So, today’s post was not at all part of the plan, but my social circle has been buzzing about McKamey Manor for the past 24 hours and I am so terrified and intrigued that I wanted to chat about it a little bit.
What is McKamey Manor, you ask? Well, McKamey Manor is arguably the scariest, gruesomest, most demanding haunted house experience in the world. Founder, owner, and operator Russ McKamey doesn’t really fit the mold of deranged psychopath, hell bent on testing his guests to their absolute limits, not at all. Actually, he looks like your high school PE teacher and has quite a jovial demeanor… that is, until he takes you on a tour of McKamey Manor.
Despite the hype all over the internet, the experience seems somewhat elusive. I’ve scoured through articles and videos today and I can’t say that any of the information I’m bringing to the table is fact, but it’s absolutely interesting.
Here’s what I know for sure:
A single ‘haunt’ can last upward of 10 hours, if you can hang that long. Remember that 4 minute long haunted house you walked through that gave you weeks of the heebie jeebies? Multiply that x 150 and uh, count me out already.
The McKamey Manor experience is free… basically. Yeah, you read that right. Your entrance to hell has no required cost, but it’s recommended that you donate a few dollars or a bag of dog food so Russ can care for his five pups.
Documentation of your bill of good mental and physical health is required. Yup, you’ll need a doctor’s permission to embark on the haunt. Signed paperwork claiming you are of sound enough body and mind to participate. Additionally, you need proof of health insurance (yikes!).
You must sign a 40 page waiver prior to your haunt. I’ve literally signed less paperwork to buy a house. All guests must participate in an average 5 hour long “Waiver Ceremony” where thrill seekers are required to read the 40 page waiver aloud with Russ. During the ceremony, guests also iron out a safe phrase that will end the experience should they choose to bail. I’m not sure what all the waiver entails, but I do know you release Russ of any liability for injuries or death and you ultimately sign away the right for your safe phrase to work… Yup, you make up a safe phrase and then give Russ an autograph that allows him to refuse your pleading to end the haunt.
Your haunt is customized to your fears. I feel no need to elaborate here. I’d tell them I’m afraid of kittens and french fries.
Russ calls the police before each haunt to give them a heads up. This is so terrifying to me and seems unreal, but nope. Russ calls his local police department to let them know he’s doing a “show” and that if they get any calls about what he’s up to, not to worry!
Your entire haunt is filmed. Seemingly for legal and entertainment purposes, every second of each haunt is filmed by McKamey.
You will get hurt. Yup, Russ basically guarantees that you will leave with cuts, bruises, and potentially broken bones. He also warns of the always possible (though it would be accidental in nature) death. Since opening the doors to McKamey Manor (originally in California, but now operating in Tennessee and Alabama) in 2014, only one guest has had a heart attack, and she has reportedly since recovered. The most extreme article I’ve read involved one guest pulling out his own teeth during the haunt…. uh, ew.
Cursing is not tolerated. Says so right on the website. Here’s the thing though, their website also has photos of a tarantula crawling over someone’s face and there’s no way anyone’s making it through that without tossing out some strong language.
This is what’s rumored to be true:
If you endure the whole tour, you’ll win 20,000 dollars. Now this, I’m not so sure about. I’ve read both 10,000 and 20,000, but the official McKamey Manor website does not confirm this at all. And guess what? It doesn’t matter because no one has ever completed the tour. This is fiction and fact. The prize money may not be real, but it’s absolutely true that no one has ever completed the tour!
Hypnotism and mind altering substances may be involved. Some articles report that hypnotism and other methods of brain play are involved to heighten a guest’s fear. In episode 8 of the Netflix series Dark Tourist, one guest claimed that the scariest part of the tour was the the psychological feeling of being utterly unsafe.
Guests can establish a hard pass on two of their worst fears. Legend has it that a guest can call the shots on two fears that they absolutely will not tolerate in their haunt.
Some 25,000 people are on the wait list to experience McKamey Manor. Who are these people? And what’s wrong with them? I’m mostly kidding, but it seems that the general haunt goer is an adrenaline junky looking for their next fix. At just one scheduled haunt a week, most of these people won’t get to face their fears. Or will they, since many McKamey goers back out after reading the waiver?
So, yeah. I’ve been in a major youtube/google vortex of McKamey Manor today and the most intriguing and perplexing aspect of all of this is just why? Why does Russ run it? Why do people do it? (Some even attempt 2, 3, and 4 times?!?!) Whyyy?!
Anyway, would you attempt a McKamey Manor haunt? I absolutely would not. I wouldn’t even do it for a million dollars. I have enough fears on my own, thank you very much!
McKamey Manor does run a youtube channel with feature film length videos of haunt experiences. Additionally, they have an official website. I did not link any of this because it is not for the faint of heart. If you need me, I’ll be watching Finding Nemo to ease my fears.
xoxo P. Sherman