One of the most absurd creatures spoken of in modern legend is the Melonheads. The Melonheads are humanoids with massive, veiny heads and relatively small bodies. They are said to hide in isolated places and will attack anyone who comes too close. Whether this is for self-protection or because the Melonheads are malevolent creatures varies from one telling to another, as well as location. In some stories the Melonheads will even eat those who stray onto their land.
Connecticut, Ohio, and Michigan all have different tales. In Connecticut the Melonheads were originally a family of people who practiced witchcraft. They were cast out by their neighbors and sought refuge in the wilderness, isolating themselves and spurning any interaction with other humans. Inbreeding and black magic were said to warp them, making them monstrous and repugnant to look upon. Ohio has a slightly more mournful tale to tell, one of orphaned children and an evil doctor who performed horrendous experiments on them. It is said that these experiments enlarged the children’s heads and drove them mad. The Ohio legend ends with the children one day murdering the doctor, Dr. Crow, and fleeing into the wilderness, where it can be assumed that they still live. Michigan’s legends are almost the same as the ones in Ohio, with the only difference being that the children already had hydrocephalus, a condition where one’s head has too much fluid inside, giving the unfortunate victim the appearance of an enlarged cranium.
Where these legends started, no one knows, but most suspect that they began sometime around the 1960’s and 1970’s, around the time that many cryptids and alien activity was being documented and interest in the paranormal was high. There is a general belief these days that all of these tales were circulated in order to cover up a heinous government experiment involving human children and alien DNA. It is also believed that the Melonheads really did escape some sort of facility, and it would make sense for them to fear and hate people if it was humans that created and experimented on them.
There are also more mundane theories as to the Melonheads’ origin. One states that there were, and possibly still are, a group of outcasts from Colonial times called the Melungeon, basically a mixed community of society’s undesirables that became fed up with being ostracized and formed an isolated community on their own. These communities were located more in the southern Appalachian Mountains, but the fact that the name “Melungeon” and “Melonhead” sound rather similar leads many to attribute the bizarre legend to this little forgotten bit of history. More than likely people began to use the term as a way to warn against inbreeding, as tiny, isolated communities are always rumored to be rife with incest and other sinful behavior. But still, this does not explain why the Melonhead stories suddenly peaked in the mid-1900’s, logical as it is.
On top of this, locals who grew up with these tales would outright condemn such a theory. “We’ve all been to the doctor’s house,” they might say, and offer to drive you over to have a look. To this day people who venture down some of the Melonhead roads could tell you of hunchbacked little men with massive heads. One resident of Eastlake, Ohio, described growing up in an outdoorsy family and spending a lot of time in the woods of Kirkland, where Melonheads are said to reside. He recalls the more secluded and less-traveled paths being lined with things like mutilated animal carcasses and bones, things that he never thought twice about because it was such a common occurrence. The Melonheads were marking their territory. What else could it be?
However, another story from Ohio points toward the old “scientist” theories, although quite different from the popularly believed one. The story goes that in 1964 a group of teenagers were driving around near Wickliffe, Ohio when they spotted a Melonhead watching from the side of the road. When they made eye contact, the Melonhead fled, and the group of kids decided to follow. They found a middle-aged couple sitting on the porch of a cozy little farmhouse, more Melonheads clustered around them. When the teens asked what was going on, the man told them that he had been a nuclear scientist during World War II, but the exposure to so much radiation caused all of his children to be born as Melonheads. The government paid him a large sum of money to keep quiet about it, so he and his wife had purchased a secluded little cabin together away from prying eyes. He made the teenagers promise to keep their secret, so naturally the whole school learned about it during a party not long afterward.
Skeptical of their classmates’ story, a large group of people from the party assembled to go pay the couple a visit. They were stopped along the way by a startlingly large group of policemen, who had somehow caught wind of their plan. When asked where they were all going, the teenagers explained everything, but the policemen grew angry and told them vehemently that there was no such thing as Melonheads. The officers took each and every one of them to the station and made them call their parents to come and get them. One of the kids stated that he felt the policemen’s anger and insistence proved that there were Melonheads. It basically backed up what the man had told the other teens back at the cabin. The government wanted those bulby-headed children to stay hidden.
One of the most recent sightings takes place in 2001, just outside of Chardon, Ohio. The witness in this story, Tony, was actually looking for the Melonheads with his family, driving up and down the roads where previous sightings had taken place. They were just about to head back home when Tony looked out his window and saw one of them sprinting alongside their vehicle, matching the car’s speed of 40-50mph. He stated that the Melonhead was not short, as he had heard, but was closer to 5’7”, much taller than the ones in the stories. The thing kept pace with them, disappearing into the wilderness when they rounded the bend.
Could the Melonheads from 1964 have grown up now? Have they all scattered and started living separately in secluded areas all over Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut? Based on past theories, the government could be transporting that man’s children around in order to protect them and keep them hidden, but it is hard to come up with a cohesive Melonhead history based on such varied and spread-apart accounts.
If they were just malformed humans, then why would there be stories of them ripping people limb from limb and hanging their bloody clothes up as a warning to others? To be fair, for all of these gory stories about the Melonheads, there does not seem to be any conclusive reports of missing peoples or unexplained murders in the areas they are said to lurk. So it is highly possible that these tales are entirely baseless, made up by locals simply to frighten their children and buddies around the campfire.
Most of the forum posts from witnesses describe brief encounters, where both parties were likely startled. One of the things Melonheads are known for is their infernal shrieking when they see cars passing by, which is how a lot of people describe their experiences. Most accounts simply have the creatures darting across the road, peeking shyly out from behind trees, or simply hanging back just far enough that the people driving by can see a shadowy figure in the space between two trees. People who get a good glimpse will describe what almost seems to be an accident. It is rumored that Melonheads have rather poor eyesight, only seeing brighter colors clearly, so it is possible that there have been many instances where someone snuck up on the poor creatures without realizing it.
Whatever they are, the Melonheads are certainly one of the weirdest weird things to wander the United States. Anyone looking to have their own Melonhead experience can visit Wisner Road in Kirkland, Ohio, or Dracula Road in Connecticut. These and the off-shooting roads are said to be Melonhead hotspots. Who knows? Maybe you will get lucky like Tony did. But just in case the bloodier rumors are true, I would make sure to lock your car doors and not venture out after the Melonheads. One can never be too careful, after all.