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From giant lake-dwelling dinosaurs to a treacherous tribe of cannibals, Idaho is home to a number of urban legends about creatures. Dive deep enough into the lore, and you can find stories about a mythical beast of some kind coming from every corner of the Gem State, but here are three of the creepiest:
Perhaps the most famous Idaho creature is Sharlie, a 10- to 50-foot long dinosaur or dragon-like monster believed to be living in Payette Lake, and described as being similar to the world-famous Loch Ness Monster. The first documented sighting of Sharlie was in 1920, when settlers saw what they thought was a giant log moving in the lake, which reaches depths of nearly 400 feet. Throughout the rest of the century and into the next, there would be many purported sightings of Sharlie—and even a couple of books for children written about her—so if you’re taking a dip in the Payette and something starts nibbling on your toes, you might want to think about heading for shore.
Less famous but equally creepy is the tale of the vicious Owyhee Mountain “Dwarves.” According to Native American legends, these vicious creatures stand 2-feet tall, are incredibly strong, have tails, and eat people—particularly children. They are said to live in caves all throughout the Owyhee Mountain Range, so take caution when roaming around the area.
With more than 2,000 lakes across Idaho, it’s no surprise we have more than one legend about a water-based creature, and the most terrifying is the one about a monster that lives in Bear Lake, which is near the Idaho-Utah border. The Bear Lake Monster is particularly scary because it is believed to be amphibious, with accounts of attacks in the lake and on land, making it twice as dangerous.
We encourage you to GO! out and explore the great state of Idaho, but be careful. You never know what you might find … or what might find you.