How bad does a haunted house have to be for there to be a petition that claim it’s a torture chamber in disguise signed by 31,000 of people to close it down? Apparently, bad enough that people who go there claim to be victims.
McKamey Manor is a non profit “extreme haunt” in Summertown, Tennessee owned by Russ McKamey, an ex midshipman in the Navy. In fact, he even produced haunts on board naval ships while out at sea.
The haunt takes place at his own house and requires a doctor’s note claiming sanity, the participant to be 21 or older (18-20 with a parent’s permission), a background check, a screening, proof of medical insurance, a passed drug test on the day of the haunt, a signed 45- page waiver, physical tests, a safe word and a donation of dog food for Operation Greyhound.
Even with a safe word, which is a newer addition to the experience, Russ gets to choose whether or not he stops, which is clearly stated in the waiver.
To start off, you go to a location that Russ chooses before having a waiver ceremony that takes five hours. You’re then forced to listen to a tape that Russ made.
“No one will save you. No one will hear you,” is just one of the statements made on this tape.
Amy Milligan describes her experience at the manor as “traumatic.”
Russ films every person who goes through, and in Milligan’s video it shows her being pushed to the ground, pulled around by her hair and being slapped while being put in a van to drive to McKamey’s home.
Even though Russ claims to be completely transparent and to show everything that happens inside of the manor’s walls, in the Youtube video, just a short time after Milligan arrives at the house, the screen goes black. The subtitle says, “I cannot show you what takes place.”
At another part in the video, the same thing happens, and when the black screen goes away, Milligan is drenched and seems mortified.
She claims that the video was edited to hide the worst, like when she was forced to lie down with her hands bound in a shallow pool of water with a cage over it. She also claims that the actors repeatedly pushed her head under the water as she begged them to let her go home.
When she told them she couldn’t breathe, they laughed and mocked her before doing it again.
“We do not water-board, we do not even ‘kind of water-board,’” McKamey claimed in response. “It’s psychological what we’re doing. They’re safe all the time.”
Yet, this seems to contradict his other claim that there’s a lot of water involved in the experience and that often people will feel like they’re drowning.
Another one of the manor’s victims is David Farrier, a journalist and the host of the Netflix Original Dark Tourist.
“A tourist attraction where people flock to be tortured and terrorized just for the fun of it,” Farrier says on the show.
He tried to quit only a few minutes in, but Russ protested.
“Quit your bellyaching, David. All right? You haven’t done anything yet. Got it?” he told the obviously terrified man.
After another few minutes, McKamey allowed Russ to use his safe phrase, but not without mocking him.
“This is embarrassing,” he told Farrier after he said he’d had enough.
Strangely enough, after he took the duct tape off of his eyes and unclipped the straight jacket, his whole demeanor seemed to change.
“You’re doing good. You’re safe. You don’t need to worry about a thing,” McKamey told him.
At this point, Farrier, who was crying, seemed very upset by the whole ordeal.
“There’s just nothing in it that’s, like, a good thing. I don’t understand people that come here,” he said to McKamey’s face.
To tell the owner of the haunt itself this means that he must’ve been in a very emotional state, and was almost hysterical after going through that.
Afterward, he talked of how terrified he was, to the point where he “couldn’t even think straight.” He then called McKamey’s way of scaring people, “horrifically effective. Even for my short stay.”
Even the man Farrier went with who, unlike Farrier, lasted long enough to actually go into the manor, only lasted a few minutes.
For a man like Russ McKamey, there are a lot of misconceptions that could be made about him, that many would argue aren’t misconceptions at all. He has a strong opinion on what the biggest one is though.
“That I’m a psychopath,” McKamey says. “That I’m just this crazy guy who gets off on hurting people.”
He says instead that he’s an entertainer and comedian.
This still causes debate for many people. Is he really just an entertainer and comedian with a passion for show business, or is he actually a psychopath and sadist who enjoys causing the fear and pain that people endure inside of this horrific manor?