Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Haunted Night Club

Hell's Gate
Bobby Mackey's Music World is a nightclub located in Wilder, Kentucky that is self-proclaimed as "the most haunted nightclub in the USA".

For many years, it has been subject to visits from curiosity-seekers, tourists, paranormal investigators and media reporters. It stands on the site of an old slaughterhouse that was closed in the early 1890’s. Only a well in the basement remains from the original building, and was believed by police to be the resting place of the decapitated head of Pearl Bryan, murdered by her boyfriend Scott Jackson and his friend Alonzo Walling. Pearl’s head was found in the well (originally used to drain the blood of slaughtered animals), commonly called Hell's Gate; legend claims it was used in satanic rituals at the slaughterhouse. The ghosts of the victim and the murderers are believed to haunt the building to this day.

The nightclub is owned by Bobby Mackey and his wife Janet (March 17, 1948 - February 15, 2009). They purchased the building in 1978 with the intention of turning it into a country bar. Mackey was a well-known singer in northern Kentucky and had recorded several albums. He actually scrapped his plans to record in Nashville in order to renovate the old tavern. Once the bar was opened, it immediately began to attract a crowd.

Mackey's first employee, Carl Lawson, was also one of the first to witness the hauntings; he lived alone in an upstairs apartment in the building. "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. Not to mention that the 'Anniversary Waltz' isn't even on the jukebox," he reported.

One night while cleaning up in the basement, he discovered a diary purportedly belonging to a woman named Johanna, who supposedly committed suicide in the building during the 1930s, after the death of her lover. Rumors had it that she also haunted the building. The paranormal activity seemed to be the most prominent in the basement, around the sealed-up well. Lawson decided to sprinkle some holy water into the well, but the supernatural activity in the club escalated. Mackey didn't believe Lawson's claims until his wife admitted that she'd once been violently pushed down a flight of stairs by what she believed was a ghost (she reported that she looked up the stairs, saw a shadowy image, and heard a voice scream "Get out!"). At the time of this encounter, Janet was, like Johanna and Pearl Bryan before her, five months' pregnant.

Lawson was reportedly possessed by a ghost after a psychic inspected the building; the entity claimed to be Alonzo, one of Pearl Bryan's murderers. A local priest performed an exorcism on Lawson and expelled the spirit. Shortly afterwards, a wall in the bar caught on fire; firefighters couldn't figure out how the fire started.

Author Douglas Hensley wrote a book entitled Hell's Gate about the hauntings at the nightclub and has been involved with many of the investigations. Strange activities continue at the nightclub and several individuals have reportedly been physically assaulted by spirits. One customer even tried to sue Bobby Mackey in 1994, claiming he was attacked in the restroom by a ghost; the case was later dismissed.

The nightclub has been investigated by Ghost Adventures. In it the lead investigator, Zak Bagans was attacked and scratched on his back. They also capture a figure, which appears to be the figure of Alonzo Walling. They also captured some EVPs.

In 2008 Jeff and Shannon Sylvia led a three day two night investigation of the country music club while filming for the Hell's Gate Movie. They were joined with paranormal researchers Eric Singleton of the North American Paranormal Society (N.A.P.S.), and Demonologist/Exorcist Pastor Greg P. (G.P.) Haggart. The researchers witnessed shadow people, odd laughing, clawing sounds from Carl's old upstair room and full body apparitions. During the final night of the investigations an ovilisk session was performed and witnesses watched as Pastor Haggart was attacked by a demonic entity reportedly while leaving the dance floor area. As the investigations came to a close on the final night, Pastor Greg P. Haggart prayed the investigators out. While he prayed witnesses watched as tables and chairs moved.

The nightclub remains one of the strangest haunted sites in the Midwest and has proven to be a major attraction for ghost hunters and enthusiasts alike.

**Sources/Wilkipedia,National Geographic,Doug Hensley


  1. Hi,
    does anyone know, if Johanna's diary still exists somewhere ? Or did Card take it with him?

  2. good question, discuss...