The Ghosts of Bodie, California Invite You For a Visit

Sherri Granato By Sherri Granato, 15th Jul 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>North America>United States>California

The gold mining ghost town of Bodie is located in the eastern slopes of the Sierra, close to the Nevada border, and once boasted a population of 10,000 people as gold seekers flocked to the town to get rich quick. Today only about 150 of the original buildings remain.

The Lawless and Gun Slinging Ghosts of the West

Waterman S. Body, also known as William S. Bodey first discovered gold in Bodie, California around 1859, but the larger discovery of several rich gold veins in 1876 couldn't be kept a secret for long as they were worth $75 million. The news spread like wild fire which quickly started a frenzy of greedy miners on a mad dash to Bodie to claim their fair share. Long days of mining, hot temperatures, and flaring tempers brought the need for relaxing, gambling, and down time.

Alcohol was in high demand, and the under paid Chinese railroad workers made sure that the town was well stocked with it or they would suffer the consequences. Bodie's name would have been better suited as "Party Town" as there were 65 saloons lining the one mile main street and seven breweries running around the clock with whiskey being brought in by 100 gallon barrels at a time in horse drawn carriages. Killings were a daily activity, and bank robberies, stagecoach hold-ups, along with street fighting was a common activity among the people of Bodie.

The town had a reputation of being one of the most furious, vehement, violent and lawless towns in all the Mother Lode. Most fights were fueled by alcohol consumption, greed, and jealousy surrounding the ladies in the red light district. It was not uncommon for fights to end by a bullet being put into someone by the day's end as this was their way of settling an argument. The fire bell rang often and long as it was used to count the rapidly growing deceased residents along with their age at the time of burial. On September 5, 1880, the daily Bodie Standard reported three shootings and two holdups of stages in one single day.

Bodie only had a brief period of glory, lasting from 1879 to 1882, however the decline was slow as the Bodie and Standard mines merged in 1887 and operated successfully for the next two decades. In 1892 a disastrous fire struck, with another fire following in 1932, destroying much of the town, and a further decline of residents in Bodie resulted from prohibition and the Depression, but some mining continued. By the 1950s Bodie became a ghost town as residents no longer had a reason to stay, and with no moving companies in the town of Bodie, the remaining residents simply packed what they could on one wagon or truck and left the rest behind. Many of Bodies buildings still contain belongings that were left here from years ago, and can be seen in the houses and businesses that still stands in the ghost town.

The gold mining ghost town of Bodie is located in the eastern slopes of the Sierra, close to the Nevada border, and once boasted a population of 10,000 people as gold seekers flocked to the town to get rich quick. Today only about 150 of the original buildings remain, but there is just enough of them left to give you a solid feeling of the way things once were in this wild town. Bodie is a very unique ghost town as it has the largest number of standing structures left in a state of untouched arrested decay. Bodie is watched over by dedicated workers of the California State Park system who have made it their duty to ensure that Bodie remains as close to its original state as possible. Because of the extreme care and attention to Bodie ghost town, history buffs can briefly go back in time when viewing the remaining structures and a cemetery filled by very young deceased residents, many of them children, easily imagining what life was like in this boomtown by exploring the streets as it looks pretty much the same as it did in 1880.

The Curse of Bodie

Visitors are warned that everything in Bodie ghost town is a part of the historic scene and is fully protected, and that nothing is allowed to be collected or removed from the park. According to many letters from past visitors displayed throughout the Bodie Museum, the consequences of taking so much as a rusty nail from the dirt streets of Bodie ghost town has led to a curse that includes illnesses, bad luck, and accidents from non-believing guests that have taken the souvenirs home. These same visitors promptly returned their souvenirs, along with apologetic letters to the ghost town without hesitation or question. Some people truly believe in the curse while others shrug it off as mere superstition. You will have to decide for yourself.


Lawless, Red Light District

Meet the author

author avatar Sherri Granato
Sherri has lived in several haunted properties, including a morgue turned basement apartment. Instead of fearing the paranormal, she has opted to embrace, investigate and understand it.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
16th Jul 2014 (#)

Bodie sounds like a really cool place to visit.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
16th Jul 2014 (#)

Every place has a history behind it and some have more! Interesting read, thanks Sherri - siva

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author avatar Retired
25th Jul 2014 (#)

Why am I not surprised that gold and ghost towns go together?

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