In Paradise Lost, John Milton paints a word picture of Satan being cast into Hell. The fallen angel, in making his choice of eternal rebellion, declares, “Better to reign in hell than serve in heav’n.” (Paradise Lost, Book One, lines 254-263).
We sincerely hope none of our readers will follow his example. There is, however, an option for those who wish to govern Hell, and you don’t have to pay with your soul. You can do it for as little as $25.
Hell, Michigan is located about 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Ann Arbor. It was settled in 1838 and became a town in 1841. In 2021 it boasted a population of 72.
Buying one’s way into public office is generally looked down upon. Not in Hell. In fact, it is encouraged. The town unabashedly offers its top political post for sale. No qualifications are needed, other than paying the price. Ruling as Mayor of Hell for a day will set you back $100-$110, depending on your location. If you just want to experience the top spot for an hour, the cost is $25.
Those who are interested must first reserve the day or hour in which they wish to reign. Once approved, a full-day mayor receives horns, a t-shirt, mug, badge, wallet card, proclamation certificates, and the honor of having his or her name posted all over Hell for the duration of the tenure of office. Despite paying good money for the experience, you can count on your term ending in impeachment. You’ll get a certificate for that, too. You will leave office as the proud owner of one square inch of Hell which you can carry around with you if you choose. In addition to the deed for the property, you will receive the dirt. (Which is a better deal than the breakfast cereal promotion that allowed you to own one square inch of the Yukon.)
If you are cheap and opt for a single hour of being mayor, you will walk away from the experience with a mug and certificates of service and impeachment.
Not only are there no special qualifications needed to hold office but it isn’t even necessary to be a person or alive. You can designate your pet or your toothbrush as mayor, as long as you pay the fee. In April 2022, internet sensation Jinx, a black cat, became mayor for the day.
If you choose to reign in Hell and want to do so in person, be sure to dress appropriately. Since it is located in Michigan, there are significant periods of time when Hell freezes over.
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