A mysterious man known only as Dr. Crow lived in a secluded house on Wisner Road in Kirtland, Ohio, an eastern suburb of Cleveland. Some say he was married and that his wife was unable to have children. Other accounts say that the Crows had a child who suffered from hydrocephalus (water on the brain) which caused the youngster to be severely disfigured.
Dr. Crow may not have been a real doctor (or he may have been stripped of his medical license) but that didn’t stop him from his work. He was said to be the guardian of a number of orphaned children, or perhaps he was the staff physician, although there are no records of any orphanage ever being in the area. In either case, the children became the victims of his macabre medical practice.
Possibly in an attempt to help his own child, or maybe in some sort quest for a cure, Dr. Crow performed experiments on the children – horrific, painful experiments including injecting fluid into their heads. The repeated “treatments” caused the malformations that gave the children their terrifying appearance. The “Melonheads,” [also spelled Melon Heads] as they were called, were docile, helpless victims of the mad man’s strange fascinations.
Years passed and Dr. Crow’s insanity raged. The escalating evil spilled out from doctor to patient. The children — those who survived — went mad. In an unexpected act of revolt, the Melonheads attacked Crow, taking vengeance in a most violent manner. The doctor died at the hands of his children, who were now free from collective captivity.
The Melonheads set fire to the doctor’s house and laboratory, destroying any and all records of the non-sanctioned experiments and deplorable abuse. They were free, but where could they go? The only home they had ever known was gone, as was the only adult they had ever dealt with.
The Melonheads took to the woods, hiding together, scared, angry, seeking shelter and food whereever they could find it. They had no ability or desire to communicate with the outside world. Once again, they were alone.
Another version of the story paints quite a different picture of Dr. Crow. Instead of the mad scientist inflicting abhorrent abuse on orphans, Crow was a gentle, loving man seeking only to help children suffering from hydrocephalus. Maybe because of his personal history, maybe out of the goodness of his heart, Crow took in dozens of orphaned, abandoned, and unwanted children giving them a safe and secure place to call home
The “Melonheads,” as the ignorant neighbors called them, loved the good doctor. He was like a father who gave them unconditional love and acceptance. In his secluded hideaway on Wisner Road, Dr. Crow cared for the unfortunate children, shielding them from the cruelty of the outside world. All was well for the unusual family until the aging Dr. Crow suddenly died of natural causes.
Now, upset and frightened with no one to care for them, no one to feed or clothe them, the Melonheads became enraged. They set fire to the house, burned Dr. Crow’s body, and fled to the woods. They took their anger out on anyone who crossed their paths. The locals knew to far stay away from the old Crow property, but other curiosity seekers went looking for trouble.
Here is where the two versions concur: an encounter with the Melonheads always results in terror!
As the years passed, the Melonheads grew. The ones who survived reproduced, creating more deformed offspring. The insanity was passed as well as the physical characteristics.
The Melonheads guarded their territory from outsiders. They were blamed for numerous attacks and some kidnappings. Some accounts say they stole livestock, pets, even children, using them as a food source. Cannibalism was not out of the question in desperate times.
The Melonheads have been spotted near the alleged site of the Crow residence for decades. Wisner Road is a hot spot for legend trippers and paranormal investigators. Teenagers trek to the Kirtland area hoping to catch a glimpse of the monstrous beings.
They are described as a small humanoid creatures with extremely large, misshapen heads. They are often hairless with deformed limbs, razor-like teeth, and glowing red eyes – truly a horrific sight to behold, if you ever catch a glimpse of them.
Michigan and Connecticut Melonheads have oddly similar characteristics, with the latter tracing their ancestors back to colonial times. That story has its roots in witchcraft.
The legend grows with each passing decade. Reports of Melonhead sightings continue to pour into websites and social media outlets. Movies (both amateur and “professional”) have been made about this most ghastly and heartbreaking cryptid.
This article was first published on America’s Most Haunted.
Photos (in order): America's Most Haunted; Ken Lund / Flickr; Ken Lund / Flickr; Wikimedia Commons