Tuesday, 29 June 2010

The Great Salt Lake Monster

Great Salt Lake, located in the northern part of the  state of Utah USA.  The lake is the largest remnant of Lake Bonneville, a pluvial lake which covered much of western Utah in prehistoric times. Fish live in the freshwater marshes and inlets around the area , but no fish species can survive in the lake's salty water. The high salinity of the lake makes it uninhabitable for all but a few species, including brine shrimp, brine flies, and several forms of algae. The migratory  birds feed on the flies. The present lake is about 75 miles long and 35 miles wide, with a maximum depth of 33 feet (11 metres) .
Early explorers thought the lake was an inland extension of the Pacific Ocean through an underground tunnel , or that a river connected the lake to the ocean. The indigenous people told  early settlers that the lake was inhabited by a terrible monster with an enormous head.

In the 1840s, a certain Brother Bainbridge reported seeing a monster with a dolphin-like body in the lake near Antelope Island.
The Corinne Reporter stated that in 1870 many cattle belonging to the LDS Church had disappeared from Antelope Island where the church kept its herd. The Reporter suggested that some people thought a subterranean cavern connected Bear Lake and the Great Salt Lake, and that a migratory Bear Lake Monster was responsible for the disappearance of the cattle.
Then in 1877 The Corinne Record published the report of a monster located off Monument Point on the northern shores of the Great Salt Lake. The newspaper claimed that salt boilers working the night shift for Barnes & Co. had seen something terrifying. They claimed to have seen a large monster with a body like a crocodile  and a horse’s head in the lake.  J.H. McNeil of Kelton, Box Elder County was with many other Barnes and Co. Salt Works employees when they  heard noises from the lake and looked up to see:
"A huge mass of hide and fin rapidly approaching, and when within a few yards of the shore it raised its enormous head and uttered a terrible bellow ... (It was) a great animal like a crocodile or alligator ... but much larger ... It must have been seventy-five feet long, but its head was not like an alligator's -- it was more like a horse's."
The men ran to the mountains and didn't come back down until daylight. They were horrified when they returned to see large rocks turned over and the ground badly torn up along the trail taken by the monster. The editor of the Record vouched for the correspondent as 'a man whose veracity cannot be impeached.' .
A Provo newspaper in 1890 reported a pod of whales had been spotted swimming in the
Great Salt Lake. They were supposedly offspring of a pair of young whales planted there 15 years earlier. (whether they could have survived in such highly saline water is debateable) 

There are reports of lake creatures from several Utah lakes including Bear lake :
However I have my doubts about anything surviving in the high salinity of Salt Lake  but  it could of course been just passing through on it’s way through the wetlands to another lake. The Utah lakes stories all arose at a similar time which people put down to a media hoaxes , but that does not explain more recent sightings on some of the lakes. What do you think Salty monster or hoax?

An article about mythical monsters in The Dead Sea , another high saline body of water :
Int. J. Salt Lake Res. 1(2) (1992) 1-8. The Dead Sea monster. Arie Nissenbaum

Over at Phantoms and Monsters a tale of the Salt lake flying reptile:

History of the Utah Lake Monster in the Media:


Greg May said...

I have become extremely interested in cryptozoology ever since my remarkable find in the Florida woods while hunting. Read all about it at www.florida-backroads-travel.com/the-adopted-legend.

The Running Gator said...

Hey there I used to work out on the wetlands of the great salt lake in the fresh water side. If you look up on google maps where farmington bay and south of that area is where I worked. I worked out and did alot of exploring that was not on the job description but couldn't help to not explore the area. I wouldn't doubt the existence of a creature out there. I have had a few odd things that I saw while out there. The carp in that area would get very large, but on one occasion saw something swim under my boat that was large enough to almost tip over my boat. I was in a remote area and was trying to get as close to antelope island as i could. I immediately fired up my boat and headed back to where I came from. I have a few other stories but nothing as dramatic as what I saw swim under neath my boat that day. I eventually earned the nickname gator for how much I navigated the area on boat, atv, and foot. Anyways just wanted to add some spice to the pot of chili.