The Melon Heads: Behind the myth

Melon Heads are a type of legendary creature that allegedly live in the forests around three different locations. The locations are Ohio, Michigan, and Connecticut. These creatures look human-like but they have large, bulbous heads that look like a melon, hence where they got their name.

Origins of the Melon Heads

The melon-head myths and stories vary in each of the three areas that melon-heads are said to live. Below are some of the most popular ones.

Ohio

In Ohio, the Melon Heads are said to be the children of scientist Dr.Crow. He kept these children at his facility in Kirtland, Ohio. It is said that Dr. Crow would inject their brains with chemicals that caused their heads to grow and become hairless. This abnormal growth caused them to develop hydrocephalus and become mentally insane. Eventually, the Melon Heads turned against Dr. Crow, brutally killing him before burning down the entire facility. After they burned down the facility, they retreated to the forests where they now live and feed on babies. Yikes.

Michigan

In Michigan, it is said that the Melon Heads live around Felt Mansion. They have also been reported in southern forests around Ottawa Country. The most popular story in Michigan is that the Melon Heads were once children diagnosed with hydrocephalus and they all lived at the Junction Insane Asylum. At the asylum, they endured both physical and emotional abuse until it pushed them past the breaking point. They then turned into feral mutants and were promptly released into the forests around the asylum. However, according to the local historical association, the asylum never existed, though there was a prison their once.

The legend has been around that area for decades, with slight variations. Some of which include that the children lived in a mansion and devised a plan to kill the abusive doctor. After the deed was done they did not know where to hide the body, so they cut it up and hid it around the mansion.

Connecticut

There are many different versions of the Melon Head legend throughout Connecticut, though there are two of particular note. The first says that there was an insane asylum in Fairfield Country that housed the criminally insane. In 1960 it was burned down, killing all of the staff almost all patients, roughly twenty went missing. It is assumed that they must have survived and then escaped into the woods. In order to survive the harsh winters they had to resort to cannibalism. There was lots of inbreeding, which eventually lead them to develop hydrocephalus and the physical abnormalities. In tellings of the legend, the location is not always an asylum but sometimes camps, prisons, and other businesses.

The second popular Connecticut story pertaining to the Melon Heads is that they descended from a Colonial family. This family was the Shelton-Trumbulls, who were banished due to accusations of witchcraft, so they fled to the woods. Inbreeding and cannibalism is said to cause their hideous appearance. With this story, the location of where the family was from and where they ended up changes a good bit.

The one constant in almost every telling of the Melon Head legend in Connecticut is an old, dirt road that runs through the Melon Head’s territory. Lots of towns have roads with similar characteristics, and these roads often get a featured spot in the folklore. In the story, the road is often called Dracula Drive, and while none of the roads used by locals are actually named Dracula Drive, they are commonly referred to by that name.

Accounts

There are still some more recent accounts of Melon Head sightings, though none that are particularly memorable. In Ohio and Connecticut, most of the settings revolve around tourists or local teenagers hearing strange noises in the woods or seeing mysterious figures. On the other hand, while there are still those forest accounts in Michigan, there are also claims made by teenagers who broke into the mansion where the children supposedly lived. The teenagers claim that they saw the ghosts of the Melon Heads and saw the shadows of the brutal murder. There is no hard evidence of these creatures in any of the states that have Melon Head legends.

Possible Explanations of the Melon Heads

Inbreeding and cannibalism by odd-shaped creatures in the forests are probably not true. Most of the legends surround a disease known as hydrocephalus, which is, in fact, a real condition. Hydrocephalus is a condition where fluid builds up in the cavities or ventricles deep in the brain. This then forces the ventricles to expand and creates lots of pressure on the brain, which can force the cranium to grow abnormally. But why turn the condition into a story?

Well, for the most part, the stories play into the real fears people were having at the time. They had fears of nearby asylums and prisons, it makes sense that exaggerated or fabricated stories would pop up. When people are fearful about something, they will often exaggerate or make up stories to justify their fear, or perhaps use them as cautionary tales to frighten children.

However, it all could be due to an ugly game of telephone that started with a rumor and went bad. In Michigan specifically, there was a Catholic school in Felt Mansion, which was the center of a lot of tension. The students were referred to as Melon Heads because outsiders thought they were rich and had big heads. From there it is possible the story spiraled into a story that was much more paranormal and sinister.

Want more? Listen to our Melon Heads episode below!

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