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Saturday, August 17, 2019


I spent quite a bit of my youth looking for melonheads.  Well, I never actually looked for them.  This NE Ohio folklore has had teenagers drinking and/or kissing in the dark of a specific wild and wooded area for over 100 years.

I was a kid when I first heard about melonheads.  Tough, older boys told a frightening tale of how they'd driven to a mansion in the daytime and hairy humanoids attacked their car, jumping on the hood and baring ferocious teeth.  Neighbors gathered to listen and examine deep scratches on the car.  I resolved to stay away from melonheads until my teenaged heart fluttered at a cute boy's invite to seek the monsters out.  Thankfully, he was more interested in drinking and kissing than actual cryptozoology. 

There are different stories, but the version I learned is a Dr. Crowe kept hydrocephalous (water on the brain) children.  He experimented and tortured them until they revolted and killed the bad doctor.  The poor children with melon-sized heads fled to the woods and lived there ever since.  Of course sick kids with big heads couldn't actually do those things, but keep logic out of this.  The fact is people report seeing melonheads which keeps the story alive.  I'm uncertain if I've seen them for that matter...

1. A noise woke me up when I was a very small child.  I peeked around a wall and saw a hairy monkey-like animal on the kitchen counter.  It snarled at me with a lot of sharp teeth.  I backed away and went to bed, hoping it wouldn't rip me and my family to shreds in the night.  Our house was under construction at the time, with plastic across the back to keep out the weather, but apparently not the wildlife.  Obviously, the art above should be all the evidence you need to convince you of its existence.  Okay, it's pointy ears weren't green, but other than that.

2. I was driving 35+ mph in the melonhead zone with girlfriend #1, at twilight.  A field was to our right, and something that looked almost human was running in that field.  It was going in the same direction as we were and it kept pace with us.  The light was very poor.  I can't say what I saw, but my girlfriend saw it too.  It scared both of us to death.

3. Girlfriend #2 and I drove from a party in Ashtabula (another rural place of weirdness).  I'll admit, we'd been drinking, but neither of us was impaired.  Our headlights lit up 2 humanish figures in a deep ditch at the side of the road.  It was 3-4:00 a.m. and there wasn't a house for a mile or two in either direction.  My friend absolutely, adamantly refused to go back.  I said, "What if there was an accident and they need help?"  My friend sanely pointed out we would've seen a car.  I don't want to sound crazy, but I'm real uncomfortable remembering those faces.  I'd like to think they were heavily bearded guys in a ditch where nobody in their right mind would be in the middle of the night.  I don't know what melonheads would be doing in the ditch for that matter.

Sunglasses next to print to give you sense of scale
but the black shadow they cast is kind of misleading
4. Girlfriend #3 and I found these 8 1/2" long tracks when we were walking in the woods.  We looked for the track-maker, but we couldn't find it.  It later occurred to me we should've looked up in the trees instead of at the ground.  I took my friend home, learned how to make a plaster cast, then stood nervously in the woods alone as the plaster dried.  None of the naturalists at the parks' headquarters could identify the tracks, even after poring through their reference books.

For more on melonheads go to Wikipedia or Weird Ohio (the last testimonial is very like my #2 above).  There are lots of websites on the topic which makes me wonder.  Life is strange.  Was the folklore of Dr. Crowe torturing sick children the best way for folks to make sense of animals that might actually exist, but aren't supposed to be real?  Or was it all to make girls clutch their boyfriends in the dark?


  1. Oooh, these are spooky stories! Glad I'm not reading them late at night! I'd never heard of melonheads or their origin - which is rather comical rather than spooky.

  2. Most people around here do laugh about them. They remember the drinking and kissing, so all good fun. There's a surprising number of people with scary stories too though so it's hard to know what to think.

  3. Doesn't every region has its own scary story? It is nice to read yours. There are people who hunt for these places and actively want to experience ghosts or spirits. Not me...and not you..:-)

  4. I've never been the type of person who actually wants to be scared, but I like knowing that we don't know everything and there are still more things to discover :)

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    2. Indeed, all we have are fashionable explanations that change through time.

  5. I have never heard about melonheads. But all areas have their mythological creeps. Or folklore. I think you come pretty close to explaining their existence in the last sentence. :-)

  6. I'm not sure if boys know it, but they don't really need monsters to get a girl to clutch them :D