Like every state in the Union, Nevada has a wide range of legendary figures incorporated into its history, ranging from colorful legends of the days of the frontier that inspired the movie genre of westerns to more modern tales of mobsters and their impact on the state’s casino industry. However, not all these figures of lore are entirely human, and while most of these stories are shrouded in myth and legend, many people in Nevada are more than willing to talk about them.
While the Loch Ness Monster remains the most famous lake monster in the world, Lake Tahoe is almost as deep as Loch Ness and is larger than some small island nations. It should come as little surprise then that the lake is reputed to have its own monster. The Washoe and Paiute nations that predated European settlement in the area had long told tales of a serpentine creature in the waters, sightings that continue right up into the twenty-first century. Like the legend of Loch Ness, people continue to see humps and long necks with heads on them, but what the creature actually is remains a matter of conjecture.
The Lovelock Skull
Considered impossible by science, the Lovelock Skull is a mysterious piece of bone that has all the marks of a genuine Neanderthal, right down to its sloping forehead and protruding brow ridge. However, Neanderthals never expanded beyond Eurasia and Africa, making their existence in North America “impossible”. While the skull may not be a Neanderthal, the Paiute nation of the region have an ancient story about a rival group of barbarians who had red hair, a true rarity in the time before European settlement. These barbarians were said to kill the people of the land for food, so the Paiute of the time fought them until the barbarians were no more. Neanderthal or not, the skull is not a typical human skull and is a fascinating footnote to the Paiute legend.
Like many other states in the Union, many residents of Nevada claim to have seen large leathery birds. While in the past they were seen as mysterious creatures, more modern people are increasingly identifying them as living pterosaurs, a strain of flying reptile that went extinct with the dinosaurs. Other states have similar tales, and many across the globe wonder if perhaps the central regions of the United States may host the last of these strange creatures.