Melon Heads is the name given to legendary beings of Germany, England, and urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads 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 near the Felt Mansion in Laketown Township. 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 hospital; 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 killing of the doctor through the light coming from an open door. The legend has spread throughout the region.
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 myths can be found Fairfield County, Connecticut. Most instances can be found in Trumbull, Shelton, Stratford and Monroe, but other instances can be found in Seymour, Easton, Weston, 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 Grant Wood 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. 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.