Category Archives: Bear Lake Monster

Bear Lake Monster Beach Towel

Gift Idea: Share some beach time with the Bear Lake Monster.

BLM_Beach_TowelSure, there are many tales of encounters with the Bear Lake Monster, the mythical creature that lies beneath scenic Bear Lake on the Utah-Idaho border. But most of the time, the infamous monster, also known as Isabella, always seems to elude its stalkers. Celebrate this lake monster with a beach towel that gets you as close to the monster as you’ll ever want to get. #BearLakeMonster

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This Map Shows All The Mythical Monsters That Haunt The US

And the Bear Lake Monster makes the list (of course)…

Mysterious Times

We’ve all heard of Bigfoot — also known as Sasquatch — the humanoid bipedal creature that’s said to wander the forests of the Pacific Northwest.

And depending in your interest in local legends and cryptozoology (the study of hidden animals), you may have heard of some of the other mythical creatures that are occasionally said to haunt certain regions of the country, like the carnivorous Jersey Devil that lives in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens, or the chupacabra, a beast that’s mentioned in the lore of the Southwest.

But have you ever heard of the Pukwudgie, a “small bipedal humanoid” that comes from Native American folklore and can reportedly transform into a walking porcupine, or the car-mauling Lizard Man of Scape Ore Swamp in South Carolina?

read more This Map Shows All The Mythical Monsters That Haunt The US | Business Insider.

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Pecos Bill vs. The Bear Lake Monster?

Sounds like a fight worth watching, right? But as far as folklore of the time went, the fight wasn’t even close…


Page 256 of Treasured Tidbits of Time demonstrates exactly how famous The Bear Lake Monster was during the early 1870s.  (re-published with the consent of the USU Merrill-Cazier Library, Special Collections and Archives).



Bear Lake Tooth Revives Legend of Indian Fear.

So has there ever been any kind of evidence of a monster at Bear Lake? Here’s a story from Sept. 8, 1925 from the Salt Lake Telegram. So was it the tooth of a large moose or a small monster? You decide.

State Official Finds “Oversize” Molar Believed Relic of Prehistoric Age

“That’s a tooth of some prehistoric animal, perhaps the tooth of the Bear Lake monster, which an Indian legend says made its home in Bear Lake,” said H. E. Crockett, secretary of state, Tuesday, on his return from a weekend outing at the northern Utah resort.

“What about the Bear Lake monster? Well, as the story was told to me as a lad,” continued the secretary, “a monster on the order of a sea serpent made it’s home in Bear Lake and would make inroads occasionally upon the camps made by the Indians…

See Salt Lake Telegram article (Utah Digital Newspapers):
Bear Lake Tooth Revives Legend of Indian Fear


Another Bear Lake Monster Story…

Another Bear Lake Monster story appears in the form of an original tale written by Tiffany Petitt. The story is in script format and is based on the characters of the TV show Supernatural. Tiffany, a talented artist, also created the illustration below in ballpoint pen. You can link to some of her other art here.

Note: The author does not own Supernatural or any of its characters. The legend in this story is based on the actual legend, and the historical facts the author used to make the monster reality are real facts with her own twists. Published with the author’s permission.


The Bear Lake Monster

A clerk from a back road motel leaned on the dirty counter as he watched the flashing neon sign reflect off of a Chevy Impala as it pulled into the small parking lot; a nice change of scenery from the usual sun-stained van or junk car of the regular customers. Two men exited the vehicle and immediately he could tell they were related; it was something about the way they carried themselves and the similarity in the way they got out of the car. The taller one headed to the trunk while the other made his way to the small lobby.

The man walked in, sporting a rustic leather jacket and holding a large milkshake in his hand, which looked somewhat unnatural with the rest of his rugged appearance. He took another sip, the straw revealing the green contents of the mint-oreo shake.

“One room, two queens please” he said casually as if he’d gone through the procedure a thousand times.

“You boys on a road trip?” the clerk asked nonchalantly, sliding two keys across the counter after the man had paid.

“Something like that… of course, aren’t most people who stay at a place like this on some kind of road trip?”

“Heh, I suppose so” he grunted, rubbing a hand across the back of his head. “Do enjoy your stay.”

“Thanks, we will” the man responded with a grin and a toast of his cup. The cool fall air flowed in through the door as he made his way back to the impala where his brother was waiting with their bags.

The first thing the two brothers noticed as they entered their room was the odd contrast of the cowboy-hat patterned bedspread and the Chinese dragon painting on the wall. The wallpaper was yellow and peeling, but the beds were nicely made and the bathroom clean.

