Have you ever been listening to someone tell a story and you know for sure they’re making the entire thing up? That’s how you might feel when you read these five crazy facts that might sound like lies, but are totally true!

1. Mike the chicken lived for 18 months without his head

On September 10, 1945,  farmer Lloyd Olsen from Fruita, Colorado decided to butcher a chicken for dinner.

He chose a 5 month old cockerel named Mike.  When Lloyd attempted to cut Mike’s head off with an axe, he cut off most of the head, but missed the jugular vein and left one ear and the brain stem intact.

When Mike did not die, Olsen decided to care for the bird and fed him a mixture of milk and water along with small grains of corn.  Mike quickly became famous and began touring side shows.

At the height of his popularity, Mike earned Olsen $4,500 per month and appeared in features in Time and Life magazines.

In March, 1947, Mike got a kernel of corn stuck in his throat and choked to death.  Fruita, Colorado still holds an annual “Mike the Headless Chicken Day.”

2. A cloud typically weighs 1.1 million pounds

Scientists have measured the water density of a typical cumulus cloud (the white, fluffy ones you see on a nice day) as 1/2 gram per cubic meter and volume as 1 billion cubic meters.

Do the math and you wind up with a cloud that weighs 1.1 million pounds, almost as much weight as 100 elephants.

So, why doesn’t it fall to the ground?  The weight is distributed among trillions of really tiny water droplets spread out over a really big space.

Some of these droplets are so small that you would need a million of them to make one raindrop.

3. Cigarettes were promoted as being healthy products until the early 1950s

In the 1930s, the public began to be concerned about the health consequences of smoking cigarettes.

Executives of tobacco companies knew they had to take action, so they initiated ad campaigns using doctors.

The ads showed doctors smoking cigarettes or even prescribing a certain brand of cigarette to their patients.

By the mid 50s, medical research showed a link between cigarette use and lung cancer.

In 1965, the tobacco industry was required to put warning labels on its products and advertisements to warn the public of the health risks associated with smoking.

Despite the research and health warnings, it is estimated more than 400,000 people still die before their time as a result of the use of tobacco products.

4. Charlie Chaplin lost a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest

Image credit: meunierd / Shutterstock.com

The contest was held in France in 1975.  I’m sure he thought he would win and everyone would have a good laugh, but instead, he came in 3rd!

He isn’t the only celebrity to lose a look-alike contest.  Dolly Parton once lost a drag queen competition of her likeness.

5. Can openers were invented 48 years after cans were invented

In 1810, Peter Durand used iron and tin to create the world’s first can, making long term food preservation possible.  That was the good news.

The bad news was that the can opener wasn’t invented until almost a half century later.

So, how did people open cans without a can opener?  They used a hammer and chisel!  Not the best method to keep food from being mashed, but it worked!