1915, most of the important mines were controlled by James Stewart
Cain who had arrived in
he was just 25 years old. Soon after his arrival, he entered the
lumber business transporting timber on barges across Mono Lake. He would grow so successful that he eventually would own the
bank, leased the Mono Lake Railway & Lumber Company (formerly known as
and Benton Railroad,) became the town’s principle property owner, and
the owner of the Standard Mill. However, the Standard Mill was
closed around 1916 and just a year later the
Benton Railway was abandoned.
In 1932 another devastating fire, caused
by a 2 ˝
year old boy playing with matches, destroyed 95% of
already dying, further decline resulted from Prohibition and the
Depression. While some mining continued, there were no new
strikes and companies eked out only minor profits, largely by using
the cyanide process to extract gold from old tailings.
However, a few people continued to live in
until after World War II, when the last producing, mine, the Lucky Boy
was shut down.
By then only six people were left in
the old settlement and five of these would soon die untimely deaths. First, one of the men shot his wife and after she died, three men
killed the murdering husband. According to legend, the ghost of
the murdered man would visit the three men, shaking his fist. Soon,
all three would die of strange diseases.
By the end of the 1940s
town and was visited only by tourists interested in its history.
In 1962, after years of neglect,
became a State Historic Park, and two years later the
ghost town of
dedicated as a
Historic Site. It has also been designated a National Historic Site.
Bodie abound, including the Bodie Curse. Supposedly, if
visitors take anything from this old
ghost town – even a pebble, they will
be cursed with bad luck. Misfortune and tragedy are heaped upon the
victim until the stolen item is returned. According to Park Rangers,
many who have taken things eventually return them to the park to rid
themselves of this curse. Purportedly, the park maintains a log book
of pages and pages of returned items. In the museum, you can see the
letters from people who have returned items to the park. The curse
is supposedly perpetuated by the ghosts of
guard against thieves and protect its treasures. Some believe that
the "curse” is nothing more than a superstition perpetuated by the Park
Rangers to preserve
Bodie as a
historic site. However, I for one wouldn’t take the chance of being
haunted by the long lost souls of
legends have seemingly occurred in this
that is said to truly be a "ghost” town, remaining home to several
restless spirits. The J.S. Cain house at the corner of Green and
Park streets is said to be haunted by the ghost of a Chinese maid. Families of Park Rangers, who have occupied the house, describe the spirit
as not liking adults, but loves children.