Monday, July 16, 2018

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster


The waves splashed gently upon the shore and the full moon shone brightly upon Bear Lake, making the water shimmer. A deep foreboding was in the air and the fawn, sipping from the lake, could sense it. His ears perked up and he stood still while his eyes searched the area. Only the sounds of nature could be heard, crickets sang and an owl hooted, but the deer sensed that he was in danger and quickly darted away. With great speed, he sprinted gracefully, as if in mid air, toward safety.

A few feet from shore, the water abruptly parted and exposed a gigantic brown lump about 90-feet long. Water was trickling down its sides as it floated in the stillness of the night. At first glance it looked like an enormous log that had floated to the surface. After a few seconds, it slowly moved toward shore. A howl of a wolf was heard in the distance but it was instantly cut off when a thunderous noise, like the roaring of an angry bull, pierced the night and was heard from the shores of Bear Lake and beyond. Immediately, the sounds of nature became silent and an eerie sense of foreboding remained in the atmosphere.

The mystery of the Bear Lake Monster has been an exciting part of Idaho history ever since the early pioneers arrived in 1863. Prominent leaders of the area encouraged the Indian legend because no one had a desire to move to the cold Bear Lake country. The valley was located at the tops of the Rocky Mountains in southern Idaho and the winters were harsh.

The legend of the Bear Lake Monster made life a little more exciting for the pioneers. Some people claimed to have seen it and gave descriptions of it. Throughout the years, no one has ever disproved the Bear Lake Monster. A bunch of scientists tried to discredit the monster and said it was a huge codfish that was shipped in from the East. Does the Bear Lake Monster exist? Is it fact or fiction, legend or myth?

The legend of the Bear Lake Monster began with the Natives who inhabited this valley. When the settlers arrived in 1863, the Indians told them all about the Great Bear Lake Monster. It had captured and carried off two of their braves while swimming. The legend came alive when people began reporting its existence.

Thomas Sleight and John Collings of Paris, Idaho, and Allen and M.C. Davis of St. Charles were taking six girls home from a party in Fish Haven when they stopped off at the lake. Some unusually large waves got their attention. They noticed four brown lumps and six smaller ones that were heading southward. They swam with incredible speed, about a mile a minute, until they were out of sight.

One summer day in 1868, S. M. Johnson was riding his horse alongside the shoreline when he saw an object floating in the water. At first glance, it looked like a man’s body. He was shocked and thought that someone had drowned so he trotted his horse closer and watched the object but it didn’t move. When the water didn’t wash the body ashore, he figured it must have been a tree that was anchored to the bottom of the lake with its roots still in tact. As he watched this so-called tree, he said it opened a gigantic mouth that was large enough to swallow a man and it blew water from its mouth and nose. Johnson said that it had a skinny head, huge pointed ears, and three small legs that rose up from the water as it approached the shore.

Some time later, a group of twenty people spotted the monster, and among these were prominent men of the community. Two outstanding leaders who reported the sighting were Wilford Woodruff and George Q. Cannon. No one doubted what they saw. These men had integrity and were trustworthy.

The interesting thing is that all the reports have pretty much the same description. The monster’s eyes were flaming red and its ears stuck out from the sides of its skinny head. Its body was long, resembling a gigantic alligator, and it could swim faster than a galloping horse. It had small legs and a huge mouth, big enough to eat a man.

As I researched this subject for my next book, Sarah’s Special Gift, I learned so much about this area. I just lived a half hour away, over the mountain from Bear Lake Valley, but most of this info was new to me. 
So... is the Bear Lake Monster real or is it just a legend? Whatever conclusion is drawn, the legend still lives on and brings a great deal of mystery and excitement to the community. Remember! When visiting Idaho, never doubt the Bear Lake Monster or you’ll be frowned upon. No one makes fun of the great legend of Bear Lake Valley!

This book can be purchased through local and online bookstores and soon to be on Audible audiobooks. For more information, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Monday, July 9, 2018

A Sweet Romance and the Legend of the Bear Lake Monster


Scotland has the Lock Ness Monster and Bear Lake Valley has theirs. Do they really exist? This historical romance focuses on deep-rooted legends, a few mysterious events, and a tender love story.

In Sarah’s Special Gift, Sarah is a beautiful and successful dance teacher. She is deaf, but this does not stop her from living life to its fullest. While visiting the Roberts family, David finds himself entranced with this very special lady and ends up defending her honor several times. He finds that Sarah has gone through many trials as she teaches him the importance of not dwelling on the past and how to love life. Meanwhile, David learns about the legend of the Bear Lake Monster and wonders why the community believes in such a thing. He is determined to prove there is no Bear Lake Monster.

