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Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Bear Lake Monster

Every state has their share of cryptozoological wonders and Utah is no exception. Apart from the high number of Bigfoot sightings and other strange creatures, Utah also is home to one of many supposed lake monsters that populate the world. The saline waters of the Great Salt Lake are not hospitable for such a creature, nor are the shallow waters of Utah Lake. Utah’s lake monster prefers the colder northern end of the state, preferring to reside in Bear Lake.

Situated on the Idaho border, Bear Lake has been a popular leisure lake for generations. It did not take long, though, for settlers in Utah to claim seeing a strange creature swimming, and even emerging, from Bear Lake. In 1868 local journalist Joseph C. Rich reported on the sightings of the elusive monster in the lake. According to his report, the Bear Lake Monster was first spotted by the local tribe of Native Americans. White settlers who had seen the monster described it as being able to swim faster than a horse could gallop. The monster was estimated to be at least 90 feet long. Later eyewitnesses have described the Bear Lake monster as looking either like a walrus without the tusks or an alligator.

The Bear Lake Monster has generated so much interest in the fields of cryptozoology and folklore that Animal Planet featured the monster in their Lost Tapes series (video below). In the tape, one cryptozoologist postulates that the monster is a “holdover” from prehistoric times, somehow surviving in the lake until our present day.

Interest in the monster has supposedly drawn some to visit Bear Lake in order to hopefully catch a glimpse of the monster. Most recorded sightings, though, involve locals. Some of these eyewitnesses, though, have seen the monster emerge from the water to attack prey. The ability to leave the lake at least temporarily certainly makes the Bear Lake Monster different from the droves of other lake monsters in the world. These land sightings of the monster have fueled theories that it is some sort of prehistoric alligator or a dinosaur.

Like all cryptids, there are skeptics who doubt the existence of such a creature. The size of Bear Lake has been argued to be too small to sustain such a large creature. Others have wondered why no concrete evidence has been captured that shows even the possibility of such a creature residing in Bear Lake. Still, the sightings have continued, even in recent years. Despite the potential danger lurking beneath the surface of Bear Lake, in the summer plenty of people are on the lake waterskiing and swimming.

The original article can be found here.

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