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For other meanings, see Bobby Mackey (disambiguation).

Bobby Mackey's Music World is the series premiere of Ghost Adventures. Zak leads the Ghost Adventures Crew to Wilder, KY, to investigate Bobby Mackey's Music World. With a history full of murder, suicide, and satanic cult activity, this nightclub has become known as "Hell's Gate". Bobby Mackey's is said to be infested with demons and evil spirits. Many people were possessed and scratched there. A showgirl at Bobby Mackey's, named Johanna, had a boyfriend named Robert Randall. When Johanna's father heard about his daughter's condition, he had Robert murdered by a gunshot wound to the head. Johanna was so distraught about it that she poisoned her father and succeeded with taking her own life.


Zak, Nick, and Aaron arrive at Bobby Mackey's Music World, a nightclub in Wilder, Kentucky just south of downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Located off the east bank of the north-flowing Licking River, this former slaughterhouse-turned-speakeasy is reputedly one of the most haunted locations in the U.S., having centuries-old connections to organized crime, multiple murders, and satanic cult activity. The building has a sign outside that provides a disclaimer, that the building's management does not take responsibility and cannot be held liable for any activity of any ghosts on the premises.

The building's murders date all the way back to 1896, when one of the most notorious murders in Kentucky history occurred: a girl named Pearl Bryan was beheaded some miles from the building by two men, Alonzo Walling and Scott Jackson. Bloodhounds found the headless body and tracked its head's scent to this building, whereupon they captured the two men. The officials never found the head, and contended that it probably washed out into the Licking River, but it is of the opinion of Douglas Hensley, author of "Hell's Gate", that the men went to the abandoned well underneath the place - connected to the river via a sewer - and offered the head as a blood sacrifice to the Devil. The well is the last remnant of the building's former history as a slaughter house, and was meant to channel blood from the former killing floor to the river, making it thought to be a gateway to Hell itself. The two men proclaimed at the gallows at this site that they would come back to haunt the area forever.

The ghosts that have been experienced in the building have been identified as these men by numerous eyewitnesses, including owner Bobby Mackey's wife, Janet Mackey. Zak & Crew sought her out but were unable to reach her, and were told by Mr. Mackey why: She had a ghostly experience upstairs in an old apartment in the building, where she heard a voice say "GET OUT" and a full-bodied apparition of a man, which she later identified from a photograph as Alonso Walling, pushed and forced her back to the top of the steps. Since then she has refused to be at the building for several years.

Zak & Crew meet with a former caretaker of the building, Carl Lawson, who had an even more shocking story to relate: Back when he used to live and sleep in the apartment upstairs (always with a shotgun in hand), every morning at 6:00 AM it sounded like there was an army marching through the modern-day bar below. Then in one occasion, he became demonically possessed, and a reverend spent six hours performing an exorcism on him, and Carl woke up with no recollection of what had happened. After the exorcism occurred, an entire wall mysteriously caught fire, and the Fire Dept. had to come and put the fire out. Nowadays he proclaims that by the grace of God, the demonic spirits know to leave him alone. Carl later shows Zak up to his old apartment room where that activity took place, relating that sometimes he feels cold winds going up steps, and Zak declares his full intention to taunt the hell out of the spirits that possessed Carl in their lockdown later. Carl had also found a piece of a human skull at the well beneath the building, and states he wished he had never discovered this well, believing that doing so opened the building to all its demonic attacks on the living including himself. A couple of years later he passed away.

Other employee accounts of paranormal activity abound in this night club: Eyewitness Ritch Lawson went to the bathroom to wash his hands at a sink, and a metal garbage can to the left of his sink suddenly hurled itself backward into the wall behind him with violent force and a loud impact. He turned around and saw a man with a handlebar mustache standing there, and the bathroom got intensely hot. The apparition repeatedly said the words "DIE GAME... DIE GAME... DIE GAME..." Manager Donna Clifton reported that one day she came into the bar and the jukebox started playing - it was not plugged in, the record spindle on the top was spinning, even though there was no record on it, and the song it was playing was not something present in the jukebox to begin with. The song being played was the "Anniversary Waltz".

