Tag Archives: melon heads

Melon Heads

Main Text: 

Melon Heads 

Background on Informant: 

My informant is a current student who has shared with me his experiences of childhood folklore and traditions that he grew up with. In a series of interviews he has shared with me his knowledge. 


He explains:

“Growing up in Connecticut, you hear legends and myths constantly especially when you’re young as the spread of information runs rampant among kids. The one I vividly remember is the legend of the Melon Heads. 

These melon heads are said to be these small humans with giant bulbous heads who hide out and attack people in the woods. Living in Southern Connecticut, where they are said to reside, always made me feel uneasy. 

I’d honestly rather take a ghost or witch than a melon head. But they are said to eat small animals and the flesh of teenagers (I know right how convenient). 

The story supposedly goes that there was this hospital or asylum (depends on who tells you the story), but it had a lot of criminally insane patients. Well in the 1960s, it burned down, resulting in the death of all of the workers and most of the patients, but a bunch escaped into the woods. In order to survive they resorted to cannibalism and inbreeding, which is the ‘melon head’ aspect of it due to deformities from the inbreeding. 

Every so often you hear the many stories of people seeing them. Like apparently in the 1980s, a group of girls from (I forget which high school) decided to drive around and look for melon heads, so they left their car and went into the woods. Then the engine of their car started and they ‘saw’ the melon heads drive off with the car. But there’s so many stories all over Southern Connecticut with people claiming to see and hear them. 

I’m not saying I believe they exist, but I’m also not saying they don’t. I don’t want to gamble with that. But it is interesting how you can’t escape Connecticut without hearing about the melon heads at least once in your life.” 


As a believer of a many things, I can certainly say I too was left uneasy after hearing about the legend of the melon heads. I grew up hearing about them too but I was always too afraid to fully get to know the story but now I do. It’s fascinating to think how this story stays alive because of how elementary kids and high schoolers continue to tell it over and over again, even when it dates back to the 1960’s. It’s one of the few legends of Connecticut that has stayed alive and has thrived. I also love how there are so many different versions of the same story going around as it has evolved over the decades. Overall, I enjoyed learning more about this folklore of Connecticut, and observed that these stories go out as far as Ohio and Michigan, but next time I go for a drive I will definitely be on the lookout for any melon heads out there. 

Melon Heads of Connecticut


The informant – my dad, RS – is a white man in his early 50s, born and raised in Cheshire, Connecticut, but living in South Florida now. He was raised Catholic on a farm with two siblings. He’s skeptical of the supernatural for the most part, but is pretty familiar with a lot of the Connecticut’s many ghost stories. The following conversation took place in person during a larger conversation in which he told me a number of his favorite Connecticut ghost stories. It was, for the most, part a classic storytelling situation, but at times felt more like a sharing of childhood memories than the dramatic performance of a ghost story.

Me: Are there any other Connecticut legends that you can recall?


RS: Ummm… well, everyone always used to talk about the Melon Heads. There were a few roads we called the Melon Head Roads where they supposedly lived. I think people used to say that they were escaped mental patients who inbred with each other for generations, so now they have these big heads, too big for their bodies. Or maybe they were just mountain people who inbred, and the mental patients were from another story. I don’t know, there were a few stories about who they were, but they were all supposed to have these big melon heads and were supposed to violent, crazy cannibals.

Me: Do you remember who you heard this story from?

RS: Oh I’m not sure, everyone knew about the Melon Heads. It was probably my brother.

Me: What do you make of the story? Why did it stick with you?

RS: It didn’t stick with me that much. But when talking about Connecticut ghost stories, that’s one of the first ones that comes to mind. I don’t think much of the story… I’m sure it’s just something kids made up to spook each other out.



While I think that it’s likely that the story was made up for kids to scare each other, I find it interesting that this legend revolves around escaped mental patients and inbreeding. There are a number of large asylums in Connecticut, so it makes sense that the story would involve escaped mental patients. Further, it’s likely that this story originated around a time where these asylums were being shut down and mental illness was in its early stages of moderate de-stigmatization, resulting in rumors of escaped inbreeding mental patients among curious and scared children.


The Hunt for the Melonheads


“There’s this really interesting thing about St. Joseph, MI, this thing about Bridgeman, the neighboring city. So, there’s this, uh, story about the “melonheads.” There’s this Cook Nuclear Plant between the cities, which is one of the only ones in the area. Very high restricted, obviously because there’s nuclear shit in there. Very, very high security. There’s this rumor, this old story, that way back in the 50s or something there was an acid leak from the plant and this acid leak affected a bunch of people from Bridgeman, where it demented their heads. The people became outcasts, aka the “melonheads,” they went to live amongst the woods.

So, what people do is that they go on hunts for the melonheads. It’s this fun thing that teenagers do, and I’ve never been, but I’ve been asked to go. They go to the depths of the Cook plant. You’re supposed to turn off your car with your lights on. You’re supposed to howl in the night. Apparently, the melonheads will come to your car and kill you. People swear they’ve seen the melonheads. Usually, people tell this story when they’re attempting to be “scary” or share creepy stories. It was told to me when I was hanging out with my other friends, drinking beer and hanging out outside somewhere. Everyone thought it would be great fun to hunt for them, but I didn’t want to go, so we didn’t.”


The informant would hear of this story when engaging with other teenagers, back when the informant was a teenager. Typically, this story would be shared when teenagers gathered in groups and the informant first heard of it when their friends attempted to get the informant to partake in the “hunt.”


Like most stories that teenagers tell each other, I believe something like this would be used as perhaps a sort of group “initiation,” or something to use to scare each other. It feels like a Michigan-specific Bloody Mary story, something teenagers would do when they are bored or want to see who is the bravest. I engaged in many such games when I was younger, sort of playing “chicken” with these weird stories and legends. I would also make a guess that the idea of the melonheads was created as a way to possibly ward people off from visiting the nuclear plant.