Ghosts & the Supernatural – One of the most colorful characters of Bodie, California is Kate “Minus Two” Derringer. Kate was called Kate “Minus Two” Derringer, because she would carry a Derringer pocket pistol in her hair bun. It is said that Kate’s real name was Kate Cassin, but she gained the moniker Kate “Minus Two” Derringer, because she had a reputation for killing two men. One she killed with her Derringer and the other she killed with a knife by slitting his throat. The two men approached Kate on the busy street of Virginia City, Nevada and in their drunken stupor tried to grope Kate. Kate pulled out her anemic .22 Derringer and shot one of the men in the eye and then she raised her dress and pulled out a knife and slit the other man’s neck. Both bled out and died.
Kate Cassin then became known as Kate “Minus Two” Derringer. Since she was defending herself, she was released. For a while she stayed in Bodie to visit a relative. Kate lived in Bodie, CA for 7 months in the year 1868. Kate’s horse was a white stallion. When Kate left Bodie, CA it was said she left to find her former lover Andrew ‘Big Jack’ Davis who she once courted when he was a miner at the Comstock Lode in Nevada Territory in 1859. Big Jack was a miner in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Bodie and at the Comstock Lode. When he became unsuccessful in mining, he became an outlaw. Hidden gold that he stole is protected by the ghost of Big Jack. Witnesses say they see a screaming white phantom that they believe is Big Jack protecting his buried gold in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Witnesses say that they see the ghost of Kate “Minus Two” Derringer on her white steed riding through the town of Bodie, usually on a windy night. She is also sometimes seen in Virginia City, Nevada. A recent paranormal hotline call I received was from Greg Cornejo who says while visiting Bodie, California, that he saw, along with his wife, the ghost of Kate riding down the street on her white stallion. Kate looked at Greg and said: “Remember me, I am Kate!” Greg says that his wife did see the ghost of Kate and her horse, but did not hear her words. Greg tells me that he has psychic abilities and this is what he heard and that he also envisioned her later that night in a dream killing the 2 men in Virginia City.
Before I write the details of HPI’s investigation at Bodie, I will give you the highlights of some of the legends, stories and descriptions of Bodie.
a. The Curse of Bodie. If you take any items from Bodie, the resident ghosts that protect this ghost town will make sure you have misfortune. Many items taken from Bodie are shipped back to the Park Rangers, because of the curse.
b. Lady of the Night. A woman with a long blue dress is sometimes sighted under a moonlight floating through the fields.
c. Fights and murders were a common everyday occurrence at Bodie. Things were so bad, that when a young girl knew she was moving to Bodie with her parents, she wrote her grandmother the following message. “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”
d. The Reverend F.M. Warrington described Bodie as a Sea of Sin.
e. When a little boy at Bodie didn’t get a birthday cake, he set his kitchen table on fire. The fire spread throughout the town. When the fire was finally extinguished, 1/3 of the town had burned to the ground.
f. One of the most haunted houses at Bodie is the Cain House. Jim Cain, a prominent businessman was caught having an affair with his Chinese maid. When the news got out, he committed suicide. When a Park Ranger’s wife spent the night at the Cain House, she felt someone laying on top of her. She felt like she was being suffocated.
g. Another haunted house in Bodie is the Mendocini House. Children are heard playing near the house and at times Park Rangers have heard the sound of a party, when there is no one at the house.
Now let’s talk about the Scouting Mission/Investigation:
Dear lord, I don’t know where to begin. Sierra Peterson – HPI Ghosthunter-in-Training/Scout and Bryan Coleman – Ghosthunter/Camera Man spent the night with me at my home on Friday, July 25, 2008. We had to get up early Saturday for our Bodie Scouting Mission. You are probably wondering why I am calling this story Bodie 1:17. You will understand why after I finish this article. Sierra Peterson brought her pitbull puppy named Bronte. Bronte will be on his first ghost hunting scouting mission and this officially makes him a ghosthunter-in-training. They say that animals have a sixth sense, so Bronte will be tested to see if he has these abilities in Bodie. Bryan, Sierra, Bronte and I hit the sack early, because 6am comes early. At 3:30am there is a knock at my door. Bryan wakes up startled. Bryan wakes me up and tells me that I have someone at my door. Who could be at my door at this ungodly hour? It was my drunk neighbor.
He was with some floozy girl and asking if I had anything to drink. Welcome to my neighborhood. Bryan and I, had a hard time getting back to sleep after this interruption. Luckily for Bronte and Sierra, they were sound asleep in the guest bedroom. 6am and the alarm goes off. How I wanted to go back to bed, but I knew I had to get up and prepare for this scouting mission. As I came out of the shower, I could hear two more ghosthunters-in-training at my door, it was LaShae ‘Chiky’ Tate and Veldena Ladson. Everyone was drinking their coffee down as quickly as possible, because it was time to hit the road and scramble over to Starbucks on Hwy 50 and Bradshaw to meet up with the other ghosthunter-in-training/scouts: Justin Schlesinger – formerly with P.I.B.A. (Paranormal Investigations Bay Area). Justin drove up from San Mateo, talk about dedication. We also had Laura Miller & Lynn Leino show up for this scouting mission. I gave everyone a briefing in regard to the requirements for this scouting mission and allowed Justin & Laura to discuss some of the history of Bodie, since both of them have been to Bodie before.
