Whether you believe in ghosts or not is not a question because when you visit Bodie the town is undoubtedly eerie and historical, filled with enough paranormal sightings to make one wonder. No costumes, no gimmicks, no cheesy fake blood or pushover sets–Bodie is simply a deserted town dating back to the 1800s. Bodie was once a gold mining town that was hailed as one of the top 10 cities in California back in its day. Ten thousand people used to call Bodie home and you can still see signs of its former grandeur in the old saloons, hotels and lay out of the city. Today, Bodie looks exactly as you would imagine an old pioneer-era town would look with dilapidated wooden houses, rundown mills and dirt roads. It is stunning how detailed the remains of Bodie are; from dusty school desks to antique homes with peeling, cloth wallpaper and crumbling furniture–the way things are left gives the creepy impression that all of its 10,000 inhabitants got up and left without reason.
“The woman in the window” is the main ghost of Bodie it would seem as it is her spirit that has had the most encounters. From the second story window of the Caine House, the woman is said to peer out at people passing by. Her ghost has been allegedly spotted by visitors and employees alike who speak candidly about their brush with the “unknown.” I did not see anything but standing in front of the Caine House on a street that must have once been filled with carriages and pioneer settlers, one can’t help but feel something eerie.
On this particular afternoon, as the rain drizzled over Bodie and the dark clouds rolled in–the town seemed the textbook definition of haunted (an ideal way to kick off October). To preserve the ghost town atmosphere, the Bodie State Historic Park opted against building tourist-facing restaurants, food shops or anything else that may detract from the historical site. With the exception of a museum that blends in seamlessly, Bodie looks exactly as one would imagine it did and is surprisingly well preserved considering the volatile elements. Recently, Bodie has begun giving ghost tours of its haunted town–a claim to fame the preservation committee had chosen to not promote for fear of people sneaking into Bodie after hours.
I’ve been in California for maybe 48 hours now and am consistently amazed by the unfathomable beauty, history and surprises that dot the backbone of the state. Bodie is just one of the many treasures hidden along Route 395 in Mono County; should you find yourself in this part of the world, take a turn and explore this ghost town that time seems to have forgotten but whose haunted reputation precedes it.
Bodie State Historic Park is best reached by car and is 13 miles east of Highway 395, 7 miles south of Bridgeport. For details on planning a trip to Bodie, visit the park website here. Do you believe in ghosts? Share your eerie stories below!
*I visited Route 395 as part of a press trip with Visit California. The Pin the Map Project does not accept freebies in exchange for positive coverage, as always all opinions & experiences expressed are my own.