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The Melon Head Illustration

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Original Version

When she approached me about doing the illustrations for the cryptid guidebook she was compiling, I let her know up front that I was no Rembrandt. My style was simple, and while I could draw animals easily enough, I had trouble drawing human beings. Part of my unique style was to give people short snouts as opposed to noses or mouths. After she assured me that it wouldn’t be an issue since most of the humanoid cryptids were described as being ape-like, I agreed to the commission. Each workday morning I brought my art supplies to her studio, took my seat at the large desk, and began the day’s work. With each entry I would read or summarize the description she had written, ask her if she had any additional instructions on how she wanted the described cryptid to look, draw an image based on the information provided, show her the draft, and color the image upon her approval. I looked forward to each day. It was fun and challenging work and my benefactor was a pleasant lady to work for.

The only unusual incident occurred while I was illustrating the chapter on North American cryptids. I was working my way through the M’s and came to an entry concerning creatures called “melon heads." Giving a brief summary instead of reading the whole article, I announced, “Okay, we’re up to ‘melon heads.' They’re legendary beings and urban legends in parts of Michigan, Ohio, and Connecticut, generally described as small humanoids with bulbous heads. Also known as wobbleheads, they occasionally emerge from hiding places to attack people.”

I waited for her input, but there was only silence. I turned to look at her. She was staring ahead with a somewhat frightened look on her face, as if some horrible image had been brought to mind. This concerned me because she hadn’t had a reaction like that so far, no matter how horrible the cryptid or its activities were said to be. “Ma’am?” I called. She met my gaze and I asked, “Are you all right?”

She cleared her throat. “I’ll be all right, thank you.”

“Obviously this one will be humanoid with a big head, but what else?”

She paused for a moment before replying, “Make it look like a lost child. Like a waif.”

I was surprised by the request, but I got to work. I drew a small, thin body with a large, round head. I started on the face, but a then a thought struck me. “What about its eyes? What kind of expression should it have?”

“Give it an angry but sad expression, like it’s been hurt.”

I finished the cryptid’s face, added some tufts of hair on its head, and clothed it in a pair of ragged shorts. When I showed her the draft, she stared at it fearfully for a moment before softly telling me to go ahead and color it.

Melon Head entry

I gave the melon head pale skin, and after coloring in its other features I handed the page over to her. This time she sat for several seconds staring at my simple illustration in fright. She shuddered as she handed it back to me. “That’s good.” She cleared her throat again. “It’s past noon. Why don’t we break for lunch? You can get something from out if you’d like.”

“Sounds good to me.”

She arose from her chair and exited the room. I re-read the entry before leaving the studio. I couldn’t see why this cryptid would have such an effect on her, and I realized that there must be something that had been omitted. Since there were a few restaurants close to the local library, I decided to do some investigating during my lunch break.

Within fifteen minutes I was sitting at a library computer. I found an article on melon heads, started reading through it, and froze at what I read. After finishing the article, I consulted some books on local legends, which confirmed the Internet article. According to most stories, the melon heads were once children with hydrocephalus. They were wards of either an orphanage or an asylum, but instead of receiving proper treatment and care, they were subjected to cruel experiments by an evil doctor. After suffering both physical and emotional abuse, they killed the doctor, escaped into the woods, and became feral mutants who engaged in cannibalism and inbreeding. With my vivid imagination, horrifying images sprang into my mind. I felt a shudder go through me as I replaced the books.

As I reflected on what I had just learned, I understood why someone would be creeped out by the story of the melon heads. Then a chilling question entered my mind. This was one of the areas in which melon heads were said to have been sighted. What exactly had my benefactor seen, or what had she experienced, to make her frightened at the mere mention of their name?


Due to feedback, I’ve expanded this story to include three possible endings. They appear after the following connecting paragraphs, and readers are free to choose their favorite of the three endings, to come up with their own ending, or to mix and match elements of different endings.

