The sun was starting to set and there was a brilliant pink cascading across the sky. The clouds were beside me in large clumps of soft cottony white. The sun was turning orange, and I had to fight the urge to pull my car over and risk eminent death on the side of the highway to take some pictures. So, instead I just kept throwing casual glances out my passenger side window and the rear view mirror to mentally capture this beauty.
As I was getting closer to my destination, I slowed down off the highway to a residential area. The houses were close together and as darkness set in, the windows appeared to be eyes peering at this stranger driving by. The road became curvy and was winding around to an area that was pretty desolate. I was looking at my GPS and the red dot was pointing to what appeared to be a small building.
I crept up slowly in my car to take it all in. This place has a crazy history and I didn’t want to miss a second of it! The building has an ominous feel as you drive up to it. It almost looks deserted if you didn’t know better.
When I drove up, there was a man walking around the side, and he went down towards the river and the railroad tracks. The parking lot is a big gravel span and you can almost tell there was something else on this lot once beside the now infamous night club. On the side of the building a dim light shines down on the sign: Bobby Mackey’s.
The red letters and font used in the name are much more lively than the building that holds the sign as it’s name tag. I crunched across the gravely parking lot to the front doors and was greeted by a sign as I went in. It says on a big yellow piece of cardboard: “WARNING TO OUR PATRONS: THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS PROPORTED TO BE HAUNTED. MANAGEMENT IS NOT RESPONSIBLE AND CANNOT BE HELD LIABLE FOR ANY ACTIONS OF THE GHOSTS/SPIRITS ON THIS PREMISES.”
Interesting.. I began to wonder if this was all just hype to get business in the doors. But as soon as I walked in I was greeted by many patrons, and management. They were quick to tell me their experiences, and I was still pretty skeptical due to the overwhelming amount of information that was posted about the hauntings in this place. After merely a half an hour of being there on a Friday night, the bar was full in no time. I’m not much of a honky tonker, but even I found myself swaying to the melodious beats of country music. I can assure you, the violent history of this place may bring some people out, but the music of Bobby Mackey and Wanda Kay would have even myself trying to learn some line dancing.
Years ago, back in the days of Gangster activity, this place was a hot spot for crime and debauchery. There was a mobster in town who’d owned the place and turned it into an underground casino of sorts. When I walked into the gift shop/game room I was told about some interesting grates in the ceiling. It appeared to me that speakers were spread out across the ceiling, which seemed appropriate since this was now a country bar. However I was informed these were actually microphones and the place had 2 way glass at one time to watch the activity of the gamblers. The microphones were in place to make sure nobody was cheating.
When I was shown around I was surprised by how big the place was. During the walkthrough of the place I met Carl Lawson, who has been the caretaker of the old building through 3 owners. He said he actually grew up at the edge of the parking lot and worked through the crazy times. Living on site, he’s had quite a few experiences both explainable, and those there were not so explainable.
In it’s early days, back in the 1800’s the building was actually used as a slaughterhouse. Once the business closed a Mobster by the name of Red Masterson took over and opened the Primrose. Next was The Latin Quarter, which was prevalent for gambling and hookers. In the gift shop they still have some of the memorabilia left from that era and it’s quite interesting to see how time changes things.
Once this bar closed a new owner stepped in and opened The Hard Rock Cafe’. (Not like the chain we are familiar with today.) During the time of the Cafe’ there were at least 6 homidcides that occured here and the building was vacated once again. Carl had to testify in front of a grand jury during all this mess. He told me he was scared to death because he was still basically a child being only 14 years old. After the violence of the previous years the building was closed once again.
In 1978 Bobby Mackey opened for business. He had a rough time getting things started due to the grisly past but he kept at it and now has a successful business out of it. I won’t get into the whole history because you can check into that all over the internet if you’d like. But I will say this… It is a creepy place. I don’t know if I’m drawn to the paranormal, or if it’s drawn to me.. but, when I was there they took me on a tour of the building.
There were 7 of us grouped together and we headed down to the notorious basement with the reported, “Gateway to Hell” and the steps that lead to nowhere. We were taken outside the building down to a padlocked door near the back of the establishment. She told us more of the history as she unlocked the door, and we walked into a pitch black area. There was absolutely no cracks or even a sliver that light could come in through down here. She had a small flashlight as she led us around and as she talked a loud noise like crashing bottles and breaking glass sounded out. A few of us jumped, one girl screamed.
"Sorry I forgot to mention that… it’s a bottle shoot from upstairs! They throw the empty bottles down to make it easier when taking out the trash." Laughter ensued through the darkness and even though we knew, the loud crashes got us a few more times. We went into the dressing room where Johanna used to get ready, and as she told us the history she turned her flashlight out. While we were down there I didn’t feel anything out of the ordinary, but noticed a red mist above us.
She turned the light on again and it dissipated. Once she turned the light off again, I noticed it above us and it seemed to be growing in size. Oddly enough I just thought it was strange and still didn’t feel frightened. It baffled me so much I asked her if there were cracks in the floor above us where some red lights may be seeping through. She said that wasn’t the case and that people have reported seeing red orbs and blue orbs in here. I was the only one who witnessed this though, so for now I’m chalking it up to my eyes playing tricks on me.
We saw the room with the well that is supposed to be the portal to hell, and it was just a hole in the ground. Nothing too creepy to me. The staircase that leads to nowhere actually used to be a way for mobsters to exit the club easily and had been since covered over by a wood flooring. The basement gives me the creeps, but more like the Halloween Haunted House type of creeps and not the paranormal type.
After the tour was over I spoke to Wanda again and she took me up to the old apartment that cannot be seen on the normal tours. As soon as I walked up there I felt like something punched me in the chest. The basement was definitely creepy, but this ordinary apartment scared me worse. I felt very uneasy and like I was being pushed away from parts of the room. Wanda said she felt it too, and my boyfriend, Mr.Skeptic saw and felt nothing out of the ordinary.
There was a closet with a secret room and I couldn’t go near it. My stomach lurched as I walked over there, and this room had on all the lights! I stepped in the closet for a second to glance, but felt extremely dizzy and had to back off. I didn’t even get to see the secret room. In my experience, if something is telling me not to do something.. I don’t. We stayed up there for a short time and I was extremely frazzled before coming back down. That is a room I’d love to sit in to get some EVP’s and to use a thermal imaging camera.
I really enjoyed this place, and have decided to take a group down there to do an overnight tour. Even if nothing out of the ordinary happens, this building alone is worth staying overnight in. I’ll post details once the tour is set in stone. If you’d like to go, and are over 21 please email me for all the info. I’ll try to post pictures when I go back again too. I know that would help to see how creepy it is!