Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » Paranormal » Cryptozoology » Lake Monsters & Sea Serpents » Bear Lake Monster

The lake monster said to inhabit Bear Lake, which spans the border of northeast Utah and southeast Idaho, is the focus of this portion of our guide.

The lake is about twenty miles long and eight miles wide at its widest point, with a maximum depth of about two hundred feet.

When Mormon settlers came to Utah, which was then known as Deseret, in the 1840s, they were told by the Shoshone that ferocious lake monsters had inhabited the lake until the 1830s when a blizzard drove it away. As described by Native Americans, the creature was snakelike, although it had short legs on which they could crawl on land for a short distance.

Despite Shoshone assurances that the creatures were no longer in the lake, the Deseret News reported on July 27, 1868, that "reliable white testimony" reported that a lake monster was still living in the lake. The eyewitness described the creature as having "ears or bunches on the side of its head nearly as big as a pint cup," and that it would spurt water from its mouth or nose. The waves were high so he did not see its body but, as the creature's head did not drift, he assumed that a portion of the body was on the bottom of the lake.

The following day, the creature was seen by four other people who described it as being "very large," and that it swam must faster than a horse could run on land. As the waves were not as high as on the previous day, they were able to see portions of its body that extended above the surface, and estimated that it was at least ninety feet long.

When the creature left, headed south, a second, smaller, creature followed it.

There are a few more sightings in 1871, including one person who fired shots at large creature swimming in a serpentine fashion.

In 1874, the lake monster was sighted three miles north of Laketown. When told of the creature, Brigham Young contracted with Phineas Cook to capture the serpent. Using a barbed hook, a 20-foot cable, and 300 feet of rope, he was unable to capture it in two years.

In 1883, a travel writer, Phil Robinson, reported more sightings, including one eyewitness who insisted that it was two hundred feet long.

There have been few sightings in modern times, although there was one in 1937, another in 1940, one 1961, two in the 1970s, five in the 1980s, and three in the 1990s. Since 2000, there have been only three sightings.

There are local incentives for keeping the tradition alive, however. In short, the lake monster is good for business, some of which are named for the cryptid. The Bear Lake Monster also lends its name to local events, such as the Bear Lake Monster Winterfest, the Bear Lake Monster Swim, and the Bear Lake Monster Cross.

Although the legendary lake monster has been known as the Bear Lake Monster for most of its time, a competition was organized to have local schoolchildren rename the leviathan, after which the judges decided on Isabella. Nevertheless, it answers to its original name, the Bear Lake Monster.

Real or not, and by whatever name, online resources relating to a lake cryptid in Bear Lake are appropriate for this category.



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