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Melonheads Creep Through the Ohio Woods at Night

When the cryptozoologist in you gets tired of hearing the same old stories about Bigfoot, Skunk Apes, and the Loch Ness Monster and you're looking for something new to sink your teeth into, head on over to Lake County Ohio and check out the Melonheads; weird human-like creatures with enormous heads that roam the countryside in and around Kirtland and Chardon, Ohio.

Regarding the origins of the Melonheads, the popular belief is that they were the result of secret government testing that involved strange experiments on human subjects. Whatever they were testing, the result was that the subjects' heads all swelled to enormous sizes. Like any good government conspiracy, it was decided that the best thing to do would be to cover the whole thing up.

A secret location in the middle of the woods was quickly established and the Melonheads were all shipped there in the middle of the night. Since they were well taken care of, the Melonheads were, for the most part, a passive bunch. However, every once in a while, one of them would grow restless for contact with the outside world. Usually waiting until the cover of darkness, a Melonhead or two would every so often slip outside their little commune and creep through the woods towards civilization. More often than not, just a glimpse of the outside world would be all a Melonhead would need to send them scampering back to the safety of their little town, which is said to be somewhere in the woods near Wisner Road.

There are a few offshoots of the Melonheads legend in which a doctor is featured predominantly. In those versions, the doctor's name is Crowe (or Crow). In the first version, Dr. Crowe has somehow managed to acquire, either my kidnapping or through a secret deal with the mental hospital he works at, several individuals that he subjects to bizarre experiments, most of which focus on the brain and head. Due to the severe trauma, the individuals' heads are deformed and misshapen. But since some of Dr. Crowe's experiments also included lobotomies, the Melonheads are rather docile, if not a bit slow. So while every once in a while, Dr. Crowe would "lose" a subject for a short period of time, he would always be able to round them up rather quickly and return them.

There is also a variation of the tale that focuses less on the Dr. Crowe and more on his wife. This time, Dr. Crowe and his wife are living in an isolated cabin in the woods and have been asked to care for a group of children stricken with hydrocephalia, a disease that affects the cerebrospinal fluid in ones body, which causing the head to swell. Due to the swollen heads, mean-spirited locals began calling the children Melonheads and the name stuck.

It is said that while assisting her husband in lovingly caring for the hydrocephalic children, Mrs. Crowe began to see how the Melonheads nickname was hurting the children's feelings. Her motherly instincts kicking in, Mrs. Crowe drew the children closer to her, protecting them from the outside world. In turn, the children began to look at Mrs. Crowe as their very own mother. Unfortunately, Mrs. Crowe passed away one day, sending the children's collective world crashing down. Feeling they were now lost without their mother, the children panicked and began running and thrashing about the Crowe cabin. Dr. Crowe attempted to calm them, but to no avail. In the ensuing melee, a lit kerosene lantern was knocked to the floor, which set the old cabin on fire. Fed by the old wood of the cabin, the fire soon engulfed everything, including Dr. Crowe and all the children. 

The Melonheads said to roam the woods in this version are the ghosts of the children who burned to death in the cabin fire.

The final legend associated with the Melonheads doesn't even mention them, but it bears discussion because Dr. Crowe is the central figure. Besides, it's the most disturbing of all the variants. Here, Dr. Crowe performs illegal abortions in his cabin in the woods and even manages to find the time to kill a deformed baby or two in his spare time. Afterwards, he would bury the tiny bodies around the knoll near his cabin. Said to be abandoned now, the basement of the doctor's house is said to echo with the cries from the departed babies, as does the area surrounding the knoll. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that the bridge near where Dr. Crowe's cabin is said to be is now officially a Crybaby Bridge.

No matter where they came from, most kids in the area know somebody whose sister's best friend knew a guy whose dentist saw the Melonheads one time. It's apparently a popular thing for local high school kids to do to drive around the area late at night, looking for them. Some say there was at one time a family with a mentally disabled child with an oversized cranium who used to stand at the fence at the edge of his parents' property, and that all the myths and horror stories are much ado about one unfortunate kid.

At any rate, the Melonheads are most strongly associated with Wisner Road, near Chardon. They are also often sighted on King Memorial Road, especially in or near the King Memorial Cemetery there. (When the road enters Geauga County it becomes Mentor Road, and the graveyard commonly called King Memorial is technically named Larned Cemetery.) Why they like it here is anybody's guess. Maybe Dr. Crowe and his wife are buried there, and they come to visit the graves...hey, we just made that up, but it sounds like as good an explanation as any.

