What is the story behind the Loveland Frog?

When it comes to cryptids, I’m a fairly middle-of the road fan. Show me a Mothman or a Chupacabra and I’m interested. Show me a rather more niche Cornish Owlman and I’m pulling up a chair. Tell me there’s a humanoid frog creature in the backwoods of Ohio and I’m heading to the airport.

According to local legend, the Loveland Frog was an enormous frog-like creature that lived in Loveland, Ohio, measured approximately 4ft tall and walked on two feet. The frog was first spotted in 1955 when a travelling salesman was driving through Loveland’s streets late at night and spotted three large, strange figures standing in the road before him. Each of the figures was approximately 4 feet in height, with strange leathery skin and, stranger still, frog faces. The salesman made a quick escape and his reports made their way into local lore. Naturally, there are many variations to the story, such as the creatures varying in height and being spotted in the shadow of a bridge. Most dramatically, in one version, a frog was seen holding a glowing wand above his head, which rained down a parabola of sparks.

The Frogman via At0mCryptid at www.cryptidz.fandom.com

While there were occasional reports for decades, the beast was most famously spotted in 1972 and quickly entered the public consciousness after the strange reports were backed up by a serving police officer! According to the official police reports, on 3rd March 1972, officer Ray Shockey was driving on patrol by the Little Miami River when a huge creature ran in front of his vehicle. Shockey claimed to have seen the creature clearly as it was fully illuminated by his headlights and described it as being 3-4 feet long, with leathery skin and weighing between 50-75kg. The animal was ‘crouched like a frog’ before standing upright and climbing over the guard rail, making its way back towards the riverbank.

The Loveland Frogman by Zach Taylor – https://zachtaylor.art/2016/08/08/loveland-frog-man/

A fortnight later, another local officer, Mark Matthews, reported seeing the same strange frog creature close to Shockey’s original sighting. However, Matthews’ experience was a little less cryptid-heavy and rather more ‘who left the tank open?’ In true American style, the officer immediately shot the animal and lifted the carcass into his boot, hoping to prove a point to his shaken colleague. According to Matthews, the creature was between 3-3.5” long and heavy to boot. It was no frog man, but a huge iguana that was missing its tail. The police officers speculated that the creature was a pet that had escaped, or was released after it had grown too large for its owner to manage.

According to Matthews, he managed to show the dead iguana to Shockey who confirmed that this was indeed the creature he had seen two weeks previously, and was sadly, not the frog beast he believed to have seen.

Was a large iguana the source of the Frogman legend? Image via Miami Herald

Matthews has since attempted to have his original reports altered in subsequent books and articles on urban legends, but to no avail. However, reports of the Frogman occur in cycles, with spates of sightings happening in clusters as the decades pass.

While the frogman has been largely debunked, he continues to appear in publications of local folklore and was even the subject of a 2014 fringe musical titled ‘Hot Damn! It’s the Loveland Frog!’ Which, although a thrilling prospect, isn’t likely to make it to Broadway anytime soon.

Most importantly of all, for some reason, all ‘official’ drawings of the frogman seem to depict him with the most tremendous arse. And that, dear friends, is the image I’ll be leaving you with.

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