The Loveland Frogmen

A sketch made by Stringfield of the creatures described by Hunnicutt.

A sketch made by Stringfield of the creatures described by Hunnicutt.

The story of Ohio's mysterious frogmen began with a vague tale told by an unidentified businessman in 1955.  

Early UFO investigator Leonard Stringfield wrote in a 1957 report that he had heard about "a case involving a prominent business man...who saw four little men about three feet tall under a certain bridge" near Loveland, Ohio.  Stringfield said that this businessman had reported his sighting to local police, and that an armed guard had been placed at the bridge.  

However, he explained that his "at­tempts to glean additional details were foiled; that the local Civil Defense unit, which I heard had been engaged at the bridge, wouldn't talk; that the Loveland Police Chief John Fritz, who 'knew about the case' had 'brushed off' one inquisitor and that my feelers elsewhere fell flat."

Despite that, Stringfield claimed to learn from a member of the Loveland school board that the incident had been investigated by the F.B.I.

Later, in 1956, while trying to find more information on that sighting, Stringfield said he was able to talk to a man who had encountered beings similar to those seen by the unnamed businessman.  According to Stringfield, he and two fellow investigators met with Robert Hunnicutt, who Stringfield described as "a man in a responsible position, well-dressed, well-mannered; his voice soft, undramatic; his eyes steady, never shifting."

 About 4 a.m. on a March night in 1952, while driving through Branch Hill on his way to Loveland.  [Hunnicutt] saw in the beams of his headlights, what appeared to be three men kneeling at the right side of the road. His first impression was that "somebody was hurt or some crazy guys were having fun". Curious, he stopped his car and got out for a better look. To his surprise, he discovered that the figures were non-human and about three feet tall. They were not green,  [Hunnicutt] stressed but rather a "greyish color" including the garments. These tight-fitting, stretched over a "lop-sided chest" which bulged at the shoulder to the arm pit. Over this bulbousness hung a slender arm noticeably longer than its opposite member. Save for only a fleeting impression of "something baggy", the legs and feet were obscured by weeds and brush. "Their heads were ugly," said [Hunnicutt]., reminding him of a "frog's face" mostly because of the mouth which spanned, in a thin line, across a smooth grey face. While [Hunnicutt] thought the eyes, "without brows" seemed normal and the "nose was indistinct", the pate of the head "had a painiet[sic]-on-like-hair effect, like a plastic doll". He added. "It was corregated or like rolls of fat running horizontally over a bald head".

According to [Hunnicutt], the middle biped, and the one closest to him, was first seen, with his arms upraised. "They were raised a foot or so above the head", he said, "and holding a dark chain or stick, which emitted blue white sparks jumping from one hand to the other". As [Hunnicutt] approached, he said this biped then lowered its arm* with the chain "as if to tie it around its ankles". [Hunnicutt] said he wanted to get closer, but by the time he had reached the front fender of his car the "little men" made a slight "un­natural" move toward him, "as if motioning me not to come any closer'. For about three minutes [Hunnicutt] said he stood still, just watching—too amazed to be afraid. Next thing he remembered he was on his way to Fritz's office.

Stringfield said that Police Chief Fritz investigated the area, but found nothing.  He also noted that members of the Loveland Ground Observer Corps (GOC) reported seeing a UFO in that general area the night of Hunnicutt's sighting; although, at this time, UFO sightings in the area weren't uncommon—something that certain researchers have attributed to the proximity of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.  

These two reports have gone on to inform a handful of other sightings, and out of them the legend of the Loveland Frogmen was born.  Over the years, that vague story of the businessman's sighting has been conflated with Hunnicutt's encounter until the two are seen by most as indistinguishable. It's an interesting phenomenon in itself, and an important reminder that the origin of a story is often as important as its details.  

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Tobias Wayland