Alkali Lake, known now as Walgren Lake, is an 80 to 100 acre body of water located in the Sandhills area of Northwestern Nebraska. The lake is also the reputed home of the Alkali Lake Monster which is described as a 40 foot long alligator like creature with rough, grayish brown skin and a horn like appendage located between its eyes and nostrils. Reports of the Alkali Lake Monster started in August of 1921, and the first written account of the monster appeared in a 1922 printing of the Hay Springs News.
A second written report appeared in a 1923 printing of the Omaha World Herald. According to this report a man named J.A. Johnson claimed that he and two friends saw the creature while camping on the shores of Alkali Lake. The three men reported that they saw the creature from a distance of 60 feet and stated that it looked a lot like an alligator, complete with a rhinoceros like horn. They claimed that when the creature noticed them it began to violently thrash its tail and disappeared beneath the churning surface.
Some researchers of the Alkali Lake Monster have suggested evidence that the creature was nothing more than a hoax. They state that at the time stories of the creature first appeared the Hay Springs News employed a man by the name of John G. Maher, who reportedly had a flair for tall tales and hoaxes. One such trick he and his accomplices perpetuated was the planting of a concrete cast in the local badlands where it was later “discovered” and named petrified man.
Maher was a corresponding reporter for many newspapers at the time some of which where ran by editors who where only interested in boosting circulation by printing sensational stories. As a contributing reporter for many newspapers Maher was only paid for stories that where printed, so it became necessary for these stories to sound as good as possible. Maher's attitude toward his contributions was evident when he reportedly said, "There was a great demand for stories and few things to write about, so, for an inventive mind, there was nothing to do but make up stories".
Another noteworthy piece of information is that in 1889 and 1890 the Alkali Lake area experiences a severe drought causing water levels in the lake to fall until it became little more than a puddle, causing some to question how a 40 foot monster would appear in the lake just 30 years later. While the lake continues to be a popular social and recreational gathering areas to this day sightings of the Alkali Lake Monster all but stopped in the 1920’s leading most researchers to suggest that if the creature ever really did exist it has either passed away or moved out on to another lake.
In 1923, J.A. Johnson claimed that he and two friends saw the creature while camping on the shores of Alkali Lake. The three men reported that they saw the creature from a distance of 60 feet and stated that it looked a lot like an alligator, complete with a rhinoceros like horn.