The Utah Lake Monster
The Utah Lake Monster
In August 1868, Lehi resident Henry Walker reported having seen a strange, monstrous creature that looked like a “large snake . . . with the head of a greyhound” gliding in the waters of Utah Lake, according to the Deseret News. Others reported seeing a serpentine creature with “wicked-looking black eyes” in the Jordan River, which flows into Utah Lake (Andy Weeks, Haunted Utah).
Those were the first of many sightings of a creature lurking in the depths of the lake. In 1871, William Price and C.G. Webb from Goshen, Utah, reported seeing a creature a mile from the shore that “had a snakish appearance and stood several feet out of the water like a section of a large stove pipe,” according to the Deseret News. Price estimated that the creature must be around 60 feet long.
Whether hysteria or something supernatural, it’s clear something was haunting the waters of Utah Lake in the 1800s. A year before, in September 1870, fishermen from Springville dredged up a bizarre skull from the lake that had eye-sockets the size of an ox’s and “a five-inch-long tusk that projected from the rear section of the jaw,” according to the Daily Herald.
But the most terrifying encounter with the creature was reported a decade later, in June 1880, when two boys were swimming in the murky waters of the lake. Both the Deseret News and Utah County Enquirer reported on the eerie events. Willie Roberts and George Scott were bathing in the cool lake waters when they noticed something they said looked like a beaver or dog heading toward them in the water. They quickly disregarded the animal until they heard a loud roar. While looking closer at the creature, the boys noted that its head was two to three feet long, with a snout like an alligator that looked to be 18 inches wide. The animal swam toward them, "occasionally raising itself out of the water and showing its four legs which were as long as a man's arm."
Being quite a distance from the shore, the boys frantically swam toward safety, noting that the animal continued its pursuit, making “savage gestures.” The boys made it to safety in the nick of time, when the creature was only a few yards from shore.