Encountering the Loveland Frog: A Cryptid Tale from Ohio

It’s known as the Loveland frog, the Loveland Frogman, and the Ohio Frogman. But what’s the truth behind one of the best known Ohio cryptids? Read on to find out.

14 May 2024

From Mothman to Melon Heads, Grassman to the Defiance Werewolf, the US has more than its fair share of myths and monsters. And it is in the southwestern city of Loveland, barely 25 miles from Cincinnati, that one finds one of the lesser known and yet more persistent of Ohio cryptids: The Loveland Frogman.

Also known as the Loveland Frog and the Ohio Frogman, this curious amphibious creature has been the subject of several sightings since the 1950s and continues to spark speculation and ignite imaginations to this day.

So, is there really a bipedal frog haunting the waterways of Ohio? Or is there some other explanation? It’s time to hop to it and find out.

The Loveland Frog: First Sightings

Artistic rendering of a cryptid (Credit: David Wall via Getty Images)

The Loveland frog’s legend took root in 1955, when a series of sightings captured the attention of local residents. The first report came from an unnamed businessman, who described seeing three strange, bipedal creatures alongside the Little Miami River.

These figures, standing between three and four feet tall, had leathery, greenish skin and resembled humanoid frogs. The businessman claimed to have watched them converse amongst themselves, gesturing with their hands before one of them produced a wand-like object, emitting sparks that startled the observer and sent him fleeing from the scene.

Sceptics point to the fact that there are several versions of the story, none with an exact date or any corroborating evidence. What’s more, the businessman has never been identified, and nor has the source to whom he apparently told his story. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the end of the tale.

The 1972 Sightings of the Loveland Frog

What did they see? (Credit: dottedhippo via Getty Images)

The legend of the Loveland Frogman continued into the 1970s, with another notable sighting reigniting interest in the cryptid. In March 1972, a local police officer by the name of Ray Shockey reported encountering a strange creature while driving at night. Just like the 1955 sighting, this took place by Little Miami River. There, Shockey described seeing a bipedal, lizard-like figure crossing the road. It stood around four feet tall, with a frog-like face, webbed feet, and leathery skin. Startled by the sight, Shockey quickly drove away.

About a fortnight later, another police officer, Mark Matthews, encountered what he thought was a dead animal. However, when he approached it, the creature, which matched Shockey’s description, scarpered, causing him to shoot it. Matthews would later describe how he recovered the body, identifying it as a large iguana with a missing tail. Despite this seemingly standard explanation, the story of Shockey and Matthews’ encounters nevertheless became further melded into the myths and legends of the Frogman, with the more mundane elements of their encounter being conveniently forgotten.

Frogman Go

The Mothman, another cryptid story (Credit: David Wall via Getty Images)

The Loveland frog’s story has persisted through the years, capturing the fascination of new generations. In 2016, a couple was playing the game Pokemon Go near Loveland’s Lake Isabella when their attention was snagged by something beyond the virtual world. They reported seeing an “actual giant frog” around four feet in height that “stood up and walked on its hind legs.” The couple even took photos and a video of the eerie sighting. Once again, attention was drawn to this enigmatic Ohio cryptid. And with it came another revelation from a familiar figure in the story.

The Loveland Lizard Theory

Did he see a large iguana? (Credit: Juan Gabriel Ortiz via Getty Images)

Remember Mark Matthews? He was the second of the 1972 police officers to see the Frogman, shooting it before its escape. Following the release of the 2016 sighting, he came forward to retell his story, and emphasised that he still believed there was nothing out of the ordinary at play, with rumours of a Frogman being simply a hoax. Matthews confirmed that, while he had seen a reptile in the same place as the Frogman sighting, it was an iguana, probably an escaped pet. And, with iguanas growing up to seven feet in length, many argue that there was no frog, but instead a Loveland Lizard.

The Unending Allure of Ohio's Cryptid Lore

Ohio sign (Credit: gguy44 via Getty Images)

Whatever the truth behind the Loveland Frogman, the enduring legend continues to intrigue and captivate. And it blends seamlessly into Ohio’s rich tapestry of folklore, its affectionate legacy extending beyond home turf and throughout the state. In 2014, this famous Ohio cryptid became the subject of a musical called “ Hot Damn! It’s the Loveland frog!” The creature was even designated as Loveland’s city mascot in 2023.


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