|Oct. 20th, 2005 @ 01:21 pm THE MELONHEADS MENACE FAIRFAX COUNTY, CONNECTICUT|
|Just got this email from Weird US.. thought I'd pass on. Long email, most under lj-cut.|
so if you're trick or treating in Shelton or Trumbull - be very vert careful... :p
THE MELONHEADS MENACE FAIRFAX COUNTY, CONNECTICUT
By Joseph Citro
It's true, there are secret populations hidden all around this great country of ours. Small clusters of highly unusual people are routinely overlooked by the census takers and deliberately ignored by politicians simply because they don't vote. All seem to live by a simple, perhaps understandable, code: avoid people.
Weird U.S. does an excellent job of keeping track of these hidden enclaves of humanity's outcasts. Mark Sceurman and Mark Moran have reported on such human enigmas as the mysterious Jackson Whites, reclusive tribes of militant albinos, the diminutive residents of many Midgetvilles, lost colonies of Melungeons, andâ€“â€“for the purposes of this section, Ohio's hideous Melon Heads.
I had always dismissed the Melon Heads as a non-New England phenomenon, so you
can imagine my surprise when I saw a letter from â€œMillieâ€ in Weird U.S. (pg. 61) stating that there are Melon Heads living here!
I decided to investigate. It seems the Yankee variation of the Melon Head is the Melon-head. In 1991, Marie Guglielmo, a staff writer for The Bridgeport Post (now The Connecticut Post), collected reports regarding these bulbous-headed beings.
Apparently New England Melonheads reside only in Connecticut, mostly in Fairfield County. Their covert presence even takes Nutmeg Natives by surprise. In 1960, while conducting a class, a high school teacher from Monroe said something that provoked one of his students incredulously to exclaim, "You don't know about the Melonheads!"
He didn't. And he was a history teacher. After a quick role reversal the situation was speedily corrected.
Birth of the Melonheads
There are essentially two accounts that explain the Melonheadsâ€™ origins. Either that,or two separate populations grew up synchronously.
One version holds that it all began around 1860. Apparently at that time a high-security mental institution was situated deep in the woods of Fairfield County, far removed from vulnerable homes and businesses. It exclusively housed the criminally insane.
A century later, in the fall of 1960, the place burned to the ground. Strangely, all staff members perished in the conflagration, as did most of the inmates. However, about 10 to 20 inmate bodies were never recovered. An all out manhunt did no good; it was as if they had vanished entirely.
Some theorize the fire and escape were deliberate and well-planned. The fugitives hid in the woods, successfully surviving an especially grueling winter... until their food ran out. Rather than return to civilization and incarceration, inspiration hit. As their number began to diminish from malnutrition and exposure, they embraced a landlocked version of â€œThe Custom of the Seaâ€: they turned to cannibalism .Supposedly this modified dietâ€“â€“perhaps exacerbated by indiscriminate inbreedingâ€“
â€“sparked a metabolic chemical reaction. Their craniums began to swell. And so did their appetite for human flesh.
That's one version. The alternate explanation lays the whole thing on the intolerance of our Puritan forefathers (and mothers).
During Colonial times a family from the Shelton-Trumbull area was accused of witchcraft and banished from civilization. Townspeople were forbidden contact with the ostracized group. Apparently the expelled assemblage was large enough so that brothers and sisters were able to begin repopulation efforts in the wild. In time, mental and physical mutations became obvious. The undesirable outcasts evolved into Melonheads.
Those who have seen them say they are small in stature, frail looking, with long spindly arms and fingers. Their teeth are crooked, blocky, and discolored. Their most conspicuous feature, their heads, are bald and bulbous and out of proportion with their stooped torsos. Some observers say their eyes are red.
Melonheads have no agriculture. Rather, they survive in the woods by foraging near ponds and brooks, dining on whatever they catchâ€“â€“fish, frogs, bugs, moles, or roadkill. That is, between their occasional human flesh feasts.
Local legend holds that people sightseeing, biking, or hiking in the vicinity of any Melon- head habitat are likely to vanish, never to be seen again. Bikes, backpacks, and cars may be recovered, but never the people.
Did these vanished outdoorsfolk encounter the vastly mutated grandchildren or great-grandchildren of the original Melonheads? Were they initiated into the Melonhead society? Turned into Melonheads themselves? Or was their fate a little lessâ€¦appetizing?
A Case of Survival
Magan Oâ€™Connell recalls a terrifying incident from the early 1980s when she was a student at Fairfield, Connecticut's Notre Dame High School.
After a Friday night football game Megan and some of her friends piled into Debbie's baby blue Granada. It was a chilly evening, but they were out for a good time. Deciding a few more chills would only enhance the occasion, they headed over to Trumbrull's creepy Velvet Street, known locally as â€œDracula Drive.â€ This is the area where the Melonheads where known to lurk.
With music blaring the girls turned onto a narrow dirt path. When they could drive no farther they parked and switched off the engine, music, and lights. Then, in the quiet darkness, Megan led Sue, Kim, Deb, Jen and Karen into the woods looking for Melonheads.
A full moon lit their way as they giggled, whispered, and jumped at the occasional snapping branch or hooting owl. Somewhere around here, they knew, was a house in which a group of Melonheads was thought to live. Several girls tried to stifle cries when they heard a loud mechanical roar behind them.
Deb's car was starting up!
The horn blared, headlights flashed from high to low and back as the engine growled. The vehicle bore down on them like a roaring monster. It swerved from side to side, spitting dirt, as the girls scrambled out of its way.
Safely cowering behind rocks and trees, the six watched in horror as the car rumbled past. Inside, they could plainly see a cluster of the big-headed beings they heretofore had truly believed to be legendary. But it was no legend that howled and screamed from the car's interior as it sped away.
Abandoned in the shadow-crowded woodland, the girls ran breathlessly along the
deserted road until they reached the highway. From there they commenced the long walk home.
To this day, on the backroads and quiet streets of rural Connecticut, a group of mobile Melonheads is occasionally spotted. Their vehicle is much the worse for wear, but anyone with an eye for classic cars can recognize it as a bumped and battered baby blue Granada.
Melonheads in the Woods of Seymour, Oxford and Southbury
In the area around Seymour, Oxford and Southbury, whenever I'd head down some
dark, dead-end road, someone would inevitably talk about the Melonheads. They would say it was a family of retarded people who lived in a building far off from the rest of town. All the inbreeding over the years had caused the family to become hideous (an obvious family trait being the giant heads) and dangerous.
Of course, I never saw any of these Melonheads and have always figured it was an urban legend peculiar to our area. â€“Brian Overton
The Melonheads Escapees from the Asylum
Supposedly in Southbury, CT, the legendary home of the Southbury Training School (a home for the mentally challenged), there are Melonheads roaming the woods and back roads. They are supposedly escaped mental patients and have gotten their seriously bulbous heads from years of inbreeding in the woods of Southbury.
It's very interesting because a few years ago, I heard a variation that the famous Melon-heads are actually from the woods and back roads surrounding the Fairfield Hills institution in Newtown, CT. Though I've never heard that they ever hurt anyone, the warning was always to stay out of the woods and off the back roads late at night lest you run into a Melonhead. â€“Millie
Melonheads Still Live on Dracula Drive
We here in Trumbull, Connecticut have our own Melonheads who lived on Dracula
Drive! As an adult I was told Dracula Drive really existed and was called Velvet Lane. I pretty much forgot about all this until I got lost tag-saling and ended up on Velvet Lane and realized just why this awful place had inspired the legend. I promised myself I would never go back there. â€“Georjean M. Fraina
My Dad's Seen Melonheads
My father believes in Melonheads. When he was a teenager, he and his friends
would go to Velvet Street in Fairfield County, Connecticut. People would say
Melonheads lived in those very woods. One night my dad and his friends were
driving on Velvet Street in search of Melon Heads. For a joke, his friends pushed my dad out of the car and drove off. My dad was running like mad to get out of there. His friends came back and picked him up. Later that month, my dad and one of his friends were walking to a store and they saw a mother and a baby in a car in the parking lot. The baby had a huge head as big as a garbage can lid. That was the first Melonhead my dad had ever seen, which is why he believes in Melonheads. â€“Shannon Noonan