McKamey Manor is an immersive, terrifying experience described by its creators as an “extreme haunted attraction” — but nearly 80,000 people have signed a petition to close down the Tennessee haunted house that describes the attraction as a “torture chamber in disguise.”
“Its literally just a kidnapping & torture house,” Frankie Towery wrote on the Change.org petition created to shutter its doors. “Some people have had to seek professional psychiatric help and medical care for extensive injuries.”
What makes McKamey Manor distinctive is that flips the traditional concept of a haunted house on its head, creating a “rough,” “intense,” and “truly frightening” immersive experience that will force its visitors to “live your own horror movie,” according to its website. Its actors are allowed to touch you, while you are prohibited from contacting them in return.
“You will be tested to your very core,” the owners write.
Those who agree to participate have to sign an extensive waiver agreeing to let those employed by the haunted house shave their head, pull out their teeth, be submerged under water, or have their fingers broken by mousetraps, according to the Nashville Scene.
“Participant fully understands that by signing this waiver they are giving McKamey Manor permission to keep nothing off the table except sexual or inappropriate situations. Everything else imaginable can and will happen inside McKamey Manor,” reads one part of the waiver.
Each tour can last up to 10 hours and is catered to the participants “based upon your personal fears.”
“Each guest will be mentally and physically challenged until you reach your personal breaking point,” the website cautions.
Russ McKamey, the owner of the controversial haunted house, acknowledges the experience isn’t for the faint of heart — in fact, you must have a doctor’s letter stating you are physically and mentally cleared just to enter — but he claims those who enter the haunted house know what they are signing up for before the experience begins.
“You’re gonna get fish-hooked, you’re gonna get swollen lips, you can get black eyes — it’s all in the contract,” he told Nashville Scene. “You’re agreeing to that. That’s what they’re signing up for … extreme physicality.”
The haunted house is operated in Summertown, Tennessee and is a sought-after destination for extreme adrenaline junkies and horror fans, with many driving or flying miles for the opportunity to withstand the torture inside.
McKamey promises that anyone who makes it through the experience will get $20,000, but no one ever has.
However, there are others who are less enthused about the haunted house, which costs nothing to get in aside from a recommended donation.
“Advertised as 'an extreme haunt' when in fact it is NOT a haunted house. It’s a torture chamber under disguise. they do screenings to find the weakest, most easily manipulated people to do the 'haunt.' if russ doesnt think you're easily manipulated, you arent allowed to go,” Towery wrote in the petition.
He went on to describe the experience as “torture porn” and called for the attraction to be shut down.
At least one participant at the haunted house’s former location in San Diego told the Nashville Scene the nearly three-hour ordeal, which included being waterboarded and struck repeatedly in the face, nearly destroyed her life.
“I was waterboarded, I was Tased, I was whipped,” she said. “I still have scars of everything they did to me. I was repeatedly hit in my face, over and over and over again. Like, open-handed, as hard as a man could hit a woman in her face."
After what she said was nearly three hours, she put a halt to the experience after being forced to dig her own grave and left bloody, covered in bruises.
“[The dirt] started to go into my throat, and I started to swallow it,” she said. “I’m coughing and I keep saying, ‘I need water,’ and they would just splash water in my face. They wouldn’t actually give me water. That went on for, I want to say, 20 to 30 minutes."
But McKamey claims the injuries most receive are minor and says the fear is more psychological than anything.
“What gets people so freaked out is the films i make, but is it smoke and mirrors? Of course it is,” McKamey told local station WDEF.
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