Sunday, March 28, 2010

That's MISTER Melon Head to You


Melon Heads is the name given to legendary beings found in Germany, England, and the long-running urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut. They are described as small humanoids with bulbous heads who occasionally emerge from their hiding places to attack people. Different variations of the legend attribute different origins.

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 and hid him around the Mansion. There are still rumors that teenagers who had broken into the mansion saw ghosts of the children. They also claimed to see shadows of the killing of the doctor through the light coming from an open door.

The legend of the melon head is also found in central England within a small hamlet known as Risbury, Herefordshire. Here, there is an extended family of Melon Heads, thought to be the result of inbreeding. The large round headed family is mentioned in Mary Letherbarrow's seminal work on the Folklore of Herefordshire (1955). Hannah Williams (1961, 56) refers to the Melon Head family of Risbury as 'Weeble Heads' and were noted for their very 'roundish heads'. She also notes that the family-tree section of the early and late 20th century was rather 'complex', referring to the problems of 'isolated' Herefordshire inbreeding (ibid. 57). This hitherto undiscovered phenomenon may have origins in nearby Wiltshire where other Melon Heads have been recorded, similar to that of the 'Wobble Heads' lore in the USA (ibid. 59-60). Since adding to this web page in mid 2009, further evidence has been uncovered concerning the Melon Heads lore, Risbury (England). A sighting of this rare phenomenon has been recorded around the Sandpits Estate, west of Leominster (Herefordshire). This is supported by documentary evidence held by British DHS records (Ref: MH 245367).

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 or Kroh). 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. Today, some believe that the melon heads may be sighted along Wisner Road in Kirtland, and Chardon Township. The legend has been popularized on the Internet, particularly on the websites Creepy Cleveland and DeadOhio, where users have offered their own versions of the story.

Several variations of the Melon Head myths can be found Fairfield County, Connecticut. Most instances can be found in Trumbull, Shelton and Monroe, but other instances can be found in Seymour, [Easton, CT] 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 which burned down in the fall of 1960, resulting in the death of all of the staff and most of the patients. however 10-20 inmates were unaccounted for, 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 which was banished after accusations of witchcraft were made against them. The family retreated to the woods. As with the first legend, this variation attributes the appearance of the Melon Heads to inbreeding. In Shelton, the Melonheads supposedly live on Saw Mill City Road, while in Monroe they supposedly live on Velvet Street (which is affectionately referred to by locals as "Dracula Drive"). Saw Mill City is now a paved road while Velvet street is a dirt road, surrounded by woods, in close proximity to bodies of water. A popular dare among teenagers in the area is to have someone drive down one of these roads at night and park, or even worse, have a passenger get out of the car and then drive away without them to give them a good scare. There have been several recent sightings at the end of the road around the woodland area.

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