||This article is incomplete. (April 2016)|
A depiction of the Loveland frog climbing over the guardrail
|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. 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, 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.
The next widely recognized sighting was reported on 3 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 traveling along the Riverside Drive heading into Loveland, driving carefully because of icy conditions, when a creature scurried across the road in front of his vehicle. The creature was fully illuminated in his vehicle's headlights and he described 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) tall and about 50 to 75 pounds (23 to 34 kg), with leathery skin. He described the creature as being crouched like a frog, before standing erect to stare directly at him before climbing 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 reported seeing something crouched along the ice while driving and thought it was an injured or dead animal. He intended to remove it from the road but claims the creature stood erect on its hind legs. Matthews recounted shooting at the creature which then hobbled over the guardrail and into the river. Matthews gave a similar physical description of the creature as Shockey had, except for the addition of a tail.
Matthews later changed his story, claiming that he had 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
On the night of 3 August 2016, two teenagers playing Pokemon Go between Loveland Madeira Road and Lake Isabella reported seeing a giant frog near the lake which "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.
- "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.
- Shubel, Lisa (4 August 2016). "Local legend: Does the Loveland Frogman live on?". Fox19. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
- 2012, Sarah Chrichton Books, ISBN 9780374200954