Nestled high in the valley once known as Big Meadows, California is the town of Bridgeport. It was settled as gold and silver were discovered on the east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. To read more of how it became the transportation and supply hub and eventually the county seat on Mono County, please CLICK HERE.
My fourth book in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series features a ghostly resident known as the "White Lady" who appears in what is now Room 16 of the Bridgeport Inn. In 1884, the Bridgeport Inn was known as the Leavitt House. To read a little of the history of Hiram Leavitt and the Leavitt House, please CLICK HERE.
Not much is known about who the White Lady is, how she died or why she haunts this room. However, over the years since before 1884, the time of this story, until recent years, numerous people staying in this room have reported seeing a woman wearing white standing in the room. She does not speak. She is not a poltergeist (a spirit who moves objects or is responsible for unexplained noises). She is not malicious in any manner. She merely stands in the room, then she disappears.
I interviewed Bob Peters, the current owner of the Bridgeport Inn. According to him, the White Lady is known to appear only in Room 16. Room 16 is in the front north corner of the old Leavitt House. When the inn was first built, this room had two windows, one on the side that faced north. That window is still seen in the Bridgeport Inn as it exists today. The pink arrow shows the window facing north and the green arrow points towards the Bodie Chapter E. Clampus Vitus historical marker.
However, the other window facing east towards the Bodie Hills and Nevada has been removed and an extension added to the front of the building. This photo displayed in the “Gentlemen’s Parlor” of the Bridgeport Inn (behind the current bar) and used with permission was taken a few years after 1884. The pink arrow marks the location of the Room 16 window facing east.
Mr. Peters comes from Southern California where he works in the entertainment business. He told me in the first year after he purchased the Bridgeport Inn, and before he and his wife bought a house in the area, they stayed in Room 16 when they came to Bridgeport to oversee the management of the hotel. Local residents often asked him if he has ever seen the White Lady. He told me he has never seen the ghost himself.
Mr. Peters has a copyrighted story online about the spirit known as the White Lady. He graciously gave me permission to use elements of his story as part of my novella, Haunted by Love.
When I first wrote my novella, I used his story about “Sarah” in Room 16 of what was then the Leavitt House as part of my story of Hazel's arrival in Bridgeport. However, at the last minute, I pulled that version from my publisher because of my concerns about the suicide element.
When I shared my plans to write a story about a woman who had committed suicide, I quickly learned the subject touched a lot of hot buttons. I was consistently asked to be sure to be non-judgmental and compassionate as I portrayed my spirit who had felt driven to taking her own life. I did my best to write that portion of my story in a sensitive manner. However, knowing how often my mentioning this aspect of the story upset those with whom I spoke and feeling the subject of suicide is upsetting to some of my readers, I chose instead to create a story about “Charlotte” as the White Lady. Her story is closely related to a ghost reported to haunt the City Hotel in Columbia, California.
Mr. Peters's story of the White Lady may be found by searching the internet for information about the Bridgeport Inn in California.
The sightings of the White Lady in Room 16 have been numerous enough and the tradition has existed long enough that there is a historical marker outside the Bridgeport Inn that mentions her. When you are in the area, be sure to eat at the Bridgeport Inn restaurant, perhaps spend the night there, and ask if you may visit Room 16. (Room 16 is also known as the Mark Twain room. At some point he stayed in the inn, although it is not known if he actually was a guest in Room 16 or if he saw the White Lady during his visit.)
Until you find the opportunity to visit the Bridgeport Inn, I hope you will enjoy reading my story of the White Lady in Haunted by Love which is available on Amazon.
Zina Abbott is the pen name used by Robyn Echols for her historical novels. The first four novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, Big Meadows Valentine, A Resurrected Heart, Her Independent Spirit and Haunted by Love were published by Prairie Rose Publications. The fifth book in the series is due to be released in the near future.