Headless chicken paralyzes downtown 

Downtown commuters had a brush with the occult Tuesday morning. About 8:30 a.m., police sealed off several blocks of downtown Orlando, including streets surrounding Orlando Weekly headquarters at the corner of Jefferson Street and Garland Avenue, after an anonymous source called in a report of a suspicious device on the train tracks nearby.

The "device" was a sealed, brown-paper bag. These being dangerous times and all, police called in the fire department, which declined to open the bag. Instead they called in the arson and bomb squad to "disrupt" it.

What that means exactly is unclear. Orlando Fire Department assistant chief Kathy Miller said "disrupting" might include shooting a water cannon at the package. Miller wouldn't get anymore specific.

The "disruption" produced a small, almost silent explosion. Then the bag was left undisturbed for about 20 minutes, its contents strewn about the tracks, until firefighters moved in to inspect the package.

A close look revealed that it contained a headless chicken. Contacted for this story, a poultry expert said the chicken could potentially have been delicious, however leaving it unrefrigerated in a closed container raises the possibility that it harbored the salmonella virus.

Miller speculated that voodoo could be involved."We have a lot of people from Haiti in the area practicing Santeria," she said.

Santeria -- which originated in west Africa and spread during the slave trade to Cuba, Haiti, Trinidad, and Puerto Rico -- is a blend of Catholicism and voodoo complete with omens, curses and spells.

"Have you done any stories on Santeria lately?" Miller asked.

A Weekly spokesman declined comment. Sources close to the paper indicate that Santeria has not been a topic for the alternative weekly.

Firefighters placed the chicken in a biohazard bag and removed it from the scene. Police have no reports of a missing chicken.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

October 21, 2020

View more issues


© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation