The Melon Heads

March, 2010 by Ray Bendici

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Saw Mill City Road, Shelton
Photo by Kate Frank

The Damned Story: Growing up in Milford, one of the local stories we all heard about was about a group of giant-headed mutants who lived on the outskirts of town, a band of inbred freaks who were ready to prey Deliverance-style on whoever was careless or unfortunate enough to wander into their midst . . . .

Of course, I'm talking about: THE MELON HEADS!

Apparently, this legend isn't limited to Milford -- recently, I was telling a work friend about them, and she didn't believe me, so she Googled it and discovered (through the glory of Wikipedia) that in addition to being legends in other states (Ohio and Michigan), the Melonheads were also indigenious to Monroe, Seymour, Weston, Oxford, Southbury, Trumbull and my current hometown of Shelton! I also saw that like Milford, many of these towns had "Melon Head Roads" -- in Milford (back when I was growing up), it was Zion Hill Road; in Trumbull, it's Velvet Street (aka "Dracula Drive" -- another legend for another day); and in Shelton, it's Saw Mill City Road.

Now, in Connecticut, the Melon Heads are allegedly everything from a group of escaped mental patients to a lost colony of inbred mountain folk dating back to Colonial times. However, I read an article a few years back (I think in the Fortean Times) talking about a group of isolated Appalachain mountain people in the Southeastern U.S. (Tennessee, Kentucky, eastern Virginia) called the Melungeon. In short, it's believed the Melungeon are mixed-race descendants of European outcasts, freed slaves and Native Americans -- the damned of early American society, in a way -- who decided to stay to themselves, and in general, away from the mainstream.

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Velvet St., Easton
Photo by Kate Frank

In the article, it also mentioned that the term "Melungeon" was sometimes bastardized into "Melon Head." So, it's possible -- although I have no evidence to prove this, and I'm no anthropologist -- that at one point, there was a group of people living quietly and independently in the backwoods of Connecticut who had characteristics similar to the Melungeon, and somehow got branded as such. Then, over time, that got changed to Melon Head, and since people tend to fear what they don't know about or understand, the stories of boogie-man horror were attributed to them.

That ignorance was passed down through the years, and the rest, as they say, is legendary.

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Reservoir

Means Brook Reservoir, Shelton
Photo by Kate Frank

Our Damned Experience: Well, when I saw how close it was to our place of employment, I immediately dragged my non-believing friend (with some resistance) and another co-worker out on our lunch hour to take a ride down ol' Melon Head Road. Being the middle of the day it was hardly a spooky ride, but as we drove along Saw Mill City Road, I could see why people might want to believe this could be Melon Head stomping grounds -- it's a narrow, twisting road past the Means Brook Reservoir and through isolated woods with lots of "No Trespassing" signs along the way. The roadway even becomes dirt for a short portion -- while driving, I surreptitiously slipped my car into neutral, revved the gas hard and said, "Oh no, the chain fell off! We're screwed!" which brought one of the best momentary expressions of abject horror I've ever had the pleasure of creating on another person's face (my wife and kids included).

Needless to say, it was a pretty -- and uneventful -- drive. No banjo-playin' mutants, no being bent over logs, no squealing like pigs, no Melon Heads. Then again, it was daytime, so who knows what happens after dark?

Saw Mill City Road, Shelton - Photo by Ray Bendici

Saw Mill City Road, Shelton
Photo by Ray Bendici

Update: On a spooky and misty day in December 2008, we returned to Saw Mill City Road and also paid a visit to Velvet Street, cameras in hand. We took a bunch of photos and although we were hoping to see a mailbox with a telling  name on it like "M. Ellen Head," we didn't encounter any mutants (unless you count the lone postman sitting alone in his truck sleeping or texting someone -- we couldn't tell, and to be honest, we hope that's all he was doing).

