As we drive up to Bodie we see a flock of sheep in a high Sierra meadow. I get out to take a picture and two white shaggy dogs detach themselves from the flock and run across the field barking at me. They stop at my feet and whine uncertainly, not sure whether to bark or have their ears scratched.
Bodie is a gold mining ghost town, high in the Sierras. It became a State Park in 1962. William S. Bodie discovered gold there in 1859, however he died in a storm that winter before he could cash in on his discovery.
One internet site says that, "Miners, gamblers and business continued to flood the area and by 1879, Bodie boasted a population of about 10,000 and 2,000 buildings. Before long the town supported some 30 gold mines, 65 saloons, numerous brothels, gambling halls, and opium dens, as well, as a number of legitimate businesses, including three newspapers, several churches, a couple of banks and a school. Every other building on the mile long main street was a saloon. Three breweries worked day and night, while whiskey was brought into town in 100 gallon barrels."
"A sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion." - Reverend F.M. Warrington. 1881
About 95% of the wooden buildings burned to the ground in 1932, but many still stand in an arrested state of decay. The town was widely known for its lawlessness. One man in particular earned the sobriquet "Bad Man from Bodie", although records are confused about the actual identity of this individual.
By 1882, the boom was over and the population of Bodie began a swift decline. The last six residents of Bodie died before WWII. One man shot his wife. The other four killed the murderer. Then his ghost appeared to then one-by-one, shaking his fist. The last four all died quickly of mysterious diseases after seeing the apparition..
Park Rangers report frequent visits by the ghost of a heavyset Chinese woman. Another friendly ghost is a woman who appears to enjoy cooking Italian food.
I put the camera up to the gass of the windows of several buildings and snap pictures of old barrooms, bedrooms, pool tables, garaged flatbed trucks, and exercise equipment.