Bobby Mackey’s: a haunted place near my home

It’s no wonder I’ve written so many horror novels. My local area is filled with urban legends and reputedly haunted locations.

One of those is Bobby Mackey’s Music World in Wilder, Kentucky. (I live in suburban Cincinnati, Ohio. But Wilder, Kentucky is less than thirty minutes from my front door. I’m a hop, skip, and a jump from the Ohio River.)

Bobby Mackey’s has been the subject of many paranormal studies and documentaries over the decades. I won’t venture a guess as to whether or not the site is haunted, but the building (a former slaughterhouse) is loosely associated with a gruesome murder that occurred in 1896.

The murder itself is a matter of historical record. Two men beheaded a young woman, Pearl Bryan, nearby. Bryan was pregnant at the time, and one of the murderers was the father. 

The killers were promptly caught and hanged for the despicable crime. But Pearl’s head was never found.

Guess where urban legends say the head ended up? Bryan’s headless body was found 2.5 miles away, in Fort Thomas, Kentucky. But if you believe the local legends, the killers tossed Pearl’s severed head down a well in the basement of the slaughterhouse that would become Bobby Mackey’s Music World in 1978. 

Photo by Nicolas Henderson

Over the years, many patrons of Bobby Mackey’s have reported various phenomena: cold spots, disembodied voices, and worse. Above the main bar hangs a disclaimer, stating that the building is haunted, and that management is absolved of all responsibility for injuries or trauma caused by wayward spirits. 

I’ve also talked to patrons who report that the only danger is the very living, very human clientele. Bobby Mackey’s has a reputation as a mildly dangerous place. Despite its popularity on the ghost tour circuit, the bar draws a rough-and-tumble crowd on the weekends. But if you’re a certain kind of person, that’s part of the charm, maybe.

No, I have never been there myself. Partly because I don’t like the bar scene (especially the country music bar scene), and partly because I don’t like to tempt the paranormal…especially when demonic forces are said to be involved, as is the case here.

I don’t know if the stories about Bobby Mackey’s Music World are true or not, but I don’t want to find out.

And now it looks like I won’t get the chance, anyway. The 76-year-old Bobby Mackey is moving his business to a new, and hopefully unhaunted, location nearby. 

This blog wishes Mr. Mackey success at the new site.


How about a haunted road story set in Ohio?

***View ELEVEN MILES OF NIGHT on Amazon***