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Hell's Gate: The Supernatural Nightmare At Bobby Mackey's Haunted Nightclub

Updated on March 28, 2012
Notoriously Haunted: The outside building of Bobby Mackey's Music World.
Notoriously Haunted: The outside building of Bobby Mackey's Music World.

"In twenty years of psychic investigations into ghosts, haunting, poltergeists and demonic like possessions, I have never encountered a more malevolent or destructive case than that which I experienced at Bobby Mackey's Music World in Wilder, Kentucky. Doug Hensley, in "Hell's Gate", has taken on the formidable and dangerous task of telling the story. Through his eyes can be seen the images of the dark side of human nature and how collective Evil insidiously breaks down the spiritual protection of those who challenge it naively. This is a very convincing story, but more than that it is a nightmare of the real."

Peter D. Moscow Ph.D., MDSRad

President United States Psychotronic Association

Inside Bobby Mackey's Music World, Bar Area.
Inside Bobby Mackey's Music World, Bar Area.

Bobby Mackey's Haunted History

The supernatural history of this standing building of brick and wood have long attracted the manifestations of violence and murder. Its notoriously haunted nooks and crevices have long been centered around a gruesome tale of death, tragedy and spiritual evil. It seems as though the building has served no other purpose than a doorway to the dark side of an unnaturally evil soul and a portal to the deepest depths of hell......

"Just south of Cincinnati, Ohio Wilder, Kentucky has, for many years, been a town subject to visits from curiosity seekers, tourists, paranormal investigators and media reporters.They come here in search of a place called Bobby Mackey’s Music World, a nightclub and tavern that may be one of the most haunted, and most sinister, locations in America...." (, Murder Of Pearl Brayant & Ghosts Of Bobby Mackey's Music World.)

The building where the nightclub now stands has had a long and bloody history. First constructed in 1850 the building served as a slaughterhouse and was the largest packing house in the region. A well that was constructed to catch the blood and bodily organs from slaughtered animals was dug in the basement of the building and is the only part of the original building that still stands today. The slaughterhouse, after many years of dedicated service to the local towns and business, had served its purpose and in 1890 closed its doors for good. The building was thought to have sat abandoned but legend has it that it was a prime nocturnal spot for occultists and the like. According to local lore the well within the basement of the slaughterhouse became a closely guarded ritual site for satanists. The satanic rituals that are said to have taken place here have possibly opened up a gate to hell within these walls... The ceremonial rituals were not only limited to the slaying of small animals. A very horrific human slaying had taken place here as well. Notoriously famous for the crime at the time the mutilation and slaying of Pearl Bryan brought a whole new spectrum of gruesomeness to the legend of Bobby Mackey's haunted history.

Following is one of the most gruesome accounts of murder and satanic activity to date:

" The victim, Pearl Bryan, was the daughter of an affluent farmer in Indiana. Pregnant with her boyfriend's child and at a loss of what to do, Pearl let her boyfriend convince her to abort the child. He made the arrangements with a friend, Scott Jackson, who was attending the dental college in Cincinnati at the time. Though Scott seemed a convenient and private route through which to dispose of the unwanted pregnancy, Pearl's boyfriend never suspected the disturbing truth that Scott was involved in satanic activity.

In early February, 1896, Pearl left her home and traveled to meet Scott and his roommate Alonzo Walling in Cincinnati, five months pregnant. Scott's ability to perform the abortion was less than well-tuned and he attempted several gruesome methods of inducing abortion, to no avail. They soon found themselves with a still pregnant, but greatly injured Pearl and few options. They took her across the state border into Kentucky and using his dental instruments, severed her head—whilst Pearl was still alive.

Pearl's body was discovered less than two miles from the slaughterhouse. Her head was never recovered, and legend states that it was used by the roommates in a satanic ritual in the slaughterhouse, and then dumped into the basement well. The roommates were offered a life sentence in exchange for execution if they revealed the whereabouts of Pearl's head, but they refused. They said that to do so would be to risk Satan's wrath. Scott and Alonzo were brought to trial in 1897 and quickly convicted, as irrefutable evidence—such as Pearl's hair found in Scott's room—was presented. Pearl's boyfriend was tried as an accomplice." (, Haunting At Hell's Gate: Bobby MAckey's Music World, Dina Ely, August 25,2006, pg1.)

Soundly convicted of murder both men were hung on March 21st 1896 in one of the largest social spectacles of the century. However, upon the noose hanging loosely around their necks, Scott Jackson uttered a promise to return and avenge his death. After their hanging many people began to whisper that a curse had befallen all who had had a hand in the case. Those who were misfortunate enough to have collected evidence used in the conviction fell victim to bad luck, misfortune and death.

