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He really was a chicken running around with his he


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#1    emmy

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 08:16 PM

                                                
This is the story about Mike the chicken. Mike, of course, was not your ordinary chicken. No, not ordinary at all. You see, Mike was a headless chicken. If you want to be really specific, Mike was actually a headless Wyandotte rooster.  

I should point out that Mike wasn't always a headless bird. In fact, he was born 100% normal, complete with a head (most normal chickens have one of these) in Fruita, Colorado.  

On September 10, 1945, Mike's short five-and-a-half month life was about to take a turn for the worse. On this day, Mike received a death sentence. His owners, Lloyd and Clara Olsen, decided that it was time to slaughter a group of birds, some to sell and to prepare others for themselves.  Out to the hen house they went…

Watch out Mike!  

As you can probably imagine, Mr. Olsen was the one whacking the heads off while Clara plucked and cleaned the birds.  

Bash! Down came the ax and off went Mike's head.  

Mike's head was surely dead. Mike's body was not.  

Now I know what you are thinking - it is well known that chickens will run around frantically when their heads are chopped off.  That's probably where that old expression comes from. And, everyone knows that a headless chicken just can't survive more than a few moments.  



Apparently, Mike forgot to read the rulebook for playing the game of Life. His head may have been lying on the floor, but he had no problem standing up and strutting around as if nothing had actually happened.   The next day, Mike was still flopping around, so Lloyd decided to feed him to see how long he could keep the bird alive.  Day after day he continued to gain weight.  

Mike could easily balance himself on the highest perches without falling. His crowing consisted of a gurgling sound made in his throat. Mike even attempted to preen his feathers with his nonexistent head (apparently he never noticed). It seems that Mike could do just about anything that any other chicken could do, if you exclude all of the functions of his head.  

As I'm sure you can imagine, headless chickens are not an everyday event. In the tradition of that famous huckster Barnum, there was money to be made in this oddity.   A promoter by the name of Hope Wade came along and convinced Lloyd that Mike would be a big draw in the sideshow circuit.  Miracle Mike, as he soon came to be known, toured up and down the West Coast of the United States.  Just six weeks after his beheading, Mike was featured in a Life magazine article and his fame grew.  For just 25 cents, anyone could pay to get a look at Mike. At the height of his popularity, Mike was raking in a cool $4,500 per month, which was no small potatoes in those days.  They probably would have thrown in his head as a bonus - it was stored in a canning jar and toured along with Mike.  (Actually, a cat ate Mike’s head.  Some other poor chicken’s head was pickled in the jar.)

And, if there was money to be made, there were also copycats. Other people in Mike's hometown began to chop the heads off of their own chickens in an attempt to get in on the scheme. One copycat headless rooster was named Lucky and he managed to live for eleven days before bashing himself into a stovepipe and dying (Lucky wasn't that lucky after all). Several other headless chickens lived for a couple of days.  

So how was Mike able to survive? Scientists examined him and determined that Mr. Olsen had not done a very good job at chopping Mike's head off.  Most of the head was actually removed, but one ear remained intact. The slice actually missed the jugular vein and a clot prevented him from bleeding to death. Apparently, most of a chicken's reflex actions are located in the brain stem, which was also largely untouched.  Mike was also examined by the officers of several humane societies and was declared to have been free from suffering.  

Through his open esophagus, Mike was fed a mixture of ground up grain and water with your typical eyedropper. Little bits of gravel were dropped down his throat to help his gizzard grind up the food.



One serious problem that Mike commonly experienced was that he would start to choke on his own mucus.  The Olsens came up with the simple solution of using a syringe to suck the mucus out.  But, one day tragedy struck.  Mike was traveling back home to Fruita and was roosting with the Olsens in their Phoenix motel room.  They heard Mike choking in the middle of the night and quickly realized that they had left the syringe at the sideshow the day before.  Miracle Mike was no more.  

