The Utah Lake Monster

Reports began to surface in the 1800s of a monster with an elongated neck that inhabited a shallow lake near Provo, Utah. Those who had seen the creature described it as serpentine in appearance with a dog-like head. Perhaps the animal’s most striking and recognizable feature is its black eyes. The monster’s eyes made an impression upon two men who saw the creature; they claimed that the Utah Lake Monster had “wicked-looking black eyes.”1

Utah Lake

As previously mentioned, the waters of Utah like are quite shallow; the maximum depth of the lake only reaches 14 feet. Though shallow, Utah Lake is large, covering 148 square miles.

Like the Great Salt Lake, Utah Lake is also a remnant of Lake Bonneville—the massive water body that covered over 19,000 square miles in present-day Western Utah, spilling into present-day Idaho and Nevada. Lake Bonneville was formed roughly 32,000 years ago and lasted until about 14,500 years ago.

Characteristic of many lakes in the Great Basin region, Utah Lake’s waters are slightly saline. Nearly half of the lake’s outflow is through evaporation, causing a buildup of mineral deposits. Utah Lake has only one outlet—the Jordan River, a tributary of the Great Salt Lake.

Reported Monster Sightings

After reports of the Bear Lake Monster began circulating in 1868, residents living near Utah Lake began coming forward with stories of a monster there too. Henry Walker, a resident of Lehi, recalled that he had seen a creature resembling a large snake with the head of a greyhound.2

In 1864, while hunting near the lake, Isaac Fox spotted a reptilian creature, 25–30 feet in length. The animal had dark, black eyes and a dog-like head. Fox claimed that the monster chased him to the shore, nearly catching him. Fortunately, Fox was able to elude the monster. After the animal failed to snatch Fox, it swam out into the lake where it met another monster. Some presumed that the other creature was its mate.3

Throughout the mid-1860s the Utah Lake Monster was spotted numerous times. In 1865, a creature resembling typical reports was spotted near the northern end of the lake. In 1866, two men who were cutting hay saw a large, yellow creature with dark spots and a red, forked tongue. The pair fled in terror.4

Physical evidence of the Utah Lake Monster may have been obtained by commercial fisherman in 1870. Fisherman found a large skull, very peculiar in appearance. The skull had 5 inch tusks protruding from its jaw. Some who examined the skull surmised that it was from the Utah Lake Monster. A Deseret News correspondent from Springville, Charles D. Evans, took possession of the skull and welcomed curious readers to see the skull for themselves.5

As you might guess, the weird skull that was found in 1870 was not the end of the monster. A Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints bishop, William Price and two traveling companions saw the monster in 1871. The animal was spotted on the western shore of Utah Lake. The creature was said to look like a section of stove pipe and was an incredible 60 feet in length.6

Reports of the Utah Lake Monster took a hiatus for a number of years. In 1880 though, the monster resurfaced and incredible account followed. Two boys, Willie Roberts and George Scott, had swam a fair distance out into the lake when they noticed something swimming toward them. Initially, it looked like a beaver or dog. This was no such thing, however; the animal let out a chilling lion-like roar. The boys noticed the creature had four legs that were about as long as a man’s arm and a head like an alligator. According to the boys, the creature was making “savage gestures….”

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  1. Andy Weeks. “Utah Valley and Beyond.” In Haunted Utah: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Beehive State. (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2012), 45.
  2. Weeks, Haunted Utah, 45.
  3. Will Bagley. “Maybe There Is a Monster in Utah Lake.” Utah History to Go. March 31, 2001. Accessed November 27, 2015.
  4. Bagley, “Maybe There Is a Monster in Utah Lake.”
  5. D. Robert Carter. “Fishermen Find Utah Lake Monster.” Daily Herald. May 13, 2006. Accessed November 27, 2015.
  6. Bagley, “Maybe There Is a Monster in Utah Lake.”

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