Melon Heads is the name given to legendary beings and urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads, theorized in the 1970's, who occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people. Different variations of the legend attribute different origins.
Legend in Michigan
The melon heads of Michigan are said to reside around Felt Mansion, although they have also been reportedly seen in southern forested areas of Ottawa County. According to one story, they were originally children with hydrocephalus who lived at the Junction Insane Asylum near Felt Mansion. The story explains that, after enduring physical and emotional abuse, they became feral mutants and were released into the forests surrounding the asylum. The Allegan County Historical Society asserts that the asylum never existed, although it was at one point a prison; however, the story has been part of the local folklore for several decades. Laketown Township Manager Al Meshkin told the Holland Sentinel that he had heard the tales as a teenager, noting that his friends referred to the beings as "wobbleheads". Some versions of the legend say that the children once lived in the mansion itself, but later retreated to a system of underground caverns. Other versions of this legend say that the children devised a plan to escape and kill the doctor that abused them. It is said that the children had no place to hide the body, so they cut it up in small pieces which they hid around the Mansion. Rumors exist that teenagers who had broken into the mansion saw ghosts of the children and claimed to see shadows of the doctor's murder through the light coming from an open door. The legend has spread throughout the region, even becoming the subject of a 2011 film simply titled The Melonheads, which is based around the West Michigan legend.
Legend in Ohio
The melon head stories of Ohio are primarily associated with the Cleveland suburb of Kirtland. According to local lore, the melon heads were originally orphans under the watch of a mysterious figure known as Dr. Crow (sometimes spelled Crowe, Trubaino, Krohe or Kroh or known as Dr. Melonhead). Crow is said to have performed unusual experiments on the children, who developed large, hairless heads and malformed bodies. Some accounts claim that the children were already suffering from hydrocephalus, and that Crow injected even more fluid into their brains.
Eventually, the legend continues, the children killed Crow, burned the orphanage, and retreated to the surrounding forests and supposedly feed on babies. Legend holds that the melon heads may be sighted along Wisner Road in Kirtland, and Chardon Township. The melon head legend has been popularized on the Internet, particularly on the websites Creepy Cleveland and DeadOhio where users offer their own versions of the story. A movie, "Legend of the Melonheads" was released in 2011 which is based on the Ohio legend and various other legends in the Kirtland area.
Legend in Connecticut
Several variations of the Melon Head legend can be found throughout Southwest Connecticut, especially in eastern Fairfield County and western New Haven County, Connecticut. In eastern Fairfield County many tales can be found in Trumbull, Shelton, Stratford, Monroe, Easton and Weston. In western New Haven County tales can be found in towns like Seymour, Oxford, Milford, and Southbury.
There are two primary Connecticut variations. According to the first variation of the myth, Fairfield County was the location of an asylum for the criminally insane that burned down in the fall of 1960, resulting in the death of all of the staff and most of the patients with 10-20 inmates unaccounted for, supposedly having survived and escaped to the woods. The legend states that the melon heads' appearance is the result of them having resorted to cannibalism in order to survive the harsh winters of the region, and due to inbreeding, which in turn caused them to develop hydrocephalus.
Some of the possible inspiration of these legends may be attributed by the now defunct Fairfield Hills State Mental Hospital in Newtown as well as the Garner Correctional Institution, also located in Newtown, CT as well as the Federal Correctional Institution located in near by Danbury. Also this area of Fairfield County has been historically a rural area filled with farms and forests. The proximity of several criminal and psychiatric institutions located in rural areas of the county may have contributed elements to the legend of the Melon heads'.
According to the second variation, the melon heads are descendants of a Colonial era family from Shelton-Trumbull who were banished after accusations of witchcraft were made against them causing them to retreat to the woods. As with the first legend, this variation attributes the appearance of the melon heads to inbreeding. Melon Heads allegedly prey upon humans who wander into their territory.
A number of Connecticut-based legends of the melon heads have similar characteristics. These characteristics often involve a secluded, rustic or single lane (usually) dirt road running through the melon heads' wooded and forested territory. Many towns in Fairfield County and New Haven County have rural and forested sections and it is not uncommon for these forests to have rural roads running through them. These rural roads at times are associated with the local variation of the Melon Head legend and claim to be part of the Melon Heads territory.
In a number of towns like Shelton, Trumbull and Monroe several legends place the melon heads' territory on a mysterious and mythical street referred to as Dracula Drive. No actual street or road in any of the towns that have melon heads' legend have roads designated as Dracula Drive. Depending on what version of the legend that is told, one of several actual streets are mistakenly refereed to or coincidentally coincide with the Dracula Drive mentioned in the melon head stories. For instance some legends place the melon heads' territory in and around Velvet Street, which runs through a wooded area of Trumbull and Monroe, near the Easton border. Other legends mistake Saw Mill City Road in Shelton as Dracula Drive. Some roads mistakenly referred to as Dracula Drive are:
- Saw Mill City Road in Shelton.
- Edmonds Road in Oxford.
- Velvet Street in Trumbull and Monroe. (Runs between Tashua Road in Trumbull and Judd Road in Monroe near the Easton border.)
- Zion Hill Rd in Milford.
- The roads around Lake Mohegan in Fairfield.
- Marginal Road in New Haven.
- Jeremy Swamp Road in Southbury.
- Paths/roads in and around Roosevelt Forest in Stratford.
Some legends claim the melon heads would bite or consume whoever entered their territory. This is one example of why Velvet Street and Saw Mill City Road are referred to as Dracula Drive by some locals.
- The origin of the Melon Heads Grand Haven Tribune. Retrieved 24 September 2013.
- Mike LaVey. "The Legend of the Melon Heads". Weird Michigan. Sterling Publishing Company, 2006. 16.
- imdb.com The Melonheads
- Ast, William F. III (2009-07-12). "Hit and myth". The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved 2009-07-13.
- Mark Moran and Mark Scuerman. "The Hideous Melon Heads". Weird US. Sterling Publishing Company. 2005. 61.
- James Renner. "Mutant Melonheads Terrorize Kirtland". Cleveland Free Times. October 25, 2006. Retrieved on December 31, 2007.
- Maggi Martin. "Guide to ghosts and goblins Doris Straka will retell myths and legends during a ghost walk in Lake Cemeteries". The Plain Dealer. October 2, 2000. 10B.
- Brian E. Albrecht. "Does Hell Town really deserve its name?" The Plain Dealer. October 30, 2001. E1.
- Imbd.com Legend of the Melonheads
- "The Melon Heads". Damned Connecticut. Accessed April 19, 2012.
- "Melonheads - CT Paranormal Searchers". Ctparanormalsearchers.weebly.com. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
- Kooz (2012-01-18). "Kooz Top 5: Top 5 Fake Creatures Some People Think Are Real". Kooztop5.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
- Joseph Citro (2005-10-20). "THE MELONHEADS MENACE FAIRFAX COUNTY, CONNECTICUT". LiveJournel. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- Ray Bendici (2009-08-01). "The Melon Heads". Damned Connecticut. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- Ray Bendici (2010-03-01). "Murder on Melon Head Road?". Damned Connecticut. Retrieved 2014-06-12.
- Solving the Melon Head Mystery at Haunted U.S.A. - refers to the Ohio legend
- The Melon Heads at damnedct.com