I tapped my teeth with my pencil. Could I just leave it at that? I decided that no, I couldn’t. I’ve had a curious and inquisitive nature ever since I was a small child. After all, that was why I came to the library to do research in the first place- curiosity as to why my benefactor had become so scared and unsettled. If I left it at that, I’d always wonder. It was more than that, though. I’d started to care for this woman as a friend, and I was genuinely concerned. I had to go about this the right way. The easy thing to do would be to start asking around to see what I could dig up, but that wouldn’t be the respectful thing to do. I’ve been told I have a terrible poker face. If I discovered my benefactor’s secret, whatever it was, from someone else, I’d find myself looking at her differently. She’d realize that rather than approaching her, I had gone behind her back simply to sate my curiosity. Even if I’d hadn’t started to look at her like a friend, I couldn’t do that to her. She was already shaken. I felt that if my conducted my investigation that way, it’d be like stabbing her in the chest.

I thought back to my nervous breakdown years before. I found out then who really was close to me- who it was that really and truly cared- and who was just pretending. Of those who noticed that something was wrong with me, the ones who won my eternal gratitude were those who simply reached out to me and sincerely said, “Whatever it is, I’m here for you. Anytime you’re ready to talk, I’m ready to listen.” It would have to be the same way here. Though it would be hard, I would wait for the opportunity to present itself. I would let her know that if there were anything she wanted to share, she could share it with me confidentially. I hoped she would trust me enough to tell me, either then or later, but even if she didn’t, at least she’d at least know that I cared. I took a deep breath and said a mental prayer- one which started with thanksgiving for my recovered mental health, and for those who had helped me recover it, and ended with a request for guidance. Then I gathered my things and left to get a bite to eat from a nearby restaurant.

I came back to the house before my benefactor did. I was looking over a couple of the pages to be illustrated when she entered the studio. I turned to look in her direction. “Are you feeling all right, ma’am?”

“I’m fine, thank you. How was your lunch?”

“It was good. I think I’ve said this before, but this neighborhood reminds of where I grew up. It seems like every time I go out for lunch here, or go to a store, or whatever, I think about when I was little and my dad would take me along on errands.”

She smiled. “Yes, you did mention that before. I’ll have to give you a tour sometime, tell you about what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.”

“I’d like that.” I set the pages back on the desk. “I see that the next one is the Michigan Dogman. I do a lot of illustrations of werewolves and other werebeasts, so this is right up my alley.”

“That’s good.”

I did the drawing of the Michigan Dogman with no incident, and the rest of the day went normally. It was as though her spell of fright had never happened. Days passed by and there were no further incidents. We chatted while I continued my work on the book, and I secretly waited for what I thought would be an appropriate time to ask about the melon heads.

One evening I got my chance. Two things happened. First, there was a commercial asking for donations for an orphanage. My benefactor told me to get an envelope from the desk. As I did so, she went to get her checkbook. Speaking softly and humbly, she told me, “I always help out children when I can, especially those who don’t have families supporting them.” She added, “It’s a terrible thing when children don’t have the care they need.”

I nodded in agreement and sympathy. There was something in her voice that suggested that there was a more personal level to her comments, that the subject had touched something in her. I couldn’t help but think of the background I had read on the wobbleheads. However, I could tell that the time wasn’t right to bring up the subject.

Winter had come, so it got dark quickly. Around five thirty or so it began to rain. It had been raining steadily for about half an hour when my benefactor came to the window of the door leading to her backyard. The curtains had been drawn already, but she opened them again and stared into the distance. I knew that look from experience. She was staring not at anything that was actually outside, but at something that had happened long ago. I felt sympathy for her, and as I observed her I felt like this was the opportunity I’d been hoping for.

“Ma’am?” I called.

At first there was no reaction. She was so engrossed in her reflections that it was like I wasn’t even there. I called again and she turned to look at me. “I apologize if I’m being presumptuous, but… I was concerned about you, and curious, and I looked up some information about the melon heads.”

Her eyes grew wide. She swallowed, then asked, “What-What did you find?”

“I learned that they were once children, and that sightings have been reported near here.”

She looked down. There was no anger or resentment towards me, just a sad acceptance. I continued, “If… If there’s anything you want to share, I’m a good listener and can keep a secret.”

“I… I believe you,” she replied. She hesitated, as if trying to gather her fortitude, before agreeing, “Maybe I should tell this story.” She stepped away from the window and took a seat. “I knew that this would come up, both when I compiled the guide and when I looked for an illustrator. Maybe subconsciously I wanted to confront the memory of what happened.”

