The Curse of Bodie Ghost Town

Perched on the eastern side of the Sierras, north of Mono Lake, Bodie is California’s Official Ghost Town.

Though it became renowned for having abundant gold reserves, it was equally infamous for its lawlessness as gamblers, stage robbers, and gun-fighters made their way to town.

The Curse of Bodie - Bodie Ghost Town in California

Photo credit left: flickr/lostamerica right: flickr/amylloyd

Updated 2/10/2020 – After a fire destroyed much of the town in 1932, Bodie lost its population slowly until it was declared a state park in 1960.

Now the town does have its share of ghosts, including James Cain’s Chinese maid/mistress at The Cain house and the phantom children playing at The Mendocino House.

However, Bodie is famous for its Curse. The Curse of Bodie brings bad luck to artifact thieves who steal the things its former residents left behind, possibly frightened by a supernatural event or after a catastrophic medical event. Supposedly, the curse can be lifted by returning the items to the town.

The Origins of the Curse

Bodie California Miners

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Ed Warren, the expert on Demonology, curses and paranormal occurrences, believed that the curse is related to the town’s history. Many people had come to the old mining town in hopes of getting rich. Their desperation instilled a form of supernatural power here.

As a result, everything left behind in Bodie draws the spirits of its owners and others who refuse to move on.

Accursed Items Stolen from and Returned to Bodie

Bodie Warning

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Park Rangers report receiving items from Bodie in the mail every year. Sometime, the items are accompanied with an anonymous apology or letters detailing stories of bad luck. Here are four of these stories:

  1. The Cursed Money – In 1972, during their family’s visit, two little girls found a bed where people threw dollar bills and change. The girls used a stick to get some of the money and took their treasure home. However, the family suffered financial problems afterwards as its members couldn’t hold jobs or keep their home.
  2. A Vicious Bad Luck Cycle – In 1994, a tourist picked a few souvenirs from Bodie. Within the span of a year, he suffered from a car accident, lost his job, and was ill for most of the year. He consulted a psychic who advised him to put the items back. He returned the items anonymously.
    Photo credit: flickr/lostamerica

    Photo credit: flickr/lostamerica

  3. The Cursed Rock Necklaces from Bodie – Around the early 2000s, two teenage girls picked rocks from Bodie and made necklaces of them. At first, they thought that they were having a spill of bad luck. However, things took a turn to the worse, and their bad luck started affecting them physically. The skin the rock necklace touched developed rashes and one of the girls suffered from a sprained ankle. After an earthquake hit their town, they returned their necklaces to Bodie.
  4. The Cursed Bottle – A German man picked a bottle from Bodie only to have an accident on the Autobahn upon his return to Germany. His son took the same bottle to school and while riding his bike, had an accident.

So if you’re planning a visit to Bodie, keep your hands to yourself and, definitely, don’t pick up a souvenir!