Florida: America's Weirdest State

It's the state of butterfly ballots, gator farms and oversized mice.

It's the retirement hub discovered by a Spaniard rumored to have lost his life hunting for the legendary Fountain of Youth.

It's the only place in America where the farther north you go, the farther south you get.

Florida is undeniably a quirky place. But among many journalists and news junkies, the Sunshine State has developed a reputation for being the state that generates the most weird news and the weirdest weird news.

How did a state once famous for its oranges and seniors turn into a hub for all things strange?

According to Florida resident and weird news legend Chuck Shepherd, Florida emerged as a weird news capital a little more than a decade ago.

Shepherd -- credited with inventing weird news reporting in his widely syndicated "News of the Weird" column -- said he knew Florida had come into its own in the late 1990s, when the San Francisco alternative newspaper SF Weekly featured a story on men who surgically remove their sexual organs; two of the paper's three sources were Floridians.

More Florida: America's Weirdest State

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