The story of ‘Miracle Mike,’ the chicken that lived without a head


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There once was a chicken who lost his head …


No, these are not the opening lines of a rather macabre fairytale.


This is real and it’s really weird, y’all.


Let’s start again …


There once was a chicken who lost his head to his owner, a farmer named Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado, back in 1945. You see, one night, Olsen had decided on having chicken for dinner, as you do. However, since this happened in 1945, instead of going to the store, the farmer went to his backyard, grabbed a big rooster named Mike (did people really used to name their future food? ), put his head on the chopping block, and gave it a whack with a nice sharp ax as he had done countless times before with countless chickens.


But Mike did not die.


Nope. He got up and began to walk around.


With no head!


Well, maybe with just enough head.


See, Olsen did not make the most accurate of chops and when he came down on Mike’s neck he did so in a way that lopped off almost all of his head but left one ear and a bit of Mike’s brainstem and his jugular intact.


He wasn’t running around like a chicken with his head cut off, no, he was strutting around like a chicken with his head very much attached.


So, of course, the Olsens got Mike a gig with a sideshow where he lived and performed for 18 months. He was quite popular.


I would like to say Mike had his happily headless after, but alas, as with so many stars he was found dead in a cheap motel in Phoenix, Arizona in 1947.


And thus the legend of Mike the Headless Chicken was born.


Did I mention they fed him with an eyedropper by dropping liquid food directly into his exposed esophagus?


They did.


Enjoy your nightmares. I for one did not.


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The 24 weirdest roadside attractions in the US



If you’re looking to take a fun-packed vacation that won’t cost an arm and a leg, or require the complications of air travel, consider piling into the family car and setting out on a road trip.

But don’t just drive nonstop to your camping destination. Take advantage of the many unique roadside attractions and drive-through destinations scattered across the country, and you might find that the journey is just as fun as the destination.

It’s time to pack up some road trip essentials, plan your playlist and hit the road. If you find yourself anywhere near any of these unique destinations, we highly encourage you to stop and check them out.

Related: Recession checklist: 7 things you need to survive an economic downturn


Skvader / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: San Jose, California

Inside this spooky old house, there are 24,000 square feet of oddities: staircases that lead nowhere, windows that peer into other rooms and even random toilets. Rumor has it this was to prevent spirits from haunting the place. Tickets cost $24.99 for adults, and separate tours of the garden are available as well. You can also tour the Winchester Mystery House virtually.


TopPhotoImages / istockphoto


  • Location: Niland, California

Local resident Leonard Knight created this colorful adobe clay mountain intended to spread the message, “God is love.” It’s covered with religious scripture, along with painted flowers, trees and birds. At 150 feet wide and 50 feet high, Salvation Mountain is certainly awe-inspiring and well worth a stop.


Steven_Kriemadis / istockphoto


  • Location: Lucas, Kansas

If you don’t have time to visit the world’s largest bottle of catsup or ball of twine, you can see tiny versions of all the world’s largest things in Erika Nelson’s shop in Lucas, Kansas. It’s only open by chance or by appointment, but if you happen to be driving by, it’s worth even just looking in the window.


World’s Largest Things Inc.


  • Location: Regent, North Dakota

Starting on Interstate 94 near Gladstone, North Dakota, you’ll find a series of giant metal sculptures along the Enchanted Highway. Each sculpture also features a parking lot so you can stop and snap some photos. It’s free to stop, and the seven sets of sculptures from “Geese in Flight” to “The Tin Family,” are also available as miniatures in the highway’s gift shop.


Skvader / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Alliance, Nebraska

Carhenge is a replica of Stonehenge, the historical landmark in England. It was built with old cars and also features sculptures made of old car parts. It’s free to park and walk around the trails, and you can visit any time during daylight hours. In the summer, the gift shop is open as well.


Richard J Woodland / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Cave City, Kentucky

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to walk among the dinosaurs, Dinosaur World is about as close as you’ll get. See hundreds of life-sized dinosaurs in an outdoor setting, and check out the indoor museum and gift shop as well. The property is even dog-friendly (with leashes), and you’re encouraged to bring your own drinks and snacks, so this could be an ideal picnic spot as well. Entry is just $8.


Beatrice Murch from Buenos Aires, Argentina / Wikimedia Commons


  • Location: Valentine, Texas

Prada Marfa is a permanent art installation located on Texas Highway 90. It’s designed to look like a Prada boutique filled with designer bags and shoes from the 2005 Prada collection, but it doesn’t function as a store. In fact, the door is always locked. Instead, this work by artists Elmgreen and Dragset is intended to degrade over time, serving as commentary on American consumerism. It’s “open” 24/7 year-round and free to visit.


theresajam1 / istockphoto


  • Location: Yucca, Arizona

This UFO museum is housed in a 40-foot geodesic dome that was originally built to represent a golf ball and promote land sales for a non-existent property development. The exterior alone is worth snapping a photo. Inside, you can walk through exhibits, look at FBI documents, and watch a film. Entry is $8, and there’s also a gift shop on the grounds.


Area 66 Museum / Facebook


  • Location: Turner, Oregon

Situated beside Oregon’s Interstate 5 is this fairytale amusement park filled with fantasy villages to walk through, roller coasters and water slides to enjoy, and a haunted house to visit. Enchanted Forest features a carousel, bumper cars, and rides for younger kids as well. Take a picture in front of the giant witch’s head and enter through the mouth to find a slide. Tickets are $14.50 per adult and rides are $2 to $4 each.


