The details of the Melonheads vary. They all have very large heads, but short, almost elfin bodies, like some descriptions of E.T.’s. Their skin is light, and they have little or no hair. Often they lack ears, have flat noses, and have additional features that resemble Down’s Syndrome, and are generally of low intelligence.
The Connecticut legends center around witches driven away from human society, or fugitive mental patients. (One, outlier legend, talks about a “disabled daughter” kept in a “tower house”—one that my own mother claims to have visited, and found nothing odd but a spectacular view of the city.)
Midwestern legends center around a supposed Dr. Crow, who either sadistically did experiments on them or, conversely, was extremely kind and fatherly. Either way, at his death, the simple creatures became enraged at their loss, and burned down the house where they had been kept. Unable to feed, be clothed, or fit into society, they ran out into the woods, where they impregnated each other, and became inbred.
They’re cannibalistic, of course, when they aren’t chowing down on local pets. They especially like teenagers who are doing you-know-what Out There. Naturally, they’re eaten either raw, or cooked without being field-dressed — after all, how could you tell it wasn’t a pet if you didn’t see a cat’s tail, or a dog’s leg sticking out from the huge iron pot they have mysteriously acquired?
Speaking as someone who’s had to deal with homelessness, I find this kind of odd that at least the New Haven branch hadn’t been found raiding clotheslines and garbage cans, or seeking emergency digs in nearby City Shelter during inclement weather. Living in a place where beech nuts and acorns grow on the trees, the woods and riverside abound in cattails, wild spinach, dandelions, and numerous other fine greens, and the estuarial West River of trout, I can’t imagine that they’d take the extra trouble to make hunting (unless easy prey like bugs and rodents — remember, they don’t have guns, and are too dumb to have figured out traps) all that desirable. Eating an omnivore (whether a raccoon, bear, pig or primate) is fraught with problems: without adequate dressing, cooking, and storage, you’re just asking for salmonella, worms, and all sorts of other diseases.
Then there is the problem of demographics. In practice, it’s been found that isolated colonies with less than sixteen people tend to die off fairly quickly.
That said, there have been quite verified reports of a hobo camp in the vicinity. Most of the known Melonhead region is a public park. Go Figure.