**Research compiled for Ryan & Shane on January 30, 2017 by Kari Koeppel.
Note: even the official website presents differing information.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World was originally built as a slaughterhouse and meatpacking plant in the 1850s.
A well in the basement of the slaughterhouse was used to drain the slaughtered animals’ blood. Tthis is reportedly the Portal to Hell
In 1886, Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling murdered Pearl Bryan, reportedly throwing her severed head down the well in the basement.
The slaughterhouse closed in the 1890s.
According to legend (and the official Bobby Mackey website), the slaughterhouse then became a site where occultists performed rituals, using the slaughterhouse well as a place to hide remains of the small animals sacrificed during the occult ceremonies.
In the 1920s, the land was home to the Bluegrass Inn.
In the 1930s, the land hosted the Primrose Country Club.
In the ‘40s, the Primrose Club was sold, and it became the Latin Quarter.
Differing info: Between the 1930s and 1950s, the site was home to a casino, first called Buck Brady’s Primrose Club in the 1940s and later called Latin Quarter. It was closed in 1961 when local sheriffs cracked down on organized crime.
Reportedly in the 1940s, a pregnant woman named Johanna killed herself after her lover was murdered.
Over the years, several businesses came and went at the location.
In 1970, a Hard Rock Cafe opened, but it was closed 7 years later after several shootings took place.
This Hard Rock Cafe was not part of the famous chain.
The following year, it reopened as Bobby Mackey’s Music World.
Also known as “America’s Honky Tonk”
According to an interview with Bobby Mackey himself, the “portal to hell” is not a well, but a tunnel, that was used to to drain the blood from the slaughterhouse into the nearby Licking River.
There is a sign on the premises saying that the management of Bobby Mackey’s is not responsible for any actions of ghosts/spirits on the premises.
It may have been used to smuggle in liquor during Prohibition, since Mackey says the building was a speakeasy during that time.
Bobby Mackey’s reportedly hosts paranormal tours called “Gatekeeper Paranormal.”
The well is now called Hell’s Gate.
Occurrences: Mackey claims to have not known the building was haunted when he bought it. However, his first caretaker, Carl Lawson, experienced strange occurrences, including:
- Doors that should’ve been locked mysteriously becoming unlocked
Lights turning on by themselves
The jukebox playing on its own, and playing songs that weren’t even on the jukebox.
Pearl Bryan: One of the main hauntings of Bobby Mackey’s is by whose severed head was thought to be hidden in the basement of the then-abandoned slaughterhouse, and those related to her case: Scott Jackson, Alonso Walling, and possibly Bryan’s cousin William Wood, who introduced Jackson and Bryan.
Legend has it that in 1896, a 22-year-old woman named Pearl Bryan was reportedly murdered by her her boyfriend, Scott Jackson.
The story goes that Pearl was the daughter of a wealthy farmer, while Scott was a dental student who reportedly was a part of the occult group who had, at this point, been performing rituals in the basement of what is now Bobby Mackey’s Music World.
Pearl became pregnant, and she and Scott reportedly were planning on going to Cincinnati so that Pearl could have an abortion, but Scott and his roommate Alonzo Walling decided to try and perform the abortion himself.
It went wrong, and Pearl was killed.
Her body was buried several miles away from Bobby Mackey’s, but her head was reportedly removed from her body in order to attempt to hide her identity.
However, apparently the body of Pearl Bryan was identified by her shoes, which were left on her feet.
Pearl Bryan’s severed head was reportedly then used in one of the occult rituals taking place in the well at Bobby Mackey’s.
Reportedly, during the autopsy of Pearl Bryan, they concluded that she had still been alive when she was decapitated.
The body was identified by her shoes, by the size and name of the maker, who was then able to look up who had purchased the shoes.
A diary and love poem reportedly written by Johanna was found by Carl Lawson, Bobby Mackey’s first caretaker. → should ask person @ Bobby Mackey’s about this
Johanna: The other main haunting is by “Johanna,” reportedly a daughter of one of the gangster casino owners, who killed herself after her father had had her lover killed. She may have also killed her father before killing herself.
Johanna was a dancer who had worked there when it was a club, and had reportedly killed herself in her dressing room.