Dean threw his bag to the side of his bed and plopped down, grabbing the remote and turning on the TV to America’s Funniest Home Videos. Kicking off his boots, he snuggled into the pillows and sipped more of his seemingly endless milkshake.

“I’m telling you Dean” Sam started, eying the dirty boots his brother had left sprawled on the floor, “drinking something like that is terrible for you.”

“Come on Sam, it’s a celebration treat for a successful hunt, and how bad can it be… it has mint in it… that’s like… a plant, or herb or something…”

“Dean, it’s got something like, two thousand calories in it, which might have been alright if you we hadn’t already eaten three full-course meals today. You won’t last long in our profession if you keep up a diet like that.”

“Ya see Sammy, you’re looking at this all wrong. If anything’s going to shorten our career, I’d say it’s the career itself, or perhaps the very fact that we exist. In my opinion, obesity is the least of our worries.”

“Well aren’t you the optimistic one” Sam mumbled as Dean laughed at a child face-planting on the TV.

“Seriously though, considering the number of times we’ve died, I wouldn’t say I’m being unreasonably pessimistic” Dean continued, turning his gaze from the screen to his brother.

Sam opened his mouth to speak but Dean interrupted his thought by changing the subject.

“So do we have any new leads? I’m hoping we can keep up this easy-salt-and-burn-without-getting-hurt gig we’ve been managing to do lately.”

Sam sighed, reaching into his leather messenger bag and pulling out their father’s journal. “Actually, we have something pretty big coming up soon.”

“No no, don’t tell me. It’s someone’s birthday… or maybe an anniversary.”

“Ha Ha, no. I’m talking about the list of dates that dad wrote down in his journal. I’ve been keeping tabs on them since we got it and it seems that he had instructions for us coming up in the next week.”

Dean cocked his head and looked over at his brother, “I don’t remember anything like that being in dad’s journal.”

“That’s because he didn’t add it till after the wreck. I guess he was writing this out for us all that time I was out looking for all those items for him to… well… I guess that, rather than a goodbye letter, he left us a list of potential hunts to keep us on our toes and together.”

Turning off the TV, Dean swung his feet over the edge of the bed and leaned forward with an expression of curious excitement.

“Well, what’s it say?”

Sam flipped through the journal’s old pages and opened it up to a double-page spread, turning it to where his brother could see it. There were some doodles drawn of a dragon and some tribal symbols scattered in-between hand-drawn notes.

“This is the creature that dad wrote about; the” Bear Lake Monster.” It was first sighted by a Mormon colonizer, Joseph C. Rich, in the 19th century. Though he recanted his claim, many other legends and stories have come about from it; some have said that it’s a giant snake with legs that Pecos Bill wrestled with and threw to Loch Ness, where it in-turn became the “Loch Ness Monster,” while others claim that it is a plesiosaurian.”

“A what?” Dean made his “How the heck do you expect me to know what that is?” face.

“It’s like a dinosaur of sorts.”

“Holy crap, seriously? I always wanted to hunt down a dinosaur.”

“You did?” Sam’s eyebrows raised in sarcastic disbelief.

“Sure I did, what kid wouldn’t? I mean you watched Jurassic Park didn’t you? Who the heck watches that and doesn’t want to kick some dinosaur tail?”

Sam let out a short breath of laughter and leaned back on his bed, lifting the book to read.

“Well I hate to burst your bubble, but according to dad, it isn’t actually a dinosaur.”

“Aw come on Sam, why do you always have to crush my childhood dreams?”

“Says the one who told me at four years old that I had to be able to hold my breath for an hour to qualify to become an astronaut.”

“Well Sam, I figured it would be better to blame the NASA recruiting system for you not being able to follow your dreams than to tell you it was dad’s fault.”

“Moving on” Sam declared, changing the subject back to the journal in his hand, “apparently dad did some research and found out some valid facts of his own aside from the folklore and rumors. The story goes that in 1865 there was a huge controversy between the settlers and the Indians. It lasted two years and apparently was the longest and most violent controversy between the natives and pioneers in Utah history. It started with a dispute between some frontiersmen and the Utes that led to one of the white men throwing a brave from his horse. The Indians took great offense to that, in particular a brave by the name of Black Hawk, hence the title of the war being the Black Hawk War.”

“Alright alright, skip the history lesson Sammy, where does this dinosaur thing come in?”

The shaggy-haired brother looked at Dean with an expression of annoyance, then continued his explanation.

