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The Melonhead legend of Ohio (+ photos)

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posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 01:18 AM

Melonheads - A Monstrous Mystery

Fooffstarr explores a bizarre legend, and discovers that these strange creatures may really be more than just a myth…

Urban legends are not a recent phenomenon. Going back hundreds of years, communities would all have their own spooky stories that were told to each new generation. The elders always knew that the new generation would adopt the legend, most likely explore it themselves and pass it on to their own children. You know, every town has that haunted house that the kids are told never to go in. It becomes kind of a right of passage for teenagers to spend a night inside.

It harks back to ancient times where tribes used to undertake coming of age ceremonies. In some cultures, the children would have to spend a night (or longer) alone far from home, in the wild.

I recently heard of one of these urban legends, this one stemming from several communities around Cleveland, Ohio. I later found out that the same creatures are seen in Connecticut and Michigan. The following is what I have learned in my research of ‘The Melonheads’ and why there is more to this legend than I first thought.



There are several versions of the same story, as with most urban legends, but they all tell essentially the same tale.

The original source of the tale seems to come from the Kirkland area near Cleveland. There is a road there, Wisner Road, and it is said that the following tale occurred at a home in the woods just off that road. The bridge on Wisner Road is the location of several reported sightings.

The bridge on Wisner road

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The bridge on Wisner road

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Back in the 1800s there was an unlicensed doctor by the name of Crow, or Crowe. He adopted several orphans who all had the same problem; hydrocephalus.

Wikipedia defines hydrocephalus as:

Hydrocephalus (pronunciation IPA: /ˌhaɪˌdɹoʊˈsɛfələs/) is a term derived from the Greek words "hydro" meaning water, and "cephalus" meaning head, and this condition is sometimes known as "water on the brain". People with hydrocephalus have abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the ventricles, or cavities, of the brain. This may cause increased intracranial pressure inside the skull and progressive enlargement of the head, convulsion, and mental disability.


These children were supposedly abused by Crow(e), and in his attempts to fix their problem, he only made it worse by injecting more water into their heads. It was said he also experimented on their bodies and left them horribly deformed.

The children eventually rebelled, killed the doctor and burnt the home. They then fled into the woods.

Alternatively, it is said that Crow(e) got into a confrontation with his wife, who the children adored. She fell and hit her head on a wardrobe. The children, thinking Crow(e) had murdered her (she was just unconscious) swarmed the man and beat him to death. They then set fire to the house and unwittingly burned Mrs Crow(e) alive.

Over several hundred years, the same bloodlines of this handful of children is said to have been interbred and the enlarged head and deformed body became ingrained in their genes. They survived in the woods and reports have been told ever since of these ‘melonheads’ emerging from the trees.

Some say they are placid and simply watch the traffic and others have reported being attacked by the creatures.



When I first read this legend I thought there would most likely be nothing to it. Sure, it is a great tale that would scare children and make the rounds at high school, but it didn’t sound plausible as a real occurrence.

That’s when I found the research done by Ryan Orvis.

I went to the library and found a newspaper article from the West Geauga Sun claiming that a Dr. Kroh had been influenced by Gregor Mendel and was experimenting on humans to increase the size of their heads. His experiments failed, and in a fit of pique he piled his genetic mutations into his car and left them by the side of Chagrin River Road in Kirtland, where they presumably fled into the woods and have remained to this day.


So there was a real Dr Kroh, according to that newspaper. The dates are out though, as apparently this Dr Kroh lived in the area around WW2 and used radiation on the children. The rest of the story remains nearly identical.

Ryan Orvis then goes on to discover that there was at least one child with hydrocephalus in the area, and he could possibly have started the legend.

In the late '50s and early '60s a few children with hydrcephalus lived in northeast Ohio. One of them lived on Wisner Road and was enrolled in the Kirtland school district. The boy and his 'normal' friends, who were all preteens, would creep up on parked cars and scare away the older kids. The frightened students would tell their peers at school that they had been 'chased by the Melon Heads!' Children afflicted with hydrocephalus do not live very long, so the original Melon Head died of natural causes. He is buried in Kirtland South Cemetery. His friends are now businessmen in Kirtland.


Several other sources claim that at another local cemetery on King Memorial Road, there are a strangely high percentage of children’s graves, speculated to be from failed experiments by this Dr Kroh.

King Memorial Road Cemetery

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King Memorial Road Cemetery

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There are also several ‘witnesses’ on various websites claiming to have seen a melonhead.

The majority of these claims don’t seem very credible and sound like exactly what I originally thought; teenagers retelling an old urban legend with their own twist.

There is this story though, from someone named ‘Tony’, that doesn’t really stick to the blueprint and apparently has multiple witnesses.

"On October 5, 2001, my stepfather, mom, stepbrother, and I were driving down Chillicothe Road in Chardon. We came up on a stretch of road with fields on both sides and an irragation ditch running parallel to it. I looked out my window and saw him—a Melon Head!

He, or it, was running next to the ditch. We were going about 45-50 mph, and the Melon Head was actually keeping up with us. It didn't look like anything like I've heard in the stories. It looked about the same height as me (five feet seven inches) and was wearing ripped up brown pants held together by what looked like corn husk. It wore a white shirt with brown and red stains all over it. (I'm hoping the red stains weren't blood.)

