Why Bear Lake Again?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 30th, 2006

In a look at Water Babies and, of course, the Bear Lake Monsters, D. Robert Carter has written a new article in the Provo, Utah Daily Herald, entitled “Mysterious Monsters Inhabited Utah Valley Waters,” published, according to google news alerts, a little after midnight, local time, Sunday, April 30, 2006.

The “Pawapicts, or Water Babies, whom native Americans believed inhabited the waters of Utah Lake, Provo River and other aqua pura” are said to come “in various shapes and sizes. Most Ute accounts agree that they had long black hair and cried like infants.” The stories overlap with Merbeing lore.

Giant Beaver

The Giant Beaver or perhaps the Great Bear Lake Monster, an illustration by Harry Trumbore.

The Bear Lake Monsters seem a special obsession of newspaper writers in Utah. Does any one have any theories why? We’ve mentioned this before, here, “Great Bear Lake Monster.”

For part one of Carter’s article, please click here.

For those interested in further history, resources and previous articles on the Bear Lake Monster, please see The Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep, pages 192-199, where you will find a map of the lakes with sightings in Utah, details of their encounter histories, recent accounts, and bibliographical sources for further research.

But help me out here. Is there something I am missing in not understanding why reporters linked to the membership of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints routinely and quite regularly, seemingly every summer, write about the same details of the same 18th century sightings of these cryptids?

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

6 Responses to “Why Bear Lake Again?”

  1. dambert responds:

    Tourist attraction? Nothing else to write about?

  2. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Yeah. It’s slow news day filler, history, which small papers love (my most popular stories in the Scioto Voice were local history) and it’s evergreen, meaning they can write it up, hold it, and run it ANY time.

  3. Loren Coleman responds:

    Yes, all of that and more…but is there something about testimony, legacies, and being a Morman that is interrelated to the Utah Lake Monster stories?

  4. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Well according to this WONDERFUL “Field Guide to Lake Monsters, Sea Serpents, and Other Mystery Denizens of the Deep” I’ve been reading, several prominent Mormons have seen it in the past.
    Perhaps that is enough evidence to convince the devout that something lived in the lake at one time, if not today.
    The LDS seem to have an obsession with all things Native though and fund archaeological digs throughout Latin America through their universities. Of course, either conciously or subconciously, church leaders likely hope to uncover evidence supporting the revelations of Joseph Smith.
    Perhaps the obsession with the giant beaver, as a native american legend, is an outgrowth of this. In much the same way that the filming of architeuthis thrilled cryptozoologist, or that we point to the okapi and mountain gorilla as evidence large mammals can remain undetected under our very noses for centuries, perhaps the stories of giant beavers, supported by archaelogical evidence of their bones, lends that kind of circumstantial support to the Mormon faith.
    Just an educated guess though.

    Jeremy the armchair psychologist

  5. mjk responds:

    I am LDS and I live in Logan, Utah, and take several trips to Bear Lake each summer. Although I’ve heard stories of the Bear Lake Monster around the campfire, the tales have never been associated even remotely with a religious framework. It’s just another tall tale like the legend of Old Ephraim (a local bear killed by a sheep rancher). What the LDS culture does bring to the table is a pride in its pioneer heritage. Mormons do tend to like odd bits of frontier lore, but not directly for its spiritual contribution to their faith. Combine that appreciation for history with the fact that Bear Lake is a popular Summer destination for much of the Wasatch Front, and you have yourself some good copy. Just my two cents.

  6. Loren Coleman responds:

    Thank you, MJK, D, and JW. Excellent contributions of what might be happening.

    LDS appreciation of pioneer spirit/heritage/legacies + lots of old good sightings and stories there + vacationland setting = repeats often of the Bear Lake material from past centuries by modern newspeople.

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