I couldn’t help investigating a headline in today’s Denver Post: “Colorado’s Mike the Headless Chicken throws hat in the ring for president.” It wasn’t the “president” part that got me. After all, all kinds of strange individuals take a run at the presidency. But a “headless chicken”? What was that about?
The story dates back to 1945, but I’d never heard it before today. It seems a farmer in Fruita, Colo., took an axe to the chicken that was to be dinner that night. And while he succeeded in decapitating the bird, the bird remained oblivious and wandered off to preen as though nothing had happened.
Scientists at the University of Utah determined that the axe blade had missed Mike’s jugular vein and a clot had kept him from bleeding to death. The majority of his brain stem was left on his body, and that in turn controlled most of his reflex actions. He lived for 18 months, with his owner feeding him through his neck opening with an eyedropper.
Mike has his own website and is still celebrated every year in Fruita during the third week of May. This may actually top Frozen Dead Guy Days on my list of strange goings on in Colorado.