October signifies the openings haunted house attractions all over the country. Some are more famous than others, but which one is the scariest? That distinction (honor?) supposedly goes to McKamey Manor in San Diego, California. Famous for putting its patrons through the wringer, the notorious haunted house is known for giving its patrons haircuts, binding and gagging them, pouring fake blood on them and even putting things in their mouths. Despite this, McKamey Manor still attracts a healthy amount of masochists each year. It is so popular, in fact, that at one point the wait list was 24,000 people long!
Dubbed a “survival horror boot camp experience” by Russ McKamey, the Manor’s founder, McKamey Manor requires that all patrons sign a waiver before beginning the eight-hour “tour.” Said tour actually takes place in McKamey’s own backyard, which operates as McKamey Manor every October. The theme of his haunted house attraction changes every year as well (this year the theme is “The Chamber“).
Once the waivers are signed and the disclaimers are discussed, the tour begins. As the patrons move along, McKamey follows them with a video camera to document their attempt to make it through the Manor (probably for legal purposes). He then uploads the videos on the McKamey Manor YouTube Channel. The aforementioned haircuts, mouth-stuffings and various other forms of torment are performed as the guests try to make it through the entire experience (no one has ever been able to finish the whole thing, which could last anywhere from four to eight hours).
Guests are pretty much guaranteed to walk out with bruises, cuts, scrapes and possibly broken bones (so says the waiver), and they willingly walk in to it. This is perfectly legal, though there are people that challenge the operation’s legality. In fact, there is a Facebook Group devoted to calling the place out for allegedly abusing its patrons. Granted, the patrons are abused, but they are willingly abused. Where does one draw the line? McKamey does not charge admission for the tour, so he doesn’t even make any money off of it. He just enjoys scaring the pants off of people.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I could do this. Just reading the Warning Page on the haunted house’s website gives me anxiety. I certainly applaud anyone who signs up for it though. If you’re thinking about jumping on the waiting list for McKamey Manor, take a look at the following behind-the-scenes video that The Guardian made last year. It may help alleviate your fears while you’re going through the house. Or maybe it will make them worse. Who knows?
Have any of you been to McKamey Manor? Tell your story in the comments below!