Sunday, April 12, 2015

1907: When the Bear Lake Monster devoured a horse?


                          The south end of Bear Lake at dusk.

"BEAR LAKE Monster appears. Leviathan comes from Lake and devours horse while men shoot at it” was a Sept. 18, 1907 headline in the Logan Republican.
“The Bear Lake Monster, a combination of dragon, bear and fish and measuring twenty feet in length and possessing the roar of a lion is again agitating the people over the mountains,” this report stated.
“…the monster made its appearance on the lake front a few nights ago and killed a horse tied near a campfire.” The horse’s owners, T.R. Mooney and Fred Horne “fired a number of shots at the peculiar looking dragon without effective results.” That was a summary of the men’s report, from the east side of the lake (deepest area reaching over 200 feet down).

A detailed account of the incident by Mooney is this:
“My partner, Mr. Home, called my attention to something out in the lake about a half mile. As we watched, it would sink into the water for a second then out again. The lake being perfectly calm we couldn't account for the strange object, but it came nearer to us and still going down and out of the water. Had it not been for this we would have thought it a gasoline launch or some other vessel.
“ It now was close enough for us to see that it was some water monster. We grabbed our 30-30 rifles and each of us fired at it, but could not see that we hit him, although he turned slightly to the south. Before we had time to fire again he turned towards us. Our horses were now very frightened, one of which broke loose. We stepped back into the trees a few feet and both fired, and my God, for the growl that beast let, then started in towards us like a mad elephant.
“We ran up the hillside a few rods to a slift of rocks and then began to shoot, as rapidly of possible. With every shot he seemed to get more strength and growl more devilish. The animal was now so close to shore, that we couldn't see it for the trees.
“We thought of our horse that was tied to the tree and after re-loading our guns we ran down to protect him, if possible. Just as we reached our campfire, which was blazing up pretty well, we could see that ugly monster raise his front paw and strike the horse to the the ground.
“Then he turned and started for deep water. In our excitement we began to pour lead at him again, and then with a terrific growl made a terrible swish in the water and sprang toward us. Before we could move he grabbed the horse with his two front paws, opened its monstrous mouth and crashed its teeth into it like a bullterrier would a mouse. After tearing the horse badly be made an awful fill howl and then was gone, plowing through the water.
“But the sight I'll never forget. It seemed to be all head, two large staring eyes as large as a front wagon wheel, nose and mouth like a great largo fish. It's arms seemed to come out on either side of its head where the ears naturally would be. The hind legs were long and bent like that of the kangaroo. Then the hind end was like the tip end of a monster fish.
“We walked to a ranch up the shore, a quarter of a mile and staid till morning. When we went back in the morning we found the animal had come back again in the night and carried the dead horse off. He also broke off trees four and five inches through.
“Also tore large holes in the beach, and its tracks were like those of a bear, but measuring three feet long and nearly two feet wide. We could not tell if our bullets would go through his hide or not, but noticed some of them would glance off and hum like they had struck one of his teeth, which always seemed to show. As there -was so much blood from the mangled horse, we could not tell whether the beast of the lake was bleeding.”
Truth or fiction? Definitely an extremely detailed account.
The Salt Lake Tribune published Mooney’s same account on Sept. 20, 1907 and then its editors commented:
“The Bear Lake Monster is not a discovery. It is an old friend dormant for some time. Several years ago it was ‘seen’ and camping parties fled in terror. Its ferocity is equaled only by its terrible appearance. It was then hailed as the ichthyosaurus. Let it go at that.”
The Intermountain Republican also reprinted Mooney’s account on Sept. 20, with the headline: “Imagination; or just booze? Bear Lake Monster returns.”

This story stated that the monster is “Bigger and stronger than ever” and advised doors in the area locked at night and that women and children be confined to the house.

-RESEARCH conducted and compiled by Lynn Arave in 2015. 

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