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Bigfoot, lake monsters, and aliens are all critters that make for some great stories, but they aren’t unique to Idaho by a long shot. Take a look at these three mysterious beasts found in Idaho that are a little further off the radar than your everyday monsters.
Similar to Irish legends, the Shoshone tribe tells of a race of little people that were mysterious and dangerous. Some may know them as mountain dwarves that can be found in the Owyhee Mountains in Idaho, and the Wind River and Pedro Mountains in Wyoming. The name Nimerigar is derived from different Native languages and designates them as cannibals, connecting them to many gruesome tales that come from Native American folklore. One way the Nimerigar were said to help feed their people was by taking heavy rocks to the skulls of tribe members who would not or could not contribute to the group.
The Nimerigar were about two or three feet tall, had a full row of sharp canine teeth, wielded poisonous arrows shot from tiny, little bows, and would often raid and make war on the Shoshone and Paiute tribes in Wyoming and Idaho. Parents feared that the Nimerigar would come and kidnap their children. Elders feared they would vex and confound the tribe into self-destruction through tricks, pranks, and setting up innocent people to take the blame for horrific crimes.
Eventually, legends tell that the Nimerigar were defeated in an all-out war with more than one of the Native American tribes that dwelt in the northwest in ages long past. But who knows? Maybe if you go hiking in a remote part of the Owyhee Mountains, you may just find what is left of the little mountain dwarves of Idaho.
Certain stories of these ghostly beings come from Pocatello, Massacre Rocks, and other areas near that region of Idaho. Another Shoshone legend, this one tells of the tribe enduring tribulation and famine. A handful of mothers, driven mad by the hardship, set their children afloat on the nearby streams and rivers, intending to give their babies a kinder fate than starvation.
But, as legend has it, the babies never drowned at all. Instead, they adapted and survived, learning to swim and breathe water from the local wildlife, growing scales, fins, gills, and tails. They learned to eat fish, bugs, tadpoles, and all manner of slimy, undesirable creatures.
Eventually, these water babies grew up. And when they did, they remembered the deeds of their mothers and deemed them wicked. The water babies were then taken by evil spirits in their anger and desire for vengeance. They began to thirst for the blood of living people, luring many an unfortunate soul to remote and hidden streams with the joyful cooing of innocent babies, or the tinkling laughter of a beautiful woman.
Much like Sharlie and the Bear Lake monster, the Swan Valley monster is an ugly water creature that reportedly smells awful. It is said to have been spotted in a river near Olds Ferry on the Idaho-Wyoming border back in the 1860s.
The best part of this strange beast is how it is supposed to look: an elephant-like trunk connected to a serpentine head with webbed, spiny fins protruding from its neck, black whiskers covering the sides of its face, ten-inch razor-sharp fangs, a single black horn on its head, and a red, forked tongue which could shoot poison.
The reptilian skin of its head is said to be mottled yellow and black, the rest of its body being dull and grey. Its full length is supposedly more than twenty feet, with porcupine-like spikes protruding from its spine from the head all the way down to the tail. The body itself is like an alligator, but thicker and rounder like you’d see on a horse or cow. It had several pairs of legs, alternating between hooved and clawed feet as they went along the length of the beast’s underside.
There was even a battle between this creature and the men who saw it. It emerged from the river near a group of frontiersmen travelling along the river. One of them, panicked by the monster’s appearance, shot it in the eye. It spewed poison and bellowed as it thrashed around in its death agonies. Anything the poison touched withered away and died. The stench was overpowering, and the men raced to the nearest town to prepare a wagon and bring the body back to study it. Upon their return to the scene of the fight, the creature had slunk back into the river.
If you Go! out in the wilderness to engage with nature during long mountain hikes, deep woods camping, and enjoying the water, keep your eyes open and your phones and cameras charged. There are lots of mysterious critters out there. Maybe you can get a photo of an Idaho Cryptid that will change history.
If you do, submit it to our Ghoul Out Local Photo Contest! You could be the winner of a prize worth over $1000! Check out the link to the Ghoul Out Local Photo Contest event page below.
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