We’ve all seen the top whatever lists that populate the media. The top ten friendliest this, or the top five most dangerous that. Some of you may even remember scrolling across something along the lines of the topmost ominous or scary “monster” sightings. I know I have, and my responses to these are always, Zzzzzz. Why? Because the author/s will, without fail, pick and choose the most well-known, “popular”, and in my well-educated opinion, “beaten to death” local legends, and/or mysterious events. Come on. How many times can we talk about the Bear Lake Monster before we realize there are more interesting beasties lurking in our backyards? With that in mind, I present to you the Top Five (In my modest opinion) most Interesting “Monster/Creature” encounters in Utah.
No. 5: The Utah Lake Monster/s
Utah Lake doesn’t get the spooky credit it deserves, and after taking into consideration all of the people who have drowned or disappeared in this lake, plus the planes and boats that are said to still be lying at the bottom of this shallow and muddy lake, where the deepest part is supposed to be no more than 14 feet. There are “Monsters” in this lake, and monster sightings can be traced back to the Ute Native Americans, and later-on by pioneers in the area. The oddest of these beings are the “Water Babies”, also known as “Water-Kelpies”, or “Merfolk”. Utah Lake has them, and they are not to be messed with. I heard from a “friend’s, boss’, daughter’s, yoga instructor” that they have heard the baby-like cries of the Water Babies when walking near the lake at night.
No. 4: The Lizard People of Utah
For most of my life I have heard the stories of the seven-foot-tall reptilian humanoids that secretly rule the world. This is a tasty bit of conspiracy-based folklore that has been spreading around the internet for some time. It just so happens that some of these creatures can be found beneath the Salt Lake City Temple. Why? Probably due to the relationship between this kind of lore and anti-Mormon rhetoric. Nevertheless, In 2020, I received a story from a gentleman who (while in the locker room of the Ogden YMCA) claimed to have seen a naked “man” leaving the shower area and the locker room itself. He left without getting dressed, but the thing that stuck out to the witness the most was that this “man” had a “four-foot lizard’s tail.” The witness claimed that this was evidence of the aforementioned Lizard People!
No. 3: The Werewolves of Provo, Utah
This is a series of sightings that I collected from Provo vagrants. I first heard about these beasts in 2009 and subsequently in 2011 and 2014. I was personally told that without a doubt there are Werewolves that lurk in the trainyard area east of Provo’s University Avenue and south of 600 South. They aren’t dangerous as long as you leave them alone, but if you mess with them in any way, you had better watch out. This kind of story also falls into popular “Dog Man” folklore.
No. 2: The Provo Center Street Slender Man
There is a back alleyway at 368 W Center Street in Provo where there are sightings of a seven foot tall “Slender Man” in a suit and funny hat who will stare at you from different points within the alley if you are in the wrong (or is it right?) place at a given time. I have personally collected six different encounters with this being. I will be writing a full Utah Stories article on this being in the near future. But that’s not all. There have also been sightings of three-foot-tall naked gnomes in this same alleyway.
No. 1 (Drumroll……..): The Holiday Howlers
Shortly after Christmas Day in 2013, a man and women, two folklorists in love, had an encounter with what they hypothesized to be “Nature Spirits”. Around 1:00am, the two entered Provo’s Grandview Park from the north side path entrance and began walking across the grassy field when they heard an odd howling. They looked over at the farthest west side of the park and saw standing next to the large coniferous trees, two large purple humanoids. Their shapes were distorted and kept changing size from three feet to eight feet in height. The beings didn’t move from their spot, but their arms kept stretching out in varying lengths while howling at the couple. The couple took this as a warning and immediately left the park.
Danny B. Stewart is a local folklorist and tradition bearer. Learn more about Danny and his upcoming Logan Ghost Tours here.
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