The building remained abandoned for years after the conviction Of Scott Jackson and Alonzo Whalling. Eventually the property was sold and changed hands quite a few times before becoming the bar and tavern it is now. Tales of gambling and lustful affairs, gang shoot outs and murder are buried stories within these walls and all contribute to the stories and tales of paranormal activity. It wasn't long before another humanly horrific event would take place at Bobby Mackey's, adding to the legends of the building.

According to the stories, the owner of the club’s daughter, Johanna a cabaret dancer, fell in love with one of the singers, Robert Randall, who was performing there during the club's casino days, and became pregnant. Her father, a well known mob boss, was outraged upon hearing about his daughters' condition. Thanks to his criminal connections, he had the singer murdered with a fatal gun shot wound to the head that same night. Johanna became so distraught over his murder that she attempted to poison her father and then succeeded in taking her own life. Her body was later discovered in the now infamous basement... and according to the autopsy report, like Pearl Bryant, she was five months pregnant at the time.

Is there a connection between these tragic events. Bobby Mackey's wife believes so. Upon settling the sale on the infamous building both Bobby Mackey and his wife Janet spent much time there renovating and fixing the building up to its former glory. Both Bobby and Janet were unaware of the buildings notoriously haunted past and explained some of the unusual encounters and feelings as the results of an overactive mind correlated with an over whelming sense of fatigue. Until one day, a few weeks into the restoration of the old building, Janet was beginning to descend the stairs from the top floor into the basement when she was pushed by an unseen force. The thrust from these invisible hands sent Janet tumbling down the stairs. As she fell she could recall hearing a strange voice yell "GET OUT". It would not have been so bad if she were not pregnant at the time. Janet was rushed to the hospital and delivered the baby prematurely. Fortunately for Bobby and Janet Mackey, the baby survived. At the time of this terryfing encounter Janet Mackey was, like Johanna and Pearl Bryant before her, 5 months pregnant. Coincidence or not?

 Bobby Mackey's Music World
Bobby Mackey's Music World

The Haunting At Hell's Gate

Although the Mackey's have endured a number of years of success with the tavern, the good times have never quite erased the "taint" caused by the history of murder and death. The haunting's at Bobby Mackey’s Music World do and will always remain stained with blood.

According to 32 sworn affidavits from regular patrons , staff, other eye witnesses and local police Bobby Mackey's Music World is seriously haunted. The paranormal activity within the club is most often times proceeded by the strong smell of rose perfume, attributed to Johanna one of their resident ghosts. Famed Carl Lawson, the nightclubs caretaker, has had several paranormal experiences with the old jukebox in the dance hall. It is said that the jukebox has come on suddenly and has played an old tune from the 1940s, "The anniversary Waltz". Many are quick to attribute it to a malfunction in the player, the only thing is that songs like this from the 1930-1940s era were never loaded. The "Waltz" is a particular favorite in that it has been heard numerous times by different people. Chairs have moved inexplicably, rooms have gone cold, doors have unlocked on their own, lights have been turned on and off, bodily welts and scratches have appeared out of nowhere, people have been poked, prodded and touched and people have heard their names called, only to turn around and see no one there. Shadow figures have been seen in the basement as well as the bar area of the night club. Who the figures are no one is certain, many of the staff attribute the ghostly like figures to Scott Jackson and Johanna. A tall man in a cowboy hat is also seen wondering the hallways as well. No one is sure of his identity but some claim it is the previous owner who committed suicide when the mobsters took his business and ran him out of town when the tavern was known as the Primrose in the late 1940s. A sense of great fear is said to overwhelm anyone who enters the basement. Some are said to feel nauseated, sweaty, and short of breath.But, perhaps the most bizarre aspect of the Bobby Mackey's saga are the claims by several people that they have had spirits enter their bodies, or momentarily posses them,  while in the club. Some of the sworn affidavits claim they felt cold chills run through their bodies, while others claimed to have taken on different personalities and even facial features while inside.

After a while Bobby decided that his best bet to battle the paranormal forces that had seemed to take over the nightclub was to perform an exorcism. On August 8, 1991 reverend Glenn Coe performed a supposedly successful cleansing and exorcism of the building and surrounding grounds concentrating specifically on the well area. The entire feet was recorded on video tape. Unfortunately, the exorcism wasn't as successful as first conceived. Within a few weeks the paranormal activity returned with a vengeance and continues to this day.


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    • profile image

      Sunclipse 3 years ago

      This was great wealth of knowledge. I was in Bobby Macke's this weekend for the first time and I woke up the next morning covered in scratches. I am not crazy, I am not looking for undue attention. I am mortified. I will never go there again. I took pictures of the scratches that go down both my sides, my cheek to my neck and my arm.