Trashbag at English Wikipedia / Wikimedia Commons


  • Location: Antonito, CO

This set of four towers was built out of beer cans and other metal pieces like hubcaps and grills. The reflective structures were constructed by a Native American Vietnam vet, Donald “Cano” Espinoza. He cites “vitamin Mary Jane” as part of the inspiration for his work, and also believes that Jesus has been living inside the castles. It’s free to visit, but a donation is recommended if you want to speak to Cano.


QKC / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Arlee, Montana

Located near medicinal hot springs and Glacier National Park, the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas is a botanical garden, public park and Buddhist center. It features symbolic sculptures, tons of green space, beautiful ponds and gorgeous views of the Montana wilderness. Many retreats and festivals are also hosted at the garden, including the free annual Peace Festival. The garden itself is also free to visit, but donations are encouraged.


Flea8888 / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Road trippers with an affinity for neon signs will be delighted by the biggest public sign collection in the nation. The American Sign Museum intends to preserve historic signage, from early gold-leaf signs to art deco neon. You can take pictures with the signs, and self-guided audio tours are available as well. Tickets are $15 for adults (up to three children 12 and under get in free with each paid adult).


5chw4r7z from Cincinnati / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Atlanta, Georgia

Located near Constitution Lakes Park is an unusual outdoor found art project. Local carpenter Joel Slaton began constructing art along the trail from doll parts and other junk found in the area. Visitors are encouraged to add their own found objects to the trail. The trail is mostly dotted with doll heads, but you’ll see collages and decorative items as well. All items in the collection were discovered in the park itself.


Doll’s Head Trail / Facebook


  • Location: Fort Mitchell, Kentucky

There’s something undeniably creepy about the world’s only ventriloquism museum. Vent Haven is home to more than 900 ventriloquist dummies from the 19th century and beyond, along with posters, recordings, memorabilia and more. Museum tours are available by appointment only, and there’s a $10 suggested donation per person.


5chw4r7z from Cincinnati / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Foyil, Oklahoma

This outdoor museum features the largest totem pole in the world, a 90-foot, intricately decorated work of art. The inside is hollow and the walls are covered with murals. Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park also includes several other totems and art objects, and a museum resembling a Navajo hogan also sits on the property. It’s free to visit.


AbeEzekowitz / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Scottsboro, Alabama

The Unclaimed Baggage Center collects the .03% of orphaned baggage that gets lost at the airport and never makes its way back to its owner. Some items from the baggage are repurposed or recycled, and about a third of the items are sold at the store. You can find some pretty unusual treasures at the center, and if you don’t want to spend money, it’s free to look around.


Unclaimed Baggage Center / Facebook


  • Location: Howes Cave, New York

An elevator takes you 156 feet below ground to explore this enormous cave system. At Howe Caverns, you’ll take an underground boat ride and explore large galleries. A traditional tour costs $25 per adult, and specialty tours are available as well. Advance reservations are required.


Andrea Charles / istockphoto


  • Location: Spring Green, Wisconsin

This resort and museum is filled with some very bizarre collections. There’s a giant indoor carousel, a dizzying infinity room sitting high above a forest floor with thousands of small windows, a collection of antique music machines and a beautiful Japanese garden. Tickets to the House on the Rock start at $14.95 for adults.


bogdanstepniak / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Detroit, Michigan

Painter and sculptor Tyree Guyton transformed this rundown area of Detroit into landscape art. You’ll see painted houses hung with stuffed animals and yards full of random objects. It’s colorful, strange and full of photo opportunities. The Heidelberg Project is free to explore.


The Erica Chang / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Northern California

There are three opportunities to drive through the center of a giant Redwood tree in Northern California. Each located just off Highway 101, they are privately owned and cost a small fee. The Shrine Tree in Myers Flat has a natural cleave you can drive through, and the Chandelier Tree and Klamath Tree have manmade openings.


Jan Kronsell / WikiMedia Commons


  • Location: Amarillo, Texas

This sculpture park, which features 10 Cadillacs partially buried in a field, has been attracting tourists since 1974. The cars are covered with graffiti that was added by visitors, and you’re welcome to leave your own mark on the sculptures. Cadillac Ranch is also pet-friendly and free to visit, and it’s open year-round.


StockPhotoAstur / istockphoto


  • Location: Madrid, New Mexico

Dozens of signs provide numerous photo opportunities at this unique roadside attraction. Become an alien, a hippie, or an “Easy Rider” as you put on your best silly face for the camera. It’s a small park, but it’s an easy stop that’s fun for kids and adults alike.


Facebook / Connie’s Photo Park


  • Location: Trinidad, Colorado

This museum houses a striking collection of sculpture art made from cars. You’ll see a van covered in eyeballs, a giant skeleton sitting atop a car, and so much more. There’s even car-themed artwork hanging from the walls and ceiling. What’s more, admission to Art Cartopia is free, and the guides are fun and entertaining.


Art Cartopia / Facebook


  • Location: Calvert City, Kentucky

Open all year from 8 a.m. until dusk, this park features a garden packed with folk art sculptures. Walk through the woods to see art made out of trash, and explore the giant Toyland diorama, which is packed with 3,500 nostalgic toys that are sure to bring out the kid in you. Admission to Apple Valley is free, but donations are welcome.



Apple Valley Hillbilly Garden and Toyland


No matter where you’re driving, you’re sure to find stops along the way that could turn your journey into a wacky adventure. Road trips are as fun as they are budget-friendly, especially with today’s low gas prices. You can even earn some serious rewards on the gas if you use one of the best gas credit cards. You may also want to apply for one of the best travel credit cards so you can earn rewards that could cut the cost of future trips.

A road trip may be the simplest way to travel this summer, but it doesn’t have to feel like a sacrifice. If you plan your itinerary so you can stop at awesome restaurants and roadside attractions, the drive won’t feel tedious, and your family will create unforgettable memories along the way.


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