Let’s face it. Most lake monsters have memorable nicknames—perhaps the most famous being the Lock Ness monster, “Nessie” (Scotland).
But hey, Nessie is not alone when it comes to the catchy moniker. Playing off the Nessie name, many lake monsters were named similarly with names like “Bessie” of Lake Erie (Great Lakes); “Cressie” of Crescent Lake (Canada); and “Tessie” of Lake Tahoe (California).
What about the local Utah/Idaho monster of Bear Lake? The “Bear Lake Monster” is a recognized name, but gets zero points for creativity. Yet in its defense, the Bear Lake creature is not alone. In fact, many lake monsters have taken the easy way out. For example, Lake Van is known for the “Lake Van Monster,” and Lake Utopia promotes—you guessed it—the “Lake Utopia Monster.” Easy to remember? Yes. Award-winning names? No.
Not to worry folks. Just like “Rudolph” was the one reindeer that needed a special song to become a household name, the Bear Lake Monster has a name too. Problem is, most people don’t know it.
To make the point, the Deseret News printed an article in 2003 entitled, “Bear Lake Monster gets no respect.” In it, the newspaper points out that few people know the Bear Lake Monster has another more personal name.
So what is it? Why, it’s “Isabella!” Really, it’s true. The Deseret News reported the naming of the monster this way:
During Garden City’s annual Raspberry Days festival in 1996, chairwoman Anne Rex organized a contest wherein local elementary schoolchildren vied to name the monster.
“I wanted to see what kind of feeling people in the community had about her—or him,” she said. (Most people refer to the monster as a she.) “Every one of the names were happy names—there was never anything scary.”
Out of 150 names submitted, including such wildly imaginative monikers as “Fred,” the judges chose the name submitted by 8-year-old Amanda Price: “Isabella.”
There you have it. Isabella it is. Although slow to gain traction, it seems the name has stuck.
For those still wondering about the names listed in the headline of this post, they are all real lake monster names. “Tarpie” comes from Lake Tarpon (Florida); Ooly hails from Lake Oologah (Oklahoma); “Muckie” lives in Lakes of Killarney (Ireland); and “Kipsy” calls the Hudson River home (New York).
So although Isabella is not known for a shiny nose, perhaps the other monsters will agree: “Isabella the Bear Lake Monster, you’ll go down in history!”