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McKamey Manor in Summertown, TN: Is ‘world’s most haunted house’ real?

A still from McKamey's warning video about the nature of McKamey Manor and what to expect. Pic credit: Russ McKamey/YouTube
A still from McKamey’s warning video about the nature of McKamey Manor and what to expect. Pic credit: Russ McKamey/YouTube

There’s a haunted house experience in Tennessee called McKamey Manor making headlines around the globe and drawing horror-addicted visitors from every country.

Many folks want to know if it is, indeed, real, and we can assure you that it is real and was created and honed by Russ McKamey.

The entrepreneur behind this entire horror experiment is currently listed on IMDb as an actor with two documentaries under his belt. His haunted house production has grown in size and scope and was moved from Southern California to Tennessee and beyond.

McKamey is featured in the film Haunters: The Art of the Scare currently airing on Netflix.

There has been some criticism and push-back from the Haunted House community about the “torture porn” and extreme and physical haunted experience that McKamey seems to relish.

Some feel he is far too aggressive and his breaking of the fourth wall and immersive flourish in the horror experience has created a dangerous precedent.

But that doesn’t seem to stop people from finding him to see if they have the stones to go the gauntlet. (They don’t, according to McKamey).

A frequent catchphrase that is overheard at McKamey Manor: “He ate my lunch, took my milk money and kicked my butt.”

What are we talking about?

America’s scariest haunted house which has a huge payday if you can tough it out and make the distance.

Except for the fact that no one can do it, according to McKamey.

Showman Russ McKamey, a California man who moved his haunted house experience to Tennessee and another location in Huntsville, Alabama is on a mission- to dare anyone to run the gauntlet of his very intricate haunted house experience, and it’s not just a maze.

It’s psychological warfare.

On his website, Russ described the many requirements to participate in the experience:

Do not wear expensive clothing. Do not bring anything that cannot get wet. This can be an aggressive experience, and our actors will come in contact with you. You CANNOT in any way return the contact. If anyone becomes rowdy (pushing, shoving, running), they will immediately be removed – no questions asked. Anyone that has been drinking alcohol, or taking drugs will not be allowed into the haunt and will be asked to leave the property.

Dangling a $20,000 payout, McKamey dares anyone to make it through his experience that goes well beyond a haunted house maze. He owns and operates the most terrifying haunted house experience in his words, and demands you watch a near two-hour movie (below) and meet strict physical and mental fitness requirements, submit to a drug test and sign a 40-page waiver, create a safe word and more.

His fame has grown since Netflix aired the documentary, Haunters: Art of the Scare and you can find also Russ on an episode of Dark Tourist.

McKamey has created a new show for his year-round attraction titled  Desolation, described as his most extreme haunt yet.  He spoke to WFLA- Channel 8 (Tampa Bay NBC affiliate)

“Nobody’s even made it to the starting clock with this new show. With the new mental game, it’s much more difficult. And because of that, no one’s even started the clock.”

Russ charges a bag of dog food for an entry fee, according to WFLA’s report.

If you make it through, he reportedly will give you $20,000.

Watch the movie McKarney requires prospective guests to watch. In And Then There Were None you will hear from every contestant who attempted McKamey Manor between July 2017 and August 2019.

In the promotional videos for the attraction, people who do try and fail are often heard saying Russ’s experience “will without a doubt, eat your lunch, and take your milk money.”

Another honed catchphrase that Russ has artfully coined: “You really don’t want to do this.”

Local Nashville media has detailed some of the crazier antics for this traveling horror experience show that came from San Diego, California.

The Nashville Scene recounts how McKamey usually calls the local police to warn them about screams and odd noises before he begins each terrifying show.

The initial reaction was so intense that he must do this to prevent police from calling a SWAT team.  Nashville Scene’s Megan Seling wrote:

“After just a few weeks in his new home, during his second show in Tennessee, cops charged onto the property after a witness reported seeing a screaming woman being dragged from a vehicle. The woman was there consensually, and the cops left without incident, but McKamey now has an agreement with authorities: He’ll give them a heads-up whenever he’s scheduled to give a tour.”

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April is an accredited entertainment writer, interviewer and television critic. She is a current member of the Television Critics Association (TCA), Gay and Lesbian Entertainment... read more
April Neale
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