News & Opinion | April 21, 2020 7:00 am

Man Socially Isolates in Potentially Haunted California Town

How'd you like to be snowbound with ghosts in Cerro Gordo?

Cerro Gordo, California
Would you socially isolate here?
LCGS Russ/Creative Commons

The world of horror fiction abounds with stories of people forced to stay in unpleasant places for the night. Places with an unsavory past, for instance, or a reputation for being haunted. Our heroes took refuge in the strange house for the night … and were never seen again. That kind of thing. (See also: the stories of Robert Aickman.) And while the very scientific rationale behind social isolation in the time of coronavirus might seem to preclude horror-story setups like this, at least one man has discovered something very different.

At Sky News, Richard Williams has the story of Brent Underwood, who bought a deserted town in California and is presently socially isolating there, trapped by the weather. Underwood bought the abandoned mining town of Cerro Gordo in 2018, and has largely relied upon a caretaker, Robert Desmarais, to maintain the town. Desmarais wanted to check in on his wife in Arizona, and so Underwood arrived, planning to stay only briefly.

Then the snow started. Four feet of it, to be precise, making it impossible to get in or out. Also, there might be ghosts there. Apparently the town was featured on an episode of Ghost Adventures in years past.

“Apart from the ghosts and maybe a few bobcats, I’m alone,” Underwood told Sky News. “So I’ve been having visitors, but not necessarily welcome ones.”

If you’re not going to socially isolate, ghosts are probably far safer than people to interact with, so … it could be worse.

When concerns over the coronavirus have abated, Underwood plans to open the town up to visitors via Airbnb. It does sound tempting, though you might want to check the weather before you book a stay.

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