Local cryptids don’t get as much press coverage as their more famous counterparts, but that doesn’t make these legends any less meaningful to the people who believe in them. These cryptids can become a real source of pride for their communities. We saw that with West Virginia’s (surprisingly buff) Mothman. The same is true of the Loveland Frogman.
Now, you probably haven’t heard of the Loveland Frogman unless you happen to live in that area of Ohio–or unless you’re just a major cryptid junkie. This creature was first spotted in 1972 and has since spawned books, merchandise, and even a musical!
The creature in question is amphibious, about three or four feet tall, and walks on two legs. Think a giant, bipedal toad. It was first spotted in 1955, and the tale has all the hallmarks of a cracking good urban legend.
The incident happened to a traveling salesman, not a local, so it was impossible to confirm the details with a firsthand account. There are also a couple of different versions of the tale. In one, the salesman was driving down the road and saw a trio of frog-faced creatures standing on the side of the road; in another, they were hiding under a bridge.
The most credible sightings of the creature (or creatures) happened in 1972. A police officer named Ray Shockey swears he saw a giant Frogman near the Little Miami River–the very same river over which spanned the bridge referenced in the first story.
Shockey told his partner Mark Mathews about the sighting, but he was met with skepticism. “Naturally, I didn’t believe him … but I could somehow tell from his demeanor that he did see something,” Mathews told reporters from WCPO 9, an ABC affiliate, in 2016.
Mathews saw the creature himself two weeks after Shockey. The popular version of this legend is that Mathews saw the upright Frogman climb over the guard rail alongside the road. According to him, it went a little differently. He saw the giant, scaly creature all right–but it crawled under the guard rail on four legs.
“I know no one would believe me, so I shot it,” he said.
Have you ever read a more tragic sentence? Mathews words will haunt me–and likely other cryptid enthusiasts. After scooping up the body and putting it in his trunk, Mathews and Shockey concluded that it was an injured, three-foot-long iguana that had lost its tail.
“It’s a big hoax,” Mathews said. “There’s a logical explanation for everything. I don’t believe in Bigfoot either.”
The most recent sighting happened in 2016, while two friends were playing Pokémon Go near Lake Isabella.
“We saw a huge frog near the water,” one of them told Cincinnati’s WCPO television station. “Not in the game,” he added. “This was an actual giant frog.”
The pair snapped photos that have the trademark blurriness and murkiness of your classic cryptid image. Some people claim that the 2016 sighting was a hoax, but Sam Jacobs swears that it really happened to him.
Remember how I said they made a musical about the Loveland Frogman? Sadly, I couldn’t find any footage of the actual show. I did, however, dig up this charmingly lo-fi video of a trio playing a garage ballad about the Frogman. It’s honestly kind of a catchy jam!