Warts: The Story of Loveland Frogman
by Ellie Zed, November 2021
Loveland, Ohio, about 20 miles northeast of Cincinnati, is known for its beautiful river and scenic trails but what many visitors don’t know is the local urban legend of the Loveland Frogman. While this cryptid may not be as well-known as the Mothman, Loch Ness, or the Chupacabra—the Loveland Frog—has lurked in the minds of locals since the 1950s.
The Loveland Frog (also known as the Loveland frogman or Loveland Lizard) is a mysterious humanoid amphibian that is said to stand roughly four feet tall. It shares more commonly with Lizard Men than with a traditional frog because of its supposed height and upright stance. There have only been a handful of claimed sightings, including one as recently as 2016.
The first sighting of the Loveland Frog occurred in May 1955. A salesman named Robert Hunnicutt, driving alone at night near Loveland, Ohio, came across three creatures he described as humanoid frog-like creatures looming in the shadows of the roadside.
From what he could tell, the creatures had frog-like wide thin lips, bulging eyes, and instead of hair, they had deep grooves. He stood by and watched the anomalies, unnoticed, for several minutes. He saw they had web-like feet and hands, skin with a sort of leather texture, and an estimated height of almost three and a half feet.
Hunnicutt was discovered by one of the creatures, so he took off as fast as he could to the Police Chief, becoming the first to report the Loveland Frog. In July 1955, another sighting took place near a bridge with a very similar description.
No more sightings of the Loveland Frog occurred for seventeen years. This time, two police officers had sightings of the ominous creature on two separate occasions in March 1972. Ray Shockey, an officer of the Loveland Police Department, was driving near the Little Miami River just along Riverside Drive when a creature suddenly appeared in front of his vehicle.
The officer stopped when he thought a dog had crossed his path. He quickly looked back and saw the creature was most definitely not a dog. Totally bewildered, Ray suddenly remembered the tale of the salesman’s description of the frog-like creature. It appeared along that same road as it also stood at the height of three to four feet. He noted its leather-like skin as it jumped over the guardrail before finally vanishing into the river. When other officers came to inspect the area, they noticed scratch marks on the metal part of the guardrail that was left by the creature.
A few weeks had gone by when another officer Mark Matthews called in a report about an unidentified animal crouching near the side of the road. He shot and killed the animal and returned to the station with the body. According to officer Matthews, this was likely the same creature reported by officer Shockey. It turned out to be a “large iguana about 3 or 3.5 feet long” that was missing a tail. The tale of the Loveland could have ended there, but like the Chupacabra, this regional folktale has only grown stronger.
After his discovery, Officer Matthews went so far as to contact an urban legends author about the claims. Still, the author “omitted the part that confirmed that the creature was an iguana rather than a Frogman.”
The most recent sighting was in 2016 when two teenagers claimed to be playing Pokémon Go when they spotted the elusive creature. According to reporters, Sam Jacobs and his girlfriend said, “We saw a huge frog near the water. Not in the game—this was an actual giant frog. I took a couple of pictures and a video cause I’d never seen one that big. Then the thing stood up and walked on its hind legs.” Jacobs swore on his grandmother’s grave to support his claims. But, it was later revealed to be a hoax.
It seems the Loveland Frogman is just a loving local legend but next time you check out the bike trails and natural scenery surrounding Loveland, watch out for any unusual amphibians in the area.