During its boom years, Bodie became an embodiment of desperate greed when people from all over flocked to Bodie's mines, quickly making it arguably the most notorious mining town of its era. Since the majority of miners' paychecks went to brothels, bar tabs and gambling, Bodie got violent quickly. Eventually, the murder rate rose to more than one per day, making it the deadliest mining town in the Old West. Bodie's reputation soon spread. To give a sense of that reputation, after learning that she and her family were moving to Bodie, a young girl wrote in her diary, "Goodbye God, I'm going to Bodie".
Bodie's success did not last long. Its boom years from late 1877 through the late 1880's past quickly. There were several fires and earthquakes that damaged the town into a state of disrepair and eventually to a state of "arrested decay" when people started moving out of town after the mini-boom of the mid 1910's and the availability of cars. Bodie became a complete ghost town during World War II when the last of townspeople left for a better life.
Utilizing infrared photography perfectly portrays the town's eeriness. Being at 8400 feet above sea level while it was -6 degrees Fahrenheit and having absolutely no wind all while alone -- void of any visitors, rangers and toll booth operators or anyone else within a 25 mile radius -- is a one-of-a-kind experience and through this perspective makes it even more unique. The quietness of Bodie creates an otherworldly hypnotic experience and makes you unwittingly contemplate your own thoughts while simultaneously allowing for relaxation.