THE “NOT SO HAUNTED” HAUNTED HOUSE

Mckamey+Manor+Photo

Mckamey Manor Photo

Claire Stinger, Editor

*TW: The following content contains descriptions of violence and depicts scenes that may be upsetting to some readers.* 

Reader discretion is advised.

 

As the air begins to chill and the crisp leaves fall from the trees, Halloween grows closer by the day. To many, Halloween means going to spooky attractions, such as haunted houses, drive-through haunted houses, and any other form of spooky amusement. The fun in this for many, however, is knowing that it is all fake, and at the end of the night you will go home unharmed, or will you?

McKamey Manor is a “haunted” attraction that can last more than eight hours and stretches between Tennessee and Alabama. However, after being featured on an episode of Dark Tourist on Netflix, it became a bit of a controversy. The main concern of most viewers was the legal torture that was occurring. This attraction has been open since 2014, and since then many people, which Russ McKamey (owner) calls haters, have started petitions to shut down this attraction.

When curiosity gets the best of you after hearing about an attraction like this, you may want to know what it is all about. Before booking this “tour,” there are several requirements any participant must meet. To begin, you must be at least twenty-one (eighteen to twenty must have parent approval) to participate. You must also pass a background check,provide proof of insurance, and have a sports physical from your doctor, which may make you a little more hesitant. The most grueling, what some would consider most important, part of the process is the more than forty-page waiver you must read.

Unlike the terms and conditions on other products or websites, it is important to read very carefully. In this contract, some of the things you agree to include being buried alive, coming in contact with raw sewage, performing stunts twenty-five feet off the ground with no safety net, being shocked with dog collars, stabbed with hypodermic needles, being fish hooked in the mouth, having your hair cut or pulled out, receiving a tattoo, being suffocated, and having teeth removed. One user on Facebook shared, “They make you eat rotten food, and if you puke they make you eat that too. They don’t obey the safe word. They break bones.” In regards to reading the contract carefully, it is important to keep in mind that “they start the torture while you are reading the waiver so you can’t complete it,” the same Facebook user explained. 

McKamey was given the opportunity to comment on the dangers of the attraction via email. McKamey claimed that “It’s purely psychological. No one gets roughed up, nobody lays a hand on anybody. ” Contrary to McKameys statement, the staff have stated that they enjoy their job, and use it as an outlet to destress. One staff member even went as far as to state, in an interview with The Guardian, “I go hard on the big guys. I’ve got three kids, a lady, and six dogs – a lot going on in my life. This is a great destresser.” While the manor has changed its rules, anyone involved in the tour is not allowed to be physically “roughed up,” (they are no longer allowed to assault the guests themselves) the staff are still able to do a variety of gruesome things to the person participating.

Aside from signing away your rights for McKamey and his staff to do nearly anything they please (McKamey clarified in his nearly two hour YouTube video, And Then There Were None, that no sexual acts or religious remarks are to be made), there are also a series of “movies” you are suggested to watch. For legal reasons, the participants must watch the entire duration of And Then There Were None before attempting to complete this tour. McKamey explains during this video that he quizzes the participants on the content in the video, and he will not let them participate if they can not complete the quiz.

Despite the intimidating atmosphere, and potential trauma, many people still want to endure this process. If they are interested in participating, they must join the “special closed group on Facebook,” McKamey explained. In this group, 24,000 people await the final decision on if they have been selected to participate. What is the price, aside from your mental and physical well-being? While there is no monetary compensation necessary, McKamey accepts payment in the form of dog food. The main reason for this is that no one has ever completed the entirety of the tour. If you complete ten hours, you win $20,000. So what do you think? Do you have what it takes?