Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Curse of Bobby Mackey's (aka Hell's Gate) - Wilder, Kentucky

As history goes in 1896 a young woman named Pearl Bryan, a country girl from Greencastle, Indiana, came to the Cincinnati area after sharing some news with her lover Scott Jackson, who she met in Greencastle.  The news she give him is that she was five months pregnant with his child and was hoping he would marry her.  A few days later she was found murdered and decapitated in a field near Ft. Thomas.  The murderers, who it was believed were Scott Jackson and his accomplice Alonzo Walling, were brought to justice.  However, her head was never found.  On the day that they were to be hanged for the crime, Alonzo, claiming that he was not the one who killed Pearl, declared a curse as he stood next to the hangman's noose.  His curse stated that all who set foot on this land and all who were participants in the trial would be tormented by him as he would return from the grave to haunt them.

As it turns out, all participants in the murder trial of Alonzo met an violent, untimely death.  On the he sight of the gallows where Alonzo was put to death a roadhouse was built in the 1920s. Then the turbulent history of the property began. It became a hot bed of mob activity from the Cincinnati area as this was during the prohibition era.  There were rumors of many murders taking place in the establishment but went relatively unknown until later as the mobsters would remove the bodies and deposit them elsewhere.  After prohibition was lifted, the establishment was purchased and turned into a bar called "The Primrose".  Again, the mobsters came into the picture and tried to threaten the owner for a piece of the action.  In a gunfight, one of the gangsters was almost killed and the owner of the bar was charged with attempted murder.  He gave up and sold the bar to the mob.

An artist rendition of "The Primrose"

After being closed for a while, the establishment re-opened again in the 1950's as a casino.  The daughter of the owner who's name was Johanna, fell for one of the singers who performed at the club.  The owner being very unhappy about the relationship, had the singer murdered by the mob.  Angered and distraught over the incident, Johanna made an attempt to poison her father but failed.  She then took her own life or so the story goes.  Her body was found in the basement of the casino and after an investigation it was found that she was 5 months pregnant, just like Peal Bryan when her remains were found.  There was another attempt to open the establishment as a Hard Rock Cafe in the mid 1970's, but that ended when there was a shooting incident at the restaurant and many people were killed.  The cafe closed a short time afterward as no one wanted to go there after the murders.

Country music singer Bobby Mackey purchased the property in 1978 and turned it into a Country-Western club.  This business is thriving today and it remains "Bobby Mackey's Music World". There have been many occurrences of lights turning themselves on and off and shadow figures have been seen behind the bar.  The jukebox will turn itself on and start playing music, even if it is unplugged! Some folks claim to have seen and talked to a young girl in the club, that after being described to others is believed to be the ghost of Johanna.  However, there have been many reports over the years of violent spirits with disembodied voices demanding that those in the establishment should leave.  Some victims claim to have been bounced off of walls or thrown down stairs by an unseen force.

Bobby Mackey's Music World

It is because of this property's torrid past that it has been nicknamed "Hell's Gate". Maybe also because there is a well hidden inside that some believe is a gateway to Hell. A book was written by the title "Hell's Gate, The terror at Bobby Mackey's Music World" by, Douglas Hensley.  Bobby Mackey himself has written and recorded a song based on the ghost of the girl that has been spotted in the club titled "Johanna".

Bobby Mackey
Book published about the Bobby Mackey Music Word hauntings

And then there is the spirit of the girl who started the whole series of events. Pearl was buried in Forest Hill Cemetery Greencastle, Indiana where her headless spirit has been seen roaming.  For more details see The Headless Woman of Forest Hill Cemetery.

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