In the 1950s, when the building was a nightclub called the Latin Quarter, the dancers’ dressing rooms were reportedly in the basement. Reportedly, a dancer named Johanna killed herself in her dressing room there.
Reportedly, her ghost is the one most often seen at Bobby Mackey’s.
According to “Ghost Adventures,” the ghost-activity hot spots in the club are the spotlight room, catwalk over the stage, the old china room, the platform near the kitchen, and the basement. (Have not seen this repeated in other sources)
Bobby Mackey’s Music World is considered in the paranormal community to be one of the most haunted places on Earth.
Sits on the banks of the Licking River.
According to the book Ghosts of Bobby Mackey’s Music World by Dan Smith, while the slaughterhouse was on the property, it was on the southern edge of the property & was a different building than is currently in use today.
It also says that the slaughterhouse was not a commercial slaughterhouse, but rather one local butcher who offered slaughtered services to nearby residents.
The book states that, contrary to popular myth, the “well” from the slaughterhouse was actually used in making whiskey in a later incarnation of the building.
The book claims the building acted as a distillery throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, eventually closing in 1919 due to Prohibition.
The existence of the distillery would throw the claims of the occult group using the abandoned building for their rituals into question.
The Murder of Pearl Bryan: This 1937 recap of the murder in the Chicago Tribune, has good diagram of where body was found, as well as a newspaper sketches of Pearl Bryan & Scott Jackson -- might be able to use them?
- The body of Pearl Bryan was found by a young man named Johnny Huling in a hedge.
- 1n 1937, the Chicago Tribune called her murder “the most sensational murder of the nineties.” (also omg they call the 1890s “the nineties”)
- Pearl’s body was found in the morning of Feb. 1, 1895, outside the farmhouse of J.N. Locke near the small town of Fort Thomas, Kentucky.
- On Sunday Feb. 2, 1895, the Chicago Tribune wrote about the story under the headline “Not Unlike Jack the Ripper.”
“Cincinnati, O., Feb. 1. - A tragedy after the manner of Jack the Ripper occurred on the Alexandria road, in a lonely part of the Kentucky highlands about a mile south of Fort Thomas, about midnight last night. The victim was a woman. Her headless body was found this morning terribly mutilated. No one yet knows the murderer or a victim.”
- The hedge where Pearl’s body was found was located in an orchard near an unused road between the farm of J.N. Locke and J.K. Stone.
- Near the body was found a corset and a shoe. The shoe had been manufactured by Drew, Selby & Co. of Portsmouth, Ohio. The shoe was a size 3 and width B.
- During Pearl Bryan’s autopsy, doctors found cocaine in her stomach, as well as that she had been pregnant at the time of her death.
- A man was reportedly heard telling a Cincinnati street conductor, while holding a butcher knife, “Do you see this knife? I am going to cut my brother-in-law to pieces. He cut my sister’s head off last night.”
- They never found this person.
- The headless body was misidentified several times.
- Four days since the body was discovered, Pearl’s parents were starting to wonder whether their daughter had actually gone to visit a friend in Indianapolis, or whether this unidentified murdered woman might be their daughter.
- Once they saw the shoe and clothing, the Bryans positively identified the body as that of their daughter.
- Pearl had been 20 years old and a Sunday school teacher.
- Pearl’s father told the police Scott Jackson’s name, as someone who might know something about Pearl’s murder.
- Scott Jackson was a 27-year-old dental student living in Cincinnati.
- Jackson had visited Pearl at her parents’ house over the Christmas holidays a few months earlier.
- A telegraph operator in nearby Greencastle, IN told police that he had seen a letter written by Jackson asking someone in South Bend, IN. for a prescription for Pearl.
- This person in South Bend was brought in for questioning, then released.
- Jackson admitted to police that he had “kept company” with her over the holidays, but gave an alibi as to where he had been between Thursday night to Sunday.
- Checking up on this alibi, police found that Jackson had left a small traveling bag at a saloon across the street from his apartment.
- Jackson claimed a friend from dental school was going to be borrowing it.
- At this point in the questioning, police forced Jackson to strip down and take off his clothes.
- Police found three lace handkerchiefs in his coat, and saw a two-inch scratch on his right arm and on his right wrist.