    • profile image

      Briana 3 years ago

      I dont like it

    • Zfuentes4 profile image

      Z. Fuentes 5 years ago from Florida

      I have seen this place featured on a few shows. The one that first comes to mind is "Ghost Adventures". This is one scary place, and this was an interesting hub! I think it would be a good place to visit, safely in a group.

    • CroftRoan profile image

      Kate Rolands 5 years ago

      Great hub! I had originally learned about Bobby Mackey's on a documentary and again on Ghost Hunters and a few other shows. It'd be a cool place to visit and although I care about my safety I want to see some activity there.

    • profile image

      Stephanie 5 years ago

      My fiancé and I went to King's Island for a two day trip last year and after the park closed the first night we were looking for something else fun to do only to find no such things exist in Cinn. We ended up heading out to a horrible strip club out in the boondocks called the Playpen, and I'm a woman that actually enjoys my strip clubs. I was so mad when a year later I heard about Bobby Mackey's and thought the location sounded really familiar. As it turns out, we drove right past the most haunted nightclub in America about 1/5 of a mile before we spent the evening getting wasted and watching overweight girls take their clothes off while a group of idiots howled like they were at a WWE show!!!! F--- my life was all I had to say. Looks like we'll be making another trip to King's Island next year.

    • jmartin1344 profile image

      jmartin1344 5 years ago from Royal Oak, Michigan

      Really interesting hub efeyas. Some pretty disturbing stuff in there!

      I find it interesting though - "oh here is one of the most haunted buildings we can find - let's make a nightclub out of it!!" That is a good way to get yourself some interesting stories!

      Great hub!

    • Rosana Modugno profile image

      Rosana Modugno 5 years ago from 10th Kingdom

      Interesting hub. Thanks for writing this. :)

    • manofmystery24 profile image

      manofmystery24 6 years ago

      Nice hub on Bobby Mackey's. The history is truly amazing and coincidental. They've actually had more exorcisms and a recent one. The activity actually died down, but rumor is that cults break into Mackey's to perform rituals and that's part of the reason it's still active. Voted up!

    • profile image

      FoneBone52 6 years ago

      I love God and Jesus and I believe that they will help me be a good person. I hate Satanists!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 6 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Ericabr In the realm of the supernatural anything is possible! Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed it!

    • profile image

      Ericabr 6 years ago

      I went to Bobby Mackey's a little over a month ago. I didn't experience anything major. But, I will say that I felt very aggitated the whole time I was there. Don't know if that has anything to do with anything. Lol

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      I cannot wait. I love this stuff. I am glad that you understand.


      LeeLee aka Mrs. J. B.

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 6 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Mrs. J. B. Glad that you enjoy this hub! Hopefully, I will be able to get back to writing again :) I have some interesting topics, as far as ghosts, poltergeist, and hauntings go, so we shall see what I write about next!

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 6 years ago from Southern California

      I re-read your hub again. No ghost was ever going to leave. If they just acknowlegded the ghosts things would calm down and the real truth would come out!

    • profile image

      kelsey drew 7 years ago


    • kentuckyslone profile image

      kentuckyslone 7 years ago

      I have read about Bobby Mackey's place a few times before and awhile back there was a special on TV about it. Strange place, I definitely plan to go there sometime

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      I am glad that I read this again. I really enjoyed it.

    • Mrs. J. B. profile image

      Mrs. J. B. 7 years ago from Southern California

      Your article was so interesting.

    • jenesmith01 profile image

      jenesmith01 7 years ago from North Texas

      great hub, as a paranormal investigator this is a place i have at the top of my list to go to. thanks for the hub

    • amybradley77 profile image

      amybradley77 7 years ago

      Thanks again for sharing, hopefully more people will be enlightened from your work here. A.B.

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Jacob Bailes I will see if I can find any related info. Thanks for stopping by!

    • profile image

      jacob bailes 7 years ago

      why is the song "The Anniversary Waltz" connected to this haunting if u know it email me at pls ive been on my computer for hours

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      HEllo Reema Dhiman, thanks for your comment and I am glad you enjoyed this hub. I believ that sometimes the history is just as scary as the ghosts that haunt a place!

    • profile image

      Reema Dhiman 7 years ago

      not all of us know about bobby mackey's ghost stories...but its really inquisitive to know all about the history,and the "COINCIDENCE"...THAT WAS THRILLING!

      i saw the nat geo episode on tv today and researched on it...its good to know!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Thanks for the vote of confidence Outdoorsguy! Glad you enjoyed it :)

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Hi Magnoliazz, thanks for your comment (you are an very talented writer yourself!)! I agree satanism get us no where and half the time demonic possesion and demonic hauntings are the aftermath of rituals like this. Although, it does make for a good story! Glad you enjoyed it!

