There are three distinct different origin for the stories of the melonheads that may exist in southwestern Connecticut. The first deals with a mental asylum that caught fire and burned to the ground in the fall of 1960. A good number of inmate bodies were not recovered or identified, and these escaped inmates escaped to the woods. After their food ran out during the winter, they were forced to resort to catching small animals and cannibalism of hikers in the area. Because they did not want to go back to an asylum, they settled out in the rural woods of southwestern CT. Inbreeding set in among their small numbers and as a result, their offspring became deformed with distinct melonhead form.
The second story begins in colonial America; a family from the Trumbull area was accused of practicing witchcraft during the same time as the Salem trials and were banned from the town. They could not enter the town or be seen with any of its people and were forced to make their own settlement out in the woods. Soon, the large family began to inbreed and deformities followed. This line continued to be kept and their offspring became the melonheads.
The final theory is most plausible and probably the actual story that resulted in the legend. Their is a birth defect known as hydrocephalus that cause large amounts of cerebrospinal fluid to be trapped inside the brain cavity, resulting in physical swelling of the head and some mental retardation. These people probably keep to themselves and out of sight because of their deformity. People who have witnessed them in a town or outside in the woods have probably been alarmed and told their friends about the event. This is the most likely way the story of the melonheads started.
However, unlike most urban legends, the description, behavior, and location has been centered in a small area. Velvet Lane in Trumbull (also known as Dracula Drive), some backroad streets in Monroe, and Downs Road in Hamden have been the centers of the melonheads stories. All are lonely roads that go through long stretches of woods, isolated, and are near a body of fresh water capable of supporting life. The melonheads are described as short (about 3 ft tall), distorted features such as short torso, large head and eyes, long skinny arms. Some believe they are cannibalistic and may have the power to communicate with each other telepathically. There are many stories of hikers or backpackers that have disappeared while alone in areas rumored to be home to melonheads.
So do the melonheads exist? They are one of the more well known legends of New England and have been the focus of many fright filled trips by local teenagers. However it will take some definitive evidence to shed more light on the issue.