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.
Even The Town's Origins Are Dark
Around 1859, W.S. Bodey and four other men discovered a large deposit of gold in the eastern foothills of the Sierras. They agreed to keep it a secret until they returned, but Bodey had no intention of staying true to his word. He returned with a man nicknamed "Black" Taylor, but a snowstorm caught up with them. Bodey died in the storm, but his name lived on in the founding of Bodie, CA. Supposedly the misspelled name was due to the sign maker's mistake.
The town remained quiet for almost a decade. In 1876, Bodie boomed when a mine caved in and exposed a large amount of gold. Bodie boomed again from about 1879 to 1882, then began its slow decline into obsolescence.
A huge fire struck the town in 1892, hastening the town's final days. The Great Depression and Prohibition sealed Bodie's downfall.
The Curse Might Come From Negative Energy
Ed Warren - the paranormal investigator who examined the Amityville Horror case with his wife Lorraine - concocted a theory about why Bodie carries such a heavy curse. He believed Bodie absorbed negative energy from so many people trying to become rich. When the town went bust, this energy sat and stagnated, growing more putrid as the decades passed. He said items from the area have a spiritual vibration attracting everything from spirits to bad luck.
There's also the possibility the curse involves the town's bad reputation from its boom days. As with any boomtown, Bodie had a seedy underbelly. There were the usual elements: booze, gambling, and sex workers. But there was also lawlessness permeating the town. "Bad men" robbed, murdered, and pillaged their way through Bodie, creating their fair share of negative vibes, resulting in the curse.
Of course, it's entirely possible people who visit the town self-manifest the curse with magical thinking - the belief an object, action, or circumstance without logical relation to a course of events can influence outcomes.
Locals Believe In The Curse
It's one thing for locals and park rangers to promote their ghost town under the auspices of its curse, but it's another to believe ghosts haunt Bodie. If Bodie residents think it carries a curse, they might be correct.
Park Ranger Mark Pupich told the Sun Sentinel:
I believe in the hex. I don't dare take anything and neither should anybody else. I've seen enough letters, talked to enough people about what can happen. People take something, then have all this bad luck. There [have] been some really sad cases.
A Little Girl Known As The 'Angel Of Bodie' Haunts The Town
According to visitors, the ghost of a little girl haunts the former boomtown. Witnesses refer to her as the "Angel of Bodie." The girl's identity remains unknown due to conflicting stories, but some believe a miner's pick accidentally struck her head, killing her.
Many connect a grave decorated with a white marble angel to the girl. It belongs to Evelyn Myers, who passed away at age three.