If You Go: As mentioned, the three "Melon Head Roads" that we know of are Zion Hill Rd. in Milford, Velvet Street in Trumbull and Saw Mill City Rd. in Shelton. All three are public thoroughfares, although through private neighborhoods. If you do drive along any of them after dark, we do recommend exercising caution as the ones we've been along are dark and curvy. In the event that you are abducted by Melon Heads, please try to take pictures -- we'll be happy to post them here!

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Comments

Submitted by margey (not verified) on
http://www.damnedct.com/contact-us/ Hi Ray - I have recently started the Connecticut chapter of Drinking Skeptically and I'm wondering what your background is. You might want to join us or come and speak to us about a specific topic. We meet in Fairfield near the train station on the third Thursday of each month. Most interesting to me is that I also grew up in Milford and vividly remember the melon head stories! http://skeptics.meetup.com/183/

Submitted by Evan (not verified) on
Some friends and I drove down Velvet Street or "Dracula Drive" tonight actually. No lie, we found a severed deer leg. It would not be surprising for a car to accidentally hit a deer on that dark, windy road but given the story of the "Melon Heads" that we had all heard growing up in Trumbull, it freaked us out quite a bit.

Noooooo! That's freaky. I probably would have cried.

Submitted by Barbie (not verified) on
I remember hearing about these stories during the 20 years we lived in Milford and found your background research very interesting. While a lot of people talked about them, I don't ever remember anyone who actually claimed to have seen them.

Submitted by Barbie (not verified) on
Hydrocephalus-the increased accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain. This condition may happen to infants, children or even adults, and causes various types of deformatiies of the head and face. There are surgical procedures today for some of these cases. In the past anyone who had a child or a family member that was deformed in any way was a cause for family shame and was often hidden away.

Submitted by mike (not verified) on
well ray you should have asked. the melonheads house is about a mile down on the right side of velvet road coming from the tashua side of trumbull. the property had an abandoned paddleball court and an abandoned outdoor pool. (apparently the melonheads had some money) they were very well alive and fruitful(pardon the pun) around 1980, and growing up in trumbull, my friends and i would frequent "dracula drive" often for keg parties at the reservoir. no one was ever hurt, but many were scared for real! oh those were the days...

Submitted by quick (not verified) on
i think all these people are crazy and all need to get lifes no joke grow up.....who cares if there real give up go be a dumbass stand in the middle of the woods at one of these locations and yell out here i am you ugly mothers and see if they coem out!!! wow and this girl stephanie yo mah give me a call ill holla!!! big kissses baby!!!!

What a terrific night I had with my son, after a day at wolf park for the end of school year fun, the teacher as well as some students decided for some odd reason to bring up melon heads, well my son at night time would not go to bed, he wouldn't even go to the bathoom by himself, after an hour of explaining about how it was just a tale that someone made up, he still won't GO TO SLEEP ! For the record I grew up in stevenson, monroe and this is the first I'm hearing about it. Lets face it folks if they were real and still around and canabals as I was told, I think people would have reported people missing and it would be all over the news. Thank You to my sons teacher for sharing. Bet she had a great nights sleep!

Submitted by stephanie (not verified) on
I've heard this story and its always the same.. I've been told that along time ago in trumbull/monroe that down velvet road aka tashua there use to be an asylum but it got burnt down. Later police and official found out that some of the patients where missing.. Known as the infamous melon heads. I've been down velvet so many times...night and day...never have I seen anyone while I was there

My family and i went to Dracula Drive and we were looking for melon heads but we saw a racoon after that my sister and my dad were looking out the window and they saw something run so fast and they thought it was a melon head and i was so scared that night.My aunt lives on that street so when i was little we walked on Dracula Drive and i did not know about this when i was little.Today my dad told me that he worked at the hospitol that the melon heads exscaped from but he did not work there he just fixed the alarms.THE END

Submitted by Colleen (not verified) on
I'm from Northford, part of North Branford in the southern part of the state, and we have the precise same legend in our town about a road that leads up one of the mountains. Strange how things crop up in different places.

Submitted by KR (not verified) on
Lets not forget that they also live on Edmunds Rd. in Oxford and also on Jeremy Swamp Rd. in Southbury. I think these are the cousins to the ones in Monroe......

