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In Idaho folklore, Sharlie (Slimy Slim, The Twilight Dragon of Payette Lake) is the name given to a sea serpent much like the Loch Ness Monster that is believed by some to live in the deep alpine waters of Payette Lake near McCall, Idaho.

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.[1]

Modern history[edit]

The first documented sighting by western settlers occurred 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.[2]

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,[3] humps like a camel, and shell-like skin.[4][5]

In September 1946 the serpent was reportedly sighted by a group of twenty people. Dr. G.A. Taylor of Nampa, Idaho explained that “it appeared to be between 30 and 40 feet long and seemed to keep diving into the water. It left a wake about like a small motor boat would make.”[6]

In 1954 A. Boone McCallum, Editor of The Star News [7] 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?” [8] This was a reference to the popular catch phrase often spoken by Jack Pearl during his old time radio show.

Sharlie was reportedly sighted dozens of times between 1956 and the last documented sighting in 2002.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21]


  1. ^ "A preliminary report of possible large animals in the Payette lakes of Idaho," Gary S. Mangiacopra, Bloomsburg State College, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania
  2. ^ ”A preliminary report of possible large animals in the Payette Lakes of Idaho”, 1980, Gary S. Mangiacopra
  3. ^ Payette Lakes Star, August 3, 1944, Volume XXVII, Number 30
  4. ^ Buenos Aires Herald, July 4, 1944
  5. ^ Payette Lakes Star, August 31, 1944, Volume XXVII, Number 43
  6. ^ Payette Lakes Star, September 5, 1946
  7. ^ The Star News, January 21, 1954
  8. ^ "McCall Contest Gets 'SerpentSharlie' Title", The Star News, January 21, 1954
  9. ^ "Sharlie Monster Swims Again," Scenic Idaho, 1956, Volume 11, No. 2, Dabney Taylor
  10. ^ "Sharlie the Serpent of Payette Lakes, McCall, Idaho," Idaho Hunting and Fishing Guide, 1961, Jayne Brown
  11. ^ The Idaho Statesman, July 23, 1964
  12. ^ "Sharlie -- The Sea Serpent," Incredible Idaho, Summer, 1971, Volume 3, No. 1, Mary Jane Williams
  13. ^ "Sharlie" legend: a long tradition," The Star News, October 7, 1971, page 5, Pauline Miller
  14. ^ "Sharlie on the loose again?", The Star News, June 1977
  15. ^ "Lake watchers ask, 'Are you dere, Sharlie?', The Star News, July 3, 1985, Tom Grote
  16. ^ "There he/she goes again: Sharlie 'sighted'," The Star News, June 18, 1986, Tom Grote
  17. ^ "What's That?", The Star News, August 20, 1986
  18. ^ "Sharlie rears his/her head," The Star News, September 16, 1987
  19. ^ ”2nd Sharlie ‘sighting’ reported” The Star News, August 29, 1996, Tom Grote
  20. ^ ”Payette L. boaters report first ’97 Sharlie sighting," The Star News, July 1997, Tom Grote
  21. ^ ”Travels with Sharlie, Idaho’s most enduring monster”, Boise Weekly, October 27, 2004, Nicholas Collias