I watched her, eagerly awaiting her story.

Possible Ending#1

“When I was six, my parents had another child- another girl. While there were times when she could be annoying, I had a lot of fun playing with her. We all loved her dearly. After a while, it became evident that something was wrong with her. She would get irritable and hold her head in pain. One day she had a seizure. It scared me to death.”

“Your parents took her to the doctor and discovered she had hydrocephalus,” I offered.

She nodded. “Back then care wasn’t as good as it is now. She was treated for it more than once, but it came back. Then my parents were approached.” Her voice became hard and bitter. “They said there was a medical facility in a nearby city that was treating hydrocephalus patients, and that they’d take good care of her.” She closed her eyes tightly and fought back bitter tears before continuing. “My parents were hesitant, but these so-called experts told us that it was for the best, that they could give her proper treatment, so my parents handed her over to the place.

“At first things seemed to be going well. We paid regular visits, and she seemed to be doing better. Then they stopped allowing us to see her. They’d say that she wasn’t feeling well, or that she had just gotten treatment, and she needed her rest. No matter how my parents protested, they wouldn’t let any of us see her. My father made a complaint, but he was told that these were professionals, so surely they knew what they were doing. My parents were treated like interlopers for wanting to visit with their own child.”

She remained silent for several moments before continuing. “One evening we were planning to see a movie. Father and I were already in the car. Mother’s bladder was never good, so she always used the bathroom last thing. She came out of the house in a hurry, looking alarmed like something terrible had happened. She got in and ordered my father to drive to the hospital, laboratory, whatever you want to call that horrid place.”

“An abomination is what I’d call it.”

She gave a sardonic chuckle. “He asked her what was wrong, and she told him she’d just gotten a phone call that something terrible had happened. Well, my father didn’t need to be told twice. He burned rubber. On the way we were stopped by one of the local officers. When he found out why Father was speeding, he became very solemn and said he’d give us an escort.” She shook her head. “He must have gotten the news too that something had happened.

“We arrived to find a number of cars- both police and civilian- already there, along with a coroner’s van and an ambulance. You know what it was that had happened- the killing of that monster doctor and the escape of his patients, or rather, his victims. As terrible as it is to read the story, you can only imagine how horrible it was to come to the scene knowing almost nothing and find out all the horrible details little by little.”

She choked back emotion and continued. “As I was looking around, trying to make sense of this somehow, I… saw something in the distance. It looked like a deformed boy, maybe eleven years old, carrying a small, deformed girl in his arms.”

I got a lump in my throat, but I managed to ask, “She resembled your sister?”

She nodded. “He was holding her like one would hold a sibling, or a victim one was trying to get to safety. I cried out in fright, and my parents turned and saw them too. The police noticed this, though the boy was starting to retreat at that point. A couple officers headed in that direction, but they had escaped before they got there. They never found them.

“My family felt horrible guilt about what had happened, even though we were against her being sent to that place to begin with, but as long as we had each other, we could console each other. My mother passed away a few years ago; my father passed just last year.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“There are stories, as you know, but the sad thing is sometimes I think my sister is better off with the rest of them. Maybe they’d care for her more than the so-called regular people did.”

She began to sob openly. I went to her and clutched her in a supportive hug, letting her tears soak into my shoulder while I tried to give her comfort.

Possible Ending#2

“Many years ago I was married and living in a nearby city. I gave birth to a little boy. My husband and I loved him dearly. We didn’t have a lot, and there were hard times, but our home was a loving one. After a while, however, we realized that there was something wrong with our son. We went to the doctor, but he kept shrugging it off, saying it was just growing pains, or colic, or maybe he had sinus headaches. Then our boy had a seizure. We rushed him to the hospital.”

“That’s when they discovered the hydrocephalus,” I offered.

She nodded. “Back then care wasn’t as good as it is now. He was treated for it more than once, but it came back. After a while we were approached. We were told that there was an asylum nearby where they were treating hydrocephalus patients. They said that he’d get the best and latest treatments, and they’d take good care of him.” She stared ahead tearfully for a few seconds, and then her voice became hard and bitter as she continued. “We were hesitant, but we were told that they could take care of him better than we could.”

