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Saturday, August 14, 2021

The Loveland Frog

The Loveland Frog [or Loveland Lizard] is one of those creatures that hovers between cryptid and urban legend. And what I thought would be an easy post turned more complicated than I thought.

You see, there are not only the multiple alleged sightings of this creature, but there are multiple versions of the multiple alleged sightings. But let's see if I can make some sense of it all.

The Loveland Frog is listed as one of the cryptids that the state of Ohio is known for. That and the Ohio Grassman [which is a regional name for bigfoot and not one that the rest of the state necessarily uses] and the Minerva Monster [which is another regional name for bigfoot]. Cedar Bog Monster [bigfoot]. Orange Eyes [either bigfoot or an alien]. We share Mothman with West Virginia, who is better known for the creature. We have dogman and the Crosswick Monster [humanoid snake]. And we have the Charles Mills Lake Monster and our own Lake Erie Monster, Bessie.

But back to the Loveland Frog.

It is said that there is a Native legend that tells of this creature. The Shawnee told white men of the Shawnahooc, a river demon. They described it as a bipedal reptile that lived along the banks of the Little Miami River.

Version 2 of the Native legend : Twightwee peoples warned the French explorers of the creature in the 17th century. The Shawnahooc River Demon was described as a hybrid between a frog and a man. It had no nose or hair and had dark and bumpy skin. It appeared to be wrinkled and slimy. This creature guarded the river banks and chased away anyone who came into its territory. The Natives considered the creature to be immortal.

Version 3: Sometime around 1696 French missionaries became friends with the local Native tribe living along the rivers in southwestern Ohio. The tribe is believed to have been part of the Miami culture, called Twightwee by the Delaware peoples. The Twightwee warned the missionaries to be careful of the river demon, the Shawnahooc. A Twightwee hunting party had once seen the creature while returning to their village. One of the warriors shot an arrow at it but the creature jumped back into the water and disappeared. That event caused them to believe that the creature could not be killed.

There are claims that there were sightings as far back as the early 1920's but no one seems to have recorded them publicly.

The creature climbed to fame with the 1955 sighting by a man. And there are several versions of this sighting. Some stories say he was a businessman; others say a traveling salesman.

Loveland Frogs - Ohio by
Version 1 : On May 25, 1955, a businessman was driving through Loveland around 3 a.m. As he was crossing the river, he saw three figures sitting on the bridge. They appeared to be humanoid but had wrinkles instead of hair and big, gaping mouths like a frog's. One of the creatures seemed to be holding something in his hand resembling a wand. The creature waved it over his head and some sort of blue sparks came out of it. The witness said the air around the creatures smelled strongly of alfalfa and almonds. He did not stay to see what else was going to happen.

Version 2 : The businessman/salesman was heading out of the Branch Hill neighborhood when he saw three figures standing erect on their hind legs along the side of the road. They were 3 to 4 feet tall with leathery skin and frog faces.

Version 3: Same as version 2 only the creatures were seen standing under the bridge crossing the river. The area was poorly lit.

Version 4: Same basic story as version 2 with the creatures being seen on a bridge. This area was also poorly lit.

Versions 2, 3, and 4 end with the man watching them talk among themselves for a while. Then one of the creatures held out a wand over it's head and fired off a spray of sparks. That caused the man to turn and run.

Version 5 adds that the man decided to run when one of the creatures turned and looked at him before raising the wand and setting off the sparks. He ran, never looking back.

And now on to the 1972 sighting[s]. This one gets even more fun to pin down on just what happened that year.

Version 1 : March 3, around 1 a.m. Ray Shockey was on Riverside Drive near the Tote's boot factory. Suddenly he noticed a creature scurry across the road in front of his vehicle. It appeared to be 3 to 4 feet long, 50 to 75 pounds and seemed to have leathery skin. He said it appeared to be "crouched like a frog" on the side of the road before it stood erect for just a moment and then climbed over the guardrail and headed to the river.

Version 2 : Date still the same, March 3. Shockey is now identified as a policeman on a late-night patrol. He noticed something lying on the roadside as he approached Twightwee Road in his cruiser. Thinking it was probably either a dead or injured dog, he slowed his car. To his surprise, the "body" jumped up and bounded across the road, still lit up by his headlights. He returned to the station to make a report. The creature was described as being about three to five feet tall, with matted hair and a leathery-like skin. It had a distinct frog-like face. He returned with another officer to where he saw the creature. Although there was no trace of it, they did find several long "scrape" marks leading down to the river.

Years later Shockey stated in a rare interview with author James Renner : "I will tell you this much. It wasn't a frog. Wasn't an iguana, either." When asked what it was, he replied : "It was . . . .bigger."

