15 Things You Might Not Know About Kentucky

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istock

1. Kentucky Bend is an odd little geographic quirk of the state. At the far southwestern tip of Kentucky, the tiny exclave of Fulton County sits in a meander of the Mississippi River. As an exclave, it’s a portion of Kentucky that doesn’t touch any other part of the state. Kentucky Bend is bordered by Tennessee to the south and Missouri on all other sides. To make things even more confusing for the handful of residents of “Bubbleland,” their mailing addresses are all in Tiptonville, Tenn. Any official function—like voting—forces Bubbleland’s residents to drive 40 miles through Tennessee and back into the main body of Kentucky. 

2. Kentucky was originally a part of Virginia, but that arrangement didn’t work out too well for early Kentuckians. The enormous land area of the state made it tricky for Kentuckians to travel to the capital, and the interests of Kentucky’s residents didn’t always align with those of Virginians. On June 1, 1792, Virginia gave Kentucky the go-ahead to break off on its own to become the 15th state.

3. Technically, Kentucky isn’t a state at all. Like Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, it’s officially a commonwealth. What’s the difference? In practice, there isn’t a meaningful one. The designation is a relic of colonial relations with England, and since Virginia was a commonwealth, Kentucky billed itself as a commonwealth when it struck out on its own.

4. Kentucky’s state tree is a surprisingly hot political issue. In 1956, the state legislature named the tulip poplar the state tree, but a clerical error kept the bill giving the tulip poplar the honors from ever being officially added to the books. When this blunder came to light in 1973, the legislature decided to reconsider the issue—it was suddenly open season for fans of other trees to make their case for the state’s highest arboreal honor. Despite hard charges by sycamore and tulip poplar advocates, in 1976, the legislature settled on the Kentucky coffee tree, a relatively rare species whose seeds provided pioneers with a coffee substitute. 

The tulip poplar faction didn’t just roll over and accept this defeat. They kept agitating for the legislature to once again reopen the issue and return the tulip poplar to its rightful throne. After years of campaigning, their efforts finally paid off. In January 1994, the tulip poplar was once again named Kentucky’s state tree. Fans of the Kentucky coffee tree have no doubt spent the last two decades plotting their countermove.

5. Kentucky’s chicken and bourbon get all the publicity, but it’s also a great barbecue state. Owensboro bills itself as “The BBQ Capital of the World,” and while there are plenty of other cities with a reasonable claim to the honor, Owensboro can make a pretty strong case. Unlike the pork of North Carolina or the beef of Texas, Kentucky’s main event BBQ meat is mutton. This mutton is often served with another Kentucky favorite: the thick, spicy vegetable and meat stew known as burgoo.

6. If mutton’s not your thing, Kentucky has plenty of other culinary delights. The state’s signature sandwich, the hot brown, isn’t the healthiest choice, but it’s undeniably delicious. This open-faced delicacy consists of bread piled with turkey, ham, bacon, and sliced tomato, drowned in a rich cheddar sauce and then broiled. The sandwich originated at Louisville’s Brown Hotel in 1923.

7. Rainbows are incredible, but Kentucky is home to an even rarer and more breathtaking sight. In Cumberland Falls on the Cumberland River near Corbin, you might spy a moonbow—a rainbow made from light reflected off of the moon. On clear nights when the moon is full or nearly full, you can see a moonbow in the falls' spray.

8. One more fun stop for foodies. Trigg County is known for its delectably salty country hams, and for 38 years the second weekend in October has seen Cadiz host the Trigg County Ham Festival, a celebration of all things hammy. It’s worth a trip to get a taste of the enormous country ham biscuit that's made for the event every year—it was certified by Guinness as the largest of its kind.

9. Enjoy the Kentucky Derby? Tip your cap to Meriwether Lewis Clark, Jr., the grandson of William Clark of the Lewis and Clark expedition. Clark watched England’s famed Epsom Derby during an 1872 visit to Europe and wanted to create something equally impressive back home in Kentucky to showcase the local horse breeding industry. Upon his return, he got to work. Clark first founded Churchill Downs on land he leased from his uncles, John and Henry Churchill, and when the track was finally ready to open on May 17, 1875, the featured event on the first day of racing was known as the Kentucky Derby.

