In May 1955, a man reported an unbelievably strange sight while driving home at 3:30 a.m. in Loveland, Ohio, northeast of Cincinnati. He claimed to have spotted three bipedal reptilian creatures standing by the side of the road, and pulled over to watch them from his car for about three minutes. One of the froglike beings carried some type of bar or wand above its head, and sparks were shooting out of the device. The driver notified Loveland police of what he had seen, although no evidence of the creatures was later found.
Almost twenty years later, in March 1972, an unnamed Loveland police officer was driving on Riverside Road at about 1:00 a.m., traveling slowly because of ice on the road. Up ahead he saw an animal standing at the side of the road, which he first thought was a dog. As the cruiser’s headlights fell on the animal, it rose upright from a crouching position, showing itself to be three or four feet tall with leathery skin and a head like that of a lizard or frog. The beast looked at the officer momentarily before jumping over the guard rail and heading for the Little Miami River down below. The officer returned to the scene with another policeman a few hours later, and they found scrape marks on the embankment where something had apparently slid down to the river.
Two weeks later, another unnamed Loveland policeman reported a very similar encounter. Driving on the same road, he saw an animal lying in the middle of the pavement, which he thought was either dead or dying after being hit by a car. He got out of his car to clear the animal to the roadside, when suddenly the animal jumped up and the officer saw that it was a strange froglike creature. It began to flee, limping as if it were injured, and headed over the guard rail towards the river. The officer shot at the monster as it went down the embankment, but apparently did not hit it.
Neither of the officers filed an official report of the weird creature, but word of their sightings leaked to the press, and the modern legend of the Loveland Frog was soon spread far and wide. A farmer in Loveland also claimed to see a froglike creature in March 1972. Investigators began to speculate on a connection with the 1955 sighting of reptilian creatures, and the possibility of a secret race of lizard men inhabiting Ohio’s rivers. Some have suggested that the officers may have actually seen a Nile monitor lizard or a large iguana, which can be over six feet in length. But if so, these reptiles would have to be escaped from a zoo or otherwise transplanted to the area, since they are not native to the region.
Abnormally large reptiles and reptile men have also been reported in other parts of the country, including the “Lizardman” of Wayne, New Jersey, and the “Giant Lizard” of Milton, Kentucky. The most celebrated successor to the Loveland Frog in recent years was the Lizard Man craze that swept Bishopville, South Carolina, in 1988. A man reported that a 7-foot reptilian beast with red eyes and three-fingered appendages chased his car along a country road at over 40 miles per hour. A large number of other sightings followed, and police officers discovered three-toed tracks. But ultimately, the only hard evidence the Lizard Man left behind was the fattened bank accounts of local bumper sticker and T-shirt vendors.
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