Submitted by Tim (not verified) on
I'm a teen living in Milford now and the story still goes on. I literally have driven down Zion hill looking for them before late at night. lol. I've heard people have seen them but i personally havent

Submitted by Chris D from CT (not verified) on
From what I've heard the Melon Head folk tale is widespread. There's melon head families all over the US.

Submitted by Dtek (not verified) on
grew up in naugatuck and all the melon head stories I heard as a kid had them in oxford. I have spent many dark nights driving around edmunds rd (melon head rd) with my friends smoking and drinking(stupid teenagers) looking for the melons.

Submitted by GrewUpInLaurelB... (not verified) on
I also grew up in Milford in the 1970s (went to Jonathan Law HS) and remember the stories. I always thought that 'melon head' probably referred to hydroencephaly (water on the brain).

Submitted by arnold the melo... (not verified) on
im a melon head

Submitted by nicole (not verified) on
my uncle used to scare us to death telling us about the melon heads when we were little & we believed him even though he made us believe they lived in devils hopyard right down the road from where we lived.

Submitted by Monroe (not verified) on
I grew up close to Velvet St. in Monroe in the 70's. Close enough that I would ride my bike there. One kid in school in the 70's told a story of fighting off Mellon heads on Velvet St. back then. I'm sure he was full of BS, but it was fun to hear. I have ridden my bike down that road and also drove to work going out of my way using Velvet St. many times. Never got the feeling there was anything strange there. Nice place to see wild life. I also remember my cousins talking about Mellon Heads in Stratford back around 1970. Seems this story is all over Connecticut. Kind of neat to have our own legend so close to home.

Submitted by Nutmegger (not verified) on
Good story of it here: http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/5516146/the_melonheads_of_trumbull_connecticut.html?cat=16

Submitted by Julie (not verified) on
I dont know what to think about the Melon Head Kids, this is the first time I heard of it and from looking up info all the stories in someways are not the same but all had some of the same info, either way scary and makes ya wonder?? I know I would not ever try to see for myself!

Submitted by Ohhpleasee (not verified) on
The only compressible experience I have had was when I drank an immense amount of absinthe. I ran around my University's campus with some friends in search of the green fairy. Unfortunately the hallucinogen was extracted (Oh US law)...and people merely thought by my actions I was tripping. But alas...I was not.

Submitted by Ohhpleasee (not verified) on
comparable** sorry auto spell check is out of hand.

I remember driving up zion hill road back in the day with a car full of friends we did see melon heads.Hate to ADMIT IT WAS 25+ YEARS AGO...Scared the shit out of us. still tell stories to my kids and nieces and nephews to this day.Remember ladies they kill the guys and keep the girls for themselves!!!

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on
I took a drive down Velvet St. this summer. Because I never went there, I was a bit apprehensive. It was during the day. All I can feel was that the road being narrow and very long felt quite disturbing. I don't like the feeling of not knowing what is ahead. It's kind of like leading a hike to nowhere. I got halfway and decided to turn around. I know that if the road is traveled all the way it will lead to Monroe. As a child I heard so many stories about the Melonheads. In the past we used to try to search for them. Mostly under the influence of beer or other substances; It became more of a novelty then an all out serious search, we never really went about it in a constructive manner. Today I've been doing research on these elusive creatures finding the story very interesting but not totally convincing. Although my curiosity brings me back and it's an interesting story, I have to say that I have not yet come in contact with these melonheads but I won't give up trying.

Submitted by Jr (not verified) on
Zion hill! many a night my friends and I cruised Zion hill looking for melonheads.. all we ever saw were their beady little eyes......

