The Curse of Bodie

Exactly what is a curse? How does it work? What makes it supernatural? These, like many other questions, I had asked when I first came across the concept of a curse. Over the years, I had learned it could also be a hex or jinx where supernatural forces are invoked to inflict harm, misfortune or punishment on a person or people by spells, rituals, pact, spirit or divine being. Curses could even be placed on objects or places, but could they follow you home? The next installment in the series of curses, we’ll be looking at the ghost town of Bodie.

Bodie is a ghost town in California located north of Mono Lake. Gold was discovered in the nearby hills by W.S Bodey resulting in hundreds descending onto the area looking to make their fortune. Soon, a boom town was erected and named Bodie due to a misspelling of a sign maker of Bodey. In 1877, a major gold deposit was found in a local mine and two years later the population increased to over 10,000 people. Bodie, like most boom towns during the gold rush, seen its share of lust, greed and violence. The area became infamous known within the state for lawless, fights and murders.

Bobie decline into a ghost town was gradual as mines were closed and opening, the population dwindled to a few hundred by the 1920s. Only the advancements in gold mining technology had kept the town alive. By the 1940s, the remaining mine was closed and Bodie became abandoned. In 1962, the area was declared as a National Historic Landmark and the Government of California opening the town as a historical Park to be preserved in a state of arrested decay. Soon after that, a strange phenomenon started to occur.

Within incidents reported back in the late 1970s, park staff started receiving packages and letters. The letters were from people who had visited Bodie explaining they had taken a nail, glass jar, rocks or some other souvenir. They would continue to describe experiencing some bad luck or misfortune within their lives. The letter would end with an apology and the returned item hoping their luck will change. This would be known as the Bodie Curse.

Over the years, the letters continued to come and even increased. Accounts given from past visitors having accidents, bad luck, illness, financial troubles, personal crises and even close encounters with death believing the Bodie Curse had befallen on them. Many returning the items they had taken and hoped the misfortunes would end. The park has no official standing on the curse, but during tours park staff do mention the curse and advise against any souvenirs. The letters received are on displayed at the Bodie museum.

Some believe that Bodie’s violent history place a curse on the town, while others speculate the ghosts from the past are protective of their items. The park is known to have other paranormal phenomenon to occur. Those who slept over night in Bodie report hearing ghostly voice, moving shows and poltergeist activity. If you ever find yourself visiting the park, remember to heed the warning of the curse.

Rhodes, Catie. “The Curse That Follows You.” Catie Rhodes. (Accessed July 29, 2015.)

“The Curse of Bodie.” Shoestring Adventures. (Accessed July 29, 2015.)

1 thought on “The Curse of Bodie

  1. SD Gates

    I took my boys to Bodie. It is a creepy, creepy place – it feels like you are being watched wherever you go. The town looks as if people just decided to get up and leave, not taking anything with them. We talked to the Rangers about the curse and they say they get tons of stuff returned to them with letters pleading to them to put it back. Fascinating stuff!!!!



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