Call of the Cryptid update: Bear Lake Monster of Utah–Idaho

DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - JUNE 27:An alligator populates the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on June 27, 2022 in Delray Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA - JUNE 27:An alligator populates the Wakodahatchee Wetlands on June 27, 2022 in Delray Beach, Florida. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Call of the Cryptid is happy to take another look at the Bear Lake monster (sometimes called Isabella). The history of the Bear Lake Monster spans over a hundred years, which really only makes the specific myth somewhat old. The legend does not appear to stem from thousands of years ago or a time when prehistoric people might have seen a large creature. Those who believe in it now think the animal has the general head shape of a sea monster, and it’s not considered a land-dweller.

The Bear Lake Monster is reportedly serpentine in appearance, but one wonders if people might mistake an alligator for a cryptid-like monster. The question is:  Can alligators actually live in places like Idaho or Utah?  As Dr. Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) says in Jurassic Park, life finds a way.  What do I mean?  Alligators, and other creatures, actually can sometimes live in places it seems they’re not supposed to.

Could the Bear Lake monster have an honest explanation (is it a gator?)

Personally, I could not find any compelling photos claimed to be of the Bear Lake monster.  However, I did find some creative artist renderings, and they tend to be as diverse as one might expect.  However, a common denominator is that the creature usually has an alligator-like body and a similar, perhaps elongated, head of just such a creature.  Of course, creative license might give the look of a lizard, or maybe the classical sea snake, and the monster could reportedly reach a length greater than six feet.  It’s all speculative!

Many have claimed to see the monster on the lake, but it’s not like there’s a surplus of good pictures of it out there.  Yes, people can be lying (and probably are), but I do want to entertain the possibility that something could exist out on Bear Lake.  And yes, I want to examine the alligator possibility.  The simple fact is that alligators actually can survive in Idaho, or at least in the Miracle Hot Springs.  Plus, it should be noted that alligators are sometimes tested by colder temperatures, and they have ways of adapting.

The Orlando Sentinel addressed this issue in their aptly titled article, “Harsh winter cold has alligators coping by sticking snouts above ice.”  They mention the reptilian art of brumation (their form of hibernation): “By allowing themselves to freeze in place, the gators can lower their body temperatures and slow their metabolisms enough to survive the freezing winter temperatures.”
Again, life finds a way!  As another example of adaptability in action, sharks have famously been found living in an active underwater volcano.

Size matters

It’s also been proven that alligators can actually get ridiculously large. Check the one out in the video below! Honestly, tell me that doesn’t look like a creature from some horror movie!  To describe it accurately is to sound like a liar, actually.

Where are the pictures of the Bear Lake Monster?

Unlike the Loch Ness Monster (AKA Nessie), it doesn’t seem like there’s an especially famous image of the Bear Lake Monster. On that note, feel free to snap a picture while on a Bear Lake trip with his family.  Maybe you’ll accidentally capture Isabella in one of your tourist photos.  The world would be surprised and hardcore skeptics hurt, so what is there to lose?

Also, keep in mind:  Some claim the creature actually “marauds along the shoreline,” so one could conceivably see it without binoculars. (Fife, Austin; Alta Fife (1956). Saints of the Sage and Saddle. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. p. 275).

Bear Lake has also been called the “Caribbean of the Rockies,” so that very title implies it wouldn’t be terrible to visit Bear Lake to look for the creature.  Then again, Animal Planet’s Lost Tapes wants to scare you about this legend, making it sound as freaky and menacing as the “Creature from the Black Lagoon,” though there’s about as much evidence of that Universal Monster Creature existing as this one.

Hey, while we’re at it, let’s just say the creature can often be heard roaring, whether true or not.

Bear Lake Monster Documentaries, a spooky movie, and some news

Still hungry for more Bear Lake monster stuff? You can check out the purported documentary In Search of the Bear Lake Monster on Amazon. There’s also a horror movie coming out at some point called The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster, directed by Brandon Smith, expected to be released in 2023, according to IMDb.

There were also some news elements I didn’t touch upon when originally discussing the creature.  For example, way back in 2016, there was some fake news about a Bear Lake Monster carcass, the appearance of which coincided with reports of “mysterious glowing orbs” that turned out to be Chinese lanterns.

In my original article, recall that I quoted a supposed witness, Brian Hirschi, as describing the creature as having “dark green, slimy skin and beet-red eyes.” Well, quite obviously, this was someone attempting to make the mythical creature sound as demonic as possible.  That’s not to say nature can’t be freaky, as plenty of people find snakes and spiders hellish, but the thing about glowing red eyes suggests someone trying to be spooky. Folklorist Elaine Thatcher notes, “My research in the Bear Lake Valley shows that the monster story has now evolved into self-parody, as locals play with the story, for themselves and for tourists.”

Tourist stuff

The Bear Lake Monster is classic tourist fare, where visitors have claimed that they have seen the creature, and others might head out attempting to take photographs of it (or maybe with it).  It’s easy to claim to have a close encounter with a cryptid, and presumably fun, too, and we know people are capable of telling lies, or at least seeing what they want to see.  At least one sighting was investigated by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources, which found no evidence of a live animal, functionally rendering it a hoax.

Areas of the lake rumored to be inhabited by a creature, be it the mythical Bear Lake Monster or otherwise, may see an influx of tourists, however, so people even have a vested interest in such tales.  I could just as easily say I saw a giant beast with yellow eyes and the size of a cow with long, flowing hair, or a huge blue lake monster with a snout, long fingers, and hooves.  Another trend is to make cryptids bigger and bigger, despite the fact that smaller ones would prove more elusive and therefore instantly seem more credible. Regardless of the actual size of an imagined creature, many legends can surround its alleged appearance.

Finally, because of this article’s quirky themes about alligators and the cold, here’s a bonus song that discusses such a theme (just for fun!):

25 greatest horror movie monsters. dark. Next

What are your thoughts on the Bear Lake Monster (or Isabella)?  Let us know in the comments!