AN UNASSUMING yet historic building on the banks of the Licking River in Wilder, Kentucky has become a nationally famous story because of the tragic, strange and paranormal occurrences that have taken place there over the years. The "haunted house" currently is home to Bobby Mackey's Music World, a local country music hot spot that is owned by the club's featured performer, Bobby Mackey.
Author Douglas Hensley wrote a popular book on the subject – Hell's Gate: Terror at Bobby Mackey's Music World. Hensley spent five years researching the bizarre background of the nightclub and the building itself, which has a sordid history that dates back to the 1800s. In the back of the book are copies of 29 sworn and signed affidavits from club employees, patrons, Wilder Policemen and others, including Bobby Mackey's wife, Janet Mackey, who writes in her affidavit that an unseen force threw her down a flight of stairs and tried to harm her in other ways.
Hensley summed up his observations in the book's introduction: "The phenomena within and about Bobby Mackey's Music World have yet to be satisfactorily defined by any explanation other than: it's haunted."
The old building that now houses Bobby Mackey's was a slaughterhouse for over 40 years during the 1800s. The ample spilled blood from the slaughterhouse and its location on the banks of the Licking River – one of two rivers in the world that flow north – attracted a hoard of satanic worshippers who used the site for sacrificial grounds.
In 1896, the building became entangled in a sensational and grizzly murder when Pearl Bryan's headless body was found nearby. The young lady's head was never found, but speculation abounded that it was likely disposed of in the slaughterhouse's basement well that was used to drain blood into the river when two local men who were active in the occult confessed to the murder. Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson became the last two people hanged in Campbell County when they were sent to the gallows on March 21, 1897 for the murder of Pearl Bryan. With his last words on the gallows behind the Campbell County Courthouse – located near the slaughterhouse – Walling vowed to return to torment his executioners.
According to the Kentucky Post articles at the time, Walling and Jackson were offered life in prison instead of death if they told authorities where Bryan's head was located. People familiar with the two murderers claim that they refused because they were terrified they would spark the wrath of Satan if they exposed the site of his sacrificial grounds. Reportedly, they offered Bryan's head as a sacrifice to Satan, most likely in the slaughterhouse well. Local believers claim the well is a "gateway to hell" of sorts, a gruesome legend that lives on to the present day.
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