10. Kentucky makes a cameo appearance at most birthday parties. “Happy Birthday to You” was originally written by Mildred and Patty Hill, two sisters who taught kindergarten in Louisville. Their original song had different lyrics and was called “Good Morning to All,” but it eventually transformed into the birthday favorite.

11. Thomas Edison made the first major public display of his newly created incandescent light bulb at Louisville’s Southern Exposition in 1883. The visit was something of a triumphant return for Edison—he had lived in Louisville in the mid-1860s while he was working as a Western Union telegraph operator. He was supposedly sacked from that gig after spilling a jar of acid while doing an experiment on company time.

12. Kentucky’s Mammoth Cave lives up to its name. The caverns, which became a national park in 1941, constitute the longest cave system in the world. Over 400 miles of the limestone caves have been explored. The caves are home to a variety of subterranean oddities, including the endangered Kentucky cave shrimp, a blind, albino crustacean.

13. Contrary to popular belief, Kentucky’s state flag does not depict local heavyweights Daniel Boone and Henry Clay embracing. Rather, the two men are supposedly representative of any old statesman and frontiersman. What’s not up for debate: It’s not the world’s most popular flag. When the North American Vexillological Association polled the public on the best state and province flags in North America in 2001, Kentucky’s design finished 66th out of 72 entries.

14. In the mid-20th century, Lexington had a “town dog” named Smiley Pete. The stray dog, who was named for his human-like grin, was a fixture in downtown Lexington. Locals collectively looked after Smiley Pete, and the pooch supposedly had a daily routine that included begging for a hamburger and waffle at a diner and a bowl of draft beer at a tavern. When Smiley Pete passed away in 1957, he was memorialized with a brass plate on the sidewalk in his old sniffing grounds.

15. Don’t be fooled by the booming distilling industry. Kentucky’s official state beverage is milk.

Amazon's Under-the-Radar Coupon Page Features Deals on Home Goods, Electronics, and Groceries

Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0
Stock Catalog, Flickr // CC BY 2.0

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Now that Prime Day is over, and with Black Friday and Cyber Monday still a few weeks away, online deals may seem harder to come by. And while it can be a hassle to scour the internet for promo codes, buy-one-get-one deals, and flash sales, Amazon actually has an extensive coupon page you might not know about that features deals to look through every day.

As pointed out by People, the coupon page breaks deals down by categories, like electronics, home & kitchen, and groceries (the coupons even work with SNAP benefits). Since most of the deals revolve around the essentials, it's easy to stock up on items like Cottonelle toilet paper, Tide Pods, Cascade dishwasher detergent, and a 50 pack of surgical masks whenever you're running low.

But the low prices don't just stop at necessities. If you’re looking for the best deal on headphones, all you have to do is go to the electronics coupon page and it will bring up a deal on these COWIN E7 PRO noise-canceling headphones, which are now $80, thanks to a $10 coupon you could have missed.

Alternatively, if you are looking for deals on specific brands, you can search for their coupons from the page. So if you've had your eye on the Homall S-Racer gaming chair, you’ll find there's currently a coupon that saves you 5 percent, thanks to a simple search.

To discover all the deals you have been missing out on, head over to the Amazon Coupons page.

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12 Very Haunted Roads

Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Don't get caught on these roads at night.
Pixabay, Pexels // CC0

What could be scarier than driving down a dark road at night? Driving down one of these dark roads at night. If any of the below routes—compiled by Commercial Truck Trader—pop up on your GPS this spooky season, consider finding an alternate way to your destination.

1. Jeremy Swamp Road // Southbury, Connecticut

Jeremy Swamp Road and several other streets in southwestern Connecticut are said to be frequented by Melon Heads, creatures that, according to the New England Historical Society, live in wooded areas and “look like small humanoids with oversized heads” that “survive by eating small animals, stray cats and human flesh, usually the flesh of teenagers.” Some say the Melon Heads are the result of inbreeding, with others theorizing that they escaped from local hospitals or asylums.

