WILDER, KYHISTORY The building that now houses Bobby Mackey's Music World was built in 1850 and initially was a slaughterhouse/meat packing plant that served the region of southern Ohio, southeastern Indiana and northern Kentucky - making it one of the largest in that region. The process involved the killing of the beasts on the upper floors, with their blood and assorted surplus parts siphoned into the basement via drainage tubing. The well to which this waste was delivered remains the only artifact from the original building. Sometime in the 1890s the slaughterhouse closed its doors for good, but perhaps because of the brutal nature of its prior usage, legends began to spring to life that suggested the bloody goings-on there did not completely cease but simply took on a more sinister form. Stories began to circulate that Satanic cults and practitioners of the Dark Arts had established a presence there. Some of the practices were said to include the ritualistic killing of animals - a task made even easier with the existence of the original slaughterhouse drainage systems. Further stoking the fires were rumors that many of the more prominent local citizenry would take part in these rituals from time to time. Their clandestine activities remained well-hidden until the year 1896 when an event that would shake a entire region and set off a sensational murder trial took place.THE HORRIFYING DEATH OF PEARL BRYAN 22-year-old Pearl Bryan was the youngest of 12 children born to a wealthy Greencastle, Indiana farmer and his wife. Pearl was a very well-liked and attractive young woman who had no lack of eligible young men vying for her affections. One of these suitors was 28-year-old Scott Jackson, a young dental student who - in a tragic bit of irony - was introduced to her by her cousin William Wood, an aspiring medical student. A bizarre twist to the story was that Jackson had close connections to the cult group that used the abandoned slaughterhouse as their base of operations. A fact unknown to his close friend William Wood. As Jackson also came from a family of affluence, the Bryans enthusiastically accepted him as a suitable romantic interest for their daughter. The courtship eventually took an unexpected turn for the worse when Pearl discovered she was pregnant with Jackson's child. This was amongst the worse type of news an unwed young woman from a well-to-do family could possibly receive in this time period. She immediately brought this news to her cousin William who would then inform Jackson of this development. Jackson would have no part of fatherhood however and insisted Pearl abort the child rather than do the same with his own life's plans. In fact Jackson boldly wrote letters to Wood suggesting various chemical mixtures that could induce abortion. Pearl was about 5 months pregnant when she informed her parents she was taking a trip to Indiana with friends. She was in fact planning to meet Jackson in Cincinnati where he told her he had arranged for an abortion, an illegal act at that time. Wood was supposed to accompany her, but was asked to remain at home by his father and never made the trip. In Cincinnati, Jackson would be joined by his college roommate, 21-year-old Alonzo Walling. Upon arriving, Pearl argued vigorously against the plan and threatened to return home to inform her cousin Will, who she felt would not take such news in an agreeable way. Curiously, she relented and agreed to stay with Jackson. What Pearl did not know at the time and what would eventually prove to be her undoing, was that Jackson planned to perform the procedure himself armed with borrowed instruments from school and a stunning overconfidence in his own medical skills. His first feeble attempts centered around Pearl ingesting a combination of drugs (cocaine) and chemicals, either to induce the abortion or dull the inevitable pain she would come to endure. The initial ingestion of cocaine probably took place when Jackson was seen by witnesses slipping something in Pearl's glass of sarsaparilla at a local tavern. When this course of action failed, he clumsily tried to use dental tools to perform the abortion manually. The result of all this caused substantial internal bleeding and enormous pain to the young woman, who now became frantic and hysterical. Having nowhere to turn, Jackson and Walling convinced Pearl to travel with them to Kentucky. The coachman who was hired to transport them would later testify that the woman in his hack appeared to either be ill or drugged and upon dropping his fare off, bolted into the night - correctly suspecting that something horrible was about to occur. After paying the driver for his services, they took her to an isolated area where - with Walling keeping watch - Jackson brutally murdered the woman, slashing her throat and ultimately, removing her head. Both the autopsy and investigation of the crime scene would reveal that Pearl was quite alive at the time this occurred and fought her attacker vigorously, suffering cuts to her left hand in the process. Jackson would then tear off various articles of her clothing, perhaps to create the appearance of a rape. The men eventually made their way back to the same tavern in Cincinnati where they had taken Pearl when she arrived. The bartender - a man named Kugel - noticed that Jackson was in possession of a large bag or "grip" which they left with him until the following day. In his testimony, the bartender said the grip felt rather oddly weighted. This bag was later identified as the one Pearl had brought with her from Greencastle (picture below). Pearl's body had been dumped near the Alexandria Turnpike (below), but more horrifyingly her head was nowhere to be found - taken away by her killers. The remains were identified by a distinctive