Bodie: Ghost Stories From a Ghost Town

Bodie: Ghost Stories From a Ghost Town

Bodie, California

Nestled in the vast California wilderness, hugging Nevada’s border sits a forgotten piece of heritage. Once a booming piece of land, the former mining town of Bodie is now a crumbling and tilted shell of its old self.

Interior of a house in Bodie, Californian ghost town.
A still furnished room rotting away within the ghost town Bodie, California.

Bodie was founded in 1876 after gold was struck nearby and soon became a popular place for prospectors. The town grew rapidly to contain approximately 2,000 buildings and supporting up to 7,000 people by 1879. Bodie saw a steady decline from 1880 onwards, when miners were lured to other nearby boom areas. This decline continued until Bodie was first declared a ghost town in 1915.

Buildings decaying in the ghost town Bodie.
Buildings, slowly crumbling inside the once booming mining town of Bodie, California.

During its lifetime Bodie was a rough and tumble area where murder was common place. The town featured many opium dens, a large red light district and crime reined supreme with countless brawls, shootings and holdups recorded. Today, the ruins of the town are open to tourists and historically listed, but so much energy from Bodie’s past remains being emphasized in the numerous tales of hauntings within the ghost town.

Inside a building in Bodie, California.
Interior of a weathered building, part of the ghost town Bodie.

Ghost Stories From Bodie

There are many supernatural stories associated with the ghost town of Bodie. Perhaps the most prevalent is the tale of Bodie’s curse. Myths surrounding the abandoned town state that anyone who removes an item from Bodie, even something as small as a rock or nail, will be plagued with bad luck until that item is returned to Bodie. This claim is backed up by a book on display in Bodie’s visitor center, which contains a large collection of letters addressed to Bodie rangers. Each of these letters had an item taken from Bodie enclosed within it and an explanation from the senders’ who hoped that the return of the item would relieve them of the string of bad luck they’d seen since their visit.

Letter to cursed Bodie.
The book containing many letter from those who dared to take an item from Bodie and suffered its curse.

One of Bodie’s largest homes is also one of its most haunted. The John S. Cain Residence is haunted by a tragic past and a woman scorned. John was a wealthy man and chose to invest in the help of a Chinese woman who was to assist maintaining the house and caring for his family. Rumor soon spread that this woman was having an affair with John, which lead to her losing her job, being outcast by the town’s people and sadly taking her own life. Since her death, the ghost of this woman has been said to occupy the property. Poltergeist activity has been reported, the woman’s apparition has been seen staring out of windows and adults who have stayed within the property have been physically attacked by an unseen presence.

Haunted John S. Cain, Bodie.
The haunted John S. Cain residence in Bodie.

This is not the only haunted property remaining within Bodie. The Gregory house is reportedly haunted by the spirit of an older, unknown female. She has been sighted all around the house, usually busy knitting. The old Mendocini house also has many paranormal stories linked to it. Years ago this was a family home and the disembodied laughter and sounds of children playing in the front yard is still commonly reported. The ranger who now lives in the house believes the spirits of these children remain and continue to play cheeky tricks, like pulling off his bed sheets when he is trying to go to sleep. The ghostly smells of homemade Italian cooking also randomly appear within the home.

Haunted Mendocini House, Bodie.
Me standing on the steps of the haunted Mendocini House in Bodie where ghostly children are commonly heard playing in the front yard.

Such a famous mining town wouldn’t be complete without a haunted mine. The actual mines are closed off to the general public due to safety concerns, yet they were never the safest of places even when in operation. Accidental deaths were common in this hazardous occupation and some think that lost spirits may still be trapped within the abandoned mines, where rangers have reported hearing voices and screams. There’s also said to be the entity of a white mule, which died on the job after having its back broken, within the mines.

Haunted mined in Bodie, California.
The haunted and closed off mines, part of the ghost town Bodie.