Submitted by Donna (not verified) on
My Friend told me that her and her friends steaked out Zion Hill Rd in milford and they saw a melon head get out of the car and open the trunk and take a large cooler out covered in blood and carry it in the house and the the melon head got back in the car a reved his engine and drove at the stopping 2 feet from hitting them She also to me that the witches of milford lived in those woods and hung people from the trees and the nooses are still there hanging in the trees.......WoW scary

Submitted by Bec (not verified) on
My friends and i went to go look for melon heads last night on Velvet road, and we didnt really find anything. My friend "claimed" he saw something run across the street like a hundred yards behind us but for real theres animals in the woods. I think its all in your head and you freak yourself out. We got out of the car and walked up and down the street and a little in the woods and we didnt find anything except some large footprints which is probably from someone doing the samething we were. Yes i admit some really weird things were happening but honestly, i think it was in there heads. Another one of my friends "claimed" they saw something crouch down while we were driving and lagit started balling in tears. It's all in the head. You see what you wanna see.

Submitted by Christian (not verified) on
Hosely Rd, in Branford, is one of those roads, too. We used to drive down it to scare ourselves in highschool.

Submitted by Christian (not verified) on
oh and I used to always hear stories about Marginal Rd. in New Haven, which runs from the parking lot for the Yale Field to some neighborhood behind the field, but cars can't drive down it. People used to tell us kids about it after Ravens games and how they would never go down that road at night.

Submitted by Jason (not verified) on
Me and some of my friends went to Zion Hill Road over the summer a few times, there's a residential road and the creepy one. The creepy one has a few house and we stopped in front of one beeped numerous amount of times and a whole family came out with bats and chased us even though we were in cars down the street... probably normal people that hate how many people come to find melon heads

Sawmill Rd. in the Sixties! Many a days spent weekends partying up there and making up stories about the melon heads!Ha!It must have been the Moonlit nights!Those where the Days!Totts

Submitted by Gilda Shiner (not verified) on
I had an eleven-year relationship with a melon head. His name was Harley King. Supposedly, he relocated to Phoenix (where I met him) from Trumbull, CT. He said he was born on Velvet Street. We moved around alot...usually when someone turned up "missing" in the small towns we lived in throughout the years. He reverted to his mutant ways when we lived in Ruth, Nevada. I escaped one night when he forgot to chain me to the bed. I now live in California. Several people from the Town of Ruth have turned up missing, and it is suspected "Melon Head" King (as he is commonly referred to as) is behind the disappearances. Once, they found the arm of an unidentified person, in the hills behind the house we lived in. The flesh had been eaten to the bone! I have changed my name to protect me from the reporters who have hounded me for many years. So...If you are on Velvet Street after dark...beware! The melon heads do exist! And whatever you do, don't marry one!

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on
Rolling over cars with people inside are some other stories I've heard about Meloneads. Their strengh in relation to their size is not proprtional with that of a normal Human homosapiens. Thus doing some real intense research; I believe these people to be real in existance. The problem is that people only want to believe what they see, not what they hear through the process of translation. Stories can get distorted. One can only know by seeing and not hearing. They shop at odd hours of the day when no normal working class individual can spot them. Along with the frog people of Danbury; they are illusive and know that people would stare at them going about their business. That said; we need to respect these people as they respect us. They don't want to be bothered nor made fun of. So if you go out and about to search for an answer, be discrete with your search.

Tom the stories about the melonheads on Sawmill in Shelton are all made up during drinking parties in the 60's! They aren't true! We made them up! Just like the White Lady at Indian Wells State Park! My Brother put a sheet over his head with a flashlight,and ran down the banks along the railroad tracks! And yes we made fun of them! That's all they are! Fun and Urban Legend! Not Reallity!

Gilda sounds like You've been smoking some crazy stuff! Or have been abducted by some Alliens! Bye the way? What planet are You from?

Submitted by Gilda Shiner (not verified) on
It is the truth Dave. We had the big heads down south too. I'm from Arkensas and we got plenty of big heads there. They're just like normal folk, just a tad slower to catch on to things, they walk with a shuffle, and they has the big heads. Their vision is pretty blurry too. I think when they attack folks, they're just confused. I protected my big head til too many folks went missing. That's when he chained me up. but I was lucky and excaped. Folks can't help who they love. Even the big heads need love, Dave. I don't do the outer space stuff. that's for the city folks. I was borned in Arkensas, Dave.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on
Gilda I with you. There was a melon head that lived on my street. She was very young at the time and live in the area only a short time. A friend and I used to visit her. She wasn't visited by many people. Her older brother was a normal person who looked after her in her every move. I guess you have to see to believe.