Bodie is quite a distance and not too many people want to take this long trek up to Bodie, especially with the cost of gas. But, if you do trek up to Bodie, make sure to stop at Silverfork Grill, 13196 Hwy 50, Kyburz, CA. You will be served by Tim Evoniuk, Josh Evoniuk and Brooke Meyer. They are the owners and are very hospitable. I had a ham and egg sandwich, served quickly and it was tremendously good. It really hit the spot for a hungry ghostwriter/ghosthunter. As we left the Silverfork Grill, Bronte’s stomach was upset and our 4 car caravan had to do an emergency stop, as Bronte got sick in my car. This must be an omen about going to Bodie, but after my car was cleaned out, we kept on rolling towards Bodie. When you take long road trips, the appetite increases I have noticed. It was time to stop over at Pop’s Galley Seafood, 241 Main Street, Bridgeport, CA. This place did not satisfy our appetites and I found myself longing for the Silverfork Grill. After I finished my lunch, I headed over to the very haunted Bridgeport Inn (see www.thebridgeportinn.com). I interviewed an employee of the Bridgeport Inn named Dennis Williams. He told me some scary ghost tales of this inn. How there was a guest that was told by a guy in a smoking jacket that he could go ahead and use the bathroom before him. The only thing is, there were no other guests on the floor. The guy in the smoking jacket was a ghost! Another guest named Jeannie, had a ghost call her by her name and that really scared her. Some guests have seen full body apparitions and it’s common for glasses to sometimes jump off the shelves.
We finally reached Bodie. Bodie once was a thriving town that boasted 10,000 citizens. A town that attracted people because of the vein gold that was discovered. Towns like Dogtown, Monoville, Aurora and of course Bodie were places where people could make a fast fortune mining gold. The town is filled with history, such as how some men were found sinking a shaft at the Jupiter Mine in Bodie. The men were chased out of town, but later returned. A gunfight ensued. In the wake, a Bodie mine crew chief was killed and George Daly, the Jupiter Mine Superintendent was arrested and jailed in Bodie. There was talk of a lynching, George had to be transferred to Bridgeport for his own safety. There were robberies, like in 1884 when Tex Wilson robbed the Bodie & Lundy Stage and kidnapped a Chinese woman. Wilson was a leader of a gang that terrorized the citizens of Bodie on a constant basis, when he was finally jailed, there was talk of giving him a necktie party. Somehow he managed to escape the noose.
As for ghost stories, tourists have heard children playing and when they investigated where the laughter was originating from, they found no children. A rocking chair in one of the abandoned homes rocks on its own accord. There have been sightings of full body apparitions. There is a ghost of a little girl named Emily that is seen near the Bodie cemetery. Bryan Coleman was able to locate the gravesite. When we went to the Bodie cemetery we ran into Cathy Nease, Christina & Mike Pritchett, Jennifer Chamberlain & Rick Avery. Cathy tells us that she heard that HPI was coming up to Bodie to investigate and she brought her whole family to meet and greet us. It was an honor to meet this wonderful family that has an interest in the paranormal and historical places like Bodie. Bryan and I, interviewed many of the tourists and found out that many tourists that come to Bodie like Carol L. Rauch and a family from Austria, do believe in the paranormal and have experienced the paranormal for themselves.
An email I received from Christopher Shangley says: “When I went to Bodie during the Summer of 1987, I will never forget how I was watching this cowboy, who I thought was an actor walking around the fields. As I kept watching him he went into one of the buildings and walked right through a door! I knew then, that I saw a ghost! I told my wife and she just laughed at me!”
Bodie is a ghost town with a lot of history. It is a town that harbored violence, tragedy, illness and sudden deaths from the extreme weather conditions. I do believe this town has accumulated a lot of residual haunting activity. Perhaps also there is intelligent haunting activity here too. Probably the lost souls of residents that don’t want to leave their beloved town. This Saturday, July 27, 2008, my scouts were equipped with digital audio recorders, video camera, digital cameras, EMF reader and walkie talkies and they scouted every inch of Bodie. There was a lot of wind interference and perhaps too many tourists to actually pick up any solid EVPs. We hope after fully analyzing everything we collected, that we can prove that Bodie is a truly haunted ghost town. So far, my photographs show some orb activity, but we need EVP proof that there is really paranormal activity taking place in this ghost town.
The reason why I call this article Bodie 1:17, is because we did not want to go back at night the same way we came in during the day. The trip to Bodie was treacherous, driving around curvy cliffs with no guard rails. We took the main freeways back, such as the 395 through Reno and finally reaching 80 back to Sacramento. I rather take a longer route and be safe than sorry. We finally all arrived home at 1:17am. What a long day it was. Getting up at 6am, starting out at 8am and not getting home until 1:17am. Before we headed back to Sacramento, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant called The Barn. This is another good place to eat. Their beef tacos are huge and very delicious! Thank you to the fine Nevada police officer that pulled over when Bryan and I pulled over on the side of the road and gave us directions to get back to Sacramento. He looked at me and saw the desperation in my face, as I said…”officer we are lost, we’re just trying to get back to Sacramento!” Nevada’s finest were ready and willing to assist lost weary ghosthunters!
Bodie is a very unique ghosttown. I really wish we could have the town to ourselves to do a proper and through investigation. If anything, we received a historical aspect of this town. A town that had business and professional men, mine-operators, miners, saloon-keepers, hundreds of gamblers, hundreds of prostitutes, many Chinese, a considerable number of Mexicans, and a quantity of bad men. Desperadoes that came to visit Bodie from all parts of the United States. They lived under the code of cheating and gambling, gun-fighting, stage robbing and other criminal acts. The Bad Men from Bodie was a commonly used phrase when describing Bodie. Bodie was more known for its lawlessness than for its riches.
Paul Dale Roberts, HPI Esoteric Detective
Halo Paranormal Investigations (HPI International)