Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bear Lake Monster a popular Utah legend by the 1880s

 ,          Even the shallow Great Salt Lake spawned one monster tale.
THE Logan Leader newspaper of Sept. 2, 1881 reported that the “yarn” of the Bear Lake Monster had regenerated lately. It challenged someone who sees it to photograph it.

By now tales of this monster had made their way in political jabbing, newspaper vs. newspaper squabbles and many jokes in Northern Utah and Southern Idaho.
Even if you didn't believe in the monster, it was now a part of area history.
-Later in the 19th Century, there was also reports of a Great Salt Lake Monster and even a Utah Lake Monster. These limited sightings never got traction and the Great Salt Lake sighting took place in water only a foot or so deep, so no one took it seriously.

The Utah (Logan) Journal newspaper on May 11, 1883 defined the Bear Lake Valley as “The Home of the Monster.”
This story said that “quite a number of people really believe there is a large being living there.” It was described as 60 to 200 feet long.
The account then told of a fishermen’s account from years earlier when they had a wagon full of fish on the shore. They spotted something large moving toward the shore at terrific speed. One of the men shot at it. It disappeared and then a few minutes later floated motionless to the surface. They paddled out to it in a boat and found it to be nothing more than a “half grown beaver.”
“Yet so curiously did it reflect itself on the water that it really appeared to be from 50 to 100 feet long.”

-The next reference to the monster was a pre-pioneer one, as recounted in the Dec. 14, 1907 D. News. “Peg Leg Smith,” a mountain man, was said (according to Brigham Young, Jr.)  to have gotten the Native Americans in the Bear Lake Valley to bait hooks by the water with venison to legs to try and hook the monster. But, Smith would return in the night to take the strippings for himself.

-RESEARCH conducted and compiled by Lynn Arave in 2015. 

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