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Sharlie: Mythical Creature

Sharlie is a legendary creature that is believed to live in the deep alpine waters of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. It is a sea serpent much like the Loch Ness Monster and has been the subject of numerous sightings and folklore in the area. The first documented sighting of Sharlie occurred in the early 1900s, and since then, many residents and visitors to Payette Lake have claimed to see this large monster.

Several groups of people have reported seeing Sharlie over the years, describing it as 30 to 35 feet in length with a dinosaur-type head, pronounced jaws, humps like a camel, and shell-like skin. The creature has become an icon in McCall, and many books, documentaries, and articles have been written about it. Despite the numerous sightings, there is no scientific evidence to support the existence of Sharlie, and it remains a mystery to this day.

Whether you believe in the existence of Sharlie or not, the legend of this mysterious creature continues to spark mystery and intrigue in the area. Visitors to Payette Lake can take a boat tour to learn more about the legend and possibly catch a glimpse of the creature themselves. The legend of Sharlie is just one of the many fascinating stories that make Idaho a unique and exciting place to visit.

Origins of the Sharlie Legend

Native American Folklore

The Sharlie legend has its roots in Native American folklore. The Native Americans believed that an evil spirit lived in the deep waters of Payette Lake. This evil spirit was said to be responsible for the disappearance of many of their people who ventured too close to the lake. The Native Americans believed that this evil spirit was a powerful force that could not be defeated.

European Influence

The Sharlie legend gained popularity in the early 20th century when European settlers arrived in the area. The legend was further popularized by a sighting in 1920 by workers who were cutting ties at the upper end of the lake. They saw what they thought was a log in the lake, but the “log” began to move. This sighting sparked the interest of many people who began searching for the creature.

The name “Sharlie” was given to the creature in 1944 when the McCall Chamber of Commerce held a contest to name the creature. The winner of the contest, LeIsle Hennefer of Virginia, suggested the name “Sharlie” as a reference to a one-liner from a popular radio show.

Overall, the Sharlie legend has been passed down through generations of Native Americans and European settlers. While there have been many sightings of the creature, there is no concrete evidence to prove its existence.

Physical Description


Sharlie is a legendary creature that is said to reside in the deep alpine waters of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. The creature is described as a sea serpent, much like the Loch Ness Monster. Sharlie is said to be 20-30 feet long and has a dark, scaly body. It is also said to have a long neck and a head that resembles that of a horse or camel. There have been many reported sightings of Sharlie over the years, with some claiming to have seen the creature surface and others claiming to have seen it swimming deep beneath the surface.

Artist Interpretations

There have been many artist interpretations of what Sharlie might look like. Some of these interpretations show Sharlie with a long, serpentine body that is covered in scales. Others show Sharlie with a more horse-like appearance, with a long neck and a head that resembles that of a horse or camel. Many of these interpretations also show Sharlie with large, glowing eyes that seem to pierce through the darkness of the lake. While there is no way to know for sure what Sharlie looks like, these artist interpretations give us a glimpse into the creature that has captured the imaginations of so many people.

Habitat and Ecology

Payette Lake

Sharlie, the mythical creature, is believed to inhabit the deep alpine waters of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho. The lake is approximately 5,330 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 392 feet. The water temperature varies between 65°F to 75°F during summer and 38°F to 40°F in winter. The lake is surrounded by forests, and the area is popular for recreational activities such as fishing, boating, and swimming.

Ecosystem Impact

The existence of Sharlie has been a topic of debate for many years. Some people believe that Sharlie could have a significant impact on the ecosystem of Payette Lake, while others argue that it is just a myth. If Sharlie does exist, it is likely that it feeds on fish and other aquatic animals, which could have an impact on the lake’s ecosystem. However, there is no solid evidence to support this claim.

Overall, the habitat and ecology of Sharlie remain a mystery. While some people continue to believe in the existence of this mythical creature, others remain skeptical. Regardless of whether Sharlie is real or not, Payette Lake remains a beautiful and popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Cultural Impact

Media Portrayals

Sharlie, the legendary creature of Payette Lake, has inspired many books, movies, songs, and art. The non-fiction book “Sharlie: In Search of the Mysterious Creature of Payette Lake” by Terry Del Bene is one such example. The book explores the history of Sharlie sightings and theories and paints an imaginative picture of Sharlie’s life. The creature has also been the subject of documentaries and TV shows, including “MonsterQuest” and “Unsolved Mysteries.”

