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Bodie, California - Page 2

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Bodie, California

Bodie buildings today, Kathy Weiser, July, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!



However, the two major mines -- the Bodie and the Standard, merged in 1887 and continued to operate successfully for the next two decades.

While the boom lasted, some 30 companies produced $400,000 in ore per month for an overall total estimated at $90 to $100 million.

In 1892 a fire ravaged much of the business district, further depleting Bodie’s population. Additional mines began to close. However, the very next year Bodie became one of the first mining camps to use electricity.  Another fire destroyed the Mill in 1898, but it was rebuilt the following year.



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James CainBy 1915, most of the important mines were controlled by James Stewart Cain who had arrived in Bodie when 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 Bodie bank, leased the Mono Lake Railway & Lumber Company (formerly known as the Bodie 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 Bodie and Benton Railway was abandoned.


In 1932 another devastating fire, caused by a 2 ˝ year old boy playing with matches, destroyed 95% of Bodie’s buildings.


Though Bodie was 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 Bodie 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 Bodie was a ghost town and was visited only by tourists interested in its history.

In 1962, after years of neglect, Bodie became a State Historic Park, and two years later the ghost town of Bodie was dedicated as a California Historic Site. It has also been designated a National Historic Site.


Bodie Legends


Legends about 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 Bodie who 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 Bodie.


Other ghostly legends have seemingly occurred in this ghost town 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.


Adults sleeping in the house have said that they will awake in the night to find the "heavy set” Chinese woman sitting on them. Feeling suffocated, one woman fought so hard that she ended up on the floor. Others have reported seeing the bedroom door opening and closing on its own.


The Gregory House is also said to be haunted by the ghost of an old woman. Guests and staff have reported seeing her sitting in a rocking chair, knitting an afghan. At other times, the rocking chair has been seen rocking on its own accord.


J.S. Cain House in Bodie, California

J.S. Cain House today, Kathy Weiser, July, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!


The Angel of Bodie

The Angel of Bodie, Kathy Weiser, July, 2009.

This image available for photo prints & commercial downloads HERE!


The Mendocini House is called home to several friendly ghosts. One is thought to Mrs. Mendocini who loved to cook her Italian food. Rangers report today that they often smell the delicious aroma of her cooking when they enter the house. Others have reported party-like sounds coming from the next room and children’s laughter of children.

At the Dechambeau House, visitors have seen a woman peering from an upstairs window.

At the Bodie Cemetery is "The Angel of Bodie,” a three-year old child that was said to have been accidentally killed when she was hit in the head by a miner’s pick. Her grave is mounted with a white marble angel and on one occasion a man visiting the cemetery with his little girl, noticed that she was giggling and seemingly playing with an unseen entity.



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