Submitted by Tom (not verified) on
A comment was made in this blog about the Frog people before I mentioned anything. I read about them the local section at Borders in Fairfield over the summer. Apparently these people look alot like frogs. Big eyes and a warted complexion. The story is about one spotted in a grocery store late at night in Danbury. I thing the book is called Weird Connecticut. There are other books with the same name for New York as well as other New England States. They also talked about the faceless people of Monroe. A house in Monroe that is boarded up but candles are lit at night or it could be low lighting. Not confirmed. The story is that these faceless people live there and have a full time caregiver known to chase people away that snoop around the yard. Did anyone else hear about this?

Submitted by Gilda Shiner (not verified) on
Well God Bless you Tom! I still pray for my melonhead because we can't help who we love. He was just too much different from the normmals and couldnt be like em. I tried but he was jest like a wild aminal. Not many of the normals are kind to them. God Bless Ya!

Gilda the only melonheads i've seen are in my garden I carve little feces on my watermelon!

Submitted by Gilda Shiner (not verified) on
You poo on your food, Tom? That's plum unsanytary and even the big heads knows better than that!

Submitted by Ted Dano (not verified) on
WoW !!! My son just e-mailed your web site and boy the memories just started flowing out of my head.Specially Dracule Drive in trumbull,ct.That's where i had my first accident in 1969 a week after i just got my drivers license.A few of my friends and my future first wife were chasing some car on that dirt road and slid right into a stone wall in front of some guys house.Needless to say it was my older brothers car 1960 Dodge Seneca so i caught a little beaten from him and the old man.The melon heads in our town in stratford were in Roosevelt forrest where we would start having a few beers and start hunting for them.Never found any but had a good time looking.

Submitted by Gilda Shiner (not verified) on
Ted..My big head still lives in ruth, nevada. It's aginst the law to hunt them. and you shore cant shoot em. Law No! The big heads like beer themselves! God Bless ya Ted!

Submitted by Carol Pendagast (not verified) on
I love your article! Can't wait to read your book. I grew up in Shelton and the legend of the Mellon Heads was big in the late 70's when we used to "party" on Saw Mill City Road. I think it was mostly the older kids trying to scare us to stay away from their party palce in the woods. Later my husband & I bought a house near there and used to take walks with the dogs on that road. We moved to another area of town & I hadn't thought about them in a long time until my 11 year old nephew asked about them at a family dinner. He was camping with the Boy Scouts on Webb Mountain and heard the legend and looked to us "old" people for the facts. We had a good laugh. Thanks for your contribution to keeping history (wether real or imagined) alive in CT.

Submitted by gilda shiner (not verified) on
My cousin Norbert called me last week. They seen the big heads on Drakula Drive ...A whole bunch of them wanderin the street like a pack of wolfs. Peoples used to leave baskets of food for them, but now they mostly raids the grabage cans.

Submitted by DJ (not verified) on
Growin up near Sawmill Rd. (never called Sawmill City Rd. back then) in the 70's I spent a lot of my free time huntin, fishin, & partyin (pretty much in that order) down the Sawmill rd. There was an old two track road just past the bridge called Perramaine rd. I was huntin the area and came across a small opening in the side of a ledge big enough to crawl in. Outside of the hole was an old army tarp over a fire pit. Lookin around I found many animal bones. Now I dont know about Melon Heads and all, but there was definately people livin off the land there. As for that "cave", never did get the nerve to crawl inside.

Submitted by Mike (not verified) on
Fairfield also has a Melonhead legend. It is said they live in the woods surrounding Lake Mohegan.

Submitted by gilda shiner (not verified) on
It was the bigheads DJ. Don't know of no bigheads in Fairfield Mike. But i imagines they need a change of scenary and moves around alot.

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