whoever passes by its territory, to cross the border of earthly life and to enter the afterlife." At least two elderly residents have already defied the order.

3. Slapping people with a dead eel

Residents of Lyme Regis, Dorset, are no longer lawfully permitted to slap each other with a 5-foot-long conger eel. It's officially known as 'conger-cuddling' or 'doing the conger', and the game — which involves knocking opponents off of a platform by swinging the dead fish at them — was both wildly popular in the community and a source of funding for a local lifeboat charity for 32 years. Despite its long history and general appeal, 'doing the conger' was banned in 2006 after an animal rights group complained that the game was disrespectful to dead animals.

4. Gossip

Bad-mouthing your neighbors is serious business in Icononzo, Colombia. In 2005, Mayor Ignacio Jimenez argued that waggling tongues could be the difference between life and death for residents of the city, thanks to ongoing warfare between Marxist rebels and far-right paramilitary outlaws. At the time, at least 8 prisoners in the local jailhouse were there "purely by gossip" after other residents speculated that they might be members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. In order to impress upon his constituents the need for thoughtful discourse and reason in the justice system, Jimenez outlawed gossip entirely. Aside from potentially costing another person his or her life, the punishment for gossip now includes hefty fines and as many as four years in jail.

5. Goldfish in bowls

Monza, Italy, is home to the country's Formula 1 Grand Prix and what is probably the most empathetic animal rights legislation on the planet. In 2004, the city announced that it would henceforth be illegal to house goldfish in goldfish bowls because "a fish kept in a bowl has a distorted view of reality...and suffers because of this. Also, this type of receptacle generally doesn't have a filter and doesn't allow for good oxygenation." Additionally, small animals given as prizes and dyed Easter chicks were banned in the same measure.

6. Spitting

In 2009, fears of a swine flu epidemic gripped the world. In a bid to halt the spread of the virus in Coulaines, France, mayor Christophe Rouillon outlawed spitting -- and not just in public. Rouillon specifically indicated that (European-) footballers should take the lead by ceasing any sideline expectoration activity immediately, and suggested that spitting on the field should be treated as foul play: "One spitting incident should be punished with a yellow card, and repeat offenders should be shown a red card."

7. Parking in your own driveway

If you prefer driving a pickup truck to a sedan, you might reconsider moving to Coral Gables, Florida, where parking a truck in your own driveway could land you a $100-per-day fine... if you're a first-time offender. After that, it's up to $500 each day. The ban has been in place since 2003, and many people believe it's a (successful) bid to keep blue-collar families out of a ritzy neighborhood. A resident contested the ban and the city spent $250,000 in taxpayer funds defending it all the way to the Florida Supreme Court, where they won.

September 7, 2012 - 8:11am
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