Bodie, California is a ghost town in the truest sense of the term. It’s an iconic vision of the historic gold rush that has been preserved for decades. One of the most unique aspects about Bodie is its reputation as not only a ghost town but one that has been cursed. Many visit the town out of pure interest, marveling at the eerie feeling of days and dreams long gone.
Bodie is located just east of the Sierra Nevada range in California, approximately 75 miles from Lake Tahoe. Bodie is named for W.S. Bodey, one of the original prospectors who discovered gold in the area. Despite its potential for wealth and the discovery of gold and other minerals, Bodie never flourished in the way it was planned to. In fact, the only two companies to build stamp maps in the town failed.
While most ghost towns are protected by the parks department, Bodie has its own form of protection - a curse. Visitors understand that taking so much as a stone from the town could cause some serious bad luck. Park rangers are used to getting an old nail or piece of glass in the mail along with an anonymous letter of apology. This is usually the result of visitors who have taken a relic and feel the guilt or superstition of the Bodie curse.
So how did the haunted nature of Bodie originate? This small town in California is not necessarily unique in its history. In the 19th century, many towns sprang up in the west as a result of the American gold rush. There was something of an economic bubble that occurred when miners went on a frenzy to find gold and minerals in that area of the land.
When the great westward migration amounted to very little, these towns inevitably failed and were left to their destiny as ghost towns. Since the towns were built solely around the idea of a gold rush, their purpose quickly faded.
Bodie does stand out from some of its similar towns in so far that it has not been tampered with since its original founding. Since its designation as a historic landmark in 1962, the only changes that have been made are repairs. These repairs are purely function, just to the extent of keeping Bodie looking the same way it always has.