News

Controversial Haunted House Requires Doctor's Note, 40-Page Waiver & Safe Word

Going to a haunted house requires a lot of forethought. Should you wear glasses? Are you at risk for seizures? Will you stick your young child in the back of the group because they're at the mercy of your cruel adult will?

But never in the history of haunted house coverage have we seen an experience that requires as much preparation as a tour through McKamey Manor. In order to take a tour, you need a sports fitness test, a doctor's note, a 40-page waiver, a safe word, and a background check. And probably another pair of pants. 

We've already covered the most haunted places in every state. Coming in at the top for Tennessee is the Bell Witch Cave, but that hole-in-a-stone with dark undertones pales in comparison to Russ McKamey's haunted house in Summertown, Tennessee, because of what's required to ensure your survival. 

McKamey Manor has been featured on Netflix's “Haunters: Art of the Scare” and on an episode of “Dark Tourist,” largely because no one has ever successfully completed the experience before. The mental preparation required often keeps participants from even beginning the experience. 

And some argue that nobody who wants to preserve their sanity should begin the experience. As of Halloween morning, over 77,000 people have signed a petition to get the haunted house shut down, claiming that "it’s a torture chamber under disguise." 

Let's take at these requirements: 

  • Be 21 years0-old or older, or 18-20 with parents approval
  • Completed “Sports Physical” and doctor’s letter stating you are physically and mentally cleared
  • Pass a background check provided by McKamey Manor
  • Be screened via Facebook, FaceTime, or phone
  • Proof of medical insurance
  • Sign a detailed 40-page waiver
  • Pass a portable drug test on the day of the show 

You also have to watch this video before you go through with the experience. It is a film "showcasing every contestant who has ever attempted the new MCKAMEY MANOR tours," per the video description. Just by watching the footage, you can see that the people coming out of the experience have clothing pins and tape on their face, and each one sounds empty, as if a demon had possessed and left them, leaving behind a shell of the person they were before. But that's just speculation.

The author of the petition claims that McKamey uses loopholes to get out of being arrested. For example, they say, even though there's a safe word, "the torture continues even when people repeat their safe word for several minutes." They also claim that a lot of the employees of the house have violent histories. We cannot confirm this now, but you can also totally go to another very scary haunted house somewhere else. 

"This movie will explain in great detail what the Manor actual is, and what it is not," the description says. "Forget the crazy stories, this film will tell the truth to everyone including all future guests. Those partaking in the tour must clearly understand what will happen to each and every one of them."

According to Fox 2, the price to tour the manor is a bag of dog food, because Russ McKamey has five pups, but McKamey says he'll give you $20,000 if you complete the experience. If you don't complete it, you have to face a camera and say "you don't have to do this." 

If you're unperturbed by anything I've just written or by the petition circulating nationally, maybe rethink your priorities.

Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email and subscribe here for our YouTube channel to get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.

Ruby Anderson is a News Writer for Thrillist.