“The romantic friction between David and Sarah is central to a story that will have you cheering for them to get together!” wrote Allison King, Allison’s Attic. “The fun part is wondering if there is truly a monster in the lake. It makes for an interesting adventure, with a surprise ending to the 'tale' of the monster. I love that the author based the monster on a local folklore in Idaho. This is a heart-warming story of finding that right person to live the rest of your life with. It teaches us that people with disabilities are just like any other person who has dreams for their life. So, if you want to laugh, learn and live in the life of some wonderful characters.... read this book and enjoy the journey!”

After a few teases, tricks, and mischievous deeds, David begins to overcome his troubles. As time passes, he realizes he must now face the dilemma of choosing between his career and matters of the heart.

“This romance will keep readers entertained right up to the last page,” wrote Kim Atchue-Cusella of Book Loons. “Linda Weaver Clarke creates another winner with this installment of her Family Saga in Bear Lake Valley series.”

Midwest Book Review wrote: “Sometimes when realizing one's roots, one goes through the process in the strangest of ways. David has returned after a long absence, and it seems that he can find love in this small hometown. But love is never easy, and David must overcome many obstacles to finally claim his beloved. This is another fine entry into Clarke's work, highly recommended.”

“Sarah’s Special Gift” can be purchased through local and online bookstores and soon to be on Audible audiobooks. For more information, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.

Monday, July 2, 2018

A Ten-Foot Grizzly in the Rocky Mountains


In the history of the Rocky Mountains, there have been many bears that roamed the mountains and fields. Early settlers knew the temperament of these animals, and that it was not wise to sneak up on a bear and surprise him. There was one such grizzly whose story has been told at several campfires to anxious young scouts who want to know about Old Ephraim. He was commonly known as "Old Three Toes" because of a deformity on one foot. He roamed the mountains from Soda Springs, Idaho to the Logan Canyon in northern Utah from 1911 to 1923.

The evidence of the strength and power of this bear was frightening. At one point, he bit a thirteen-foot log, twelve inches in diameter, into eleven lengths as though they had been chopped. He also bit off a six-inch aspen limb in just one bite, which was nine feet and eleven inches above the ground. He even broke the back of a cow with just one blow of his gigantic paw.

For twelve years, he had been wreaking havoc in the communities. Old Three Toes did some major damage to the flocks, crippling the sheep owners financially. He was becoming a bolder and a more ruthless killer as the years passed. Because of this one grizzly, sheep owners had a tough time hiring men to tend their sheep. Many of the existing sheepherders refused to stay on the job and quit. At last, the farmers and community members decided it was time to catch Old Three Toes. They set trap after trap at all his lairs and wallows. Sometimes the bear trap was found flung many yards away. Other times it was left alone, but his distinctive tracks were all around the trap. He seemed to know what the traps were. He was the smartest and strongest grizzly anyone had ever encountered.

Frank Clark from Malad, Idaho had had enough and decided to do something about it. When he saw how many sheep and other animals were being slaughtered by Old Three Toes, he made it his goal to trap the old grizzly. After a long and steady search for many years, he set a trap at the bottom of a pond that Old Three Toes bathed in. He swished the water around to create a cloud of dirt. When it finally settled upon the trap, he took a branch and wiped away his tracks as he backed away from the pond and then headed for camp. One evening, he heard the roar of the grizzly and when he went to the pond, the sight of the gigantic bear took his breath away. He had never imagined Old Three Toes would be so massive and enormous. The bear was angry and when he saw Frank Clark, he rose on his hind legs—all ten feet of him—and headed for his next victim.

Frank froze where he was, unable to move. Fear wedged in his throat and made it hard to breathe. When the bear got six feet away from him, Frank quickly got his wits about him and did the only thing he could. He finally shot Old Ephraim on August 21, 1923. The grizzly measured at exactly nine feet and eleven inches tall, and weighed 1100 pounds. A few weeks after he was killed, a Boy Scout Troop dug up the skull of the bear and sent it to the Smithsonian Institute to document what kind of bear it was and found that it was indeed a grizzly.

The research about this grizzly was intriguing to me because I had heard about Old Ephraim for years. I was from southern Idaho and the story was amazing. After reading about the grizzly from a pamphlet named "Old Ephraim" written by Newell J. Crookston, I decided to put together a historical romance with Old Ephraim as part of the story, using every bit of the information gleaned from this little pamphlet.
Jenny’s Dream is the story of a young girl’s desire to become a writer and how she finds love in her own backyard, with the legend of Old Three Toes as the subplot. The story of Old Ephraim still lives on, being retold at campfires today, by scout leaders and in the town of Malad, Idaho.

This book can be purchased through local and online bookstores and Audible audiobooks. For more information, visit www.lindaweaverclarke.com.