2. Owaissa Street // Appleton, Wisconsin

Legend has it that every full moon, a tombstone in Owaissa Street’s Riverside Cemetery bleeds. The tombstone belongs to Kate Blood, who, according to some stories, was either a witch who killed her husband and children with an ax, or was a woman murdered by her husband. (Local historians, however, say Blood died of tuberculosis.) Visitors also report seeing a creepy hooded figure roaming the cemetery.

3. Prospector’s Road // Garden Valley, California

Driving along this hilly, three-mile stretch of road is not for the faint of heart: It’s supposedly haunted by the spirit of a tall, bearded prospector who was murdered after he drunkenly bragged about his claim. According to Weird California, those who run into the entity—who is supposedly responsible for many an accident along the road—will hear him whisper: “Get off my claim.”

4. Sandhill Road // Las Vegas, Nevada

The flood tunnels beneath Sandhill Road between Olive Avenue and Charleston Boulevard in Las Vegas are said to be haunted by a dead couple. People have also reported hearing creepy, ghostly moans coming from the darkness and being chased by the specter of an old woman.

5. Bloody Bride Bridge // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Drivers on Highway 66 in Steven’s Point, Wisconsin, might get a glimpse of the ghost of a bride who was supposedly killed on her wedding day in a car accident on the bridge. Legend has it that if those drivers park on the bridge at midnight and look in their rearview mirrors, they’ll see the bride, in her bloody wedding dress, sitting in the backseat.

6. Boy Scout Lane // Steven’s Point, Wisconsin

Also located in Steven’s Point, the isolated Boy Scout Lane is supposedly where a group of Boy Scouts died, although no one quite seems to know why or how—some say they were killed while camping when their fire raged out of control; others say it was a bus accident; and some say they simply disappeared. Whatever the reason, visitors to the area now say they can hear footsteps and calls for help coming from the woods.

7. Route 66 // Villa Ridge, Missouri

Located on Route 66, the abandoned Tri-County Truck-Stop is a hotbed of ghostly activity. Before the restaurant shut down, employees reported hearing strange noises, seeing apparitions, and watching as coffee pots were thrown across the room by invisible forces.

8. Stagecoach Road // Marshall, Texas

On this red dirt road—which once served as a route for stagecoaches traveling to the town from Shreveport, Louisiana—paranormal investigators have snapped photos of ghosts and had the batteries of the equipment they were using to investigate drain inexplicably. Others who have driven down the road and turned off their cars said they felt a presence stepping on the bumper; when they went home, they discovered tiny handprints in the red dust on the back of the car. The road is supposedly haunted by the spirit of a Voodoo priestess.

9. Route 666 // Douglas, Arizona

The road formerly known as Route 666 may now be part of Route 491 [PDF], but some still call it The Devil’s Highway. Drivers traveling on this section of highway have recounted being pursued by a pack of terrifying dogs or a phantom semi-truck, among other strange and scary encounters.

10. Goatman's Bridge // Denton, Texas

Old Alton Bridge is an iron-truss structure built in 1884 that got its unsettling moniker from local legends. Fifty years after the bridge was built, a successful Black goat farmer named Oscar Washburn—who went by the nickname “Goatman”—put a sign on the bridge that read “This Way to the Goatman.” The sign incensed the Ku Klux Klan, who hanged Washburn on the bridge. But according to Legends of America, “when they looked over to make sure he was dead, they could see only the rope. Washburn was gone and was never seen again.” Some report seeing a man herding goats across the bridge, which was decommissioned around 2001, while others say they’ve seen a half-man, half-goat creature there.

11. Route 375 // Rachel, Nevada

Entertaining the idea of a close encounter? Drivers on this road—which runs near the Nevada Test and Training Range, home of Area 51—have reported hundreds of strange, potentially alien sightings from Alamo to Tonopah, leading to the route’s nickname: “The Extraterrestrial Highway.”

12. Ortega Ridge Road // Montecito, California

This road is haunted by Las Ters Hermanas, or The Three Sisters—three nuns who, it’s said, were murdered more than a century ago. They can be seen standing on the side of the road, arms crossed, their eyes bright blue and their faces glowing.