Writer: Frank Spotnitz
Director: Rob Bowman
Mulder and Scully travel to Dudley, Arkansas to investigate the disappearance of Federal Poultry Inspector, George Kearns. Aided by Sheriff Arens, they examine a field where witnesses reported seeing fox-fire on the night Kearns went missing. Mulder suggests some sort of ceremony took place in the field, but the Sheriff dismisses it as an illegal trash burn, nothing more. The interview Kearn's wife who tells they that he probably ran off with a younger woman. The Agents visit the local Chaco Chicken processing plant, which Kearns was about to recommend be closed down due to health violations.
While they are there one of the workers, Paula Gray goes crazy and takes her supervisor hostage but Sheriff Arens shoots her dead. Mulder and Scully visit the plant's owner Walter Chaco, Paula was his granddaughter, they request permission to do an autopsy on her and he agrees. Scully discovers signs that Paula was suffering from Crutzfelt-Jacob's disease, the rare but non contagious disease that Kearns had. She also discovers that Paula is forty-seven old, however she looks to be in her early twenties. When a statistically impossible number of the local population also contract Crutzfelt-Jacob's disease, Mulder begins to get suspicious. He orders the dredging of a local river used as run out from the plant, which leads to the discovery of a number of mutilated skeletons. Mulder and Scully begin to suspect that chicken is not the staple diet of the local towns folk.
Guest star Gabrielle Miller also appears in Season 3 episode "Syzygy" as Brenda J. Summerfield, whom the teen girl killers murder with flying glass from a mirror.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is a fatal human form of mad cow's disease (BSE).
Almost every character in this episode was named after a real-life cannibal.
''Chaco Chicken'' was named for Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, where the Anasazi tribe lived and where boiled bones such as those depicted in the episode were uncovered.
Mulder: ... I remembered this, a documentary I saw in college about an insane asylum. It gave me nightmares.
Scully: I didn't think anything gave you nightmares.
Mulder: Eh, I was young.
Scully: All of these bodies share one strange detail, Mulder.
Mulder: Well, they seem to have lost their heads.