“Within just a few days of the controversy, the Indians rallying behind Black Hawk had killed five Mormon settlers and hundreds of cattle were stolen; a pattern which continued for the next couple months or years. Black Hawk rallied warriors from all of the different tribes such as the Paiute and Navajo and went about massacring settlements and forts. The pioneers and settlers retaliated and war broke out, the white men chasing the natives across Utah. Though Black Hawk signed for peace in 1867, the violence continued and many Indians, without a leader to rally around became overwhelmed and desperate. This is where our “Monster of Bear Lake” comes in.”

Sam stood to his feet and began walking across the room, his father’s journal in hand as he continued the story, his finger pointing out particular notes he was addressing as he said them.

“One particular tribe of Navajo Indians had become very developed in witchcraft and ceremonial tradition which allowed them to bless of curse people and things. One of these was ‘iińzhįįd, a sympathetic magic of sorts, which uses the power of one’s name or an object in their possession. In this case, they used this curse on a snake.”

“So this is just a cursed snake?” Dean broke in, a hint of disappointment in his voice.

“Well, yes and no” Sam replied. “You see, this creature started out about fifteen feet in length, but when it was cursed it rapidly grew to around thirty-five.”

“So it’s a really big cursed snake.”

“Dean, I’m getting to that. The thing about the curse is that other than the snake growing in size, it also received supernatural qualities. Nothing could destroy it; not explosives, bullets, blades, or any man-made weaponry.”

“A bit overkill don’t you think?” Dean cut in, raising his eyebrows.

Sam rubbed his head and let out a sigh, “seriously, but there’s more. Another small addition the curse made to the snake was that it grew these small legs that run down the extent of its body… it’s not exactly a dragon or dinosaur, but it bears a resemblance. It protected the Navajo Indians for ten years, but a few months into the last year a small group of pioneers found out about the curse and discovered a way to counter it. They found an offset to the curse by placing a Protectionway sing on…” Sam reached down into their weapons bag and pulled out two scythes “… these babies.”

Read Tiffany’s entire TV script here

It came out of nowhere…and it had the right of way.

Why should deer get special treatment? The Bear Lake Monster appears to have earned some respect as signs warning boaters and beachgoers alike are now available for local purchase (BEAR LAKE MONSTER X-ING). Simply buy and post in areas thought to be frequented by the monster.

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The hunt for a real Bear Lake monster.

Known to kill a dozen sheep in a single attack, then vanish…

Was it genuine history—or a tall tale—that a massive, yet elusive creature could commit this kind of mayhem and simply disappear? That a terrible, 10-foot tall, 1,100-pound beast could be lurking behind the next bend in the trail? Or that it was able to frustrate those who sought to track and kill it for nearly 10 years?

This is the story of a real Bear Lake Monster—one you may not have heard of. His name? “Old Three toes,” also known as “Old Ephraim.” That’s right, bears really were more common in times past in the Bear Lake area…even grizzlies.

grizzly bear (3)

A grizzly bear like this one stalked Logan Canyon for years.
Photo credit: MF Photos (

When locals talk about a huge and mysterious creature in the Bear Lake Valley, they’re usually weighing in on the Bear Lake Monster. After all, numerous eye witness reports and legends surrounding the monster have been a part of the valley for about 150 years or more. Coincidentally, there was at least some opinion that the monster of the deep had a taste for sheep too.

In an August 27, 1881 article in the Ogden Standard, “A Sucker for Sheep,” the monster’s supposed liking for lamb chops is documented this way:

It was decided by the persons referred to that an attempt should be made to angle for the Bear Lake monster. A sheep was killed, placed on some grappling hooks attached to a rope, in the hope that the mammoth amphibious enormity would, from a predilection for mutton, be led into the delusive snare.

Another eyewitness claims that he saw the lake monster devour a horse, as reported in the Logan Republican on September 18, 1907:

It was now close enough for us to see that it was some water monster…then started towards us like a mad elephant…before we could move he grabbed the horse with his two front paws, opened its teeth into it like a bullterrier would a mouse. After tearing the horse badly he made an awful howl and then was gone.

Yet this story is not of the monster lake serpent, despite a shared taste for lamb, but one of a monster grizzly. One that, like the Bear Lake Monster, also generated frequent sightings and rumors between about 1911 and its death in 1923. The excerpts below are credited to the Cache Valley Tourist Council:

In the early 1900s, bears were a problem for sheepherders. One grizzly bear had developed quite a name for himself. Sheepherders called him “Old Three Toes,” for a deformity on one foot. This grizzly’s distinctive tracks made his tracks easy to identify. The bear wandered from Soda Springs, Idaho, and as far south as Weber County, and finally settled in Logan Canyon. “Old Ephraim” was named after a grizzly in California described in a story by P. T. Barnum.

