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1904, November 12: Biddy, the Headless Chicken

The Legend:

On November 12, 1904, Herbert V. Hughes was killing chickens for the Sunday dinner at the Belvidere Hotel in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, in the United States. Hughes, proprietor of the hotel, passed a number of the now headless hens to a maid to have them cleaned and gutted... but shortly thereafter she started screaming and ran from the room. And little wonder why... an entirely headles black Minorca hen was slowing walking around the room!

        Hughes found he could feed the strange chicken by using a syringe to inject food straight into the exposed esophagus. The hen, now named "Biddy," could walk, stretch and flap her wings, and would adjust her position on her perch. The headless animal didn't seem to be in pain. not surprsingly, crowds came to the hotel to view the wonderous critter during her short afterlife... Biddy died on November 30, this time for sure.

My Source

        The above details come from a 1931 issue of Reader's Digest. While I'm not thrilled that the article is printed 27 years after the event is said to have occurred, it's still an interesting account in that it doesn't go overboard on the details. I will try to confirm the story in newspaper sources from Michigan, so check back!