||This article is incomplete. (April 2016)|
|First reported||March, 1955|
|Other name(s)||Loveland Lizard, Loveland Frogman|
The Loveland Frog (aka the Loveland Lizard) is a legendary humanoid frog described as standing roughly 4 feet (1.2 m) tall, allegedly spotted in Loveland, Ohio. A local man reported seeing three froglike men at the side of the road in 1955, and a police officer claimed to have seen a similar creature on a bridge in the city in 1972.
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 incidents were made into a musical, titled Hot Damn! It’s the Loveland Frog!.
The creature was allegedly first sighted in 1955. The exact date of the sighting is unknown but it's said to have been in 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. According to the first one, he was heading out of the Branch Hill neighborhood when he spotted three figures along the side of the road. They were 3 to 4 ft tall, had leathery skin and frog faces, and stood erect on their hind legs. In the other two versions, 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 businessman watched 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 businessman into fleeing the scene.
The next widely recognized sighting occurs on the 3rd of March 1972 at 1:00 am. A police officer named Ray Shockey (a local officer who was born in Loveland and spent 40 years on the force starting in 1971) claimed to have been driving carefully -because of icy conditions- along the Riverside Drive heading into Loveland when a creature scurried across the road in front of his vehicle. The creature was fully illuminated in his vehicle's headlight and he provided the following description. The creature was three to four feet tall, about 50 to 75 pounds, and had leathery skin. The creature was crouched like a frog, but stood erect and stared directly at him. It then climbed over the guardrail back down towards the river. In an investigation by Shockey's fellow officers, scratch marks or abrasions on the guardrail where the incident had been reported were found. However, there is no photographic evidence to support those claims.
Two weeks after that incident, a police officer named Mark Matthews had another encounter with the creature. He saw something crouched along the ice while driving and mistook it for an injured or dead animal. He intended to remove it from the road but the creature stood erect on its hind legs. The officer shot at the creature which then hobbled over the guardrail and into the river. Matthews gave a similar description to the one Shockey gave, except for the addition of a tail.
Matthews changed his story, claiming that he'd only seen a large lizard, possibly an escaped pet iguana. He tried to capture it so he could support officer Shockey's story, which was not taken very seriously by others in the department. In a supposed email interview in 2001, he is often quoted as writing that the incident was "habitually blown out of proportion." And that:
It was and is no 'monster'. It was not leathery or had wet matted fur. It was not 3-5 feet tall. It did not stand erect. The animal I saw was obviously some type of lizard that someone had as a pet that either got too large for its aquarium, escaped by accident or they simply got tired of it. It was less than 3 feet in length, ran across the road and was probably blinded by my headlights. It presented no aggressive action.— Mark Matthews, Skeptoid.com, The Loveland Frog
- 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.
- "Loveland Frog". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. October 18, 1985. p. 1. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
- Haupt, Ryan. "The Loveland Frog". skeptoid.com.