Illustration by Aaron Gelston

“The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them.”

-Genesis, 6:3

Whispered to skulk the woods just off Wisner Road in Kirtland and Chardon, the enlarged heads, inhuman behavior, and bizarre experimentations that surround the urban legend of the Melonheads have been the fodder of campfire stories since the mid ‘60s. Taken literally, these creatures, as well as the mysterious Dr. Crowe, who is said to have initially abducted them from asylums or orphanages, reads like a rejected X-Files script. Reinterpreted as regional folklore, an attempt to process an inconceivable past and a dire warning for the coming generation emerges.

To understand this warning, our story begins in 1947 in Roswell, New Mexico. An even greater urban legend in its own right, the 1947 UFO sighting and its subsequent crash landing onto a Roswell farm served as the genesis for America’s speculation over the existence of alien life. Military personnel later claimed the UFO was a downed weather balloon, but there are those that, to this day, believe this to be the first incursion of alien life into our world.

Whatever really happened that day, it prompted President Truman to commission the Majestic 12, a group alleged to have been tasked to explore the potential for alien life and its implications toward national security. Some, including the FBI, refute the existence of the Majestic 12, while others, like ufologist Stanton Friedman, consider the group authentic and the progenitors to the “men in black” motif ascribed to clandestine federal agents.

The findings of the Majestic 12 were allegedly enough to encourage incoming President Eisenhower to arrange a shocking de tante. On Feb. 20, 1954, Eisenhower infamously went missing for an entire day, with the Associated Press going so far as to mistakenly report that the President had died before issuing a swift retraction. It was during this absence the President allegedly brokered an agreement: alien technology in exchange for permission to continue abducting humans for experimentation. While this reads like an impossible flight of fancy, Eisenhower’s own granddaughter publicly attests to the encounter as does geologist and government contractor Philip Schneider who alleges to have been there.

The abductions and experimentation that Eisenhower agreed to turn a blind eye to are theorized by many in the UFO community to facilitate alien/human hybridization attempts. At first blush this may appear ludicrous, but these archetypal themes are prevalent across time and many cultures including the Sumerian origin stories of Enki and Enlil, the Gnostic interpretation of the Torah which sees Adam as a relevant analogue, and numerous pop cultural fixtures like Green Lantern, Anakin Skywalker, White Walkers, etc.

Whether the meeting actually occurred, the government’s own declassified Project Blue Book records chronicle an immediate spike in UFO sightings immediately following the alleged date. The sightings culminate in 1957 and see many Ohio residents having their own experiences.

One such sighting occurred to Geauga County resident Olden Moore. On Nov. 6, 1957, Moore is reported to have seen a glowing disc hover and land near the roadside. The Lake county Civil Defense Director, Kenneth Locke, was dispatched to the scene and was quoted in the Geauga Record claiming that “there were prints in the field” and that they “were coming from nowhere and going nowhere.” Moore would claim in a later edition of the same paper that he was then interrogated by the CIA and sworn to secrecy claiming, “I guess they can’t do anymore than throw me in jail for telling you that.” He added of the meeting, “Most of the people I talked to seemed to think these objects are not made by man.”

The next day, William Fluhr, of Chardon, reported his own sighting, corroborated by local law enforcement, as did E.A. Markell of Thompson County. Three days later, Letia Kuhn reported a similar glowing disc hovering above her home in Madison. Another two days would pass before Worthington Police Chief, James Lewis, would reveal an unsettlingly familiar experience with the Wooster Ohio Record.

Within ten years this region would become synonymous with Melonhead sightings.

It’s important, at this point, to highlight just what people describe when encountering a Melonhead. Take the eyewitness account featured in Weird U.S. that alleges, “Its head was a very light brown tint with two holes on the sides I think were its ears. Its head was swelled up, and its eyes were very big.” Compare that account given by PFC Elias Benjamin, an MP in the 390th Air Service Squadron who claims to have been put in charge of a security detail handling the extraterrestrials that crashed at Roswell. Benjamin describes the beings in Witness to Roswell  as bearing a “grayish face and swollen, hairless head of a species that I realized was not human.” He added that it was “a very small person with an egg-shaped head that was oversized for its body.”

If there is precedence of extraterrestrials visiting the area as evidenced in the numerous 1957 UFO sightings, and if we entertain the given history of the Majestic 12 and the basis of potential alien experimentation, it raises the question whether the creatures witnessed in these woods are somehow related. The theory that Melonheads are actually the discarded abductees of failed alien hybridization attempts would explain the shocking similarities they appear to share with extraterrestrials. This connection is made all the more clear when one views the legend through the lens of regional folklore; larger-than-life tales we pass down that serves as cautionary allegory for much deeper truths, either too uncomfortable or unfathomable to be comprehended on their own.

Whether the being(s) of advanced intellect who abducted others for experimentation were gray aliens or a deranged scientist, we may never conclusively know. Whether the discarded test subjects, abandoned to the woods of Kirtland and left horribly disfigured, both mentally and physically, are the tragic results of earthbound abuse or something far beyond is arguable. One thing as conclusive today as it was in 1947: whatever its form or origin, there are dark truths lurking in the woods of Kirtland, waiting to this day to be uncovered.

If you’ve witnessed unexplained phenomenon or sightings and would like to share your story, let us know at [email protected]

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  • Adam Dodd

    Content Strategist, novelist and prolific roustabout who drinks entirely too much coffee. You can find him on Twitter @therealadamdodd

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