pair of shoes she wore which were sold to her in her hometown of Greencastle. One last macabre detail concerns the fact that while her head was never recovered, her blond hair was found in a suitcase in Jackson's room. When both men were apprehended, Walling stated that it was Jackson initial plan to mutilate the body and dump her parts in the river. While that failed to take place, Walling told police that Jackson took Bryan's head because "he had plans for it." Pearl Bryan’s headless body There was mass speculation that the head was used in a satanic ritual at the old slaughterhouse after which it was dumped into the old well there. Others surmise that her head was placed in the furnace at the nearby dental college that Jackson was attending. One more scenario suggests that Jackson tossed the severed head into the river. No one knows definitively if any of these is true, but after identifying the bag left with Kugel as belonging to the victim, both men were arrested while at school, tried and sentenced to be hanged. The trial itself took on a circus-type atmosphere with thousands standing outside the courthouse to hear details and tickets being sold to those who could afford to get inside. The crowds were so large that concession and souvenir stands were set up on the main drag. Reports state that business was brisk. Many others would take twigs, branches and leaves from the crime scene as macabre mementos of the killing. In a last-ditch effort to bring some closure to the Bryan family and tie up the loose ends, a plea-bargain was offered to Jackson. In exchange for the location of the woman's head, his friend Walling would receive a life sentence rather than hanging. Misjudging any sense of loyalty or compassion toward his accomplice, his captors were denied this information yet again - some surmise this was out of fear of incurring the wrath of Satan himself (based on the ritualistic version of the stories). With no further need to delay the inevitable, both were subsequently hanged on March 21, 1897 at the Newport, Ky. Courthouse. Bryan's cousin William Wood was also charged as an accessory but those charges were dropped after he agreed to testify against Jackson and Walling. Their hanging was hastily arranged out of fear that the angry mob present, including members of the Bryan family, might take matters into their own hands. As they were sentenced, both were asked to issue a final statement. The stoic Jackson replied, "'I have only this to say, that I am not guilty of the crime for which I am now compelled to pay the penalty of my life." As for the trembling Walling - who futilely prayed his friend's cooperation would spare his life - he stated, "Nothing, only that you are taking the life of an innocent man and I will call upon God to witness the truth of what I say".Jackson and Walling being led to the gallowsTHE BUCK BRADY ERAAfter the Bryan murder, the building was converted into a saloon that served almost exclusively the workers at the nearby Andrews Iron Works, a venture that proved to be successful in its own right. This lasted until sometime in the late 1930s, when an entrepreneur named E.P. "Buck" Brady bought the building, remodeled and expanded it into the Primrose Country Club (below), an upscale restaurant/casino featuring nightly floor shows. The Primrose proved to be quite a profitable endeavor, so successful in fact that it drew the unwanted attention of the Cleveland Syndicate, who ran their own casino - The Beverly Hills Country Club - in nearby Southgate. It seemed they didn't exactly welcome their new competition and made plans to set things right. They sent out a "negotiator" named Albert "Red" Masterson" to meet with Brady and reason with him (i.e., sell his concerns and leave). Brady was familiar with Masterson and the Syndicate and knew that trouble was inevitable. Not wishing to sell his interests and risk losing such a profitable venture, Brady sought to end the conflict with a pre-emptive strike of his own. As Masterson was leaving a local club on August 5, 1946, a car pulled alongside him and its occupants opened fire on Masterson. Masterson was hit by the gunfire, but managed to scramble inside his own vehicle where he was found by some colleagues and taken to a nearby hospital, where he was treated for his wounds. Police searched the area and found Brady hiding in an outhouse with a rifle lying on the ground outside. He was subsequently charged with attempted murder. His story was that he had heard the gunfire and simply ran for cover. How the rifle had happened to find its way to that general vicinity was anyone's guess. As one can imagine in any matter regarding organized crime, this was not the end of the confrontation. Masterson would not ID his assailant, Brady was let off with a fine and a lesser charge of disturbing the peace and the local police turned a raised eyebrow to both. With this botched attempt, Brady had all but put the finishing touch on the Primrose Country Club years. Knowing what lie ahead, he turned interest of the club over to the Cleveland Syndicate and moved to Florida where, at age 83 and battling a terminal illness, he took his own life in 1968.NEXT: THE LATIN QUARTER AND THE HARD ROCK CAFE Upon assuming ownership, the Cleveland Syndicate renamed the establishment The Latin Quarter and the business continued to be productive and profitable for them. While there were many stories of mob hits and bodies being dumped down into the well that once funneled the blood of animal carcasses into the river nearby, the truth is the Quarter ran as a successful business until 1961, when all gambling operations were put out of business by the Committee of 500 and Sheriff George Ratterman. Going back to its previous incarnation, the building was