A prevalent old wives’ tale passed down from generation to generation involving one of Utah’s Great lakes involves a cryptid monster referred to as the ‘Bear Lake Monsters’. The fable insists there are up to five monsters lurking under the waters of Bear Lake. The legends started out as a local tribes tale where a giant water lizard, reportedly thirty feet long could allegedly swallow men completely whole. Originally, started by the local indigenous people and eventually became apart of the white settlers tales who were reporting incidents of scaly, monstrous creatures as early as 1860.
Bear Lake and other lakes in the northern part of Utah have manifested numerous sightings of these creatures. In early 1864, a local man Henry Walker, reportedly witnessed a beast similar to that of a giant snake in Utah Lake with a head similar to a dog. This beast struck so much terror within his soul, he immediately fled the scene. There were also stories over the years of prestigious people such as local priests said to have met these beasts. They all illustrated the same description – a snake’s torso with stubby legs protruding out of the water with a gigantic mouth and black eyes, perhaps a bear lake monsters.
As of the late 1860s era, a strong motion in favor of hunting down these mysterious beasts seem to gain support. Young local males attempted to shoot at them with their rifles, and while there were lucky hits, not one was a bit effective in injuring the creature enough to claim capture. The local populace was clearly suffering from paranoia at an all time high, a farmer heard a strange noise in the bushes one night. Utilizing his rifle, he shot the creature in the bushes only to find out it was a neighbors cow. Around the year 1870 though, real evidence was said to be uncovered when a fishermen found a huge skull with a five-inch tusk protruding from the jaw. This finding caused such a stir, even the Salt Lake Herald, a local news organization, picked it up.
In mid 1874 a train captain named William Bridge also recalled seeing the Bear Lake creature. He described the creature as having a long neck with a flat face, large black eyes, and noticeable ears. The local residents were so touched by his description, they were determined to construct a trap to snare the beast. Two leading locals, Brigham Young and Phineas Cook devised a state-of-the-art plan consisting of a long fishing rope with a hook at the end of it and a huge slab of meat linked to a buoy that sat on top of the water. Just similar to a fishing pole, only larger, built for a giant beast. However, as the snare was constantly stripped of the meat, no beast was ever snatched.
Well into the nineteenth century, sightings of the Bear Lake Monster had severely slowed and the though of the Bear Lake monster was pushed to the back of the public psyche. However there were several sporadic sightings which took place: a four year old asserted he has witnessed it in 1937, a Boy Scout declared he saw it in 1946, and the last alleged sighting took place in 2002 when the owner of Bear Lake, Brian Hirsch claimed to have witnessed it. Some say the Bear Lake monsters could be a hoax, while some say it’s just an old folktale, what do you think?