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Is This the Scariest Haunted House in America?

Scariest Haunted House

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!



  • fannypack aficionado

    I’ve always wanted to check this place out, but it seems like just a bunch of torture rather than chills. I pledged a fraternity… I don’t need to do it twice.

    • Travis_Bickle

      Can’t, it’s closed

  • Grandpa Fred

    Yeah, I wouldn’t say invasive torture is necessarily “scary” as scary pertains to haunted houses. When I go to a haunt, I want things following me, jumping out at me, and making me scream, not pouring shit down my throat and making me bleed.

  • disqus_JGr7FxyRat

    This isn’t so much a haunted house as it is a bootcamp. It’s waterboarding, subjecting you to extreme temperatures, electric shocks, etc etc. No one has ever made it through because you physically cannot make it through. Not impressive in the slightest.

  • gest

    Not a haunt at all. There’s no safe word, so McKamey decides when you’ve had enough. Of course no one makes it all the way through when that’s the case. Videos are HEAVILY edited so you really don’t know all that goes on. There have also been instances of them pouring actual, not fake, blood on the victims, which is a serious health hazard. I believe the Guardian video shows them shoving people into runoff water, and stuffing runoff water-soaked rags into their mouths. Hepatitis city.

    I get that people voluntarily sign up for this and sign a waiver etc, but I’m under the impression that some of what goes down is illegal regardless of any waiver signed.

    But hey, people are stupid and get what they ask for. I have enough real problems in my life that I don’t need to voluntarily be abused.

    • JackLantern13

      What he said. Not a haunt.

    • Travis_Bickle

      Doesn’t matter, its been closed for a year.

      • Russ McKamey

        We are running evey week…have been for several months. Reservations only. Dates filled through February. Contact Russ at 858 672-2824 for details. You must meet all requirements including a letter from your doctor and a full background check. Don’t believe all the rumors. But remember this…”You Really Don’t Want To Do This This!”

  • James Allard

    Now, one of my favorite statements… “Yeah, no.”

    It does, however, look like the beginning of a decent horror film.

  • Travis_Bickle
    Mckamey Manor closed last year. It moved to Illinois. The information in this article is grossly outdated and needs to be taken down.

    • Heyo! Thanks for the heads up. The Manor’s website is still active and has their hours posted. The Facebook page is still active as well. I will follow up with Russ McKamey directly to check in on the status. Once again thank you for your information.

    • Also, the FAQ on the McKamey Manor website (which seems to have been updated since the article you linked to was written since they refer to 2016 hours) says they have a limited engagement in Southern California but you have to email them for the location. I have done just that.

      • Travis_Bickle

        You are correct sir. Mckamey Manor returned to San Diego after a failed attempt to reopen in llinois. SDPD confirmed its still up and running. I retract previous statements. In reference to it being an extreme haunt….buy the ticket…take the ride. It takes a very long time to get in, you should know what you are in for

  • Evan3

    This is kind of awesome. I’ll have to check out the YouTube videos of it. Was that a real scorpion I saw on someone’s face?

  • John Connor

    That guy’s a psychopath and a sociopath.

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