top of page

H2H S.5 E.214 Pearl Bryan | The Headless Homicide

Hitched 2 Homicide True Crime Podcast: The Headless Horror of Pearl Bryan

January 31, 1896. Pearl Bryan leaves her home in Greencastle, Indiana, embarking on a journey that would forever etch her name into the annals of true crime history. Her destination: Cincinnati, Ohio. Awaiting her there is Scott Jackson, a dental student at the Ohio College of Dental Surgery. But this is no ordinary rendezvous. Pearl is pregnant with Scott's child, and while she envisions a future together, he harbors far darker intentions.

Pearl Bryan's story is one of betrayal, brutality, and an enduring mystery that continues to captivate and horrify over a century later. The details of that fateful night, pieced together from court records, newspaper accounts, and historical texts, paint a chilling picture.

The Meeting

Pearl Bryan, a young woman full of hope and trust, arrives in Cincinnati under the belief that Scott Jackson will help her. Instead, she finds herself ensnared in a plot far more sinister. Jackson, determined to rid himself of the responsibility of fatherhood, has enlisted the help of his roommate, Alonzo Walling.

The Crime

What transpired next remains a gruesome chapter in criminal history. Pearl was brutally murdered, her body discovered headless, a grim detail that would shock the nation. Her head was never found, adding an eerie layer of mystery to the case. The brutality of the crime and the attempts to cover it up spoke to the cold-blooded nature of her killers.

The Aftermath

The discovery of Pearl's decapitated body triggered a massive investigation. Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling were swiftly apprehended. The evidence against them was overwhelming, and their trial became a media sensation. Despite their protests of innocence, both men were found guilty and sentenced to death.

The Execution

On March 20, 1897, Jackson and Walling were executed by hanging, their deaths marking a grim conclusion to a case that had captivated the public's imagination. Yet, even as they faced the gallows, they refused to reveal the location of Pearl's missing head, a secret they took to their graves.

The Enduring Mystery and Haunting Legacy

Over 128 years later, the case of Pearl Bryan remains shrouded in mystery. The whereabouts of her head, the full extent of the conspiracy behind her murder, and the true motivations of her killers continue to provoke speculation and investigation. Each new piece of information adds another layer to a story that refuses to fade into obscurity.

Adding to the chilling legacy of this case is the belief that Pearl Bryan's spirit haunts Bobby Mackie's Music World, a popular nightclub in Wilder, Kentucky. Legends and ghost stories abound, with many claiming that the headless ghost of Pearl Bryan roams the halls of the club, seeking justice and peace. This supernatural element adds an eerie twist to an already horrifying tale, making Pearl's story a focal point for paranormal enthusiasts and investigators.


Pearl Bryan's tragic tale is a stark reminder of the darker aspects of human nature and the enduring quest for justice. Her story, though steeped in horror, is also one of resilience, as her memory continues to inspire true crime enthusiasts, historians, and ghost hunters alike to seek the truth.

Join us on Hitched 2 Homicide as we delve deeper into the chilling case of Pearl Bryan, exploring the dark corridors of her murder, the haunting at Bobby Mackie's Music World, and the questions that remain unanswered. This is more than a story of crime; it's a journey into the heart of one of America's most enduring mysteries.

Sources used for this podcast:

New York Times 3.20.1897

Dayton Daily News | 3.1.1936 | Howard Burba


Indianapolis Star | 3.7.1937 | Frank Rolandelli Jr.

Cincinnati, Ohio Public Library

NKY News

Greenfield Evening Republic | 2.7.1896

Indianapolis News | 2.6.1896 

The Kentucky Post | 5.4.1930 | Joseph Doran

Banner Graphic | 2.2.2009 | Maribeth Ward

Kentucky Court of Appeals | Kelli Lanski, JD

A personal recollection by Albert Vinton Stegman Jr. (1902-1990) from the Stegman Papers Volume 2, Item 6. Campbell County Historical Society holder of the Stegman Volumes

Indianapolis Star | 4.6.2016 | Dawn Mitchell

The Skeleton Key Chronicles

The Mysterious Murder of Pearl Bryan. The Headless Horror

 - An article detailing the murder of Pearl Bryan and the trials of Scott Jackson and Alonzo Walling.

 - An article on the legend surrounding Pearl Bryan's murder and its connection to Bobby Mackey's Music World.

 - A blog post from the University of Cincinnati Libraries about books related to Pearl Bryan's murder case.

- A podcast episode about the murder of Pearl Bryan.

 - An article examining the mysteries surrounding Pearl Bryan's murder.

 - The Wikipedia page for Bobby Mackey's Music World, including information on its connection to Pearl Bryan.

 - A news article about the haunted history of Bobby Mackey's Music World.

 - A Reddit thread with personal accounts of visiting Bobby Mackey's Music World.

 - An article from the Travel Channel about the haunted history of Bobby Mackey's Music World.

 - A news video about the haunted history of Bobby Mackey's Music World.

 - An article about the folk ballad "Pearl Bryan" by The Crooked Jades.

 - The YouTube video for the song "Pearl Bryan" by The Crooked Jades.

 - The Spotify link for the song "Pearl Bryan/Outro" by The Crooked Jades.

 - A photograph of Pearl Bryan's grave from the University of Utah.

 - Pearl Bryan's memorial page on

 - Another link to the photograph of Pearl Bryan's grave from the University of Utah.


Movie clips used in YouTube:

Cheaper by the Dozen | 2003 | 20th Century Studios

Parks and Recreation | 2009 | S3 E13 | The Fight | NBC

Locke and Key | S2 E10 | Cliffhanger | Netflix

Problem Child | 1990 | NetflixUniversal PicturesFilmFlex

Yellowstone | S1 E4 | The Long Black Train |  Paramount Network

Balto | 1995 | Universal Pictures

Big Top Pee Wee | 1988 |  Paramount Pictures

The Simpsons | S19 E7 | Husbands & Knives | FOX

The Bad News Bears | 2005 | Paramount Pictures

❤️ Bless Your Heart Source



All information contained in this video presentation is provided for entertainment purposes only. The authors leave any and all conclusions to individual members of the audience. The author offers no statements of fact beyond those available through diligent private research or through information freely available in the public record. To the extent that pending or settled criminal matters or crime or possible crimes, are discussed in this video presentation. All parties or defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty in a court of law. To the extent that any pending or settle civil matters are discussed in this video presentation, all parties or defendants are presumed not liable unless proven liable in a court of law. Copyright for material incorporated and presented under Fair Use is retained by the original author or copyright holder where applicable. Our cases are researched using open source and archive materials, and the subjects are real crimes and people. We strive to produce each episode with respect to the victims, their families and loved ones. At Hitched 2 Homicide we are committed to always discussing how victims lived, and not just how they died.


bottom of page