Somewhere in the hills of Mono County, California sits an abandoned ghost town known as Bodie. With about 100 buildings still remaining, Bodie became recognized as a National Historic Landmark and has been preserved since the 1960’s.
W.S. Bodey (who the town that was named after essentially) was part of a group of prospectors who set up a mining camp in Bodie dating back to 1859. In 1876 a deposit of gold was discovered, proving to be profitable and started the Wild West boomtown. Bodie had a population of 5,000-7,000 people and close to 2,000 building by 1879. The production of gold from the mines in Bodie valued at an incredible amount of nearly $34 million.
Bodie wasn’t only known for its mining. During its peak there were 65 saloons, a red light district, and a Chinatown that consisted of a plethora of opium dens. However, Bodie’s get rich quick allure ended about as quickly as it came. The town became officially abandoned when the last mine was closed in 1942. To preserve the town, it became known as Bodie State Historic Park in 1962.
It’s been argued that Bodie is in every sense a literal “ghost town”. One occurrence has been seen at the J.S. Cain House where rumors of a heavy set Chinese woman thought to be a maid appears on the second floor. Another woman has been seen standing in an upstairs window in the Dechambeau House and sounds of children’s laughter has been heard outside the Mendocini House. There is also what is known as “The Angel of Bodie”. It is believed to be the spirit of Evelyn Myers, a three year old who was killed by being struck in the head with a miner’s pick by accident in 1897. There have been sightings of an unknown entity near the cemetery where her grave is surmounted by a white marble sculpture of a child angel.
Along with being haunted, Bodie is believed to be cursed. They call it “The Curse of Bodie” and is contrived from the belief that the town is guarded by its past inhabitants. The legend says that anyone who removes anything large or small from the town will be cursed with a string of misfortune and tragedy until the item is returned.
This curse proved to be true in 1992 when a letter was sent to the park by someone who took a small nail from the town saying, “Life since then has been a steady downward slide. It’s possible that all the unpleasant events of the past nine months are a coincidence, but just in case the Bodie curse is real I am returning the nail.”
This was only one letter that rangers have received. One was even signed, “One with a very guilty conscience.”
Bodie may no longer be a bustling mining town but its evidence of existence remains. Today, it is still known as one of the most authentic ghost towns of the Wild West.