W is for Weird

Steve Silverman was a high school science teacher who wrote a book called Einstein’s Refrigerator and Other Stories from Flip Side Of History. Guess which story shows up as the very first in this book?

I need to tell you about Mike the Headless Chicken. Then I’ll tell you something REALLY weird.

On September 10, 1945, there was a farmer in Fruita, Colorado named Lloyd Olsen who experienced something unusual. Being a farmer, unsurprisingly, from time to time, Lloyd would lop off the head of a chicken, or in this case, a rooster. While the cliche about running around like a chicken with his head cut off is true, this particular poultry was still strutting his stuff the next day. So Lloyd decided to feed the bird, using an eyedropper full of ground-up grain and water, with “little bits of gravel down his throat to help the gizzard grind up the food.”

Mike could hang on high perches without falling, gurgle in a faux crowing style, even attempt to preen his non-existent head.

Sideshow promoter Hope Wade convinced Lloyd to put Miracle Mike on tour, and for a time, he made $4500 per month, from 25-cent viewings, good money even in these days. Mike even made it into LIFE magazine, a hugely popular US periodical in the day.
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