The history of Kirtland, Ohio is teeming with creepy stories of the Melon Heads. They are said to have very large heads, and are very ferocious. They supposedly kill and even devour those who happen to come into their neck of the woods.
A Dr. Crow is blamed for the mutation of these inhuman beings. The Government was said to have hired Dr. Crow to treat children afflicted with hydrocaphalus, a condition that causes large pockets of water to form in the brain. Crow had other ideas for his own kind of research. He added more water, treated them poorly, and used radiation on them. A lot of the children didn't survive and were buried in King Memorial Cemetery.
Those that did had physical defects and were mentally disturbed. It went even further until they became uncontrollable and started relying on instinct. This caused them to eventually turn on Dr. Crow, they attacted him tearing him limb from limb and eating what was left. In the rumble a fire was started that burned the lab to the ground.
The Melon Heads made their way into the woods and now people tell of them looking out of the forest along the roads surrounding Kirtland. Animals have been found in the trees, torn apart and people have said to have been attacked by them.
Tale from Justin V.
"The story I have heard is that Dr. Crow (possbly spelled Crowe; I have seen it both ways) practiced medicine out of his house in the early-to-mid-1800s. He had either been given the kids with mental problems of kidnapped them (again I have heard it both ways). He kept them locked away in cages in a green barn next to his house and injected their brains with water. A few of them escaped, and some say the barn burned down. Anyway, these Melon Heads still roam the area out near the Holden Arboretum (on Wisner Road, from what I have been told).
Supposedly, they come out only at night. If it is a full moon, they will attack any humans they see—however, they have a hard time seeing. If you wear dark clothes, you will be safe. But if you have on any bright colors or white, you are a prime target." -Justin V.
Tale from Paul I.
"At Wickliffe High School in the mid-'60s, we heard a different version of the Melon Heads story. Some kids were driving around one day and saw a Melon Head watching them from the side of a country road. They stopped, and he ran into the woods. They followed deep into the woods and came to an old farmhouse.
On the porch sar a middle-aged couple and several Melon Heads. 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 was 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 away from prying eyes. He asked the kids to tell no one what they'd seen and never return.
Someone told this story at a party in the summer of 1964, 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 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 Meloon Heads that there had to be. If not, why were the police so upset that we were looking for them?" -Justin V.
Tale from Tony
"On October 5, 2001, my stepfather, mom, stepbrother, and I were driving down Chillicothe Road in Chardon. We came up on a stretch of road with fields on both sides and an irragation ditch running parallel to it. I looked out my window and saw him—a Melon Head! He, or it, was running next to the ditch. We were going about 45-50 mph, and the Melon Head was actuall keeping up with us. It didn't look like anything like I've heard in the stories. It looked about the same height as me (five feet seven inches) and was wearing ripped up brown pants held together by what looked like corn husk. It wore a white shirt with brown and red stains all over it. (I'm hoping the red stains weren't blood.) Its head was a very light brown tint with two holes in the sides that I think were ears. Its head was swelled up, and its eyes were very big. Just as we turned a curve, it jumped into the woods." -Tony
Tale from Ryan O.
"My fathers house rests in a secluded, thickly wooded area off Mitchells Mill Road in Chardon, Ohio. When my family relocated there in the mid-'70s, my older sister's middle school classmates turned white as a ghost when she told them where our house was.
'You live in Melon Head Country!' they exclaimed. She was then frightened with tales of Dr. Crow, the evil man who had performed cruel experiments on hydrocephalic children to make them into cannibalistic fiends. As I grew older, I discovered that these legends had traveled to nearby parts of Geauga and Lake counties. By then I had heard conflicting locations for Dr. Crow's laboratory and institution.
The legend states that the events occured on Wisner Road near a bridge, but this road is actually split in half due to a washout. One half is in Chardon, one is in Kirtland, and each features a different bridge as a landmark. I also became aware that high school students from Chardon often disguised themselves as Melon Heads to frighten necking teenagers. Despite the passage of several years and my relocation to Los Angeles, I was still haunted by the secrets of the woods in northeast Ohio. After hearing about it I decided to get to the bottom of the Melon Head myth once and for all.
The first step I took was to contact an old family friend who was the oldest resident of Chardon that I knew. She recommended a woman who had several interesting stories to tell. According to her, the real Dr. Crow had studied hydrocephalus (a condition in which children are born with excess fluid in the brain) thirty years ago, at a place called Sumner Cottage near the natural spring on Wisner Road. The cottage burned down in mysterious circumstances. No mention was made of escaped patients with deformities.
Stories tell that Dr. Crow was either killed by his patients or perished in the cottage fire. Another tale has him swinging by the neck from a beam of the Arch Barn on Mitchells Mill in an apparent suicide.
"I went to the library and found a newspaper article from the West Geauga Sun claiming that a Dr. Kroh had been influenced by Gregor Mendel and was experimenting on humans to increase the size of their heads. His experiments failed, and in a fit of pique he piled his genetic mutations into his car and left them by the side of Chagrin River Road in Kirtland, where they presumably fled into the woods and have remained to this day.
I next visited the health department to look up death dertificates on any Chardon residents named Crow, Crowe, or Kroh. There were records of people with these names, but none of them appeared to be doctors and all had died of natural causes. My investigation was further hindered by the fact that I could not pin down these events to a specific time period or location. assuming they had happened at all.
Just when I thought I would be returning empty-handed, I tracked down an expert on local folklore who was able to give me the official version of the Melon Head legend. The legend, according to her, was that Dr. Crow and his wife lived together in a cottage where they cared for children afflicted with hydrocephalus. The children adored Mrs. Crow but weren't so keen on her husband. One night the couple got into an arguement, and Mrs. Crow fell against a cabinet, suffering a fatal blow to the head. Thinking Dr. Crow had murdered his wife, the children attacted and killed him. They then proceeded to tear the place apart, setting fire to the cottage in the process. Some of them survived to dwell in the surrounding woods, living off animals and occasionally attacking humans when threatened (or really hungry).
The cold hard facts of the case, though, left me a bit disappointed, so skip this next part if you want to remain pleasantly disturbed by the myth. In the late '50s and early '60s a few children with hydrcephalus lived in northeast Ohio. One of them lived on Wisner Road and was enrolled in the Kirtland school district. The boy and his 'normal' friends, who were all preteens, would creep up on parked cars and scare away the older kids. The frightened students would tell their peers at school that they had been 'chased by the Melon Heads!' Children afflicted with hydrocephalus do not live very long, so the original Melon Head died of natural causes. He is buried in Kirtland South Cemetery. His friends are now businessmen in Kirtland.
While I have discovered the origin of the Melon Head legend, I felt as though I'd just scraped the tip of the iceberg as far as the folklore of northest Ohio is concerned. As my plane took off for Los Angeles, I could feel the magnetic pull of those mysterious woods drawing me in for further adventures. I knew that the next time I returned, it wouldn't be just the home-cooked meals calling me back to Melon Head Country."-Ryan O.