Zak & Nick are big fans of the country song "Johanna", which actually describes in lyrics part of the dark history of this building. In the 1930s, a dance hall girl named Johanna was pregnant by one Robert Randall. Robert Randall's murder was arranged by Johanna's father, Johanna poisoned her father to death, and she herself committed suicide, but not before leaving a poem upstairs in the building's spotlight room. The modern-day Mackeys wrote the song in probably 15 minutes. Hensley, as a side note, says that the modern-day Bobby Mackey was originally named Randy Mackey, but at one day old he was renamed by his mother Robert Randall Mackey after the one that was murdered - a sort of metaphorical "reincarnation" if you will. The Spotlight Room in the meantime has been a very hot spot for paranormal activity, making visiting psychics ill and throwing back one woman against the wall. She ran out of the building refusing to ever come back again.

As they set up their static night-vision cameras for the lockdown, Zak & Crew are told by Hensley that it wouldn't surprise him if their equipment breaks, because everyone that has tried to investigate this building has had audio and video problems. They then are lead by caretaker Matt Coates into the only entrance into the building's basement where the well where all the devil worship by the two men occurred is. As they enter the room, the spots on the wall momentarily give Zak the illusionary impression of a screaming face; Coates explains that this is known as the "room of faces", and one eyewitness says that one night he was down here and a satanic symbol on the floor was glowing green, and it felt hot to the touch. Elsewhere in the basement, they find a small statue of Jesus Christ which has fallen from a table to the floor apparently very recently, with its head - and just its head - being broken off of the body by an impact.

Zak is led to the oldest part of the building, the slaughter room, where a natural passage - the infamous well - leads to the licking river, and is probably where the severed head was thrown down into. This is the metaphorical gateway to hell; nearby, a stairwell that happens to lead straight into a ceiling is the metaphorical stairway to Heaven. As Zak leaves with Coates and the others, everyone briefly sees a shadowy figure duck behind a nearby refrigerator, and Zak attempts to communicate before leaving.

Before their lockdown, Zak & Co. search around the Licking River, seeking out wherever could be the "exit" from the well they saw. They find the big circular sewer opening and climb into it, and make it through cube-shaped rooms and passageways, at some points claiming they hear female voices of some sort, though they did not capture it on their videos. They manage to make it to the end, where they are at the bottom of the well underneath the building, where the murderers disposed of Pearl Bryan's head. They head back outside to the river, and Zak ponders the cultural belief that water from a natural source like rivers might have a nullifying effect on paranormal activity.


As the lockdown begins - amidst heavy rainfall outside - Zak orders Coates to keep them locked in the bar building from dusk until 2:00 AM, at which point they will be locked down again in the basement portion, and keep them locked in there until dawn. They begin their investigation and taunt and goad the spirits into showing themselves. Their first idea is to bring and set up their own portable radio, and play the "Anniversary Waltz" associated with the jukebox incident. After a moment, they feel extremely cold, and the hair on their arms and neck stand on end. As they start to pull out some of their other equipment, they hear a brief, almost squeaky female vocal sound which their equipment is able to pick up. They ask if it's Johanna hiding in the attic, and decide to go up there, but stay put a moment as they hear all kinds of slight physical noises coming from the attic. By 12:30 AM, Zak has gone to the attic alone, and the static night camera set up there, after recording him passing by, captures a slight sound of female crying. Zak eventually returns back down from the attic.

As soon as Zak comes down from the attic, he hears loud bangs and Nick scream, and catches him running out of the men's restroom, the site where Ritch Lawson was attacked by a malevolent spirit. Nick explains that as he was relieving himself in the restroom, two loud bangs sounded off on the wall right next to his head as if he was not wanted, and he had to run out while still buttoning his fly up. Zak, Nick, and Aaron return to the men's restroom to investigate, and Nick demonstrates what he had heard. Shortly afterward, another bang - not of any person's origin - is sounded, shocking the others and forcing Zak to command them to stop running away from this activity. He measures rising EMF ratings as Aaron's camera records an unexplained male singing or humming noise.

By 2:00 A.M., Coates lets them out of the building as promised and leads them into the basement portion of the building to begin the second phase of their lockdown at the area around the well. They investigate the infamous well, and eventually Zak reports that he feels a burning sensation on his back as well as a dizzy and weird sensation. The other two lift up the back of his shirt and are shocked to see that he has a very clear set of supernaturally inflicted scratch marks, and as the scene progresses, more scratches appear on his back. The video footage captures some glowing anomalies surrounding Zak as well. Zak hastily gets out of the immediate area. By 4:47 AM, however, they renew their determination to finish their investigation of the basement.

