In the early hours of March 3, 1972, a policeman was cruising on Riverside Avenue which runs alongside the Miami River in Loveland, Ohio. His job was to look for anything out of place or anything unusual at that time of the early morning which may warrant police intervention.
On the side of the road he noticed a strange shape. Could it be the body of a dead dog? He slowed down his vehicle on the icy road in case it got up and ran in front of him. As he got near to the shape, he stopped his car to investigate. Suddenly the creature stood up on two legs. It looks crouched over. Quickly the officer switched on his headlights. What he saw was clearly no dog but something entirely different!
The creature was around 3-4 feet tall and about 50-75 pounds. Its skin was leathery and its body was covered in what looked like wet, matted hair. The head and face looked something like a frog or lizard and he saw what could possibly be a short tail.
The creature stared into the headlights for a few seconds and then bounded over the guard rail and disappeared into the darkness in the direction of the river.
After a few minutes to regain his composure, the officer reported the strange occurrence to the police dispatcher. When he returned to the police station, he grabbed a colleague and headed out to the scene once more. They could find very little evidence of the encounter, except for scrape marks down the hillside, as if something had headed towards the river in a hurry. No official report was filed.
Two weeks later, another cop, Officer Matthews, was travelling down the same road. He came across something he thought was roadkill. He brought his vehicle to a stop and climbed out to investigate. As before, the creature suddenly got up into a crouched position, looked at the officer, half walked and half hobbled to the guard rail.
At this point Officer Matthews drew his weapon and took a shot at the creature. He appeared to have missed as the creature climbed over the rail and disappeared into the darkness. During the whole encounter, it had kept its eyes fixed on the officer.
Like the previous officer, Officer Matthews described the same frog-like appearance, similar height and weight and the strange â€˜hairâ€™. Again, no official report was filed.
The only other possible sighting around that time was reported by a local farmer. He claimed to have seen a large lizard-like creature.
This was the story that went around the media at the time, but were these sightings just media hype and exaggeration?
In an email interview with the now retired Officer Matthews, he stated, “There is absolutely nothing to the incident that relates to ‘monsters’ or the ‘paranormal’. This entire thing has been habitually blown out of proportion…”
“It was and is no ‘monster’. It was not leathery or [had] wet matted fur. It was not 3-5 feet tall. It did not stand erect. The animal I saw was obviously some type of lizard that someone had as a pet that either got too large for its aquarium, escaped by accident or they simply got tired of it. It was less than 3 feet in length, ran across the road and was probably blinded by my headlights. It presented no aggressive action.”
According to him the dramatic, commonly described scene of the lizard standing erect and stepping over the guardrail while keeping its watchful eyes on Officer Mathews in fact, never happened!
However, since then there have been some other strange encounters in this area.
On 25 May, 1955, a man was driving along the Miami River when he claims to have encountered three strange creatures with frog-like features and standing on two legs. One of the creatures was holding a device that gave off sparks.
Is there something to the story of the Loveland Frog? Was it all media hype?
It must also be mentioned that the sightings from 1955 may have been prompted by the release of the Universal Studios classic, â€œThe Creature From The Black Lagoonâ€? the previous year.