Bobby Mackey’s Music World

Wilder, Kentucky

BUILT: Unknown
OPERATION TIME: 1978 to present


Bobby Mackey’s Music World is a nightclub currently owned by country singer Bobby Mackey. It has been dubbed “the most haunted nightclub in the USA” by Mackey. Urban legends and folklore say it is the “gateway to hell”. One of the nightclub’s resident spirits is Pearl Bryan, whose body was found in a field several miles away from the club. Rumor has it that Bryan’s murderers were Satanists who cursed the location and vowed to haunt everyone involved in the prosecution of the case.

Another ghost is that of Johanna, a 1930s dancer who got pregnant when she wasn’t married. She committed suicide in her dressing room in the Latin Quarter Club (now Bobby Mackey’s). Although there is no record of it, it is believed that she killed herself after her father murdered her lover, who was a singer at the club.

While both tales are merely rumors, there are some who believe in the connection to the place while others don’t. According to Bobby Mackey, the site was a slaughterhouse in the early 19th century that was later demolished to build a roadhouse. He purchased it in 1978.

In Popular Culture

  • On December 13th, 1991, Jerry Springer interviewed Bobby Mackey, his wife Janet, employee and caretaker Carl Lawson, and Reverend Glenn Cole about their haunted experienced. Carl Lawson stated that he had been possessed by one of the spirits, but was exorcised by Reverend Cole for nearly six hours on August 8th, 1991. A video of Lawson’s exorcism was aired on the talk show.
  • Geraldo Rivero interviewed Mackey, his wife, Lawson, and Cole on his show on October 30th, 1992.
  • A 1995 special called Real Ghosts (also called Haunted Lives: True Ghost Stories) featured interviews with the Mackeys and witnesses to paranormal occurrences at the nightclub.
  • Episode #39 of The Unexplained featured Bobby Mackey’s Music World.
  • National Geographic Channel’s series Is it Real? features the nightclub.
  • Discovery Channel’s series A Haunting featured Bobby Mackey’s in the episode “Gateway to Hell” (2006).
  • In 2008, a two-part live interactive broadcast on claimed to show EVPs and evil spiritual activity.
  • The premiere of Travel Channel’s Ghost Adventures featured the location, and they have returned twice since.
  • On November 16th, 2011, SyFy Channel’s Ghost Hunters investigated the nightclub.
  • The location was featured on Most Terrifying Places in America.
  • Bobby Mackey wrote and performed a song entitled “Johanna” and its lyrics were inspired by the events of the 1930s singer’s life.


  1. Bobby Mackey. “Hell’s Gate,”
  2. Wikipedia. “Bobby Mackey’s Music World,”



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