Bodie’s past contains many deaths and so the town required a large cemetery within close vicinity. The Bodie Cemetery is not without its own ghost story. It is told that the spirit of young Evelyn Myers haunts the area around her angel shaped tombstone. She died under tragic circumstances at the age of three, when she was victim to a freak accident that saw her struck in the head with a pick axe. Her ghost has been seen by many children within the cemetery, who inform their parents of a little girl wanting to play with them.

Evelyn Myers tombstone in Bodie Cemetery.
The haunted Evelyn Myers grave within the Bodie Cemetery.

Visiting Bodie

The ghost town Bodie is a fascinating visit for anyone interested in Californian history, particularly surrounding the Gold Rush era. Exploring the town itself is haunting and exciting for anyone into the paranormal.

Inside the kitchen of a house in Bodie.
Interior of one of the abandoned homes of the ghost town Bodie.

Bodie is quite remote but makes a fun road trip. I recommend staying a night in nearby Bridgeport in the amazingly creepy Bodie Hotel, which was up-rooted and moved on the back of a wagon from Bodie in the 1800’s to make alternative accommodation for travelers. You should also be prepared to drive on an unsealed gravel road for a few kilometers and pay a small admission fee to enter the national park.

Haunted Ghost Town Bodie California.
More buildings still standing within the long abandoned ghost town of Bodie, California.

If you enjoyed this article and want to check out other haunted locations linked to the California Gold Rush, take a look at my blog about Placerville, aka Hang Town.

Thanks for reading!


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About Amy

Amy is a world traveller and explorer of creepy locations. She has visited some of the most famously haunted places around the world in search of evidence of the paranormal. Follow Amy's Journey:

Comments (8)

  • Lilly

    Posted by Lilly on November 4, 2019

    I was curious about the Evelyn Myers story from Bodie California. But I could not find the info that I was looking for until I found this. I also found other info that I was not even looking for but that I still found really cool. These kinds of stories and places have always fascinated me. But I am still curious about what she looked like before she died and where she lived in Bodie. But I feel bad for the miner who accidentally killed her. He had to live with that fact for the rest of his life. He also probably felt really bad about it for who knows how long. Thanks for the info! 🙂


      Posted by Amy on November 7, 2019

      Hi Lilly! Thank you so much for reading and for the comment! I am glad you were able to find some new info from this article. The legend of Evelyn Myers is an interesting and tragic one. I agree, it would be wonderful to know what she looked like, I’m not sure if there are any records of that. Thanks again!

  • Kristie

    Posted by Kristie on November 12, 2020

    Thanks for this, Amy! I have lived in Placerville about 8 years now, and love all of the local history and historical sites “frozen” in time that this and the surrounding areas have to offer. The many local cemeteries alone hold so many stories of people long since passed, and give some insight into what life was like during the gold rush. Have been wanting to visit Bodie for some time now, and found your article both fascinating and informative. It looks like an amazing day trip that I will definitely have to put in motion sooner than later! Just wanted to say “thank you!” from one adventurer to another. Enjoy all of your travels!


      Posted by Amy on November 14, 2020

      Hi Kristie, thanks for reading and leaving a comment. Bodie is amazing, so definitely pay it a visit if you have the opportunity. We also stayed in the nearby Bodie Hotel in Bridgeport – it’s actually original to the town of Bodie, but was relocated to Bridgeport at a point in time.

  • Henry Martinez

    Posted by Henry Martinez on November 17, 2020

    Hi Amy
    Just stumbled to your site. Been going to Bodie since I was very young and just found some information I was not aware of. Thank you for the great research.
    Gardnerville, NV


      Posted by Amy on November 18, 2020

      Hi Henry, thank you so much for reading and checking in. Glad you enjoyed the article and it is great to hear from someone that has visited Bodie.

  • Prithwiraj Modak

    Posted by Prithwiraj Modak on March 22, 2022

    Nice story… excellent presentation! Keep going 😊


      Posted by Amy on March 22, 2022

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment about Bodie!

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