Travels in the American Southwest
Bodie, CA
GPS - N 38 12' 44" W 119 00' 40"
~5 miles south of Bridgeport, 13 miles east of US395
Road factor/Accessability - Paved 10 miles, last 3 are graded dirt
~347 miles from Las Vegas

Like the Nevada ghost town of Berlin some 90 miles to the northeast as the crow flies, Bodie is a State Historical Park which is maintained in a state of arrested decay. A $2.00 entry fee (in 2001)  is collected by uniformed  park personnel providing visitors with a sixteen page booklet detailing a walking tour of the town's remains. This fact filled booklet details the dozens of buildings which still exist (and some that don't). Photographs are sprinkled through the booklet providing a taste of the town when it was young.

Prior to its becoming a state historic park in 1962, the  Friends of Bodie dedicated themselves to preserving Bodie and discouraging  souvenir-hunting vandals. It's their early efforts that resulted in the preservation of so much of the town. A tip of the hat to those far-sighted folks.

Besides being a well preserved ghosttown, Bodie is unique in that it has its own  website. A comprehensive history of the town covering a multitude of topics can be found on the site. However, one topic which seems to be missing concerns the Curse.

The Bodie Curse

Most ghosttowns have been picked clean by souvenir hunting tourists, folks who don't realize or care that what they take as their souvenir won't be there for the next explorer to delight in discovering. Perhaps one reason Bodie is so well preserved is the famous Bodie Curse.  Legend has it that Bodie houses an evil. (An evil what has never been fully explained.) Almost daily, the US Mail delivers mis-shapen envelopes to the park. Enclosed are bits of rock, wood, broken glass, bottle caps and other pieces of scrap along with letters. The letters contain tales of woe. Jobs lost. Inexplicable accidents. Unending strings of misfortune. Writers believe that they are victims of the Bodie Curse. It seems that by removing any item permits a piece of Bodie's evil to escape, causing relentless havoc. Writers hope that by returning the purloined item, the evil will accompany it back to Bodie and the curse might be lifted.

As I unlocked the door of the minivan after touring this historic old town, my thoughts drifted back to the Bodie Curse. It's the 21st century. Curse? I don't believe in such malarkey. I took my shoes off. I was just, ummmmm, knocking the, ahhhh, dirt and pebbles out of my shoes before climbing into the van. Yeah, like when I'm, ahhhh, at the beach.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 


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