converted into what amounted to a biker bar called The Hard Rock Cafe (not to be in any way confused with the current franchise bearing the same name). Two groups, The Iron Horse Motorcycle Club and The Seventh Sons shared the place resulting in more than a few knock-down, drag-out brawls on the site. Finally, local police - citing the public nuisance factor - closed it down again in 1977.THE HAUNTING OF BOBBY MACKEY'S In 1978, a country singer named Bobby Mackey had plans to further his career by moving to the country music capital of the world, Nashville, Tennessee. Those plans would be altered when he saw an opportunity to both boost his career and embark on another equally intriguing venture: to own his own country music bar. It was then that Bobby Mackey purchased the building at 44 Licking Pike in Wilder, Kentucky. The ghosts that are said to roam the building are numerous and sometimes quite malevolent. There are perhaps more folk tales and legends than actual spirits present, and sorting through what might be real and what is not is a bit daunting, but here's what we do know: When Mackey purchased the property, he was approached by a man named Carl Lawson (r.), who said he had lived in a house that used to border the parking lot and also worked there previously as a handyman and would like to again offer his services to the new proprietor. Mackey along with his wife Janet, needing a assist in fixing the place, eagerly agreed. He got more than an employee, though - he also gained some insight into the hauntings of the building. In fact after his first day of work, Mackey noticed Lawson locking the doors and saying goodbye to "something" that nobody could see. At that time, Mackey was puzzled, but paid it little attention as there were bigger things to concern himself with. One night, Lawson and Mackey discovered the old well inside the building that had been covered over and filled. They dug a bit and uncovered what looked to be an old wellhead. It was at that point that Lawson felt something had been unleashed from its depths. He was, by then, living upstairs and sensed an evil presence on a nightly basis, going so far as to sprinkle holy water over the well to try and calm the activity and sleeping with his door bolted and a gun close by.What has now come to be termed "The Gateway to Hell" Lawson said whenever psychics came to Mackey's to investigate, the spirit activity would increase dramatically. In time Lawson would feel as though he was possessed by an entity within the building, eventually undergoing a 6-hour exorcism performed by Pastor Glenn Cole on August 8, 1991 to expel the presence from his body. During this procedure - which was videotaped - Lawson is heard speaking German and Latin which appears strange coming from a man who knows neither language. Lawson since the exorcism has reported a new lease on life, embracing his sobriety and becoming a Christian. During the Latin Quarter era, legend has it that a young woman named Johanna - a dancer and daughter of the club owner - fell in love with and became pregnant by a singer named Robert Randall. Her father - in a rage over his daughter's condition - had Randall killed. Johanna, who was at the time 5 months pregnant, tried to poison her father in retaliation. Failing that, she took her own life and that of her unborn child in the basement where the dressing rooms are now located. A love poem written on one of the building's walls is said to be hers to her deceased lover (below). The romantic tragedy and the story behind it inspired Mackey to write a song entitled "Johanna" that became a significant hit for him. Her ghost is said to remain at Mackey's and has been seen by staff and guests alike for years.Despite this, Mackey gives no credence to the ghosts that inhabit this place of business. "My passion is the music; that’s what I’m about”, he says. Having sunk his life savings into the endeavor, he wants nothing more than a positive atmosphere surrounding the establishment. His stance has since softened to a large degree based on the influx of curiosity seekers to his bar. His wife Janet was of the same mind until an incident involving her took place mere days after they started renovations. Janet was working down in the basement when she smelled what she knew was a rose-scented perfume. At the same time, she felt something "swirling" around her. Becoming more frightened, she ran up the stairs to get out of there but at the top she saw an entity and heard a distinct voice saying, "Get out. Get out". She then felt something in front of her push her backwards down the stairs. Janet did not return to the club for many years after the encounter. It should be noted that at the time of their incidents, Pearl Bryan, Johanna and Janet Mackey all shared one thing in common: They were all 5 months pregnant at the time. Another strange connection to the past is Bobby Mackey's full name: Robert Randall Mackey. Same name as the father of Johanna's baby. More occurrences include an unplugged juke box playing "The Anniversary Waltz" on multiple occasions, a trash can that levitated and slammed into a wall inside the bathroom in full view of a witness who then saw the image of Alonzo Walling staring at him in full period clothing and the image of a headless woman seen by patrons walking across a crowded dance floor. There are also a host of apparitions seen by numerous witnesses as well as mysterious cell phone calls that seemingly come from nowhere. A man named Rich Lawson once tried to sue Mackey for being attacked in the same men's room as the trash can incident. His attacker? A man in handle-bar moustache. The judge dismissed the case, but a sign prominently hung as you enter the bar issues fair warning to those who venture inside (below).