- Jackson tried to explain the scratches as having been scratching bedbug bites.
- A saloonkeeper came forward to say that he had seen Jackson in his saloon the Friday before Pearl’s murder with a woman matching Pearl’s description.
- While Jackson was being questioned by police, he asked if his roommate Alonzo Walling had been arrested, and if he had, what story he had told police.
- At this point, Walling was brought into custody.
- Police did not yet suspect Walling, but his story did not match Jackson’s.
- After questioning, though, Walling’s story fell apart and he told police:
- “The girl was brought here by Jackson for the purpose of having a criminal operation performed.”
- “I’m sure it will be developed that he is the murderer. What was done with the head I do not know, but I believe he threw it in the sewer not far from the college building. It may be, however, that he cremated it in the furnace in the basement of the college.”
- At this point, Jackson began trying to put the whole blame onto Walling.
- Police found a pair of muddy pants in Jackson’s locker at dental college. Jackson claimed that Walling had access to the locker & had placed the pants there.
- On Feb. 10, police found a pair of women’s stockings behind a trunk Jackson’s apartment. On the same day, police found Pearl Bryan’s hat, which contained a man’s blood-stained handkerchief.
- On Feb. 13, Jackson and Walling were indicted for murder in the first degree by the Campbell County, Kentucky grand jury.
- However, police were still searching for Pearl’s severed head.
- A psychic, Kate J. Harris, claimed that it was in the floor of the basement of Jackson and Walling’s dental college. However, it was not found there.
- On Feb. 16, the taxi driver who had driven Pearl to the scene of her eventual murder was found. His name was George H. Jackson, and he told police that he had been scared to come forward.
- According to George, Walling had held a revolver at his head and told him to drive across the bridge from Cincinnati into Kentucky, while Jackson and Pearl sat in the backseat of the cab.
- George positively identified both Jackson and Walling.
- During the trial, doctors testified that Pearl had still been alive when she was decapitated. They based this on the blood that had been found in bushes a ways away from the body, which they said had been “thrown by the pulsing heart of a living body.”
- Jackson and Walling were each convicted and sentenced to death.
- They were hung on the morning of March 20, 1897 in the jail yard at Newport.
There’s no confirmation in this news article that it had been an abortion gone awry, or that Pearl’s severed head was ever found. According to the March 21, 1897 issue of the Los Angeles Herald:
Scott Jackson and Alonso Walling were hung from the same scaffold at the same time, at 11:14 a.m.
They claimed they were innocent up until the end.
They never said what they had done with Pearl Bryan’s head, or what role each had taken in decapitating her.
None of the members of Pearl’s family were present at the hanging.
According to this article, Jackson and Walling had decapitated Pearl to prevent identification of the body.
Pearl’s father was a wealthy farmer.
This article claims that Scott Jackson had sent Pearl a prescription of “ergot of rye and other ingredients” in order to induce an abortion, but that Pearl had never gotten the prescription filled.
The travel bag found in the saloon by police had turned out to belong to Pearl.
Scott Jackson was 26 years old. This Los Angeles Herald article describes him as: “5 feet 6 inches high, of blonde complexion and wiry figure. His eyes are of cold steel grey. They glitter, but lack depth. His head is said to resemble that of Holmes, the murderer.”
Walling apparently confessed that their plan had been to “bring Pearl Bryan here to have an abortion committed on her by [Walling], and then afterward Jackson would kill her by quick poison, and finally changed his mind and said he would poison her, cut her into pieces, and put the pieces into catch basins of the sewers.”
Pearl Bryan was about five months pregnant at the time of her murder, and it was thought that her fetus had been alive until Pearl’s death.
The Casino Years: The Primrose Club had been run by a Cleveland gang syndicate, and when it was renovated and expanded as the Latin Quarter, it remained under the ownership of the syndicate.
- The Primrose Club had been run by a Cleveland gang syndicate, and when it was renovated and expanded as the Latin Quarter, it remained under the ownership of the syndicate.
The Suicide of Johanna: Could not find anything real to back up the existence of Johanna, let alone any aspect of her story.
- Gonna use this for some parts of a first person account of demonic activity
- Some even claim the head was used in rituals…(wtf?)