It’s Just a Monster, Don’t Annoy It

On February 2, 1959, the Associated Press ran a light-hearted report about a bill being proposed to the Nevada Legislature to make it illegal to harass the monster residing in Pyramid Lake. These types of bills have been enacted in various parts of the country where there is a lake with a resident monster dwelling in its waters.

In my first book, People are Seeing SomethingI devoted a section to Pyramid Lake. I discuss the legend of the Water Babies as well as the serpentine creature rumored to live there. The Following is an excerpt:

….there is a belief among some that Pyramid Lake may be connected to Lake Tahoe, Walker Lake, and other lakes in the Great Basin by an underground system of tunnels and lava tubes. Both Walker Lake and Lake Tahoe both have a history of ‘sea serpent’ reports, leading some to surmise that the monsters travel between the lakes. Currently, this belief is nothing more than pure speculation; after all, a subterranean network connecting various lakes is unproven. However, it is a matter of fact and hardly debatable that people are seeing something in Pyramid Lake.

Legends of a serpentine creature that dwells in Pyramid Lake predate the arrival of white settlers to the area. The Paiutes were wary of the lake, and told of a giant snake 200-300 feet in length!9 As white men moved west and settled in the area, they too began to have sightings. The first known documented sightings occurred in 1869. An early noteworthy incident comes from a man named Spence who traveled to the lake in search of borax. He saw a large, snake-like creature in the water, an estimated 300 feet in length. Upon closer examination, however, it was merely a very large amalgamation of worms which gave off the appearance of a giant serpent. Spence mentioned the phenomena in his report, and it went a long way in debunking the serpent legend.10 However, things didn’t end there—sightings would continue.

In 1883, the Reno Evening Gazette reported that a group of women had an encounter with a lake monster. The ladies observed a serpent shimmering in the sun. Their description of the beast leaves quite a bit to be desired. It is hard to ascertain anything of value from their testimony, other than the creature was very large and unlike anything one would normally expect to see in a lake. According to the report, the creature was “as big as a balloon, with a mouth on it like the forks of a road.”11

During the years of 1888 and 1889, commercial fishermen began to report seeing a serpentine creature in Pyramid Lake. Allegedly, the monster would feed on the lake’s cutthroat trout, and went as far as to blockade fish at the Truckee River where it feeds into Pyramid Lake. The Reno Evening Gazette described the beast as “having the body and tail of an alligator, with the flippers of a seal…[and] the mouth of a frog, which enables the animal to scoop in a wide streak of fish when he strikes a school.”12 Other sightings would be reported by fishermen claiming to see the monster basking in the sun.

In 1919, a newspaper in Pennsylvania called the Newcastle News, ran a headline titled, “Sea Serpent Immune to Bullets” in their August 30 issue. The article claimed that four hunters saw a 35-foot serpent in Pyramid Lake. The men were camping on the lake shore and saw a serpent-like creature come to the surface of the water. The group fired upon the beast, but apparently, the shots could not penetrate the creature’s hide. The monster dove into the water after being fired upon and was not injured during the encounter.13

In 1925, the Los Angeles Times reported on Pyramid Lake’s mysterious serpent. The article mentioned that the creature was being accused of depleting the lake’s trout population. In addition to devouring cutthroat trout, the monster was also being blamed for the disappearance of fishermen. It was described as being hundreds of feet in length, green in color, and having horns on its head.14


  1. Skylaire Alfvegren. “Pyramid Lake.” Accessed June 14, 2015.
  2. Michael A. McKeever. “Desert Sea Serpent.” True Western Tales. October 17, 2013. Accessed June 14, 2015.
  3. Alfvegren, “Pyramid Lake.”
  4. Ibid.
  5. Loren Coleman. “Sea Serpent Immune to Bullets.” CryptoZooNews. March 11, 2008. Accessed May 25, 2015.
  6. Alfvegren, “Pyramid Lake.”


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