Are You Brave Enough to Visit the Cursed Ghost Town of Bodie?
If you've ever been to Bodie, the small ghost town in Mono County, CA along the Sierra Nevada mountain range, you will know how fascinating of a blast from the past it is. But did you also know there was a local curse? When I visited as a kid, I had no idea. But I wish I did because the story is a doozy.
The town of Bodie started growing around 1859 after the Gold Rush boom in California. Four men struck it rich who'd come to Body, at the time known as the "Mother Lode region" in search of treasure in the gold-heavy valley. However, a terrible blizzard struck the mining outpost soon after the gold was unearthed. One of the four men, W.S. Body died in the storm, and the town was named in his memory--though later the spelling was changed to "Bodie" after a painter mispelled a sign reading "Bodie Stables" in 1862.
From Booming to Broken
Though Bodie had a surge of activity and growth during to gold boom, the well dried up not long after. By 1868, those who'd developed multiple gold mines and stamp mills in Bodie lost their investments and the projects were left behind. By 1881, the once prosperous Bodie was know hemmorhaging people moving out to look for the next town. People left behind their entire lives. Furniture remained in homes, bars were left with a full supply of liquor. Bodie would become a ghost town with 800 residents remaining...along with something else a little more sinister.
Gold mining continued until 1942, but in 1962, Bodie was officially marked as "in arrested decay" and made a National Historic Site so the town would be left untouched. Now visitors can come and spend a relaxing day at Bodie State Historic Park, which, as of March 17, is open to park goers with COVID-19 restrictions in place. If you'd like to find the park, it is outside of beautiful Yosemite, seven miles south of the town of Bridgeport and about three and a half hours from my home town, Merced. You can take yourself on a self-guided tour through the ruins (or even schedule a private one).
The curse of Bodie follows anyone who takes home a "souvenir"
But be warned. While there is no proof to these claims, the town of Bodie is said to come with a curse. Anyone who takes an artifact from Bodie is struck with unending bad luck. So many people believe in the curse of Bodie the park receives tons of letters (at least once a week) and visitors returning nails and rocks they took from the site.
One letter written to the park back in 2004 read, "You can have these godforsaken rocks back. I've never had so much rotten luck in my life. Please forgive me for ever testing the curse of Bodie."
And it wasn't the only one.
However, the park says it was a rumor to keep sticky-fingered visitors from getting too cozy. My only questions are, what do you believe? And are you brave enough to visit?