In March of 1972, on two separate occasions, two Ohio policemen saw what has become known as the “Loveland Frogman.” Fortean investigators Ron Schaffner and Richard Mackey, who interviewed the officers, investigated the incidents.
The first incident took place at 1:00 AM on March 3, 1972 on a clear, cold night. Officer Ray Shockey was on route to Loveland, via Riverside Road, when he thought he saw a dog beside the roadway, in a field on Twightwee Road. But then the “thing” stood up, its eyes illuminated by the car lights, looked at him for an instant, turned, and leapt over a guardrail. Shockey saw it go down an embankment and into the Little Miami River. He described the thing as weighing about sixty pounds, standing about three to four feet tall, and having a textured, leathery skin and a face like a frog or lizard.
Shockey drove to the police station and returned with Officer Mark Matthews to look for evidence of the creature. They turned up scrape marks leading down the side of the small hill near the river.
On St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, 1972, Officer Matthews was driving outside of Loveland when he had a similar experience. Seeing an animal lying in the middle of the road, he stopped to remove what he thought was a dead critter. Instead, when the officer opened his squeaky car door, the animal got up into a crouched position like a football player. The creature hobbled to the guardrail and lifted its leg over the fence, keeping an eye on Matthews the whole time.
Perhaps it was the funny smirk on its face, but Matthews decided to shoot it. He missed, however, probably because the thing didn’t slow down. Matthews later told how he felt the creature stood more upright than the way Shockey had described it. One area farmer told investigators he saw a large, frog-like or lizard-like creature during the same month of the officers’ sightings.
The reports of the 1972 Frogman had been hard on the witnesses.
“Those two officers took a lot of flack about the sighting back then,” said a local businessman who wished not to be identified in a 1985 newspaper story about the sightings. “People made fun of them and the city.”
Years later, in 1999, during local media interviews, Mark Matthews explained that he was tired of talking about the “Frogman,” and that what he had seen was an iguana. But at the time, both witnesses definitely saw something like an upright manlike lizard about 4 feet tall. And then there is the matter of the sketch. Officer Shockey’s sister drew it for them shortly after their experience with the creature, and it clearly looks like a giant frogman, a bipedal creature. During 2001, Weird Ohio did a follow-up investigation, re-interviewing principals, including asking Ron Schaffner about Matthews’ attempts to pull back from his original story.
Schaffner told us, “Why, after all these years is Matthew’s debunking the story? I’m not sure. Could be a number of reasons. But both officers told us that it resembled the sketch in 1976. Why would they shows us a composite drawing of this creature back in 1976 and tell us that it looked like the drawing? I lived in Loveland for about five years and the story is still circulating with many variations. Just maybe Matthews is tired of hearing the story and all the variations.”