Artist's impression of Loveland frog legend
|Other name(s)||Loveland Lizard, Loveland Frogman|
In Ohio folklore, the Loveland frog (a.k.a. the Loveland lizard) is a legendary humanoid frog described as standing roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, allegedly spotted in Loveland, Ohio. According to legend, a local man reported seeing three froglike men at the side of the road in 1955. In 1972, the Loveland frog legend gained renewed attention when Loveland police officers sighted and killed an animal they later identified as a large iguana that was missing its tail.
University of Cincinnati folklore professor Edgar Slotkin compared the Loveland frog to Paul Bunyan, saying that stories about it have been passed down for "several decades" and that sighting reports seem to come in predictable cycles.
In May 2014, the Loveland frog legend was made into a musical, titled Hot Damn! It's the Loveland Frog!.
According to various legends, the creature was first sighted in 1955, with some versions of the story specifying the month of May. There are three different versions of that story that only differ slightly from each other. The three stories start the same way, with a businessman or a traveling salesman driving along an unnamed road late at night. The stories start to diverge at this point: in one story, the driver was heading out of the Branch Hill neighborhood when he spotted three figures stood erect on their hind legs along the side of the road, each 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) in height, with leathery skin and frog faces. In the other two versions of the story, the creatures were spotted under or over a poorly lit bridge (there are a number of bridges in Loveland going over the Little Miami river). The story tells of the businessman watching the figures converse for a while until one of the creatures held a wand over its head and fired a spray of sparks, startling the observer into fleeing the scene.
On 3 March 1972 at 1:00 am, Loveland police officer Ray Shockey was driving on Riverside Drive near the Totes boot factory and the Little Miami River when an unidentified animal scurried across the road in front of his vehicle. The animal was fully illuminated in his vehicle's headlights, and he described it as 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) long and about 50 to 75 pounds (23 to 34 kg), with leathery skin. He reported spotting the animal "crouched like a frog" before it momentarily stood erect to climb over the guardrail and back down towards the river.
Two weeks after the incident, a second Loveland police officer, Mark Matthews, reported seeing an unidentified animal crouched along the road in the same vicinity as Shockey's sighting. Matthews shot the animal, recovered the body, and put it in his trunk to show officer Shockey. According to Matthews, it was "a large iguana about 3 or 3.5 feet long", and he didn't immediately recognize it because it was missing its tail. Mathews speculated the iguana had been someone's pet that "either got loose or was released when it grew too large". According to Mathews, Shockey was shown the dead iguana and confirmed it was the animal he had seen two weeks previously. Matthews recounted the incident to an author of a book about urban legends, but says the author "omitted the part that confirmed that the creature was an iguana rather than a Frogman".
In August 2016, local Cincinnati TV stations reported that "a night of fun turned into a chilling tale of horror" when two teenagers playing Pokemon Go between Loveland Madeira Road and Lake Isabella claimed to see a giant frog near the lake on August 3 that "stood up and walked on its hind legs".
James Renner's science fiction/mystery novel The Man From Primrose Lane features a fictionalized version of the Loveland frog. In the novel, which is set in Renner's home state of Ohio, the beings described as a frogs are in fact humans who have traveled backwards in time. Their amphibian appearance is due to being covered in a layer of feces and other human waste during years of hibernation, which also accounts for their unusual, shuffling gait due to muscle atrophy.
- Deena West Budd (1 March 2010). "Frogmen of Loveland". The Weiser Field Guide to Cryptozoology: Werewolves, Dragons, Skyfish, Lizard Men, and Other Fascinating Creatures Real and Mysterious. Weiser Books. pp. 43–45. ISBN 978-1-60925-083-6.
- Lee, Marika (May 22, 2014). "'Loveland Frogman' gets own musical". cincinnati.com. Retrieved 12 July 2014.
- Legatte, Jim. "Officer who shot 'Loveland Frogman' in 1972 says story is a hoax". WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, Cincinnati. WCPO.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- "Loveland Frog". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. October 18, 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Haupt, Ryan (30 June 2015). "Skeptoid #473: The Loveland Frog". Skeptoid. Retrieved 22 June 2017.
- Binkowski, Brooke. "'Loveland Frogman' Spotted Again?". Snopes. Snopes.com. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- Shubel, Lisa (4 August 2016). "Local legend: Does the Loveland Frogman live on?". Fox19. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- Legatte, Jim (August 2016) Know the legend of the Loveland Frogman? This man claims he spotted it WCPO-TV, Cincinnati
- 2012, Sarah Chrichton Books, ISBN 9780374200954