In the room of faces, they light up some candles and place them on the ground in a suggestively ritualistic way, and at the same time inspect the walls to see traces of blood drips from way back when. Nick stays in the room next to the candles to try to record EVPs, asking the two murderers questions. During this he gets a chilling EVP sounding like a female cry and a raspy male voice immediately following that saying "PRECIOUS NO..." Then they regroup, and set up a night vision camera facing the area around the refrigerator where earlier in the walkthrough of the day, Zak and the others saw a shadowy figure go behind the refrigerator. Shortly before they walk into frame, both they glimpse and the camera records the rather amazing footage of a black silhouette of a man in a cowboy hat walking behind to the left of the refrigerator - possibly the ghost of Scott Jackson.

Their lockdown is complete, and Zak & Co. are all to glad to be let out, sharing the opinion that there truly is evil at Bobby Mackey's Music World. Because of the demonic attack, in the following days they consult with Bishop James Long of the United States Old Catholic Church, who studies demonology. Zak relates and shows the footage about how this was the first time he was ever attacked during a lockdown. Long notes that since three marks is the marking of the Trinity, the three-clawed scratch Zak received was demonic in nature. Long expresses his opinion that paranormal investigators like Zak should stay away from provoking demonic spirits - equivalent to playing with fire - because they are investigating on a physical level, whereas demons attack on a spiritual level. Zak, though admitting the risk of his profession, declares that he will continue to investigate in this style.


  • Visual Sighting/Physical Harm: While interviewing a caretaker, both he and Zak see a shadow figure peek out from behind a refrigerator. At the same time, Zak feels sick and uncomfortable.

  • EVPs: Female voice, "uh-huh", ""
  • Residual Noises: Woman crying, Banging, Man humming, Moaning
  • Moving Object: Nick claims when he went to the bathroom, he heard a bang on the wall which caused him to run out of the bathroom and alert Zak and Aaron.
  • Physical Harm: While in the well, Zak feels a burning sensation on his back, and Nick went to see what was happening to him, he documents three parallel, linear scratches on Zak’s back. It was later revealed that Zak had received a Mocking of a Trinity.

    3 scratches that Zak got on his back at Bobby Mackey's.

  • Apparition: A couple glowing anomalies seem to move downward toward Zak and then disappear.
  • Apparition: A ball of light shoots out of Zak's back at lightning speed.
  • Visual Sighting/Apparition: When Aaron sets up an X camera shooting toward the fridge, Zak sees an apparition of a man by the fridge again. They later capture a dark, shadowy figure of a man seemingly wearing a cowboy hat that moves slowly from behind the refrigerator.

  • References



    • Carl Lawson's last name is misspelled as "Lawason" on the on-screen graphic.
    • In a deleted/extended scene from Ghost Adventures Season 1 DVD, Matt Coates provides a more extensive tour of the building including:
      • The men's restroom: a man was supposedly beat up in 1993, presumably Ritch Lawson.
      • The old kitchen, now part of the dining area. Janet Mackey's head was forced into an empty sink, where blood started gushing up through the drain. Matt thinks it could have been animal blood from the days it was a slaughterhouse.
      • The mop closet: a little 7-year old boy named Timmy was killed, who has shown himself to Matt before, usually by knocking on the door of the closet.
      • The main stage: Photos were taken of Bobby Mackey and his band while singing "Johanna". When developed, Mackey's silhouette was blurred in all the photos, but the other band members were sharp.
      • Backstage: Matt's ear was tugged by an entity while setting up a sound system. Another co-worker witnessed a black figure standing beside him.
      • Johanna's secret room: Upstairs in the former spotlight room, a poem is scribed on the wall, presumably written by Johanna.
      • The First Episode takes place on Fridays.
      • [1] - Transcript of the first episode of Ghost Adventures.

    Season 1 Episodes
    Bobby Mackey's Music WorldHoughton MansionMoundsville PenitentiaryRiddle HouseSloss FurnaceAbandoned NJ Psychiatric HospitalEdinburgh VaultsOld Idaho Penitentiary