You’ve probably heard the urban legend of the monster in Utah’s Bear Lake, but did you know that lake monster stories have popped up in as many as five different Utah lakes over the years? If you’ve ever been fishing, boating, swimming or sunbathing near one of these lakes, perhaps you’ve seen one of these monsters (or a submerged log, bird, fish or other random item that sure looked like a monster after a couple beers).
The legend of the world's most popular monster - Loch Ness - started in Scotland in 1933 with a newspaper account in
The Courier in London.
The most was said to be a large creature with a long neck. The rumor really became popular when a local surgeon took a photo of the creature in 1934. The photo was later found to be hoax.
However, long before Loch Ness, legends of several Utah lake monsters circulated.
The most prevalent is that of the Bear Lake Monster.
The stories supposedly originated with Utah's Native Americans. The earliest accounts of white settlers' sightings occurred in an 1869
Deseret News article that quoted several people who said they'd seen the monster. The Bear Lake Monster is said to have a large body with short, 18-inch legs with which it walks on the shoreline. In water, it swims, "faster than a locomotive." Brigham Young even started an investigation and attempted to trap the monster.
In years since, dozens of accounts have surfaced, with many people of all ages claiming to have seen the monster.
The North Shore Monster In The Great Salt Lake
The Great Salt Lake also purportedly has a monster (or two). There was a rumor that an entrepreneur introduced two whales into the lake in 1875 as a commercial venture. That claim has never been verified and the whales supposedly disappeared into the lake.
The North Shore Monster rumor started with the reports of several men who were working on the lake in 1877. They claimed to have seen a creature with the head of an horse and the body of an alligator swimming around. When the creature saw them, it made a loud noise and charged. Luckily, they got away to tell their tale...
Utah Lake Monster
Accounts of several monsters circulate around Utah Lake, starting in the 1800s, when people claimed to see a monster with an elongated neck swimming around. Some men said it had the head of a dog and, "wicked, black eyes." In 1864, a man reported running across the creature, who chased him to shore. Failing to catch (and potentially eat him), the creature then returned to the middle of the lake, where it joined another of its kind.
Sevier Lake is a "dry lake" - it's just a big puddle left over from Utah's Pleistocene-era Bonneville Lake. So, you might think it strange that a monster could live here, especially considering that it's typically considered really "deep" when it reaches three feet. However, when urban legends were the talk of the town in the mid-1800s, people reported seeing similar monsters here.
On the day this photo was taken, only two bald eagles were willing to pose for the camera. Only a few accounts of monsters ever came from Panguitch Lake, and they were part of the same frenzy of the 1800s.
What do you think? Have you ever seen a “monster” in one of Utah’s lakes? Here are
seven urban legends that have circulated through Utah over the years.