Sep 28, 2019 I Nick Redfern

The Weird Wonder of Wallowa Lake

As Cryptid Wiki note: "The Wallowa Lake Monster, also known as Wally, is a lake monster alleged to inhabit Wallowa Lake, Oregon. It is described as being roughly between 8 and 20 feet long and hump-shaped. A local legend among the Nez Perce tribe states that when the Nez Perce and Blackfeet were at war, the daughter of the Nez Perce chief fell in love with the son of the Blackfoot chief. One night, the couple took a canoe from the Nez Perce camp and rowed out on the lake. Eventually, the rival tribes realized what was happening and set out after them. The monster then came up out of the lake and attacked them, killing them all. To this day, the Nez Perce do not venture out on the lake."

Wally (also referred to as Big Wally) is hardly the name I would pick for a marauding monster of the deep, to say the least! The fact is, though, that there have been a few genuinely intriguing reports from Wallowa Lake suggesting that something lives in its depths. That the reports date back to the 19th century strongly suggest we're looking at far more than just one creature. On November 5, 1885, the Wallowa Chieftain newspaper ran an article on its resident monster, which has been given the distinctly non-monstrous name of “Big Wally.” It is said to dwell in Wallowa Lake, Oregon, an approximately fifty-one square-mile body of water with a depth of around 300 feet. The article states:

“A prospector, who refuses to give his name to the public, was coming down from the south end of the lake on last Friday evening in a skiff shortly after dusk, when about midway of the lake he saw an animal about fifty yards to the right of the boat, rear its head and neck up out of the water ten or twelve feet, but on seeing him it immediately dived. He ceased rowing and gazed around in astonishment, for the strange apparition which he had just seen, when it raised about the same distance to the left, this lime giving a low bellow something like that of a cow. It also brought its body to the surface, which the prospector avers was one hundred feet in length. The monster glided along in sight for several hundred yards. It was too dark to see the animal distinctly, but it seemed to have a large, flat head, something like that of a hippopotamus, and its neck, which was about ten feet in length, was as large around as a man’s body.

“Now this story may have been coined in the imagination of the narrator, but he was very earnest in his recital. However, it is a known fact that there is a tradition among the Indians that the lake has a big sea cow in it, which on one occasion, many years ago, came up one evening and swallowed a young warrior and his dusky bride as they were gliding over the surface of the lake in a canoe. And to this day an Indian of the tribes who formerly frequented its shores cannot be induced to go upon its waters. The lake has been sounded to the depth of 270 feet, and it is a bare probability that some monster does inhabit its unexplored depths.”

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Wallowa Lake

It’s unlikely that this was a hoax – on, or by, the newspaper – as other reports have since surfaced. In 1978, a couple by the name of Bryant saw Big Wally on not just one occasion but two! On the first occasion, they saw three hump-like protrusions break the surface of the lake, albeit briefly. Some months later, the Bryant’s watched an approximately twenty-foot-long, snake-like animal circle a certain portion of the lake for several minutes. Three years later, Bert Repplinger and Joe Babic were amazed by the brief sight of a three-foot-long head and neck that broke the surface of Lake Wallowa. While the number of sightings of Big Wally is scarcely anywhere near the likes of some of its far more famous cousins, the fact that occasional reports continue to surface is a fairly good indication that the lake is home to something unusual. Exactly what it may be, however, remains unknown.

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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