McKamey Manor: A Haunted House, or a Torture House?

Olivia Richards, Photography and Stall News Editor

Summerville Tennessee holds the most extreme, terrifying, and physically taxing “haunted house” in the nation. Although, most don’t believe that it’s really a haunted house. McKamey Manor Is an interactive kidnapping “simulation” where you get beaten, drowned, and put into horrifying situations that are specifically tailored to you. You might be thinking, why would anyone want to do this? The answer is 20,000 dollars and a drive for adrenaline, but no one has yet to have seen the money. 


To sign up for Russ McKamey’s tour you need to have the following: a physical, background check, phone interview, drug/breathalyzer test, and you don’t even get to see the waiver until you arrive for the tour. Reading this 40-page wavier causes the biggest thrill-seekers to turn away from participating, even after undergoing all of those requirements. The entire waiver cannot be found on the internet, but there are a few pages of disturbing content to look at. An example is #53, “Participant fully understands and agrees that their tour may include the use of hypodermic needles, zappers, or dog shock collars”. 


Many things in the waiver are confusing and contradictory, and most of the things listed make you question how any of this could possibly be legal. You are told one second that the actors are not there to harm you, and then you are told that they could possibly rip out your teeth without medication, they can put a fish hook through your cheeks, they can smash your hands with heavy objects, and they expose you to raw sewage and poisonous animals, and much much more. On top of all of this, you are given no consent. The only “consent” you have is signing their waver, and after that, the actors can do whatever they want with you. The actor then choose when to let you leave. The only way a person can leave the manor is if they have been severely physically harmed (sometimes this means unresponsive), or the participant becomes violent with the actors.


The man behind this entire horror show is Russ McKamey. Although he has spent millions of dollars over the past years for this interactive survival show, he still tells listeners in every interview to not go through the tour. He urges everyone that this tour will break them; whether that is physically or psychologically. He only gets the best of the best who he knows would be able to brave it, but not be able to go through the whole tour of course. In McKamey Manor, the second you step foot in, you have given all of your rights to be recorded. Russ has said himself that the whole point of the manor is so he can get everything on video and claims that its art. These nauseating videos can be watched on youtube with people being beaten, covered in mysterious liquids, and even being forced to be covered in or eat their own vomit. These videos are almost impossible to watch for most people, and being physically apart of it is another story all on its own!


The reason why McKamey Manor has gained so much traction is due to participants after the tour coming out with their story. Many who went in left with severe psychological and physical damage and felt that the manor went too far. Along with the public being able to watch horrendous videos of the participants seeming to be tortured, it leaves everyone wondering how any of this could be legal. Others feel that the participants knew fully what they were getting into, and they were dumb for signing up for something that they couldn’t handle. Whichever side you’re on, I’m with Russ on this one. This haunted house is not worth trying!