Hometown Tales Podcast

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Central, PA - The Watermelon Baby

There is a strange legend told by camp councilors and big brothers in select parts of Central Pennsylvania. One that lacks many details and historical facts but is extremely interesting nonetheless. It usually involves a beat up old house just along Route 78 or the Pennsylvania Turnpike. Inside that house lives a deranged person raised by abusive and wicked parents. A pair of parents that kept him locked up as a child, deprived of sunlight, food and all the basic needs of a normal human being. The only food he was fed was watermelon- it’s seeds and rinds. He ate his nutrition-less meals locked inside a closet or basement depending on who you hear the legend from.

Of course now this “Watermelon Baby” resides alone in the decrepit shack visible from the highway and does not welcome visitors. Occasionally, travelers passing by will notice a dim light flickering in the window of the unstable home. There are the rumors of the college kids being chased away by the intelligible large and freaky resident. It seems everyone has a friend of a friend that encountered the mutated being.

While there is speculation this legend has foundation in a murder case involving a criminal from Pittsburgh who locked up his victims feeding the same fruity produce, the dates don’t add up. The legend of the Watermelon Baby dates back much earlier.

Feral children gone wrong seem to be a common theme of urban legends in many towns and states. But in central PA, there is an abandoned house off the highway that embodies this theme. And adds a little twist involving the food the child was raised on. Regardless, Pennsylvanians should be wary of the beast raised on nothing but large melons.

Photo courtesy of Ronnie Bergeron