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John S. Cain House
Place - John S. Cain House
Bridgeport, California 93517
Bodie State Historic Park, California - A
deserted Gold Town
While the park is open all year, this area
has been known to get 12 feet of snow, and is accessible only by
snow mobile or skis. The park is staffed by park rangers and
volunteers, some of whom live in the houses in Bodie.
California State Parks - Bodie State Historic
Bodie is part of Bodie State Historic Park,
consisting of 500 acres on a spur range of the Sierra Nevada, at
about 8000 feet above sea level. The land that the community was
built on is high, dry, sandy ground that supports sage brush and
antelope brush, but no trees. It is truly in the middle of nowhere,
about 26 miles from Bridgeport, 15 miles off road from highway
Near the Nevada - California border, Bodie
was home to 10,000 people in its heyday, in the late 1870s. In
1849, a W.S. Bodie, and his partner, Black Turner discovered large
gold deposits in the hills near where Bodie was destined to be
built. In 1870, investment money from New York, funneled through
contacts in San Francisco, was used to build shaft and tunnel mine
systems, improving the mines' harvest of gold. The town of Bodie
bloomed and grew tremendously. Being a mining town, it had its
share of violence, pain, greed and immorality, though it also had
its civilized side as well. Its nick name was "Big Bad Bodie."
The booming economy revolved around these
30 gold mines in the hills above the town, which supported 70
saloons, 3 breweries, 3 newspapers, several whorehouses, churches,
pine slat homes, banks and one school.
As is the case in other mine towns, the
population became less and less numerous as the mines petered out.
What helped to quicken the demise of the town was a devastating
fire in 1932 that destroyed 95 percent of the buildings, caused by
a child playing with matches.
However, people still lived there until
after World War 2, when the last producing mine, Lucky Boy was shut
down. Only 6 people were left in town. 5 of the six died untimely,
strange deaths, relating to one of the men shooting his wife. When
his wife died, three of the other men killed the man who shot his
wife. They in turn died of strange diseases after the ghost of the
man they killed appeared to them and shook his fist at them.
Today, 168 of the town's buildings and
homes are still standing, and in good shape. Some date back all the
way to 1849. The houses have the original owners' private
possessions, and give the visitor a good idea about what it was
like to live here. There is a museum of artifacts from the town's
history, located in the Miner's Union Hall building. The main
streets are intact, with a saloon, a bank, a livery stable, various
buildings, an inn, a school and a church.
The graveyard is also still in good shape.
The mines are also still there, though collapsed. One can see them
by tour only.
Around 12 ghosts, plus an apparition of
white mule in the mines, still call Bodie their home.
Some individual homes, and the areas around
them are haunted for a variety of reasons.
The John S. Cain House
John S. Cain was a prominent businessman
who was the steam behind the business development in Bodie. The
story goes that the Cain family had employed a pretty, but heavyset
Chinese woman to be their maid. Mrs. Cain fired her. Some speculate
that Mrs. Cain was jealous for some reason. Perhaps Mrs. Cain
accused this maid of flirting with her husband. Anyway, it seems
that the maid felt disgraced to a level where she thought that she
was ruined, so she killed herself.
While she likes children, she likes to
annoy teenagers and has a grudge against adults who spend the night
or live in the Cain House.
This maid likes to smile at children, appearing to them in the
Sounds of a music box can be heard coming from the upstairs
Park rangers, who have lived in the house have physically
experienced her in an alarming way.
One ranger, while lying in bed in the first floor bedroom. He
saw the bedroom door open by itself, felt a cold presence enter the
room, and then felt a heavy pressure on top of him, and felt a
feeling of suffocation.
In this same bedroom, a ranger and his wife were in bed. The
wife felt a heavy pressure on top of her, and couldn't move. She
fought hard against it, and wound up on the ground.
- A ranger's 15 year old daughter went to bed in the upstairs
bedroom. As soon as she got into bed, the lights went on by
themselves. She got out of bed, and turned them off again. The
lights went on again. After 5 or 6 times, the girl yelled at the
unseen prankster, and ran downstairs.
They mingle amiably with visitors and the
rangers and aids who work in Bodie, with the exception of the
Chinese maid who has a bad attitude toward adults living in the
All photos © Tom Carr.