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McKamey Manor: The haunted house that scars

By Kayla Lupedee

Halloween is typically celebrated with mystical haunted houses, candy induced comas and lighthearted scares. However, at McKamey Manor things get much more personal, violent and unbelievably terrifying. 

Originally founded in San Diego, McKamey Manor was created by Russ McKamey, resident of the property. McKamey expanded something that was originally a blithe haunted attraction into a place meant for torture. 

Torture is not even a strong enough word to describe the events that occur at this place. Extreme levels of cruelty, distress, agony and suffering are inflicted on participants for up to eight hours straight. The most sickening part is that these people willingly and excitedly participate in events that could leave them not only physically injured, but also emotionally and psychologically troubled.  

McKamey Manor coined the title of being the scariest haunted house in the world. However, “scary” is simply just a euphemism for “scarring.”

The manor is a nonprofit extreme haunted attraction. Therefore, no money is needed to take on the challenge. McKamey often accepts food donations for his dogs, but he does not make any income from his events. Instead, he inflicts torture and suffering just for his own pleasure.  

McKamey makes sure to videotape every participant’s experience. The screams and cries coming from the sufferers are all caught on camera, in which McKamey then watches them back and posts their terror to YouTube, like a true psychopath would. Seen in videos, he pushes contestants past their limits and hurls insults at them, taunting them when they want to quit.  

This just makes me wonder who is more psychotic: the people wreaking the torture or the participants who have a desire for experiencing such misery? 

McKamey Manor transforms the well-known act of a haunted attraction into simulated kidnapping and torture experiences. They take the word “extreme” to the next level by physically attacking participants, drowning them, trapping them in coffins and more.  

The actors, or haunters, at the manor turn everyone’s worst fears into a real-life experience. Each tour is personalized to the participant’s secret anxieties. It’s a horror movie brought to life.  

Participants have to sign an extensive waiver in order to attend McKamey Manor, but I still can’t even wrap my head around how a mere signed piece of  paper is above the law. Signing the waiver omits the torture and violent crimes, otherwise seen as attempted murder and severe torment. How is this not illegal?

Not only are people physically abused, they are also forced to eat and drink disgusting and unknown substances while blindfolded. Most of the time people feel compelled to puke, which is then fed right back to them, creating an endless cycle of the torture. 

McKamey originally forbade safe words. You could plead for help, scream for your life and fight back, but McKamey and his haunters would still continue pushing the limits for hours on end. 

I understand that these crazy participants signed several documents and waivers, but how could anyone overlook this as a happy-go-lucky haunted attraction? If people are screaming for their lives and want to quit the pain, they should be let out. Instead they are forced to endure more terror and agony while McKamey and his partners laugh at their expense. 

Simply put: McKamey Manor is a torture chamber. 

After several complaints were made, a safe word is now offered to pull participants out of the challenge immediately, although that certainly does not make the situation any less psychotic. 

 McKamey Manor is not strictly a Halloween experience. The assaults are offered all year round and over 24,000 senseless people are on a waiting list. 

 Coming out of this experience, whether lasting 15 minutes or eight hours, there is no doubt of facing emotional and mental damage. The people who put themselves through this must either hate themselves or feel as though they deserve a major punishment. I certainly could not conjure up any other reason as to why someone would want to be involved in this. 

 Going to McKamey Manor is not a typical adrenaline-seeking experience. There is absolutely no excitement and laughter behind the screams. The only experience participants will receive is hours of torture and fear that has been taken way too far. 

 There is a fine line between scaring and scarring, yet McKamey prefers to stick to his barbaric ways.

Kayla Lupedee can be reached at Kayla.lupedee@spartans.ut.edu

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