Frank Clark, born in 1879 in Cherry Creek, near Malad, Idaho, was an energetic, nature-loving man. He was an excellent shot with his trusty .25-35 caliber rifle. His constant companion was his little sheep dog, Jennie, and of course his string of horses. He was part owner of the Ward Clark Sheep Company. During Clark’s first summer in Cache National Forest (1911), he counted over 150 dead sheep. He killed over fifty bears in his crusade against them. Old Ephraim was the smartest, fastest, strongest of them all. Mr. Clark became very well acquainted with “Old Eph’s” habits during the years.

By 1914, Mr. Clark was determined to get Old Ephraim. He set out with this as his main objective. He set trap after trap in the grizzly’s favorite wallows, but each time the trap was either removed, un sprung, or flung many yards away. He tried all the tricks he knew, but could never get “Old Eph” in his trap, nor could he get many glimpses of him. Always around the herd, there was the evidence of dead sheep. Old Ephraim was getting bolder and bolder, and more of a ruthless killer as the years passed.

It is interesting to point out here that the Bear Lake Monster, much like Old Ephraim, was also surrounded by rumors and rare glimpses—and yes, even the reputation of a ruthless killer. According to Indian legend, the stealthy creature would catch lake bathers by surprise, taking away the occasional member of the tribe. Now, back to our story.

In Frank Clark’s own words.
  “On August 21, 1923, I visited the trap and he (Old Eph) has drummed the wallow into a newly built one, so I carefully changed the trap to his newly built bath. I was camped one mile down the canyon in a tent. That night was fine, beautiful, a starlight night, and I was sleeping fine when I was awakened by a roar and a groan near camp. I had a dog, but not a sound came from Mr. Dog. I tried to get to sleep, but no chance; so I got up and put on my shoes but no trousers. I did take my gun, a .25-35 caI. carbine with seven steel ball cartridges, and walked up the trail. I did not know it was “Eph”: in fact, I thought it was a horse that was down. “Eph” was in the creek in some willows and after I had got past him, he let me know all at once that it was not a horse. What should I do? Alone, the closest human being three miles away and “Eph” between me and camp.

I listened and could hear the chain rattle and so did my teeth. I decided to get up on the hillside and wait for him. I spent many hours up there; I had no way of knowing how many, listening to “Eph’s” groans and bellows. Daylight came at last and now it was my turn.

“Eph” was pretty well hidden in the creek bottom and willows, so I threw sticks in to scare him out. He slipped out and went down by the tent and crawled into the willows there. I tracked him down there, and when I got close to the tent, I could see a small patch of hide. I fired at it and grazed the shoulder. Now for me to get the greatest thrill of my life.

“Ephraim” raised up on his hind legs with his back to me, and a 14 foot long, log chain wound around his right arm as carefully as a man would have done it, and a 23-pound bear trap on his foot, standing 9 feet, 11 inches tall. He could have gone that way and have gotten away, but he turned around, and 1 saw the most magnificent sight that any man could ever see. I was paralyzed with fear and could not raise my gun.

He was coming. still on his hind legs, holding that cussed trap above his head. He had a four foot band to surmount before he could reach me. I was rooted to the earth and let him come within six feet of me before I stuck the gun out and pulled the trigger. He fell back, but came again and received five of the remaining six bullets. He had now reached the trail, still on his hind legs. I only had one cartridge left in the gun and still that bear would not go down.

I started for Logan, 20 miles downhill. I went about 20 yards and turned, “Eph” was coming, still standing up, but my dog, Jennie, was snapping at his heels, so he turned on the dog. I then turned back, and as I got close, he turned again on me, wading along on his hind legs. I could see that he was badly hurt, as at each breath the blood would spurt from his nostrils, so I gave him the last bullet in the brain. I think I felt sorry I had to do it.

That’s how the hunt for a real Bear Lake monster ended, a hunt that started about 100 years ago. Today there are few reminders of Old Ephraim: A pizza place sign depicting a grizzly bear in Garden City, the skull of Old Eph on display at Utah State University’s Merrill Library, and the old sheep herder stories told from time to time.

But the story of the monster that got away will always belong to our very own Bear Lake Monster.