Paranormal investigators traveled to an old miner’s ghost town near Death Valley called Cerro Gordo, Spanish for ‘Fat Hill.’ In the late 1800s, the high-altitude mountain town was a hotspot in the California gold and silver rush. Millions in silver from the mines established a little place called Los Angeles, 200 miles south.
During the height of the rush, the Wild West town averaged one murder a week with frequent shootouts and no police. The dangers extended through thirty miles of tunnels over 1000 feet underground. Untold numbers of miners were killed in cave-ins and gas explosions, and some never came out again.
The population was once around 4,000, but by the 1950s, it was abandoned. The town, including a two-story American Hotel and saloon, went empty, and the town was home to one resident, the caretaker. In 2018, two investors bought the property for $1.4 million. That’s when the ghost sightings ramped up again.
Ghost Sightings at Cerro Gordo
With such a history of violence, it’s no wonder the place earned a reputation as a ghost town. Upon arriving, owner Brent Underwood and visitors claimed to have experienced paranormal activity themselves. Underwood saw someone, possibly a ghost, inside the town’s Bunkhouse, the oldest structure and a hotspot for paranormal activity.
Previously, visitors in the 80s reported hearing sounds of people walking and moving around loudly in the American Hotel, then rented for $99 a day.
One of the reoccurring ghost sightings is a mysterious woman in black at one of the town’s two brothels. Thought to be a woman named Lola Travis, she could appear and reappear at will.
A Resident Ghost Cat
Another apparition was a ghost cat who reportedly jumped on the bed with a visiting couple in the Bunkhouse. A man awoke to see his wife talking to a cat and making the motions of petting the invisible animal. Later, they both saw a cat leaving the room, but at the time, no cat was known to live on the premises.
On Expedition X, paranormal investigators Phil and Jess laid down in the same Bunkhouse where the ghost cat was seen. Jess called for the cat, saying, “Here kitty, kitty!” Then, they got a big surprise!
A black cat jumped on the bed where Jess was calling, nearly giving the two “a heart attack,” Phil said. Although shocking, it was just the resident black cat, Radio. Nobody knew that Radio had ventured into the building at the time and it caused quite a fright!
Since 2018, Mayor Underwood lived alone with Radio, his siblings, and several goats as his only companions.
After setting up surveillance equipment, the investigators found strange moving lights near the Bunkhouse, but there were no signs of any animal tracks nearby.
Video clip by WotNot about Expedition X Season 6 Episode 5, “Ghost Town”:
Skinny the Ghost Bag Kitty of Cerro Gordo
Former actress Jody Stewart was a previous owner and restorer of Cerro Gordo, turning it into “the only ghost town bed and breakfast in the word,” according to the international press.
Described as “an outgoing, middle-aged woman with Dolly Parton hair and Western outfits” by the LA Times, she bought the property in 1984 from her uncle.
According to the Friends of Cerro Gordo, “when Jody was alive, the felines ruled.” An orange tabby, Miss Priss was “Queen of the American Hotel.”
After Stewart passed away, a tabby and white cat named Skinny Cat became the subject of a booklet, “Ghost Bag Kitty of Cerro Gordo.” He got on the table as people prepared flowers for Jody’s memorial in the American Hotel dining hall. Suddenly, the wind blew open the doors, and a plastic bag seemed to come to life, floating through an aisle of chairs set out for the memorial service.
That’s when onlookers realized Skinny was inside the bag and shouted to help him, but he ran off and disappeared. They searched and searched but only found the bag. Later, Skinny turned up hiding under a porch and earned the nickname of the Ghost Bag Kitty.
The Cats of Cerro Gordo
You can learn more about “Ghost Town Living” as Brent Underwood has lived in Cerro Gordo, renovating it with volunteers for over three and a half years. Now, cats, goats, and Alpacas live in the remote town. Perhaps the resident ghost cat is happy to have some new friends?
In 2020, Underwood introduced seven new feline residents. They were rescued kittens taken in from a farmer after their feral mother died. All had to be bottle-fed by the town’s main resident and mayor.
Video by Ghost Town Living: