Every year during the month of October, thrill-seekers and horror enthusiasts flock in their thousands to haunted house attractions across the United States. Most haunted houses typically use similar tactics to scare their audiences, but there is generally a no contact rule in order to protect both the actors and the participants.

Although this doesn’t exactly make being chased by a chainsaw-wielding maniac, or being screamed at, any less scary, there is a hard line between the fantasy of being in danger and actual, threatening physical contact. And, while most who go through these attractions have some good scares and great stories to tell later, McKamey Manor stands out among the rest.

Situated in Southern California, McKamey Manor is an eight hour tour (most similar attractions clock in at around two hours or so) described by the official website as an “intense, rough, and a very scary experience” that also has the key, notable characteristic of being a strict, no-quit tour.

There are reports of a waiting list for 27,000 people who want to enter the McKamey Manor experience, all of whom are in excellent physical health and want to test their limits. However, one of the first things one does after starting tour is sign a waiver that used to explicitly say that there is no safe word, so unless you are pulled by the staff, it would not stop.

McKamey Manor 2In any other instance, the safe word clause seems like organisers simply trying to hype up their event, but in the case of McKamey Manor it has very real consequences. With no safe word, participants were slapped, stomped on, had their hair cut, suffered water-boarding, were bound and gagged, and many more hugely abusive behaviors, without any way to escape. (In the spirit of integrity, I have to mention that recently a safe word has reportedly been added to the waiver, but unsurprisingly, even when people do use it, it is ignored).

The abusers inside the Manor are untrained sadists, with one of them even bragging to a Guardian reporter that, “I am here to make sure no one makes it out. I get carried away. I don’t really have a line.” This is very dangerous and can even be deadly because pressing on, after someone screams for you to stop can induce panic attacks, anxiety attacks heart attacks, or even a loss of consciousness in order for the body to protect the person.

Also, reports of actors that left the ‘haunt’ last year claim that, in the fake drowning portion, the owner’s only advice was “try not to drown them.” There is also no real EMT on site in case something goes horribly wrong, even AFTER someone suffered a heart attack there several years ago.

The owner, Russ McKamey, is a 23 year Navy Veteran, who claims that McKamey Manor is a “survival horror boot camp, where people feel they’re living their own horror movie.” Disturbingly, he told The Guardian that he delivers the “product of fear” by imposing physical and psychological stress until the victims break. He also claims that McKamey Manor is a live theatrical performance and that it “isn’t real  because, if people were hurt, they would be shut down. This seems fair, since McKamey claims to record the entire thing to keep the abusers in check and protect the victims from harm.

McKamey Manor 3

However, when complaints arise and footage is presented, the parts pertaining to the events in question have a tendency to conveniently disappear. For example, Amy Milligan gave an excellent review after it was finished, only because she wanted to make sure she would receive a tape of her entire experience.

When she reviewed it, she found that the worst part, where she had a near death experience, was cut from the footage she received. The video reportedly doesn’t show when the abusers repeatedly pushed her head underwater and she begged for it to stop. She said that she told the actors she couldn’t breathe, but they just laughed and continued the torture.  McKamey himself has also admitted that he gives reporters and bloggers “sissy tours” that are more toned down from the regular tours.

McKamey and his Manor have found a way around the legalities more traditional haunted attractions have to be subjected to. For one, McKamey makes sure that his attraction is not for profit and that he collects food for an animal shelter. So, since he is a non-profit, he doesn’t fall under the jurisdiction of the Better Business Bureau or any federal or state regulation that normally manages this sort of thing. However, this does not excuse local and state authorities who do not have to ignore this, but it is how the loophole works.

The second reason why McKamey gets away with it has a lot to do with the bullshit waiver that victims have to sign at the very beginning of the tour. Right off the bat, victims have already been abused before the liability waiver is even introduced, and as the rules are ‘explained’ to them, they are being slapped and grabbed. But, because they sign a waiver, McKamey, along with those from an outside perspective, have a nasty penchant for victim blaming. A dedicated Facebook Page called The Truth about McKamey Manor has several very rude, victim blaming comments about people who claim abuse. Some posts remark the following (I left the spelling errors in for accuracy):

All you people crack me up. What a waste. And pathetic!!! People sign up for it! End of story! If they didn’t want this treatment then don’t go. It’s pretty simple. You can’t pay someone for this treatment then after u get it say “I’m offended how dare they do that to me

It seperates the boys from men, the weak from strong, mindful from the mindless. Just like social darwanism. If you can’t survive you can’t survive. The way these ‘whiners’ think is completely different from these people that they call ‘physco’. Everyday in society when you go out about your day you stare murders and ‘physco’ in the face everyday. You also stare REAL VICTIMS in the face too. People that have really been tortured. If their minds couldn’t distinguish the difference between really being kidnapped and tortured REALLY tortured! And signing a waiver knew completelyyyyy what they signed up for

If you would like to visit the Facebook Page itself, to give the Manor even more unwanted attention, feel free.

Using this logic, the ridiculous argument that rape victims deserves what was coming to them because of what they were wearing should be a legitimate defense for those accused. Of course, this statement is completely untrue, so why is there a difference when a waiver is signed, but illegal acts still take place? Did Amy Milligan ask to be drowned several times to the point of almost passing out? Is this acceptable because she signed a waiver? You simply cannot justify these actions without following the rules and having medical assistance on standby, like everyone else has to.

Hopefully, more stories about the McKamey Manor will surface to light a fire under someone’s ass to get things changed, so the thing is at least regulated. For now, I highly recommend that you stay the hell away from this place. If you are a true masochist looking for a great experience, find a trained professional Dom or Dominatrix. They listen to safe words and you won’t end up with PTSD or having a heart attack because you want some dark thrills.

If you’re really curious, check out this video of one poor girl’s experience at the event.

  • Nicci Vicious

    This is an extremely one sided article. It’s awful convenient as far as visitors ,only Amy is mentioned by name. This woman begged and begged to be allowed to go through both is the group and in messages to Russ and Carol. She went into knowing what could happen. She also had an extremely cocky attitude going in; she laughed at actors proceeded to bite one of them numerous times . Directly after in the group she talked about how she still enjoyed it. She lied about being put in a coffin and gassed. There was a coffin , it’s is one that is widely sold to haunts called the last ride , I have done this at another haunt..there is no dangerous gas ..just scented air shot in. (Sorry for spoilers). As for the video posted, that is Sarah Parsons ..she is the reigning champ of the manor with a whopping 6 hour tour. She is actually a supporter of the manor and had to attempted to contact her , you would have found that out. Also you may want to talk to past guests who now work there, or the ones who have gone multiple times. Hey Christina buster is one..she’s taking her third tour in November and there is a nifty video of her reading the extremely lengthy waiver out loud . If you have actual integrity in reporting, you’d discuss both sides and research more. This is biased and in informed

    • Kimberly Lemire

      Well said.

    • pamela

      that’s funny bc all that seems to be cut from the tape..I wonder why…consent does not give all encompassing latitude in actions, lack of EMT and support services, lack of ordinance and regulations bc this “haunt” operates as a non-profit….if you get calls from terrorist counties requesting admittance, you may have a serious problem…

  • Kimberly Lemire

    Horrible journalism. Perhaps YOU should actually interview Russ and the actors of MM before trying to bash them or even better perhaps you should take the tour so you can experience it for yourself. Past journalist have actually gone through so they can write an accurate article about the Manor. A word of advice, you really shouldn’t believe everything you see and here on the internet.

  • Alexandra Bates

    How dare you compare something someone volunteers to do to actual rape. Victim blaming a rape victim for what they wear is wrong, i agree. But thats not what this is. This is someone not only doing their research, but watching hours and hours of footage available of a rapist and choosing to go through the exact same thing. CHOOSING! Which makes it consensual which makes your vulgar and offensive analogy invalid and utterly ridiculous.

    Shame on you and your obsurdly biased and
    disgusting smear article. If you cant handle it DONT GO. Or in your case, if you dont want to be raped, dont ask a rapist to rape you (??? Your words not mine. Even though doing research, verbally asking, pursuing, and signing wavers IS CONSENT.)

    • pamela

      signing a consent form does not give a haunt owner and it’s employees the right to simulate and actually perform torture…

  • Chrissy Chifon

    This writer is a complete dummy, you are So convinced by your eyes and ears that you actually believe it is real? I think that says it all, MM is so spot on that you felt compelled to write a whole article to warn the public about s fake boogie man, best review for a haunt!!!! #winning #sorealitsScary

    • pamela

      Since you obviously have never worked in a haunt, you really have not idea what your talking about. There are rules and regulations for a reason. MM crosses the line into simulated torture and it begs to questions, exactly what kind of people are working there. Make no mistake, MM is not a haunted attraction.