The legend of the Michigan 'Melon Heads'

Felt Mansion/FeltMansion.Org

DETROIT – Michigan is filled with urban legends and folklore. One of the most popular legends is that of the Melon Heads.

Melon Heads are generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads, occasionally emerging from hiding to attack people.

Although the Melon Head legend extends to Ohio and Connecticut, the legend started in Michigan.

Who are Melon Heads?

According to legend, a hospital in the area of Saugatuck, Michigan, was treating hydrocephalic (or water head syndrome) children. The hospital was forced to close and the children had nowhere to go - so they were released.

Another story described physical and emotional abuse before the children were released into the forests.

The creatures are said to reside near the Felt Mansion, but witnesses have reported sightings in wooded areas around Ottawa County.

Another theory claims the children once lived in the mansion itself - but later retreated to a system of underground caverns.

The Felt Mansion in Holland, Michigan

Located in Holland, the Felt Mansion was built in 1928 by Dorr Felt as a summer home for his wife.

The mansion was a school and a chapel until it was purchased by the state of Michigan in 1977.

The state used the mansion as a state police post and converted the building into a prison.

The state sold the estate to Laketown Township in 1995 for $1, as long as they preserved it. The property is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Melon Heads legend claims that the Mansion was an insane asylum, which housed the creatures. The Allegan County Historical Society says no such asylum ever existed.

The legend lives on

Local teenagers still claim to encounter the Melon Heads near the Felt Mansion. Laketown Township Manager Al Meshkin told the Holland Sentinel that he had heard the tales as a teenager, calling them "wobbleheads".

Visitors and late-night explorers have reported seeing curtains moving in the windows of the vacant old building with strange noises, such as heavy breathing, footsteps, and shadows darting through the darkness.

The Felt Mansion became the St. Augustine Seminary for boys in 1949.

A former student told the Grand Haven Tribune that Melon Heads actually referred to something else:

“Rumors start because of the unknown. The 'Melon Heads' were actually seminarians at Saint Augustine Seminary in the Felt Mansion,” the former student explained. “The local kids called us that because it was a private school and we were brainy.”  

A 2011 horror film based on the urban legend had the tagline: "Every town has its own monster story. Allegan, Michigan's is the Melonhead."


About the Author:

Ken Haddad has proudly been with WDIV/ClickOnDetroit since 2013. He also authors the Morning Report Newsletter and various other newsletters, and helps lead the WDIV Insider team. He's a big sports fan and is constantly sipping Lions Kool-Aid.