19 August, 2019
Bobby Mackey and Johanna

The Gateway to Hell: Bobby Mackey’s Music World

The Gateway:

Bobby Mackey’s Music World is a popular nightclub that holds lots of dancing and good times, however its dark mysterious paranormal activity still holds true up to today. It is also known as The Gateway to Hell due to its creepy murders, paranormal activity and unusual suicides. Here’s some background information on the Gateway to Hell.


The Slaughterhouse and the gateway

In 1850, before Bobby Mackey’s Music World was a night club, it used to be a large slaughterhouse and meat-packing facility. It was constructed to to server the northwestern Kentucky and nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. The creepy slaughter house had a well that was dug in its lowest part of the building. Blood, guts and waste from all the slaughter animals used to be deposited there.

The end of the slaughterhouse came to its last bloodshed, or so it seems, and was abandoned in the 19th century. Paranormal Researches speculate that after the closure of the slaughterhouse lots of Satanic cult activity took place around the well where animal sacrifices and even human sacrifices occurred for rituals during secret meetings.

The Gateway to hell

The well inside the slaughterhouse

The beheading of Pearl Bryan: The gateway to hell unleashed

In 1896 a gruesome murder made top headlines in a small town in Greencastle, Indiana. A young 22-year old, Pearl Bryan, headless corpse was discovered in a field less than two miles from the slaughterhouse.

Pearl Bryan was a young pregnant lady who was dating Scott Jackson. He was currently attending Ohio College of Dental Surgery. He had urged her to come to Cincinnati where he could arrange an abortion for Pearl.  Jackson and his roommate, Alonzo Walling, decided to attempt to abort the baby themselves. When complications arose they did the unthinkable.

To cover up their tracks Jackson and Walling placed Pearl’s body in an empty field and surgically removed her head so Police could not identify the body. They would of gotten away with the cover up however, they left Pearl’s shoes on her feet. Alonzo Walling was sentenced to the gallows for execution, while waiting to die he vowed to haunt the area for eternity.

The most freighting part is that Pearl’s head was never discovered. Some have speculated that Jackson had tied to a Satanic cult, so the head may have been used in on of the dark rituals held in the basement of the slaughterhouse.

Beware: Gateway to Hell Sign

A Beware sign posted at Bobby Mackey’s Music World

Primrose Inside Hell

The slaughterhouse came to its end and was demolished in the early years. The lot sat empty until the 1920s when a new building was erected that served as a casino, nightclub and speakeasy during prohibition.

It’s new owner, E.A “Buck” Brady bought the building and officially named it “Primrose.”  The casino was a great hit, matter of fact it was so popular that it caught the attention of a Cincinnati mobster who tried to muscle his way into its operation. The mobster, Albert “Red” Masterson was not having “no” for an answer. After numerous rejections from Brady from selling the Casino, Albert Masterson, began escalating violence and threatening customers in the parking lots. Brady had enough of it and one day Brady drew a gun on the mobster and was charged with attempted murder, and he proceeded to leave rge casino business in 1946.

Tragic suicide at the Gateway to Hell

In the 1950’s the building reopened as a nighclub called the “Lating Quarter.” There was a lovely dance hall girl, Johanna, who attracted many with her well known rose-scented perfume. She was not only a dance hall dancer but the daughter of the club owner.

Johanna fell in love with a singer, Robert Randall, who used to perform there. She became pregnant and intended to run off the the young singer, but her father forbade the romance and used all of his criminal connections to have the singer murdered. Johanna became furious and poised her own father and then took her own life in the basement of the building.

In 1978 a series of fatal shootings occurred on the property. Authorities were forced to close the establishment.

Bobby Mackey purchases the Gateway

In the late years of 1978 a young country singer named Bobby Mackey purchased the building and turned it into the music hall and tavern that still stands today. Since then, paranormal phenomena have been present since day one. Though Bobby himself is skeptical, he’ll admit that he doesn’t doubt the word of family members, employees, police officers, and patrons who have experienced strange activity. Both the clergy and psychics have tried to help, but a dark force still seems to linger.

Bobby Mackey and Johanna

Johanna and her rose scented perfume

Paranormal Activity and Speculation of the Gateway to Hell 

~ Some still believe the building’s basement holds the gateway or portal to Hell itself — a reference to the long-abandoned slaughterhouse well.

~ Stairs near the well in the old slaughterhouse have been deemed “the stairs that lead to nowhere.” Phantom footsteps can often be heard on these stairs.

~ Some believe that spirits can’t cross flowing water, so the rare northern current of the Licking River may be keeping the dark forces trapped inside the building.

~ A former caretaker, that lived in the apartment upstairs, claims to have been demonically possessed by the spirits. His exorcism was performed in the club by a minister.

~ A patron claims to have experienced suffocating heat, a flying trash can, and a man with a handlebar mustache repeating, “Die game, die game” (Latin for dying well/dying good) in the men’s restroom.

~ Bobby’s wife claims to have been overcome by the scent of roses in the basement, grabbed around the waist, picked up, thrown down, and pushed down stairs by a force, that resembled sketches of Alonzo Walling, screaming, “Get out! Get out!” She refuses to set foot in the club again.

~ Bobby Mackey claims not to be a believer, but he did write a song entitled “Johanna” about the young girl who committed suicide in the basement in the 1950s.

~ Bobby Mackey’s friend Doug Hensley wrote the book “Hell’s Gate,” which connects the events of the past with the hauntings of the present.

~ Historic photos of Pearl Bryan match witnesses’ descriptions of a headless ghost dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing, and photos of Buck Brady also match descriptions of often seen ghosts.

~ “Hot spots” in the club include: the spotlight room and catwalk over the stage, the well in the basement, the old china room, and the platform area near the kitchen. People have also claimed to see ghosts in the big pitted mirror in the main room.

~ The club manager claims that on several occasions she would go through the club and make sure everything was turned off and closed down for the night. Then hours later she’d find that the bar lights were on, the front doors were unlocked, and the juke box would be playing “The Anniversary Waltz,” even though the juke box was still unplugged and did contain that song.

~ Another club employee has seen a dark, very angry man behind the bar and a spirit who called herself “Johanna.” She would often speak to him and leave the scent of roses in her wake.


More ghost stories and urban legends can be found here.

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