This roadside attraction app is going to be the death of Emily and me. While stopping for breakfast I saw that Mike the headless chicken statue was up ahead on the road. So McDonald’s took forever to get our food and we decide to eat in the car while getting gas. At the first gas station the credit was down so we had to go to another. Then I navigate us two miles the wrong way and we have to turn around. We pass the chicken up and we have to turn around again. Then I spot a post office as I need to mail the cards (for the residents who are leaving next week) to Becky so she can give them to them for me. (I’m missing the going away party for this road trip.) Just as we dropped it in the mailbox, Emily starts screaming there is a Pokémon she doesn’t have so we turn around again. We have no increased our ETA by an hour all for this.
LIFE With Mike the Headless Chicken: Photos of a Famously Tough Fowl
“Ever since Sept. 10,” LIFE breezily informed its readers, “a rangy Wyandotte rooster named Mike has been living a normal chicken’s life though he has no head.”
Mike, LIFE went on to say, “lost his head in the usual rooster way. Mrs. L.A. Olson, wife of a farmer in Fruita, Colo., 200 miles west of Denver, decided to have chicken for dinner. Mrs. Olson took Mike to the chopping block and axed off his head. Thereupon Mike got up and soon began to strut around…. What Mrs. Olson’s ax had done was to clip off most of the skull but leave intact one ear, the jugular vein and the base of the brain, which controls motor function.”
The rest is poultry history. Mike lived for 18 months after losing his head, finally succumbing at a motel in the Arizona desert in 1946 during one of his many appearances as a sideshow attraction in the American southwest.
Here, LIFE.com presents Mike’s unlikely story, as well as the utterly unsettling pictures that ran (and some that never ran) in LIFE. Brace yourself. . . .
This article courtesy of Time and if you want to see photos of the actual chicken click here.
Mole moral~ Headless chickens are creepy, almost as creepy as stopping to see the statue of one.