McKamey Manor

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McKamey Manor is an American nonprofit haunted house attraction where "survival horror" events are performed.[1] McKamey Manor is considered a pioneer of the notion of "extreme haunts".[2] It was founded in San Diego by resident Russ McKamey and originally located on his property. The house operates year-round and the tour can last up to eight hours. Guests must sign a liability waiver to participate.

McKamey Manor has attracted significant controversy, criticism and media scrutiny for its use of simulated aggression and various forms of physical and psychological torture.


The house permits just a handful of patrons each weekend. There is no entrance fee; instead, McKamey accepts dog food for his pet dogs. At the Tennessee location, guests must be 21 or older, or 18–20 with parental consent. The Alabama location is 21 or older. The tour is from four to eight hours, but no guest has made it all the way through. Originally, McKamey did not allow safewords,[2] but now says that guests have the option to use a safeword that ends the experience immediately.[3] The house operates year-round, and there is a waiting list of over 24,000 people.[4]

The newest iteration of the performance, a ten-hour experience called Desolation, offers a prize of $20,000 for successful completion, but deducts $500 from the prize for every failed challenge or use of profanity.[5]


During the tour, employees of the Manor may physically assault patrons, hit them with vibrating toys, waterboard them, force them to eat and drink unknown substances, have them bound and gagged, and engage in other forms of physical and psychological torture.[2] Journalist Tara West has mentioned that in the communities where it occurs, residents question how the attraction stays legal, even with a waiver.[6] While there is a safeword, one participant, Laura Hertz Brotherton, says that during her experience she repeated it for several minutes before employees stopped torturing her. She later went to a hospital for extensive injuries. Participants may also be drugged during their experience.[7]

One of the volunteer guides detailed that the 40-page waiver signed by participants lists all the possible risks endured, including having teeth extracted, being tattooed, and having fingernails removed.[8]

According to an editorial by Jeff Heimbuch of HorrorBuzz, the haunt community does not consider McKamey Manor a part of traditional Halloween horror houses.[9][7]

The McKamey Manor facility in Summertown, Tennessee has been the subject of numerous complaints in Lawrence County. County Commissioner Scott Franks wrote about an incident where deputies were called to the property after a neighbor saw a woman dragged screaming from a van as part of the experience, saying "Staged or not, this is simply something that none of us want anywhere near us." District Attorney Brent Cooper said the program is legal because people subject themselves to it voluntarily, though participants can withdraw their consent at any time according to Tennessee law.[10]

Popular culture[edit]

McKamey Manor was featured extensively in the 2017 documentary film Haunters: The Art of the Scare and on the Netflix original series Dark Tourist.[11]


  1. ^ "warning - mckameymanor". Retrieved November 15, 2019. MCKAMEY MANOR, is not your standard (boo) haunted house. This is an audience participation event in which (YOU) will live your own Horror Movie. ... The next evolution in intertactive 'SURVIVAL HORROR' theartre.
  2. ^ a b c Carroll, Rory; Ryan, Mae (October 30, 2015). "Extreme haunted house: inside the real life kingdom of masochists". The Guardian. Retrieved April 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Brentzel, Chelsea (August 4, 2017). "Extreme controversial horror house 'McKamey Manor' comes to Huntsville area". WHNT 19 News. Retrieved May 28, 2018.
  4. ^ World's scariest and most exclusive haunted house with a 24,000-person waiting list, New York Daily News
  5. ^ McKamey, Russ (August 9, 2019). "MCKAMEY MANOR Presents (And Then There Were None) REVISED". Retrieved October 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "'Extreme' Haunted House Or Legal Torture? McKamey Manor Allows You To Live A Horror Movie [Video]". Retrieved June 11, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Tennessee's McKamey Manor: Torture on Demand". Nashville Scene. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  8. ^ Yasharoff, Hannah. "'There's a chance of death': Extreme haunted tour employee explains their terrifying 40-page waiver". USA TODAY. Retrieved November 16, 2019.
  9. ^ Heimbuch, Jeff (April 28, 2018). "Editorial: The Problem With HAUNTERS Is Russ McKamey". HorrorBuzz. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "Tennessee's McKamey Manor: Torture on Demand". Nashville Scene. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  11. ^ Netflix’s ‘Dark Tourist’ Tackles McKamey Manor, The World’s Most Extreme Haunted House

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