Bodie is probably one of the best preserved old west ghost towns in the country. Located approximately 25 miles outside the town of Lee Vining, in Mono County, California, at an altitude of about 8.400 feet, Bodie had a reputation as a rough and tough mining town. Because the altitude is so high, it`s normal for this location to get 12 feet of snow or more during winter months. Back in the day, wood was scarce and if you didn`t spend your summer months chopping firewood, you would freeze to death in the Winter...... literally.
The town site began about 1859 and by 1875 has a population in the neighborhood of about 8.000 - 10.000 people. The mines began petering out in the late 1890`s and the population began it`s decline. The town suffered two devastating fires in 1892, and again in 1932. These fires destroyed most of the town.
By the time World War ll broke out, many residents began moving away, and the last mine finally closed about the end of the war. By this time prominent town resident Jim Cain began buying up all the property in the town and hired caretakers to help him keep an eye on it.
The town continued to dwindle until the Cain family donated the town to the California Parks & Recreation in 1962. Two years later in 1964, Bodie was open to the public. Presently the town is occupied by a couple state park rangers and volunteers.
There`s been an ongoing legend called The Bodie Curse, where if you take any artifacts from the town, bad luck shall come to you. Over the years there have actually been a few people that had taken artifacts and later mailed them back to the park rangers claiming that they began having bad luck ever since taking it.
As far as the curse is concerned, I can`t really speculate if there`s any truth to it. But there is no mistaking that some of the park rangers have personally witnessed ghostly activity.
It is said that there are at least 12 ghosts haunting this town, including an apparition of a white mule in the mines.
The John S. Cain House
John S. Cain was a prominent businessman
who was the steam behind the business development in Bodie. The
story goes that the Cain family had employed a pretty, but heavyset
Chinese woman to be their maid. Mrs. Cain fired her. Some speculate
that Mrs. Cain was jealous for some reason. Perhaps Mrs. Cain
accused this maid of flirting with her husband. Anyway, it seems
that the maid felt disgraced to a level where she thought that she
was ruined, so she killed herself.
While she likes children, she likes to
annoy teenagers and has a grudge against adults who spend the night
or live in the Cain House. This maid likes to smile at children, appearing to them in the
bedroom upstairs. Sounds of a music box can be heard coming from the upstairs
Park rangers, who have lived in the house have physically
experienced her in an alarming way.
One ranger, while lying in bed in the first floor bedroom. He
saw the bedroom door open by itself, felt a cold presence enter the
room, and then felt a heavy pressure on top of him, and felt a
feeling of suffocation.
In this same bedroom, a ranger and his wife were in bed. The
wife felt a heavy pressure on top of her, and couldn't move. She
fought hard against it, and wound up on the ground. A ranger's 15 year old daughter went to bed in the upstairs
bedroom. As soon as she got into bed, the lights went on by
themselves. She got out of bed, and turned them off again. The
lights went on again. After 5 or 6 times, the girl yelled at the
unseen prankster, and ran downstairs.
According to Park Rangers and volunteers, this haunting activity continues til this very day.
The Gregory House
An apparition of an old woman has been seen
rocking contently in a rocking chair at Gregory House, working on
an afghan. Sometimes the rocking chair rocks back and forth all by
The Mendocini House
Appears to be haunted by a mother, perhaps
Mrs. Mendocini, and her children. They have been known to haunt visitors to the house, following
Upon opening up the house, after a long winter when no one had
been living there, a ranger was greeted by the wonderful aroma of
Italian food cooking.
Another ranger, who had just moved into the house, made himself
some lasagna, but regretted the fact that he didn't have any garlic
to add, because he loved seasoning. As he sat there, eating his
lasagna, his eyes started to water, his sinuses felt a burning
sensation. He had to go outside quickly to get some air. When he
came back, the house smelled of garlic. He realized that some kind
presence was trying to give him his garlic. Mrs. Mendocini likes to
look after the needs of her guests.
On his second night in the house, he sitting by himself,
reading. Suddenly he heard the sounds of a party going on, various
people talking. As no radio was on in the house, he went outside
and heard nothing coming from his neighbors. When he came back
inside, the level of voices had risen, the party being in full
swing. He courteously thanked Mrs. Mendocini for trying to brighten
up his existence by inviting him to her party, but that he had a
lot of reading to do. She must have respected his wishes because
the voices disappeared.
The sounds of children laughing and playing can be heard outside
of the house.