Take I-75 south into Kentucky to exit 191, the Twelfth Street/Covington exit. Follow the road straight until you get to KY-1120 East/West Twelfth Street. Turn left onto West Twelfth Street. Follow this road for a little more than a mile and then turn right onto Brighton Street. Then turn right again onto West Twelfth Street/KY-9. Continue to follow KY-9. Bobby Mackey’s will be on your right.
This building began its existence as a slaughterhouse—a fittingly bloody beginning for a reputedly cursed piece of property. The slaughterhouse was built in the 1850s and continued to operate until it was abandoned in the 1890s.
It is here that some of the facts may have become intermingled with legends. According to the stories, Satanists took over the building and began using the basement to perform ritual animal sacrifices. They would discard many of the dead animals in the well in the basement. The stories go on to say that these Satanists were connected to the area’s most famous homicide: the murder of Pearl Bryan.
Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling killed Pearl by decapitating her with dental instruments. They were wealthy young men from the area who were in medical school, and one of them had gotten Pearl pregnant. They saw no other option than to kill her. Rumors began circulating that Walling and Jackson were involved with the Satanists who practiced in the old slaughterhouse, and they had murdered her as an offering to Satan. Her head was never found. It has been suggested that it was dropped down the well in the basement.
While this story alone would be enough to make a building haunted, many more incidents occurred here that add to the dark history of the building. During Prohibition, it became a speakeasy, where several murders allegedly occurred. Later, mobsters took control of the bar and more murders were supposedly committed.
In fact, until the building was purchased by Bobby Mackey, some rather unsavory people ran the place, and murders would apparently happen here quite often.
Any discussion of Cincinnati area ghosts would not be complete without mentioning Bobby Mackey’s Music World. The building has been the subject of several cable ghost shows and has been the subject of more than one book. Many ghost stories are told about this place, but for this book, I only can cover the most popular ones.
One of the best involves the jukebox in the nightclub area. It often turns on by itself and will play the “Anniversary Waltz,” and no cause has ever been found for why the jukebox plays on its own.
People often will report seeing apparitions, which sometimes are thought to be the ghosts of Walling and Jackson, who people recognize from old pictures of the men. Other times, people will report seeing the ghost of Pearl Bryan—who is easy to recognize because she’s missing her head.
People also see the ghost of a woman named Johanna. This apparition is often accompanied by the smell of rose perfume, reportedly the same brand of perfume that Johanna wore while she was still alive.
Beyond these stories, people will report phenomena anywhere from uncomfortable chills down their spine, to being shoved down stairs, to being completely possessed by some dark demonic force. Stories are told of at least one exorcism in the building, that of a caretaker who used to live on the property who believed that he was possessed by some dark demon.
Bobby Mackey is well aware of the ghosts on his property and has used these ghosts to bolster his business. There is a sign as you walk in saying that he is not responsible for any injuries caused by the ghosts. Many sources claim that this is the most haunted nightclub in the country, possibly the world. The activity here seems to happen in both the basement area and the nightclub area.
To experience these ghosts, you simply have to come here during business hours. Or you can rent the building for a day and conduct an investigation if you want, though it’s not cheap to do. The current fee is $600 for an overnight investigation of the building.
For those of you who want to see these ghosts but do not have that kind of a bankroll, the Northern Kentucky Paranormal Society and the Cincinnati Regional Association for Paranormal Studies conduct tours during the weekends for just ten dollars.
Bobby Mackey’s Music World is located at 44 Licking Pike, Wilder, KY 41071