Friday, March 20, 2015

NKY Music Scene: Come for the Ghosts, Stay for the Music


By Nick Stegner

There aren't many music venues that are also the ‘Gateway To Hell’ and filled with a history of murder and Satanic rituals. What is now one of the most famous music venues in the area was once a slaughter house that was in use until the 1890's. A well in the basement of the slaughter house was used to dispose of leftover parts and would play a big part in the history of the location. After the slaughter house was abandoned, a new use for the building and the well began. Satanic rituals. Animal and human sacrifice were rumored to have occurred and the well was used to dispose of any evidence of the practice. The most popular story of the well and building is that of Pearl Bryan.

Pearl was a popular, beautiful woman who was deeply in love with dental student, Scott Jackson. Jackson was more than a student at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. He was also a member of a small group of Satanists that would meet near the old slaughterhouse well. Pregnant with Jackson’ baby, an abortion was attempted by Jackson and his roommate. The surgery was a total failure and Jackson , with the help of his roommate, took Pearl to Kentucky where they murdered her. Dental tools were used to sever Pearl’s head and the headless body was found in Fort Thomas (in the vicinity of the current YMCA), a short distance from the abandoned slaughterhouse. It was rumored that the head was disposed of in the well. A headless woman has been seen on several occasions at Bobby Mackey’s Music World that is believed to be the ghost of Pearl Bryan.


After the trial and execution of Jackson and his roommate, the abandoned slaughterhouse was torn down and a new building was built. The infamous basement and well were all that remained from the old facility. During the prohibition the location was used for illegal gambling and drinking. Many unsolved murders were to have taken place there during this period of wild, drunken madness. After prohibition, many nightclubs came and went with mobsters looking for any piece of the action (the most popular being the Latin Quarter). The bar owner’s daughter, Johanna, took her own life inside the club after the death of her lover. Story is that Johanna’s father had the lover killed through his mobster connections.

In 1978 Bobby Mackey and wife Janet purchased the building that hugs the Licking River and created Bobby Mackey’s Music World. Mackey, a popular singer in Kentucky and leader of the Bobby Mackey and the Big Mac Band, put all his focus on creating a venue to showcase his own music as well as the great local and national talent that he loves.

“Consistency is a word I like to use for 36 successful years in Wilder, Kentucky," says Mackey. "It's kinda like going to Frisch's to eat, you don't have to look at the menu. Another word is passion. I have always had a passion for the music much like the passion Pete Rose always had for the game of baseball.”

Mackey was inducted into The Northern Kentucky Music Legends Hall of Fame in 2013. He said that and having a stretch of Route 57, where he grew up near Concord in Lewis County, named after him have been highlights of his career.

“I have been working on a new album this week set for release this summer," said Mackey. "It's always exciting to get in the studio and be creative.”

His passion for the music and the club is evident in the crowds that flock to the venue. Whether it is the fantastic bands that fill the place with bluegrass, country and pop music or riding the mechanical bull, El Toro, Bobby Mackey's is a must stop for seekers of a great night.

1 comment:

  1. I enjoy Mackey's, but if you do any actual research on Pearl Bryant, you'll find that there is no connection at all to her murder and Mackey's. That is nothing more than Mackey exploiting the Bryant story to make his "haunted" place more appealing to those that are interested in that aspect of his location.

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