Of all the things this chicken’s lost, he misses its mind the most.

We’re on the eve of this year’s biggest event in Fruita, Colorado: the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, where people all gather to celebrate the world’s best known headless chicken.

If you don’t know the story, let’s not wait another second to get you up to speed on the story of Miracle Mike.

He was always intended to be headless, he just wasn’t supposed to stick around after the fact.

Mike was supposed to be dinner for farmer Lloyd Olsen. But on September 10, 1945, something odd happened. Olsen lopped Mike’s head off, but instead of shuffling off this mortal coil, Mike continued on as if nothing had changed. He even tried to peck, preen and crow, not seemingly notice that he no longer had a beak.

In many cases headless chickens aren’t running around for any particular purpose; it’s just their nerves firing for the last few times that prompt the body to move.

Mike was different. His brain stem had mostly survived the attempted butchering, and by extension, so had he. So, rather than becoming a meal for Lloyd Olsen, Mike became his farmer’s meal ticket.

Olsen took the rooster on tour, charging people a quarter each to see the Miracle Chicken of Fruita eat a corn and water mixture with an eyedropper hooked into his esophagus.

He lived for another 18 months, and happy ones, it seems. Mike was featured in the news magazines of the day and was reportedly valued at ten thousand bucks before his death.

Since 1999, the residents of Fruita have celebrated this chicken’s determination to live with the Mike the Headless Chicken Festival, which has featured a “run like a headless chicken” 5K, a “good egg award” for citizens who make a difference, and more – all of it to praise one remarkable chicken and his determination to live.

Then again, he didn’t have a head, so he might not have known any better.

Today in New York City a phenomenon that, weather permitting, is quite a show.

A couple times a year, the setting sun is in position so that if you’re standing on certain cross streets in Manhattan’s grid, it looks like the sun perfectly fits between all those massive buildings. Locals call it Manhattanhenge – and the main effect is that even more people than usual are out trying to take pictures in the city.

The Mike the Headless Chicken Festival

Manhattanhenge: What It Is, and How to See It (Scientific American)

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