    • outdoorsguy profile image

      outdoorsguy 7 years ago from Tenn

      loved this hub. another place I want to go sometime, just to see. Great work keep it up. voted up

    • magnoliazz profile image

      magnoliazz 7 years ago from Wisconsin

      I really wish I could give this hub more than just a thumbs up! You are a very talented writer, and you had me hooked in the first sentence all the way to the end. Excellent links too!

      I just hate santanists. They torture and kill animals, they sometimes kill people, they are all about death. How stupid is that? These idiots kill for the power satan is supposed to give them, and the only thing that happens is they die young.

      That place would have never been haunted if not for those satanic rituals. With satanism on the rise, it will be a miracle if we do not end up with more and more places like this through out America.

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      SCRATCHES ON HIS BACK- that could've been a fun girl over at his place as for reopening the pub a demon n beer special, or spirit and turf Booberry pie for dessert. screamin demon soup Deviled eggs, Killer drink specials Headless beer specials for the ladies...steak in artichoke heart appitizers

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Hello CMHypno, thanks for stopping by! I think the excorcism was performed because the paranormal occurences were so bad that his wife Janet, whom just passed away in 2009, wouldn't even enter the building. She refused to have any parts in the business as her encounters with the demonic(?)/ghostly presenses within the building were too over wealming. I do agree though with you paranormal phenomena does seem to be the new advertising trend! One that works almost too well!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Hi redwards54. So glad you like the hub. Personally, you wouldn't catch me there over night either! I like this story because of the fascinating history behind the building, the ghosts are just an added plus! Thanks for your comment! :)

    • CMHypno profile image

      CMHypno 7 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

      Interesting Hub, efeyas, as I always like a good ghost story. I don't why they tried with the exorcism, as there is nothing like a good haunting to bring the business in!

    • redwards54 profile image

      redwards54 7 years ago from North Carolina

      Great hub,

      No matter which ghost hunting show that you watch, Bobby Mackeys Tavern is never a disappointment. This is one location that I know that I would not want to spend the night alone. Ghosts and spirits I can and have handled alone however I have no desire to go it alone in Bobby Mackeys with its "demonic occurrences". Again ,great hub !!!

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Haha LOl I know what you mean. I think Hollywood has distorted our idea of how real paranormal activity should be. We can't expect a horned and wing devil to just fly up out of the well and rip everyones heads off! Could you imagine if that really happened? Holy smokes everyone better run for the hills! LOL :)

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Tom, oh a guy got scratched? Is this a hellgate or a kitten we're talking about? hehehe

      Okay, scratches and possessions are a little more threatening. But still. I expect more pizzazz from a hellgate. I guess I just watch too many horror movies. The movies have set the standards too high. Real hellgates are starting to feel inadquate and have trouble performing, like a sixty-year-old biker with a drinking problem.

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Hi Tom & Arthur! Lol you two are crackin me up! I think that they relate it to a "Gate To Hell" in the matter that a lot of possesion, appearantly from demonic spirits AKA non human spirits, have been sworn to have taken place there. Actually the Lawson guy, the caretaker, actually had an excorcism performed on him in conjunction with the cleansing of the building by Reverend Glenn Cloe. He states, and as witnessed had testified, that he was possesed to the point were he would speak in tongues, and levitate objects (scratches appeared on his body along with a lot of burning sensations). I probably should have mentioned that in the hub but as you can see it is long as it is! I will have to add a paragraph about that. Maybe that will get the hell gate out of wussydom! Haha LOL Thanks for stopping by guys!

    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      AW, LOL true guess I am just a wimp I thought the one guy got scratched on GH.. not 100% sure wussy hellgate hhehe lol

    • Arthur Windermere profile image

      Arthur Windermere 7 years ago

      Hey efeyas, nice to finally see another article from you. It's a fascinatingly unpleasant history that place has. And the 5-month-pregnancy motif is hard to dismiss as a coincidence. But as far as a "Gate to Hell" is concerned, the haunting activity is rather anti-climactic. Know what I mean? Chills and name-calling--what kinda wussy hellgate is that? lol


    • tom hellert profile image

      tom hellert 7 years ago from home

      Saw a couoleepisodes on Mackeys- Ghost Hunter's and paranormal ... state? But your article sure gave me "goose bumps " too.

      Great facts... Scary

    • efeyas profile image

      Elizabeth 7 years ago from Some Sunny Beach, USA

      Thanks! :)

    • Joshua Kell profile image

      Levi Joshua Kell 7 years ago from Arizona

      Great hub. Thanks.


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