Ghost Town – The Wild West town of Bodie, USA



Bodie, California is a ghost town east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in Mono County, California, United States, about 75 miles (120 km) southeast of Lake Tahoe. The ghost town has been administered by California State Parks since becoming a state historic park in 1962. The U.S. Department of the Interior also recognizes Bodie as a National Historic Landmark.

Bodie began as a mining camp of little note following the discovery of gold in 1859 by prospector W. S. Bodey (also spelled Body). That November, Bodey perished in a blizzard after making a supply trip to nearby Monoville.

In 1876, the Standard Company discovered a profitable deposit of gold-bearing ore, which transformed Bodie from an isolated mining camp comprising a few prospectors and company employees to a Wild West boomtown. Rich discoveries in the adjacent Bodie Mine during 1878 attracted even more hopeful people. By 1880, Bodie boasted a population of 7,000, maybe 8,000. Over the years, Bodie’s mines produced gold valued at more than $34 million.

As a bustling gold mining center, Bodie had the amenities of larger towns, including two banks, a brass band, railroad, miner’s and mechanic’s unions, several newspapers, and a jail. At its peak 65 saloons lined Main Street, which was a mile long. Murders, shootouts, barroom brawls, and stagecoach holdups were regular occurrences. Legend has it that a little girl, upon learning that her family was moving there, prayed one night, “Goodbye God, we are going to Bodie.” But a local editor claimed she had really prayed, “Good! By God, we are going to Bodie.”




Anne Sweazy-Kulju agrees with Anatole France: history books that contain no lies are extremely dull. She’s working to fix that!

BODIE is an actual place, still in existence though now a ghost town, and for some history searching we learn that it is one of the most authentic abandoned gold- mining towns of the Old West, reputed to be a “ghost” town in another sense: Bodie is inhabited by ghosts who guard the town against pilferers. Supposedly, a visitor who dares to remove any artifact can be plagued by the dreaded “curse of Bodie.” The town of Bodie was as rough and tumble as any boomtown at the height of a gold rush. Fights and murders were an everyday occurrence on the streets and in the saloons of Bodie. There is a story that says the town was so notoriously lawless that a young girl upon hearing that her family was moving to Bodie was overheard praying, “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.” The town’s Methodist minister, Reverend F.M. Warrington, commented that the town of Bodie was a “sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion.” This then is the historical setting Anne Sweazy-Kulju has selected for her mesmerizing tale set In both the late 19th century and the present day. She opens her book with a Wild West slaughter that includes a murder that will serve as a prominent detail in her book