WILDER, Ky. -- There is no denying the site where Bobby Mackey’s nightclub sits in Wilder, Ky. has a long and often nefarious history.
Some of the historically documented matters a public gallows in the 1800s and serving as a hot spot for mob activity in 1950s, when it was a casino called the Latin Quarter.
In fact, Dan Smith, author of the book "Ghosts of Bobby Mackey’s Music World," was shocked to find out that “every incarnation of the building, or whatever was there, included death and dark matters,” as he recently told WVXU.
Smith has done his historical research, but he also has first-hand experience of the site’s haunted nature:
“These are the most highly intelligent spirits that I’ve ever met.” Smith said in a recent interview with CityBeat.
According to urban legends and modern folklore, the location allegedly houses a "gateway to hell" and is haunted by spirits including Pearl Bryan, whose corpse was found in a field 2.5 miles from the site in Fort Thomas.
“For the first 10 yeas I tried to keep all of this down,” said Bobby Mackey, the club’s owner and main performer for the past 35 years.
Over time, though, Mackey says he realized the lore and spookiness of the space was worth embracing.
Mackey says he was so inspired by the history of the bar that he decided to write a special ode to a girl who supposedly died in the bar and continues to haunt the bar today, "Johanna." He uses her name for one of his albums and a song.
According to urban legend (and the lyrics), sometime in the 1930s a pregnant dancer named "Johanna" committed suicide with poison backstage on the catwalk at the Latin Quarter club, which then operated inside the building currently housing Bobby Mackey's.
Rumor has it that this deed was carried out after her father murdered her lover Robert Randall, a singer at the club, by hanging him in the dressing room, though investigations have failed to find police reports of this event ever having taken place.
Wanda Kay now gives haunted tours of the bar on Friday and Saturday nights during regular business hours.
"We get people that constantly ask, 'Is this a haunted house?’ ‘If I go down into the basement is somebody going to come out and scare me,’" she said.
Kay says the bar isn't a haunted house and they aren't trying to turn it into one. They're just telling the history of the bar.
"We don't hire anybody to and sneak and grab you or anything like that, it's actually forbidden. So if you come through here and see something, it's the real deal,” Kay said.
The reports of weird noises, moving objects and ghostly sightings have even led to national attention over the years. The bar has been featured on multiple TV programs, ranging from a Jerry Springer interview in 1991 and a sit-down with Geraldo Rivera in 1992 to being featured on an episode of National Geographic's "Is It Real?" in 2006.
While Mackey says he isn't sure if his bar is actually haunted, he says neither he nor anyone else can deny that the claims of strange things happening there continue to come in.
So, is Bobby Mackey's Music World actually haunted? Share your experiences at the bar.
Information from a CityBeat article was included in this report.
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