Ghost Hunting in Bodie, CA

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If you can survive the long drive to the middle of nowhere, the nearly 9,000 foot elevation and the last 3 miles of the bumpiest, windy dirt road I’ve ever experienced (in a car with intact shocks anyway), you could be in for a treat of one of the best preserved ghost towns in the U.S. Bodie is located about an hour away from Yosemite and is definitely worth the detour.

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What once boomed as a gold rush town with an estimated 10,000 people in 1880, the long-abandoned Bodie now sits in a state of “arrested decay,” maintained by the California State Parks System.

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The park is more popular than you might imagine, given its remote location. With the park entry fee, you have the freedom to wander around the grounds of the park, and despite the many people visiting, you will find yourself in pockets of quiet where you feel like you have the entire place to yourself.

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The interiors of some of the buildings have also been preserved, and I could have spent hours peeking through windows at all of the furnishings, clothing, and household goods, imagining daily life in Bodie’s heyday.

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Bodie was known for its tumultuous, unpredictable weather creating harsh living conditions that many people living there escaped by spending their free time in one of 65 saloons in the town. Even during my two hour long visit, I experienced about three different seasons. At first overcast with ominous clouds, a layer of clouds then broke to offer the brightest blue skies and puffy white clouds, only to disappear again behind clouds even more ominous.

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Though I didn’t meet any ghosts on this trip, I am still on the hunt. Have you visited any ghosts towns? I have a few more on my list to visit someday!

5 Replies to “Ghost Hunting in Bodie, CA”

  1. A bona fide ghost town. I’m both fascinated and creeped out. I’m not exactly sure why—I guess some sort of visceral reaction to the idea of something being completely abandoned and just left as is. From the pics, it looks like things were just left in the house as if they were coming back later—did it seem like that to you? Were you at all creeped out? I’d still go check it out though. I think. 🙂

    1. Stacey, interesting observation! In fact, the State of California Parks coined the term “arrested decay” to describe their mission to preserve or rebuild the town only to its 1962 state, which is when they took it over. By 1962, Bodie had been abandoned for 50 years, and many of the buildings appeared to have just been left nonchalantly. It did not feel creepy at all walking around the town, but it did indeed feel like it had a lot of stories to tell.

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