The exact date of Mike’s belated departure from this world was never recorded.  Years later, it was estimated, based on Lloyd’s information, that Miracle Mike died in March of 1947.  Eighteen months living without a head could be considered a world’s record.  Yet, Lloyd didn’t want to admit that he had accidentally killed the bird, so he claimed that he had sold the bird off.  This little white lie is the reason that many of the stories printed about Mike claimed that he was still touring the country as late as 1949.  

But wait, the story is not over! Mike actually has his own holiday! On May 17, 1999, Mike's hometown of Fruita held the first "Mike the Headless Chicken Day" in honor of one of its most famous citizens.  Some of the events included the 5K Run Like a Headless Chicken Race, egg tosses, Pin the Head on the Chicken, the Chicken Cluck-Off, and the classic Chicken Dance. The food offerings included - you guessed it - chicken, chicken salad, and the like. Let's not forget the great game of Chicken Bingo in which the numbers were chosen by where chicken droppings fell on a numbered grid.  

If you are interested, Mike the Headless Chicken Day is an annual event. As peculiar as it is to describe, it actually sounds like a great time.  And it’s all done in celebration of the life of one lucky bird named Miracle Mike.                                                


#2    Althalus

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 08:27 PM

                                                user posted image

This is the most famous picture of Mike the headless chicken. This picture appeared in the October 22, 1945 issue of Life Magazine.

                                                

"We make choices everyday, some of them good, some of them bad. And - if we are strong enough - we live with the consequences."
— David Gemmell

#3    Kismit

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Posted 27 January 2003 - 11:15 PM

                                                When I was about 5 my Grandad decided it was time to teach me a few things about life . So he took me out into the back paddock and yes well he cut the heads off a couple of chickens . I remember one of the chickens (minus head) running off behind the water tank , we never found him again . I spent every vacation at Grandma and Grandad's for the next 3 years looking for that bird .

  So maybe just maybe it survived wild and free like Mike. rolleyes.gif                                                


#4    Bizarro

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Posted 28 January 2003 - 06:31 PM

                                                isnt it just glorious being a human and killing then torturing stuff?  god, i love humanity.  

maybe if they never chopped the rooster's head off to begin with they could have enjoyed his company more than they did when they were forced to suck the mucus out of his throat to keep him alive?  

how bout we chop a person's head off and let them wander around like a fool, take pictures of them trying to gurgle out words through their neck, suck mucus from their throats, and then drag them around a freak show circuit?  that's entertainment.                                                  

if there was a meteor,
adrift amongst space,
set about on a collision course
not with Earth, but my face...
i wonder if id even know,
at what time i might,
be passed off like an old style
and by the meteor be smite?

- me, 1997

#5    Magikman

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 06:13 AM

                                                
QUOTE
"philosopher= someone with nothing better to do than come up with a million other realities than the one they live in."

  Seems to me you should take your own advise and face up to life's terrible realities. Bemoaning the treatment and suffering of an animal is one thing, wishing the same on a person, kidding or not, is highly offensive and repulsive. The rationale used is disturbing, to say the least. Perhaps there isn't any hope for humanity, if all you can do is spout the same ugly, hateful thoughts already prevelant among us humans. The posturing and rhetoric is really becoming nauseatingly insipid, get over yourself.                                                

Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep insights can be winnowed from deep nonsense. ~ Carl Sagan

"...man has an irrepressible tendency to read meaning into the buzzing confusion of sights and sounds impinging on his senses; and where no agreed meaning can be found, he will provide it out of his own imagination." ~ Arthur Koestler

#6    Bizarro

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 02:42 PM

                                                "get over yourself"- Magikman

haha, ditto brother.  ditto.


you people nauseate me.  i could care less if you think im repulsive, the feeling is mutual smile.gif                                                

if there was a meteor,
adrift amongst space,
set about on a collision course
not with Earth, but my face...
i wonder if id even know,
at what time i might,
be passed off like an old style
and by the meteor be smite?

- me, 1997

#7    odinsupreme

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Posted 29 January 2003 - 08:40 PM

                                                In this case, I have to agree with DSchwartz. Just kill te poor thing! Not torture it!

I have seen video recordings of this animal.. Terrible...

Odin                                                





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