Its head was a very light brown tint with two holes in the sides that I think were ears. Its head was swelled up, and its eyes were very big. Just as we turned a curve, it jumped into the woods."


There are plenty of explanations for this sighting. Possibly a teenager pulling their legs, as many of my sources claim high school kids in each of the Melonhead areas love to keep the legend alive by scaring tourists and passers by. The other, more likely explanation, is that the entire incident was made up by a kid with an overactive imagination. We cannot prove either, however, so the tale remains neither proved or fake.

Science also puts a stick in the spokes of this legend.

Hydrocephalus is not passed on through each generation. It is a condition that is strongly tied to other illnesses such as meningitis, tumors and head trauma.

I highly doubt the 'scientific experiments' of Dr Kroh (if they ever occured) would be enough to turn a very specific condition into a hereditary one.



Personally, I’m not sure. It all sounds like a B-grade horror movie.

However, the fact that a real Dr Kroh did live in the area and supposedly experimented on children lends a lot of weight to the legend.

Every urban legend had to start somewhere.

The lack of witnesses is a negative though. Several sources claim that ‘dozens’ are reported each year, yet I could only find a handful on the web. As said previously, most were obviously made up.

I encourage anyone that lives in the area to check it out for themselves and help me out. Being in Australia makes it kind of hard to go there myself, but if I could, I’d be there in a heartbeat.

What do you think? Is there any truth to the tale?




Haunted Places in Ohio

Melonheads + Cemetary Images

Dead Ohio - Melonheads

Creepy Cleveland

Wikepedia - Hydrocephalus

[edit on 4-3-2009 by fooffstarr]

[edit on 4-3-2009 by fooffstarr]

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 02:24 AM
Are they related to Pumpkin Head? Lol.

I have no idea about the veracity of the "Melon Head" Sightings, but the bridge and so forth reminds me of a local legend we have, dubbed "The Bunny Man Bridge".

There could very well be a basis in truth to the Ohio Sightings, as there typically is with any Urban Legend. I do wonder however if the traits of these Children are still around, or if only pranksters remain? The first thought that crossed my mind when hearing about the "Melon Heads" was something out of a Typical "Greys" EBE Story.

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 03:08 AM
Stared and flagged. I am in love! A poster that presents some original content, in a nice presentation and has done research to boot!I am going to be following you Fooff... THANK YOU!!!



posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 04:10 AM
Time well spent here!

I’d never heard of Melonhead before - how spooky and how cool (the legend).
So horrid to learn - once again - orphans were abused, but, great to hear they got their revenge!
I'd love to go visit and see if I could stir up one of these legends but I'm a bit far from there also...

Great post!
S&F and would twice if I could.

EDIT: Found this pic on Google search.

If I had put my imagination of these kids in picture form it couldn't have been any closer!
That and I refuse to post pics of the wee little ones with this condition - too heartbreaking for me...



[edit on 4-3-2009 by silo13]

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 05:44 AM

This is probably the best post I've seen in a while. Expertly presented, and great research.

I had never heard of this, but have a friend in Cleveland, so will ask her what she knows!

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 06:27 AM
reply to post by silo13

Hey bro,

That's Quentin Tarantino in that Pic you posted there right?

Not bad, I haven't seen such a handsome pic of him before

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 06:28 AM

I do agree, op, it is a well presented and completely original thread

Thank G-d LOL

Because we have 3 more years to go before another Presidential race... and I'm missing seeing melon heads daily

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 08:35 AM
According to some rumors we have melon heads in monroe CT that have terrozied a few motorist. Have not personally gone to investigate though.

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 09:09 AM
HAH! Duped again by fooffstar...

I saw "+photos" and thought... oh I'll get photos of alleged sightings!

Nope.. I got photos of bridges I could have taken by walking down my own road.

Great data, and research, but unless there are photos of an alleged sighting, I don't think it's pertinent to the title...

[edit on 4-3-2009 by HunkaHunka]

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 05:09 PM
Thanks for the replies

I'm really after some more legends to look into. The only condition is that there is information readily available on the web (unless it is based in Australia). So if you know of any good cryptozoology-related tales, let me know.

reply to post by TheAgentNineteen

This is probably the most interesting legend I've looked at, albeit the most likely to be fake.

I'd say, even if there are 'melonheads' still around, 95% of sighting reports would be pranksters and fibbers.

I thought of 'grays' too when I read about it, although I think it is unrelated.

reply to post by HypnoAsp

Thanks for the kind post. Star for you

I simply have too much spare time on my hands and am obsessed with Cryptozoology, so those factors end up with me spending days reading up on legends. I thought, why not compile what I find for my friends on ATS? It is my own little Monsterquest

reply to post by silo13

Glad you liked it.

Yeah, this legend was a sad one. I had never heard of the condition before myself, and seeing some of the images in the search was heartbreaking.

