If you’re a person with a brain that enjoys going down rabbit holes, there’s a good chance you’ve spent some time pondering not only the character of Colonel Sanders, but the chicken he hocks, too.
Why does he like chicken so much? He’s not a chef, so why do we trust his opinion on chicken? Is he really a colonel?
How did this particular fried chicken get to be the fried chicken worldwide? What are the seven secret spices?
The questions go on and on, my friends, and funnily enough, so do the myths and legends surrounding the man himself.
If your curiosity is piqued, you’re going to love these 5 tidbits.
5. Colonel Sanders cursed a Japanese baseball team.
Or at least, his statue might have.
In Japan, baseball teams have a tradition where the winning team gathers on a bridge and calls out the names of the triumphant players. From the crowd, the fan who most resembles the player jumps into the river.
There was no one who resembled American pitcher Randy Bass, who helped the Hanshin Tigers win a championship in 1985, for obvious reasons, and so the crowd grabbed a statute of Colonel Sanders and chucked it into the water.
The moment began a decades-long drought, and the team has not won another championship to this day.
The statue was recovered in 2009, but the Curse of the Colonel remains.
4. It’s not real chicken.
In 1991, Kentucky Fried Chicken officially changed it’s name to KFC, and rumors began to fly that they were legally forced to because they didn’t use “real” chicken.
The chickens were so genetically modified that they couldn’t stand! Some didn’t have heads! Or feathers!
There was no shortage of wild rumors, but the company maintained that KFC was simply shorter and snappier, and they hoped omitting the word “fried” would endear them to the health-conscious.
They omitted “chicken” because they planned to add more menu items.
The myths persisted, though, causing KFC to address it on its website:
“KFC sources 100 percent real chicken – of the absolutely non-GMO variety – from trusted US farms.
This case went to court, where the rumors were thoroughly debunked and shown to be as false as they were silly.”
3. A KFC customer bit into a fried rat.
This urban legend tells the tale of a woman who bit into her piece of fried chicken only to learn it was a fried rat, instead.
This has never been proven to be true.
A family did sue the restaurant in 2000, claiming they found an entire chicken head in their order, but after refusing to let the company examine it, the lawsuit was dismissed.
2. Colonel Sanders was a real Army Colonel.
Harland Sanders, the founder of KFC, did enlist in the U.S. Army as a boy, but never reached the rank of colonel.
He was 40 when he launched his first food service in 1930, and five years later, his chicken was so popular that Kentucky Governor Ruby Laffoon awarded him the honorary title of colonel.
In 1949 he decided to use the honorary title for marketing purposes.
He grew the goatee and the mustache, then the white suit and black string tie, becoming the iconic and enduring face of the company.
1. He stole the secret spices recipe.
Many believe that Sanders stole the secret spices recipe from a Southern Black woman named Miss Childress, and that he paid for her silence with a meager $1200.
Given that white entrepreneurs have a long history of taking all manner of ideas from Black people and giving them no credit, the story is certainly possible (maybe probable), but there’s no evidence or proof that backs it up.
These were just delightful, don’t you think?
Do you know any more legends or myths about the colonel of chicken? Share them with us in the comments!