Terrifying Consequences Of The Curse Of Bodie, The Most Haunted Town In America

California has its share of creepy stories, and some center on an authentic Wild West ghost town. Bodie, a forsaken gold town, is supposedly one of the most haunted places in the state. Stories claim the area terrifies visitors with ghosts, eerie sounds, and a curse - an alleged hex falling upon anyone who takes things from the site.

According to both park rangers and paranormal investigators, it doesn’t matter what people take from the town - be it a valuable or a rock - the curse will find the person. Whatever the curse is, it’s inspired generations of people to anonymously mail the stolen items back to the ghost town. 

  • If You Take Anything From The Town, Beware
    Photo: Daniel Mayer / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    If You Take Anything From The Town, Beware

    According to local legend, anyone who takes something from Bodie - such as a memento, a sign, or even a rock - will endure a curse. Local park rangers claim they frequently receive mail from people who stole something from the site and experienced the curse.

    Park Ranger J. Brad Sturdivant said, “The curse still exists today.” He noted how many people who believe in the curse mail their items back: “Most of it comes back in an unmarked box. We still get letters... from people saying, 'I'm sorry I took this, hoping my luck will change.'"

  • One Visitor Earned A Year Of Bad Luck
    Photo: Tahoenathan / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    One Visitor Earned A Year Of Bad Luck

    If the rumors are true, anyone who takes an object from Bodie will lead a life of bad luck. One visitor said the curse followed them when they decided to take a souvenir. They ended up mailing the items back to the town when they visited Bodie another time and realized the reason behind their misfortune - the curse.

    In their letter to the town (enclosed with the returned items), the anonymous person wrote:

    I started to think about the car accident, the lost [sic] of my job, my continuing illness, and other bad things that have 'haunted' me for the past year since my visit and violation. I am generally not superstitious but... Please find enclosed the collectibles I 'just couldn't live without,' and ask the spirits to see my regret.

  • The Curse Followed A Man All The Way Back To Germany
    Photo: Francesco Orfei / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Curse Followed A Man All The Way Back To Germany

    According to one story, when a German tourist visited Bodie, he decided to take a bottle as a personal souvenir. When the man returned to Germany, he suffered an accident on the Autobahn. After the wreck, his son took the bottle to school for show and tell.

    Coming home from school, the boy had a bicycle accident similar to his father's.

  • Don't Feel Tempted By The Pile Of Cash

    A Bodie tradition says you should throw money on a particular bed for good luck. On a 1972 family vacation, two girls found the bed and felt understandably confused about people throwing away perfectly good money.

    They snatched a couple of bills and took off, assuming it was no big deal - but they forgot about the curse. The family plunged into a financial spiral, which entailed an inability to hold down a job or keep a home.