I'm trying to dig up some more relatively unheard of legends to look into, and I do have a special love for American ones, but It is hard unless there is a lot of information on the web.

reply to post by TheOmen


Yeah, ask around. Anyone that any of you know in the area. I'm sure they'll know the stories at least, and probably know 'friends of friends' that have seen them etc.

reply to post by mopusvindictus

Haha, indeed. Gotta find some new terrors to inflict upon the children now that Dubya is gone.

reply to post by VampireZio


Should check it out and let us know what you find.

reply to post by HunkaHunka

Sorry you feel duped.

I've learned from experience on ATS that it doesn't matter how well written something is, people get bored and sometimes don't even open the thread unless images are involved.

It is a simple 'marketing' ploy to get people to read my work. I did have real photos in my Yowie post, albeit tiny ones.

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 11:14 PM
well you could look into the legend of the goatman thats a pretty interesting tale. oh and great thread

posted on Mar, 4 2009 @ 11:28 PM
reply to post by TheAgentNineteen

Ah you must be a Northern Virginian??? I have been to Bunny Man's Bridge myself- scared the hell out of me.

posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 04:02 AM
reply to post by fooffstarr

Another nice thread, OP. Keep up the good work; posts of this caliber should serve as examples to other ATSers. Informative and engaging, and a fair introduction to a little bit of weirdness I hadn't heard of. S&F - Fort would no doubt be beaming at this one.

reply to post by HunkaHunka

Anomalous phenomena, by their nature, are unlikely to be captured on camera. And even mundane events, while newsworthy, do not always lend themselves to visual representation. Consider how many news articles you've read recently about the global economic calamity that are accompanied by a photo of a national banker, such as Ben Bernanke or Alistair Darling, simply because they made a pronouncement on the subject. The image itself does not prove that there is a global economic calamity; it is nonetheless relevant and connected to the story. Such is the case as well with the OP's inclusion of images of the specific locales mentioned in the Melonhead story and images of sufferers of the identified affliction. Nothing outlandish is being suggested, but an interesting case is being presented for contemplation and discussion. The photos need not provide proof in order to be pertinent. Rather like those in a popular magazine versus those in a peer-reviewed journal.

[edit on 3/5/09 by articulus]

posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 03:57 PM
reply to post by articulus

Thanks a lot.

I know it sounds very self righteous, but I've just been sick of the baseless gossip filling the crypto forum (cough vampires and werewolves) and thought I'd do something about it.

As I've been told before by moderators, if you don't like what is in a forum, make 'better' topics yourself. Create the content you want to see.

Hopefully some more people take my lead and do some research into their favourite cryptozoology entities.

posted on Mar, 5 2009 @ 04:46 PM
Great to see this story make ATS. I grew up in the area just south of Kirtland and we heard the stories as kids and naturally drove around the area during our High School years. Never saw a melonhead but a friend of a friend did

It is a great story based partly on truth. Ever done research on Helltown? This is another legend based south of the Mellonhead town.

posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 01:41 AM
reply to post by jibeho

Thanks for posting.

I was hoping a local would be on ATS

How seriously did people take the legend in your area? Like adults, not only the teenagers. Did people believe it? Or was it something that people kind of grew out of?

I'll check this Helltown out as well.

posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 07:13 AM
reply to post by fooffstarr

Many adults in the area, those who actually grew up in the area, like to keep the legend alive. The story is fun to pass down and to share with new neighbors who may not be familiar with it.

Regarding Helltown... I have explored the area on foot and I have also ridden beyond the "end of the world" on a bicycle. The story has been around long enough that people actually take it seriously and have begun practicing certain rituals in the area on occasion. However, many more people are chased away by locals or the small town Police Dept.

The links you attached to your original post are excellent. I always enjoy going to some of those sites. Check this site out as well. It contains some great pictures of a variety of locations. One of my favorites is the History of Franklin Castle in Cleveland. It is still a strange place with a checkered past.

Thanks again for posting this thread.


[edit on 6-3-2009 by jibeho]

posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 08:31 AM
Nice post.

There are all sorts of legends. We have a small community on the outskirts of my hometown of Crockett,Texas. It is called "The lost leg lodge." Supposedly, there is a ghost of a woman who goes around knocking on doors wailing "Where's my leg."

The story behind it are kind of sketchy. Supposedly a man killed and chopped up his wife and buried her out there,not sure when. Anyway, the story goes that a dog dug a leg up out of the ground and carried it to someone's yard. Ever since that time, there have been incessant reports of knocking and wailing.

posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 09:21 AM
A movie is supposedly in production about this legend, though it looks pretty cheesy.

"The most anticipated horror movie of the decade" lol

After a High School hazing prank goes wrong, the next class of cheerleaders must find a new way to show their dominance over the school. They will set out to disprove the local legend and party the weekend away in ‘Melonhead Country’. Find out what happens when a bunch of girls go camping with beer, booze, drugs and no parents. Learn the story of Dr. Crow and how his evil breed has terrified these parts for over 50 years.

[edit on 6-3-2009 by Bombeni]

posted on Mar, 6 2009 @ 11:48 AM
You're right, the movie looks pretty damn cheesy...
It looks to be akin to something like Wicked Lake or something.

[edit on 6-3-2009 by SpeakerofTruth]

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