** Please note that this is a bit of a rant. All opinions expressed are my own and are not meant to reflect on or offend anyone. If you are offended…well, you were warned. **
If you have any familiarity with famous haunted places, you’ll recognize the name of Bobby Mackey’s Music World, located in Wilder, KY. It’s been featured on Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Most Terrifying Places in America, My Ghost Story, etc., etc. For that reason, I won’t go much into its history, as it’s easily accessible elsewhere. Suffice it to say that there is a well in the basement of this honkytonk bar that reportedly was used when the building was a slaughterhouse. Later, two men were hanged for murdering a girl (who was pregnant with the child of one of the men) and tossing her severed head down the well, supposedly as a sacrifice to Satan, as they were cult members. There are bullet holes in the walls from when the Mob owned the club. A pregnant dancer killed herself in one of the dressing rooms. Clearly this was not a happy place. The infamous well is often referred to as the “Portal to Hell,” and Ghost Adventures in particular has drummed up a lot of hype over the demonic aspects of the hauntings taking place at the bar. It is true that there was an exorcism performed there years ago on a caretaker who lived there and swore he was possessed and tormented by the evil entities dwelling therein. I suspect much of this is exaggeration and a play for notoriety, which translates into dollars. However, having been there myself for an investigation last September, I do have to wonder if there might be a grain of truth behind all the drama.
The investigation itself was pretty uneventful and didn’t yield anything worth mentioning as evidence of the paranormal. For me, the most interesting part of the evening was at the very beginning, when we were taking an initial tour of the basement area, which includes the aforementioned well, along with a labyrinth of rooms used for various purposes throughout the building’s long history. As our guide unlocked and opened the basement door, my stomach suddenly felt like it does just as you reach the top of the first hill on a roller coaster…that abrupt swoop and drop that sends adrenaline flying through your veins. My stomach just kept heaving and dropping the entire time we were in that area, although I felt nothing the rest of the night, even when we returned to investigate the basement later on. But during that first tour of the basement, it really felt like something was there. A couple of team members felt like they’d been touched, and the menace in the air was almost palpable. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your perspective), we began the investigation proper upstairs and didn’t return to the basement for several hours, by which time whatever was there had vanished. I did not enjoy that investigation at all, partly because I felt that it was a waste of time after that first spurt of activity, and partly because I was severely hung over from our previous night’s enjoyment of the bar scene (yep, I even rode the mechanical bull, an episode in my life I’d prefer to forget).
But I digress. Everything about this investigation seemed normal, if even less exciting than usual. Then I came home, and began to wonder if perhaps something actually had happened at Bobby Mackey’s of which I was unaware. Something that followed me home and continues to follow me even now. What made me write about this now is an article I recently read online posing the question, “Can hunting ghosts kill you?” Prior to my experiences following the Kentucky investigation, I would have laughed at that. Now, I’m not so sure. Perhaps something evil and demonic does lurk in the dark recesses of that basement. If it does, I can’t explain why it would target some people and not others. The rumor is that it attacks pregnant women (happily, I was not one of those), and maybe if it is demonic, it also goes after people who believe in things of that nature (I am one of those). Regardless, some really bad things started happening within a month of my return from that investigation.
First, my car broke down. This in itself is not surprising, since the vehicle is almost 16 years old. But it had a catastrophic breakdown, unprecedented in the history of the vehicle, and stranded me at the bottom of a mountain with no cell phone service. Luckily I was only there a nanosecond before a nice man stopped and helped me. But still, that sucked up thousands of dollars before I could get the car back on the road.
Next, I had a minor collision between my truck and an inanimate object (the only type of thing I ever seem to hit), which did no damage to the object I hit, but required the replacement of the entire grill, to the tune of several hundred more dollars. Within a couple weeks of that, my chimney caught on fire and I had to replace it from the roofline up. Again, a couple thousand dollars. Then I slipped on my kitchen floor while carrying a boiling pot of pasta and slopped the water on my neck, resulting in a burn that took months to heal. And then, oh yeah, someone stole my identity and my federal tax refund, of which I have yet to recuperate a penny. Finally, a couple of months ago, I fainted while driving (turned out I had bronchitis that I had refused to get treated) and ran head-on into a tree, totaling my truck, injuring myself severely, and racking up a medical bill that will take a couple lifetimes to pay off.
I’m not listing these things to whine about them, because taken in total, it’s actually amusing. (Well, maybe I’m whining a teeny bit.) And these are just the “big” things that have occurred. It does make one wonder. I never had any so-called bad luck, or at least not in such volume, until the ill-fated trip to the Portal to Hell, and then my life almost immediately took a turn for the worse, worser, worsest. Well, not worsest. It could always be worse, and I know exactly how blessed I’ve been. But in low moments, it’s a bit overwhelming to think that maybe I brought this on myself somehow, cavalierly meddling in things that are perhaps best left alone.
In brighter moments, I think all this was a coincidence, or perhaps karma from a past life taking a few smacks at me. While I’ve done some bad things in this life, it’s nothing that warrants such punishment. Then I read about other ghost hunters who have had similarly bad experiences, ranging from financial disasters to ill health to actual death, which some blame on their involvement with the paranormal. Of course, if you took any given segment of the population, I’m sure they would exhibit the same woes…but in the dead of night, doubts creep in. It surely doesn’t help that religiosity tends to place blame for any type of malady. If you’re sick, it must be something you did. If you have bad luck, it’s either something you did or a test from God. If you don’t do things the way they’re “supposed” to be done, there will literally be Hell to pay. There is a touch of condescension in that attitude, in my opinion, but maybe that’s just old prejudices talking.
One thing I am sure of: I am treading very carefully in the coming days. And maybe investing in a truckload of sage. The well-muscled star of Ghost Adventures, Zak Bagans, may have challenged the demons of Bobby Mackey’s with his well-known taunt - ”Is this the Portal to Hell? Well, why don’t you come up out of there and get us?” – but as a mere mortal, I’m a bit more timid. I’m not sure how it’s done, but I’d love to sever any connection with that place and anything associated with it. Go away, foul spirit, get thee gone! At this point, my life may depend on it.
PS – I’m not being facetious. If you have suggestions on how one counteracts spiritual attacks, bad luck, or whatever you want to call it, I’d be happy to hear them. Even if it’s all in my mind and I’m somehow drawing negativity to me, I’d love to hear how to fend that off as well. One can only take so much.