About two weeks after Shockey's experience,  Mark Matthews, also a Loveland policeman, reported seeing an animal on the side of the road. Mistaking it for an injured animal, he stopped his car. Just as he did so, it stood up and slowly stepped  over the guardrail, keeping its eyes on the policeman. It then ran down to the water. Matthews said he drew his sidearm and fired off a shot, but missed it. His description of the creature matched what Shockey said he had seen.

Version 2 : The story remains the same with Matthews until the point where he draws his weapon.  This time he claimed he shot the creature, recovered the body, and placed it in his trunk to show to Shockey.  Said Matthews : The creature was "a large iguana about 3 or 3 1/2 feet long." It was missing its tail which meant he didn't realize right away what it was. Matthews' best guess was that it had been someone's pet and had either "escaped" its owner or had been released by the owner when it got too big.  

Matthews also said that after looking at the body, Shockey agreed that it was the creature he had seen earlier. In interviews, Matthews stated that when telling the story, people liked to leave out the "iguana" part, preferring to keep the legend of the frogman alive.

Version 3 : Matthews was driving along and saw something crouched along the icy road. Thinking it was maybe a dead or injured animal, he exited the cruiser to remove it from the road. As he approached, the creature lurched up from it's crouching position and hobbled to the guardrail, climbed over it, and out of sight. He described the same thing as what Shockey had seen, but that it had a tail. He later changed his story saying he had only seen a large lizard, like an iguana.

It is alleged that he wrote an email stating the incident was "habitually blown out of proportion". He went on to say in that email "It was and is no 'monster'. It was not leathery or had matted fur. It was not 3-5 feet tall. It did not stand erect. The animal I saw was obviously some type of lizard that someone had as a pet that either got too large for its aquarium, escaped by accident or they simply got tired of it. It was less than 3 feet in length, ran across the road and was probably blinded by my headlights. It presented no aggressive action."

His statement is also reported as being in answer to an interview with a reporter with "X Project Magazine" in  2001.

Then we have  "combo" version 1, in which Shockey and Matthews were partners and were riding together on patrol when they encountered the creature.

Combo version 2 has Shockey, after his encounter, going to the station and returning with Matthews to look for evidence of the creature. They found scrape marks heading down the side of the small hill near the river.

Exploring the 1972 encounters brings up some observations.

There is confirmation that Shockey was indeed a policeman in the area. It is alleged that there is no record of a Mark Matthews being on the force.

If the creature were only a "lizard", why did Matthews shoot at it?

Claiming that the creature was an iguana was in itself interesting. They are not native to Ohio [no large lizard like creature is] and the iguana was not a popular pet in the 1970's in Ohio. Someone, somewhere would have known about anyone having such a pet and then having it go 'missing' or 'disappear'.

In August, 2016 Sam Jacobs and his girlfriend reported a sighting of the Loveland Frog to a Cincinnati TV show. The teens were playing Pokeman Go in the Lake Isabella area on August 3. They claimed they saw a giant frog who "stood up and walked on its hind legs". Added Jacobs to the reporter : "We saw a huge frog near the water. Not in the game, this was an actual frog. Then the thing stood up and walked on its hind legs. I realize this sounds crazy, but I swear on my grandmother's grave this is the truth. The frog stood about 4 feet tall."

He also claimed to have a video of it.  

Sam Jacobs video :

The video looks a little odd, in my opinion. And I do, personally, have problems with people who swear on a relative's grave that they are telling the truth. But, I could be wrong.

Sometimes the story of Naomi Johnson gets pulled into the Loveland Frog saga.

The 35-year-old woman and her 15 year old son,Darwin along with two other women were swimming in the Ohio River near Evansville, Indiana. Mrs. Johnson was drifting in the water about 15 feet away from shore when something grabbed her and pulled her under. She claimed to feel large claws and a furry palm gripping her knee. Fighting and kicking her attacker, she managed to loosen the grip and make it back to the beach. She was reported to have a scratched and bruised leg and either a green or a blue stain that remained on her leg for weeks. There was no visual sighting of any creature.

Local farmers are allegedly still claiming sightings. One anonymous report talks of a large reptilian creature with large circular eyes and pale, greenish-grey skin. It was said to have a huge mouth filled with sharp, pointy teeth. After being sighted, it disappeared into the water.

Cryptid? Or Urban Legend? A case can be made for either conclusion.


"I'll spark the thought; what you do with it is up to you."

Sources used include : "It came from Ohio . . . " by James Renner, Wikipedia,exemplore.com,
newanimal.org,cincyweekend.com,The Weiserfield Guide to Cryptozoology,WeirdUS.com,
WCPO-TV, Cincinnati, Ohio,"Skeptoid Podcast",Skeptoid Media - R. Haupt, americas-most-haunted.com


This Post By TCC Team Member Nancy Marietta. Nancy has had a lifelong interest in the paranormal and cryptids. Nancy is also a published author and her book, The Price of war, has been met with great reviews.

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Saturday, August 14, 2021 No comments » by Thomas Marcum
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