Sharlie: The Mysterious Monster of Payette Lake

Sharlie image courtesy of FunWearVm – Remember, descriptions vary and nothing is exact. This is only an imagined depiction of what this cryptid may look like.

Sharlie is the name given to a sea serpent that is believed by some to live in the deep alpine waters of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. Sharlie is often compared to the Loch Ness Monster, but with its own unique history and sightings. In this blog post, I will tell you everything you need to know about Sharlie, from its origin to its latest appearance.

The Origin of Sharlie

The first reference to the sea serpent may be the belief of Native Americans, predating western settlement of the area, that an evil spirit dwelled in the lake. Modern history of Sharlie began in 1920 when workers cutting ties at the upper end of the lake thought they saw a log in the lake. The “log” began to move. In August 1944, the serpent was reportedly seen by several groups of people who described it as 30 to 35 feet in length, with a dinosaur-type head and pronounced jaws, humps like a camel, and shell-like skin . In September 1946, the serpent was reportedly sighted by a group of twenty people.

In 1954, A. Boone McCallum, Editor of The Star News, held a contest to name the serpent of Payette Lake. The winning name, “Sharlie”, was submitted by Le Isle Hennefer Tury of Springfield, Virginia. In her letter to Mr. McCallum she said, “Why don’t you call the thing Sharlie? You know – ‘Vas you der, Sharlie?”. This was a reference to the popular catch phrase often spoken by Jack Pearl during his old time radio show.

The Sightings of Sharlie

Sharlie was reportedly sighted dozens of times between 1956 and the last documented sighting in 1997 . Some of the most notable sightings are:

  • In 1956, Dabney Taylor reported that he saw Sharlie swimming near his boat with a large wake behind it. He said it had a long neck and a small head with two horns on top.
  • In 1961, Jayne Brown wrote that she saw Sharlie twice in one day while fishing on the lake. She said it had a dark green body with black spots and a long tail with a fin on the end.
  • In 1971, Mary Jane Williams wrote that she saw Sharlie while boating with her husband and friends. She said it had a grayish-brown body with scales and bumps and a long neck with a small head and two eyes.
  • In 1985, Tom Grote reported that he saw Sharlie while flying over the lake in a plane. He said it had three humps on its back and was about 40 feet long.
  • In 1986, several people reported seeing Sharlie on different occasions. One of them was Bobbie Short who said she saw it while camping on the shore. She said it had a dark brown body with a snake-like head and two nostrils on top.

The Mystery of Sharlie

What is Sharlie? Is it a real creature or just a legend? Many theories have been floating around the town since Sharlie’s first sighting. One of those is that a sturgeon migrated up the Snake River to the Payette River and into the lake. Another is that Sharlie is a prehistoric animal that survived in the lake for millions of years. Some even suggest that Sharlie is an alien or a government experiment gone wrong.

No one knows for sure what Sharlie is or if it even exists. Some people are skeptical and think that Sharlie is just a hoax or a misidentification of other animals or objects in the lake. Others are believers and think that Sharlie is a real and unique creature that deserves respect and protection. Some are curious and want to see Sharlie for themselves or learn more about it.

Sharlie has become a part of the culture and identity of McCall and Idaho. It has inspired books, movies, songs, art, festivals, souvenirs, and even tattoos. It has also attracted tourists and researchers who want to explore the lake and its secrets.

Sharlie is more than just a monster. It is a symbol of mystery, wonder, and adventure.


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