Bobby Mackeys Music World is a nightclub and honky tonk that is currently owned by country singer Bobby Mackey and is located on 44 Licking Pike in Wilder, Kentucky. The building is self proclaimed as the most haunted nightclub in the U.S.A.
Pearl Bryan ----->
According to urban legends and modern folklore, the location allegedly houses a "gateway to hell" and is haunted by spirits including Pearl Bryan, whose corpse was found in a field several miles from the site in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. Unsubstantiated stories include Bryan's murderers being Satanists who, according to fanciful tales, cursed the location and vowed to haunt everyone involved in prosecuting the case. Also according to urban legend, sometimes in the 1930's a pregnant dancer named "Johanna" committed suicide by hanging in a dressing room at the Latin Quarter club, which then operated inside the building currently housing Bobby Mackey's. Rumor has it that this deed was carried out after her father murdered her lover, a singer at the club, though investigations have failed to find police reports of this event ever having taken place. Furthermore, scholarly research into property records, newspapers, and court files has failed to substantiate most of the fanciful claims to either Bryan's death or dismemberment at the Wilder, Kentucky structure are unsupported by a foundation of hard fact, and place these popular accounts into the realm of the tall tail.
According to Bobby Mackey, the site was originally used as a slaughterhouse in the early 19th century and later torn down for construction of a roadhouse that took on various names, such as The Brisbane, until he purchased it in 1978.
In 1933 the building was purchased by E.A. Brady, better known to friends and enemies alike as "Buck". Brady turned the building in a thriving tavern and casino called the Primrose. He enjoyed success for a number of years but eventually the operation came to the attention of syndicate mobsters in Cincinnati. They moved in on Brady, looking for a piece of the action. Brady refused offers for new "partners" and outright bids to buy him out of the Primrose. Soon, the tavern was being vandalized and customers were being threatened and beaten up in the parking lot. The violence escalated until Brady became involved in a shooting in August 1946. He was charged and then released in the attempted murder of small-time hood Albert "Red" Masterson. This was the last straw for Buck and he sold out to the gangsters. It was said that when he left, he swore the place would never thrive again as a casino. Brady committed suicide in September 1965.
After Brady sold out, the building re-opened as another nightclub called the Latin Quarter. Several times during the early 1950’s, the new owners of the bar were arrested on gambling charges.. In 1955, Campbell County deputies broke into the building with sledge hammers and confiscated slot machines and gambling tables. Apparently, Brady's promises had come to pass.
Carl Lawson was the first employee hired by Bobby Mackey. He was a loner who worked as a caretaker and handyman at the tavern. He lived alone in an apartment in the upstairs of the building and spent a lot of time in the sprawling building after hours. When he began reporting that he was seeing and hearing bizarre things in the club, people around town first assumed that he was simply crazy. Later on though, when others started to see and hear the same things, Lawson didn’t seem so strange after all.
"I’d double check at the end of the night and make sure that everything was turned off. Then I’d come back down hours later and the bar lights would be on. The front doors would be unlocked, when I knew that I’d locked them. The jukebox would be playing the ‘Anniversary Waltz’ even though I’d unplugged it and the power was turned off," Lawson told author Doug Hensley, who has written extensively about the haunted tavern.
Soon, the strange events went from strange to downright frightening! The first ghost that Lawson spotted in the place was that of a dark, very angry men that he saw behind the bar. Even though others were present at the time of the sighting, they saw nothing. A short time later, Lawson began to experience visions of a spirit who called herself "Johanna". She would often speak to Lawson and he was able to answer her and carry on conversations. The rumors quickly started that Lawson was "talking to himself". Lawson claimed that Johanna was a tangible presence though, often leaving the scent of roses in her wake.
Odd sounds and noises often accompanied the sightings and Lawson soon realized that the spirits seemed to be the strongest in the basement, near an old-sealed up well that had been left from the days when there was a slaughterhouse at the location. The lore of the area, Carl knew, stated that the well had once been used for satanic rituals. Some of the local folks referred to it as "Hell’s Gate". Although he wasn’t a particularly religious man, Lawson decided to sprinkle some holy water on the old well one night, thinking that it might bring some relief from the spirits. Instead, it seemed to provoke them and the activity in the building began to escalate.
Soon, other employees and patrons of the place began to have their own weird experiences. They began to tell of objects that moved around on their own, lights that turned on an off, disembodied voices and laughter and more. Bobby Mackey was not happy about the ghostly rumors that were starting to spread around town. "Carl starting telling stories and I told him to keep quiet about it. I didn’t want it getting around, because I had everything I own stuck in this place. I had to make a success of it," he said. He was not one to believe in ghosts or the supernatural and he didn’t want his customers believing in it either. But when Janet Mackey revealed that she too had encountered the resident spirits, Mackey was no longer sure what to think!
Janet told him that she too had experienced the strange activity. She had seen the ghosts, had felt the overwhelming presences and had even smelled Johanna’s signature rose scent. She also had a very frightening encounter in the basement. While she was there, she was suddenly overcome by the scent of roses and felt something unseen swirl around her. "Something grabbed me by the waist," Janet later recalled. "It picked me up and threw me back down. I got away from it, and when I got to the top of the stairs there was pressure behind me, pushing me down the steps. I looked back up and a voice was screaming ’Get Out! Get Out!’"
At the time of this terrifying encounter, Janet was, like Johanna and Pearl Bryan before her, five months pregnant. A coincidence?
Once Janet admitted that she had seen the ghosts in the building, other people began to come forward. Roger Heath, who often worked odd jobs in the club remembered a summer morning when he and Carl Lawson were working alone in the building. Heath was removing some light fixtures from the dance floor and Lawson was carrying them down to the basement. Just before lunch, Lawson came up the stairs and Heath noticed that he had small handprints on the back of his shirt. It looked just like a woman had been hugging him!
Erin Fey, a hostess at the club, also confessed to encountering Johanna. She had laughed one day at Lawson when he was talking to the ghost. She stopped laughing when she also got a strong whiff of the rose perfume.
Once the stories starting making the rounds, they caught the attention of a writer named Doug Hensley. He decided to investigate the stories and started hanging around the club, striking up conversations with the regular customers. No one was anxious at first to talk about ghosts. "When I first talked to these people, almost every one of them refused to be interviewed," Hensley said. After he talked to Janet Mackey though, many other people came forward. Soon, Hensley had thirty sworn affidavits from people who experienced supernatural events at the club.