The Headless Chicken Who Lived For 18 Months

“Running around like a chicken with its head cut off.” We’ve all heard the phrase countless times. It is such a widely used idiom that the McGraw-Hill Dictionary includes a definition for it: ‘to run around frantically and aimlessly; to be in a state of chaos.’

Many people are aware that a chicken who swiftly loses its head can continue moving for several minutes — hence the expression. What most don’t know about is the story of a miraculous chicken named Miracle Mike, who lived for 18 months without his noggin.

modernfarmer.com
modernfarmer.com

On September 10, 1945 a farmer named Lloyd Olsen planned on enjoying a normal chicken dinner with his wife and mother-in-law. He grabbed the most plump chicken in the coop, picked up his axe and positioned the chicken for slaughter.

The farmer chopped just high enough to preserve the neck bone since it was his mother-in-law’s favorite piece. The chicken staggered around for a while like, well, a chicken with its head cut off.

But then he kept going. And going. And going.

Olsen could not bring himself to finish the job since the chicken was so determined to live. Instead, he fed it grains and water with an eyedropper for 18 months until its death.

Scientists were able to study the one-of-a-kind poultry in order to figure out an explanation to the seemingly miraculous situation. Due to a chicken’s skeletal anatomy, Miracle Mike’s forebrain was severed but his brain stem remained intact. The brain stem controls basic motor functions and breathing, so its preservation allowed Mike to continue living a relatively normal life for the next year and a half.

Next Article
ADVERTISEMENT
  • Missing Couple Found Frozen After 75 Years

    On August 15, 1942 Marcelin and Francine Dumoulin, a Swiss married couple who were also parents to seven children, walked up to a mountain pasture near Chandolin, Switzerland to feed their cows. This was a rare excursion for the couple to take together, since Francine was often pregnant and could not usually make the climb....

    Read More
  • 27 Contact Lenses Found Lodged in One Woman’s Eye

    The biggest nightmare for wearers of contact lenses came true for one British woman late last year. The 67-year-old went in for cataract surgery at Solihull Hospital in England last November. In addition to the cataracts, she also complained of pain in her right eye, which she assumed was caused by dry eyes or old...

    Read More
  • Was Jane Austen Poisoned?

    In July of 1817, popular novelist Jane Austen died. This writer of such perennial favorites as Pride and Prejudice and Emma was only 41, and she did not have a history of health problems. As medical science was not very advanced in the 1800s, no one knows what killed her, though Addison’s disease and lymphoma...

    Read More
  • The Man Who Tried to Raise the Perfect Wife

    Finding a wife was difficult in the 18th century. There was no online dating, and strict social controls made it difficult for members of the opposite sex to get to know one another. But things were especially hard for a man named Thomas Day, and he came up with a novel, though cruel, way to...

    Read More
  • Giant Iceberg Breaks Free in Antarctica

    Sometime between July 10th and July 12th, a giant iceberg broke free from Antarctica, wreaking havoc on shipping lanes in the area while it breaks up into smaller pieces. It broke off from the Larsen C Ice Shelf, automatically reducing that shelf’s area by 12% when it did so. Larsen C is now at its...

    Read More
  • The Worst Husband in British History

    By all accounts, Mary Eleanor Bowes should have had a happy life. She was born into one of the wealthiest families in England, as her father was the wealthy mine owner George Bowes. She was an only child, and she was much cherished by her parents. However, when her father unexpectedly died in 1760 when...

    Read More
  • The Papin Sisters and France’s Most Gruesome Murder Case

    Life seemed to be against the Papin sisters, Christine and Lea, from the time of their births, in 1905 and 1911 respectively. They were born into a highly dysfunctional family. Their mother reportedly had affairs, and their father was an abusive alcoholic. Their mother never showed them any affection, and was so mentally unstable that...

    Read More
  • The Legend of Spring-Heeled Jack

    Despite the many advances in science and industry that took place in Victorian England, that time period was till full of superstition and paranormal belief. Many people still believed in fairies, phrenology and spiritualism- all things that have since been proven false. Quite a few people also believed in a devil-man called Spring-Heeled Jack. The...

    Read More