In 1881, Reverend F.M. Warrington described Bodie, CA as “…a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and fashion.” [Tweet this!] Which sounds like a fun place, until you consider Bodie residents experienced roughly a murder a day during this period. This may explain why this ghost town is believed to be a real ghost town, with at least twelve ghosts, not counting the apparition of the white mule that haunts the mine.
Named after W.S. Body, who discovered gold in the settlement in 1859, the spelling of the town was deliberately changed to “Bodie” by the residents. (Body probably would have been more appropriate). The town had a reputation so fearsome that one little girl, whose family was moving to the town, wrote in her journal, “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”
Eventually, the mine dried up, and Bodie’s tempestuous days came to an end. It became a ghost town in the early 1940s. In 1962, it was taken over by the state park service, and was dedicated as a California Historic Site in 1964.
One of the most famous haunts is the ghost of a Chinese maid, who resides at the J.S. Cain house. According to legend, she was accused of having an affair with Cain, and was fired by his wife. Afterward, she committed suicide. This is an angry ghost, though she tolerates children.
“The Angel of Bodie” is another haunt, the ghost of a little girl, presumably Evelyn Myers. Her grave can be found in the cemetery. According to the story, four-year-old Evelyn liked following a friendly miner to work every morning. One morning, a storm was on the horizon, and the miner told the little girl to go home. He watched as she hurried away, unaware that when he turned his back, she playfully snuck up on him. That day, rather than going home after he began work, she decided to stay to secretly watch. She got to close, and got caught on the back swing of his pickaxe. She was struck in the skull, and died instantly.
The Gregory House is also reputed to be haunted – by the ghost of an old woman seen rocking in its rocking chair, knitting an afghan. Sometimes, the chair can be seen rocking back and forth, seemingly all by itself.
I couldn’t track down stories about all the Bodie ghosts. So if you know any more, share them in the comments below!