“By who? The people from that terrible place?”

“No, not just them. Some local doctors and even some friends and relatives told us that the best thing we could do for our son was allow him to be taken to this place for treatment. We were hesitant, like I said, but finally we agreed. It was the hardest decision we ever made.

“At first things seemed to be going well. We paid regular visits, and he seemed to be doing better. Those who had supported it used to say, ‘See? Aren’t you glad you did it? See how well they’re taking care of him?’” She paused to swallow hard. “Then the people there stopped letting us see him. They’d say he wasn’t feeling well, or that he had just gotten treatment, and he needed his rest. When this kept happening we protested, but we always got the brush-off. We started asking around town. Some people brushed us off too, saying that these were professionals and we shouldn’t go making trouble. Others agreed that it was strange, and we met with other parents. Finally we found a doctor who agreed to come along with us and try to see for himself what was going on.

“We arrived at that horrid place to see police cars along with a coroner’s van and an ambulance. We got out of our cars. A police officer started to come over to us, and the doctor who agreed to accompany us told us he’d try to find out what was happening. You know what it was that had happened- the killing of that monster doctor and the escape of his patients, or rather, his victims. As terrible as it is to read the story, you can only imagine how horrible it was to come to the scene knowing almost nothing and find out all the horrible details little by little.

“As we were standing there in shock, trying to absorb any of this, we saw… something in the distance. There were two figures that looked like deformed boys. One of them resembled our son.” She choked back emotion and continued. “He stopped and looked at us. He looked like he wanted to do something, but the other one took his hand and gave him a tug, like he was encouraging him to escape to safety. I started to cry out, but my throat closed up partway. A couple police officers headed in that direction, but they escaped before they got there. They never found them.

“We and the other families grieved. Most of those who had been so supportive of sending our son to that place avoided us out of shame. We eventually got a cash settlement, and we used it to move here so we could get a new start. We lived well enough, and even adopted some children, but we always thought about what could have been. My husband passed away a few years back.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“Sometimes I wonder if my son is still out there somewhere. There are stories, as you know, but the sad thing is sometimes I think he’s better off with the rest of them. Maybe they’d care for him more than the so-called regular people did.”

She began to sob openly. I went to her and clutched her in a supportive hug, letting her tears soak into my shoulder while I tried to give her comfort.

Possible Ending#3

“Years ago I worked as a nurse in that very facility. I worked in a different part of the building. I- This will be hard to believe, but we- the nurses and whatnot in the other wards- didn’t know what was going on in the hydrocephalus ward.”

“It does seem hard to believe, but how many cases have there been in which someone didn’t know what was going on someplace, even in their own house?” Speaking sincerely, I added, “I don’t think you’re the type to see something like that happening and choose to ignore it.”

“Thank you for that.” She sniffled as if experiencing some strong emotion. When she resumed speaking, her voice was hard and bitter. “We were told that important research was being done, that we shouldn’t interfere. Some were content to leave it at that. Others felt that something wasn’t right. As time passed our unease grew. More than once there was talk of starting an investigation, but there were always those who said it was best not to ‘make waves’.”

She closed her eyes tightly and swallowed. “One evening I was walking down a corridor near the hydrocephalus ward. Suddenly this… figure came from around the corner. It looked like a deformed child with bloodstains on his shirt. I froze out of shock and he looked at me like… like he was sizing me up. He must have decided that I wasn’t a threat because he turned and went back the way he came. I turned and went to get help. Some guards went to investigate, and you know what it was they found.

“I don’t grieve for that monster doctor and his assistants at all. No, those poor children were the real victims. I’ve wondered countless times what might have happened if someone had investigated early on. Those cruel experiments would have been stopped; maybe those children could have been cured. Hopefully there’ll be a cure someday and they can start healing, but they never would have had to live like feral animals in the first place if just one person had…”

She began to sob openly. I went to her and clutched her in a supportive hug, letting her tears soak into my shoulder while I tried to give her comfort.


"The Melon Head Illustration" by Raidra (Creepypasta Reading)06:01

"The Melon Head Illustration" by Raidra (Creepypasta Reading)

"The Melon Head Illustration" video by Midnight Siren- This reading is of the original and therefore purest version of my story).

Written by Raidra
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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