Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Telegraph City and the Abbreviated Legend of Chicken Boy

Flies own Telegraph City in the summer. Flocks of fat, bumptious flies. Regular old house flies, every one of them, with no valid excuse for occupying the place in numbers such as these. These flies are not pictured here because they are too small and too fast, but you don't care because you've seen a million already.

Although the last human residents fled about a century ago, there’s a functioning windmill and a well in this deserted nowhere. A trickle of clear water flows into an algae-lined concrete trough, next to stone building shells that look like left-overs from a Clint Eastwood dynamite scene. Two mules for Sister Sara? Hell, with all these flies you’d think the 5th Calvary quartered here.

You cannot locate—by sight or by smell—rotting carcasses big enough to attract such a horde. And like I said, this population consists entirely of house flies, Musca domestica, with nary a blowfly or any other carrion specialist in the lot. They behave in a salt-starved manner and will assign several squadrons to follow you around and steal your sweat wherever you go. Within a few minutes of climbing off your steely mount, you'll receive a welcome the likes of which most people never get the chance to experience. Walk a hundred yards across the yellow-brown grass and they provide an escort cloud. Ride the same distance and they beat you to your destination. The only reasonable thing to do is to accept their presence and refrain from judging them. If you can do that, you’re ready for the mystery of Chicken Boy.

Chicken Boy really lives here; it’s no myth. According to Chloride Jones, a local resident and ghost town researcher of some renown, Chicken Boy is a visionary oddball, a graduate of Oakdale High a generation or three ago. He is rumored to have researched connections between the ancient ways of Freemasonry, 19th Century copper prospecting, and stone walls erected by cattle barons. His keen analysis was perhaps facilitated by a chemical expansion of consciousness.

A few scattered ruins are all that’s left, loosely bordered by stone walls built by the old cattle mafia. And thousands of holes everywhere from bullets, shotgun pellets, and grenades. And an old bra discarded near the entrance to Chicken Boy’s house. And the flies. For these reasons and many more, I heartily recommend a visit to Telegraph City, Gateway to Historic Calaveras County.
To find Telegraph City, follow these precise directions: Take SR 4 out of Stockton. Go east. Pass through Farmington--do not stop at the saloon there, for you will surely regret it. Keep going a while. Look for a road. If you get to Copperopolis, you went too far.

© Pseudocognitive


  1. OK, so who was chicken boy and what happened to him?

    1. Mr./Ms. Unknown,
      I published this post in 2011. This is by all criteria a dead blog, or at the very least, comatose. I'm interested in what led you to comment at this late date. Also, I suspect you may be someone I know. Is this assumption correct?

  2. Hahaha oh I know all about Chicken Boy Copperopolis 1915 the Milton Freemasons Hunt Rd Salt Spring Valley and the LSD consumed in Oakdale in 1998 Hahaha


  4. The Greaser gang of Milton and we cruised 26 Mile Rd from Eugene to Jenny Lind looking for old bottles and blacksmith debri hiding in the tailings of old Chinese Miners and bordellos.