B-I-N-G-….sorry, time’s up!

Published 8:39 am Tuesday, March 8, 2011

As I was researching public records law last week (that’s a column topic for a future date), I stumbled across a website denoting dumb and stupid laws that are apparently still on the books in some states.

I clicked on the link for insane North Carolina laws and found some fairly interesting, yet stupid, regulations. I’ll share a few as follows:

Did you know that according to NC State Statute #14-401.5, it shall be unlawful for any person to practice the arts of phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance, fortune-telling and other crafts of a similar kind in the counties named herein. This section shall not prohibit the amateur practice of phrenology, palmistry, fortune-telling or clairvoyance in connection with school or church socials, provided such socials are held in school or church buildings.

The law, written in 1951 and amended as recently as 1994, does not mention any of the R-C area counties where such activities are prohibited. Gee, I think I’ll open up Cal’s Clairvoyance Club.

Written in 1871, Article 1 of Chapter 51 of North Carolina law reads…“All marriages between any two persons nearer of kin than first cousins, or between double first cousins, or between a male person under 16 years of age and any female, or between a female person under 16 years of age and any male, or between persons either of whom has a husband or wife living at the time of such marriage, or between persons either of whom is at the time are physically impotent, or between persons either of whom is at the time are incapable of contracting from want of will or understanding, shall be void.” Did you get all of that?

There remains a law (G.S. 14-12.10) on North Carolina’s books (written in 1953) that prohibits organizations to conduct meetings or demonstrations while its members present are in costume, specifically wearing masks, hoods, etc. whereby the person, face or voice, is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer. I assume this law was written to deter the Ku Klux Klan; I hope it wasn’t penned to deny children an opportunity to enjoy Halloween.

Were you aware that, according to G.C. 14-309.8, the number of sessions of bingo conducted or sponsored by an exempt organization shall be limited to two sessions per week and such sessions must not exceed a period of five hours each per session. Knowing my luck, I’ll be sitting one number away from the grand prize of $1,000 down at the Grand Hall of the Golden Possum at four hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds.

In the town of Dunn, NC (located in Harnett County), Section 5-13 of the town’s ordinance prohibits visitation of departed loved ones late at night. The law reads, “It shall be unlawful for any person to enter or remain upon the premises of city cemeteries, whether on foot, by means of a vehicle, or otherwise, between the hours of 12:00 midnight and 6:00 a.m. each and every day, except for law enforcement personnel and other city employees while on official business.”

So much for a 3 a.m. graveside chat with grandma.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be reached at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207. It is not illegal to make contact with Cal, unless you are a bill collector or soliciting an investment in oil, gold, or other precious commodity. Also, UNC fans contacting Mr. Bryant are prohibited from making mention of any particular athletic contest that resulted in a win over NC State University.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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