Animal Corpses Mark Trail Through Melonheads’ Woods

I live in Eastlake, Ohio, not far from Kirtland. I’ve heard many stories and have seen many things in the woods of Kirtland. I’ve seen the burnt shack of Dr. Crow and saw the chain that the "Melonheads" hung his dead corpse from. I can say as one person that the "Melonheads" are in fact real. Close by Kirtland there is a small castle for picnics and BBQs, and miles of hiking trails. When you walk down these trails you can see some mutilated animals in the deep parts of the woods. I’ve been hiking back in the woods for as long as I can remember. Not one time while strolling have I not seen small dead animals and mutilated corpses and bones. –Rich Gleir

Bad Moon Rising Over Melonhead Country

The story as I have heard it is that Dr. Crow (possibly spelled Crowe, I have seen it both ways) was a doctor whom practiced medicine out of his house in the early to mid 1800's. He had either been given these kids with mental problems or he had kidnapped some kids (again I have heard it both ways). He then ran experiments on them, injecting their brains with water. This caused the kids to become even more nuts and their heads to swell up like melons. Anyway he kept them locked away in cages in a green barn next to his house. Now at this point the story gets a little fuzzy...either the barn burnt down in an accident and a few of the Melonheads escaped, or the barn is still there (I have yet to visit the old Crow house, so I don't know if the barn is still standing or not. I am more inclined to believe it burned down).

Anyway, these Melonheads still roam the area out near the Holden Arboretum (Wisner Road from what I have been told). Supposedly, they come out only at night and if it is a full moon they are extremely viscous and will attack any humans they see. However, they have a hard time seeing. If you wear dark clothes––blacks, reds, dark greens/blues, you will be safe. But if you have on any bright colors or white, you are a prime target.

Usually they just attack deer and other forest animals for their food, but on those rare full moon occasions they will attack and rip a human limb from limb if they find one. This is the story I have heard from numerous sources. I have gathered many stories from people who have been out there and from just people who know the myth. –Justin V.

Caught a Glimpse of a Melonhead at Mitchell’s Mill

I know lots about the Melon Heads myth. I know the Dr. Crowe story is sorta true, but there are some facts missing. First of all, Dr. Crowe did exist, but he lived in the 1940s and was a dentist. There could have been another Dr. Crowe, though. Second, full moons have nothing to do with their nasty behavior. I know this from experiences with them, and from experiences that others have had. My first experiences with what I think were Melonheads was on the East Branch of the Chagrin River.

My brother and I were driving along Mitchell's Mills, and I saw a quick flash out of the corner of my eye. I looked right, and saw something by a tree. It was very blurry though. I was so scared I screamed and my brother looked out of his window. "What the hell was that?" he said. I guess he saw it too, because he turned around at the spring and we headed back. This was near Mentor Road, which is off of Auburn.  –Jay

Local Authorities Deny Existence of Melonheads

At Wickliffe High School in the mid-60's, we heard a different version of the Melon Heads story. Some kids were driving around one day and saw a Melonhead watching them from the side of a country road. They stopped and the Melonhead ran into the woods. They followed deep into the woods and came to an old farmhouse.

On the porch sat a middle-aged couple and several Melonheads. The kids asked what was going on and the man explained that he had been a nuclear scientist during World War II. After the war he married but the exposure to radiation caused all of his children to be born as melon heads. The government gave him a lot of money to keep quiet and bought this secluded farmhouse where they could live out their lives away from prying eyes. He asked the kids to tell no one what they'd seen and never to return.

Someone told this story at a party in the summer of 1964. Someone else thought they knew where the Melon Heads lived, so we all crammed into cars and headed out to find them. We got stopped by the police in Waite Hill. When they found out where we were going, they gave us a stern lecture that there were no such things and that we should tell all our friends that there were no Melonheads. We were taken to the police station, where we had to call our parents to come and get us.

We all agreed that the police were so intense in trying to convince us that there were no Melon Heads that there had to be Melonheads. If not, why were the police so upset that we were looking for them?  –Paul I.

Ditched Melonhead Along Roadside

My name is Tony and I recently had an experience with the Melonheads. It was on October 5, 2001. My stepfather, mom, stepbrother, and me where driving down Chilocothe Rd. (might be misspelled) in Chardon. We had been driving up and down roads in the same area for almost an hour, with no luck. We were just about to go home when we came up on this stretch of road that had fields on both sides and an irrigation ditch running parallel with each side of the road. Just then, I look out my window and I saw him--a Melonhead! He, or it, was running along next to the ditch. Since the ditch was too wide to jump over, it was coming close (like it was about to jump) then pulling away. At the time we were going about 45-50 mph. The Melonhead was actually keeping up with us.

It didn't look anything like I've heard in the stories. He looked about the same height as me (5'7"), was wearing brown pants which were very ripped up and where the seams would be, it was held together by what looked like corn husk. It wore a white shirt with brown and red stains all over it (hoping that the red stains weren't blood). Its head was a very light-brown tint. It had two holes in the sides of its head which think were ears. Its head was swelled up and its eyes where very big looking.

Just as we turned a curve it jumped into the woods. That is my story of the Melonheads.  –Tony

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