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Place - Mendocini House
Hwy 395, Bridgeport
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
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.
Appears to be haunted by a mother, perhaps
Mrs. Mendocini, and her children.
They have been known to haunt visitors to the house, following
Upon opening up the house, after a long winter when no one had
been living there, a ranger was greeted by the wonderful aroma of
Italian food cooking.
Another ranger, who had just moved into the house, made himself
some lasagna, but regretted the fact that he didn't have any garlic
to add, because he loved seasoning. As he sat there, eating his
lasagna, his eyes started to water, his sinuses felt a burning
sensation. He had to go outside quickly to get some air. When he
came back, the house smelled of garlic. He realized that some kind
presence was trying to give him his garlic. Mrs. Mendocini likes to
look after the needs of her guests.
On his second night in the house, he sitting by himself,
reading. Suddenly he heard the sounds of a party going on, various
people talking. As no radio was on in the house, he went outside
and heard nothing coming from his neighbors. When he came back
inside, the level of voices had risen, the party being in full
swing. He courteously thanked Mrs. Mendocini for trying to brighten
up his existence by inviting him to her party, but that he had a
lot of reading to do. She must have respected his wishes because
the voices disappeared.
The sounds of children laughing and playing can be heard outside
of the house.
Yes indeed. The resident spirits 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 Cain House.
All photos © Tom Carr.