Tourism and Economy

Sharlie has become an icon of McCall and Idaho, attracting tourists from all over the world. The creature has inspired festivals, souvenirs, and even tattoos. The annual “Sharlie’s Angels” boat parade is one of the most popular events in McCall. The parade features boats decorated with Sharlie-themed decorations and costumes. The town has also seen an increase in the number of tourists visiting Payette Lake and the surrounding areas, boosting the local economy.

In conclusion, Sharlie’s cultural impact cannot be overstated. The creature has become an integral part of the folklore and identity of McCall and Idaho. Its influence can be seen in various forms of media and has contributed significantly to the local economy through tourism.

Scientific Investigations


Over the years, there have been several expeditions to try and capture evidence of Sharlie’s existence. In 2002, a team of researchers from Idaho State University conducted a search for Sharlie using underwater cameras and sonar equipment. However, they failed to find any conclusive evidence of the creature’s existence.

Research Studies

In addition to expeditions, several research studies have been conducted to investigate Sharlie’s existence. One such study was conducted by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game in 1991. The study involved the use of hydrophones to detect any sounds that might be associated with Sharlie. However, the study failed to detect any such sounds.

Another study was conducted in 2005 by a group of researchers from the University of Idaho. The study involved the collection and analysis of water samples from Payette Lake. The researchers were looking for any evidence of DNA that might be associated with Sharlie. However, the study failed to find any such evidence.

Despite the lack of conclusive evidence, many people in the region continue to believe in Sharlie’s existence. The legend of Sharlie has become a part of Idaho folklore, and the creature remains a popular topic of discussion among locals and visitors alike.

Contemporary Sightings

Eyewitness Accounts

Sharlie, the legendary sea serpent of Payette Lake, has been the subject of numerous eyewitness accounts over the years. According to locals, the creature is said to be over 30 feet in length, with a dinosaur-like head, pronounced jaws, humps like a camel, and shell-like skin. Many people have reported seeing the creature swimming just below the surface of the water, leaving a pronounced wake behind it.

One particularly notable sighting occurred in August 1944 when several groups of people claimed to have seen the serpent. They described it as being between 30 to 35 feet long, with a head like a dinosaur, and shell-like skin. Another sighting occurred in September 1946 when a group of twenty people reported seeing the creature.

Photographic Evidence

Despite the numerous eyewitness accounts, there is no photographic evidence of Sharlie’s existence. However, that hasn’t stopped people from trying to capture an image of the creature. In recent years, several individuals have claimed to have captured photos of the creature, but these have been dismissed as hoaxes or misidentifications of other animals.

While the lack of photographic evidence may be disappointing for those hoping to prove Sharlie’s existence, it doesn’t detract from the many eyewitness accounts and the enduring legend of the sea serpent of Payette Lake.

Skeptical Analysis

Hoaxes and Misidentifications

There have been many reports of Sharlie sightings over the years, but many of these sightings have been debunked as hoaxes or misidentifications. Some people have claimed to have seen Sharlie when it was actually just a log or a wave. Others have been found to have made up their sightings for attention or profit.

Scientific Explanations

Scientists have been studying the possibility of a creature like Sharlie existing in Payette Lake, but so far there is no concrete evidence to support the existence of such a creature. Some have suggested that the sightings could be attributed to known creatures such as large sturgeon or otters. Others have suggested that the sightings could be due to optical illusions or even mass hysteria.

Despite the lack of concrete evidence, the legend of Sharlie continues to persist in the minds of many. While some people believe in the existence of this mythical creature, others remain skeptical and demand more scientific proof.

Comparative Mythology

Similar Creatures Worldwide

Sharlie, the mythical creature of Payette Lake, Idaho, is not unique in the world of mythology. Many cultures have their own versions of sea serpents or lake monsters. In Scotland, the Loch Ness Monster is perhaps the most famous example. In Canada, there is Ogopogo, a creature said to live in Lake Okanagan. The Mokele-mbembe of Africa is another example of a similar creature. These creatures are often described as having long necks and humps, and are believed to be large, aquatic reptiles.

Myth vs. Reality

While many people believe in the existence of Sharlie and other similar creatures, there is no scientific evidence to support their existence. Sightings of these creatures are often dismissed as misidentifications of known animals or simply hoaxes. However, the allure of these creatures persists, and they continue to capture the imagination of people around the world. Whether they are real or not, they serve as a reminder of the power of myth and the enduring human fascination with the unknown.