Let’s forget capital cities for a minute and focus our attention toward towns like Hell, Michigan. Despite being called “Hell,” the town has capitalized quite nicely on its unfortunate name. For one, there’s a Scream’s Ice Cream which, according to Yelp, seems to be pretty good. You can even get married in Hell, which, I guess is pretty great if you’re the type to embrace that kind of a thing. Point being, Hell isn’t as bad as the name suggests. In fact, (spoiler alert) most of the places on this list are pretty harmless.
Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, United States
Even though this city sounds like a dramatic ultimatum, it has a quirky story behind it. Formerly Hot Springs, the city decided to change its name in 1950 because…well, they wanted to listen to Truth or Consequences. Ralph Edwards, host of radio talk show, Truth or Consequences, promised he would air his show to the first town that renamed itself after his series. And so it is. Aside from this, Truth or Consequences is famous for its hot springs, hence its former name.
My Large Intestine, Texas, United States
I admit, My Large Intestine is equal parts eccentric and terrifying. Other than it’s Facebook page, My Large Intestine doesn’t have much information available. Its Facebook page reads:
Judging by the community’s Facebook photos, this may very well be some sort of satire. Either way, you have my support, My Large Intestine.
Lonelyville, New York, United States
Nobody knows why it’s called Lonelyville, which makes it even lonelier. However, it’s been said that Mel Brooks and his wife, Anne Bancroft, lived there for quite some time. He was apparently fined $2.00 for leaving his trashcans out…so there’s that.
Humansville, Missouri, United States
Humansville got its name from a man named James Human. I was hoping for something a little more climactic. No offense, James.
Skullbone, Tennessee, United States
Skullbone is a city in the “Kingdom of Skullbonia” and no, I’m not kidding. Originally Gilbert, Tennessee, the city’s name was changed to Skullbone as an act of defiance. You see, in the 1800’s, there was a type of barehanded boxing aptly named “fist and skull” that had originated in the area. Unsurprisingly, the fighters who lost would wind up dead. The sport was declared illegal, thus sparking a fit of rage amongst the people in Gilbert. They then seceded from the Union and renamed the city Skullbone. How’s that for an eff you? For more information on Skullbone, read this article.
Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, United States
Kill Devil Hills has an awfully nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The name first appeared in records in 1808. Apparently, rum that came from New England was dubbed “Kill-Devil”. Rumor has it, a ship loaded with “Kill Devil” rum crashed across from the sand hills – hence, “Kill Devil Hills”. Aside from shipwrecks and rum, the 60 foot Wright Brothers National Memorial stands there in all its granite glory.
Slaughter Beach, Delaware, United States
Sounds like an ideal vacation destination, huh? Despite the name, Slaughter Beach is a safe (albeit ghostly) beach town on the coast of Delaware. However, a slaughter may or may not have taken place there. Fortunately for us, we have three stories to speculate on:  It was named after the local postmaster, William Slaughter, in the 19th century.  Horseshoe crabs have a tendency to wash ashore each year in the area, resembling that of a horseshoe crab “slaughter”.  According to local legend, a man named Brabant slaughtered several indigenous people in the 1700s. For all we know, all or none of these stories could be true; either way, we’re just glad the town’s name doesn’t reflect its current population.
Deception Island, Antarctica
Believe me, this is the one place that is as ominous as it sounds. The horseshoe shaped island was first spotted by British sealers in 1820, and was subsequently named “Deception Island” by U.S. Sealer, Nathaniel Palmer. Apparently, he had to sail around the island several times before he discovered the island’s very narrow entrance. I suppose that was enough for him to consider the place deceptive. I wonder if he knew it was also home to an active volcano? The island served as a sealing base until approximately 1906, when it developed into a whaling station. By 1912, Deception Island went big-time. The Hektor Whaling Company took over and Deception Island became the place to be, with “approximately 150 people [working] at the station during the summer, producing over 140,000 barrels of whale oil”. If you don’t know already, this required them to kill the whales and burn their carcasses (bones included) in boilers that were set up around the island. When whale oil finally became useless in 1931, Hektor Whaling Company closed shop and left the island with all of their boilers, work stations and whale bones like it was no big deal. Eerie note: The whale bones and boilers can still be found on the island. The island’s morbid history has since made it into a bit of a tourist attraction. To learn more about Deception Island’s messy history, click here. To see more amazing photos, click here.
Cut and Shoot, Texas, United States
This sounds like a potentially dangerous guide to rural defense. Much like Slaughter Beach, Cut and Shoot has a lot of different rumors surrounding it, but all revolve around some sort of church dispute that occurred in 1912. Either:  People were bickering over the town’s church steeple,  People were bickering over who should preach there, or  People were bickering over the who owned the church’s land. Amidst the church debate, a boy at the scene (presumably out of frustration) said “I’m going to cut around the corner and shoot through the bushes in a minute!” At least the bickering people could agree on two verbs. Now I only wish we knew the boy’s name.
Imalone, Wisconsin, United States
I don’t know if it’s the association with horror movies or what, but there’s an inherent creepiness to the phrase Imalone. There’s no official explanation for the town’s name, but this article provides the most probable theory. Apparently, a man named Snowball Anderson built a gas station in the area. He had to leave town one day, so he put a fellow named Bill Granger in charge of the station. When a salesman stopped by and asked Bill to write down the name of the area, Bill just shrugged his shoulders and said “I’m alone”. Some people allege that the Bill Granger story is false and believe Snowball actually named the town himself. Either way, I’m perplexed as to why nobody took advantage of the name Snowball Anderson. In light of this, I hope the name provides you with inspiration for a cool cat name.
Oh and, for the record, Hell, Michigan does not have some sordid history to it either. George Reeves (the man who first discovered Hell), used to pay local farmers with gifts of homemade whiskey. When people asked famers’ wives where their husbands were during harvest season, many would simply reply that they’d, “gone to Hell again”.
Featured image via bebravebebold.com