McKamey Manor: The Haunt With The Most NOPE.
Every year around Halloween, local “Haunts” pop up in cities, towns, and country farms. Where I grew up there was a Haunted Hay Ride, when I moved to the city and discovered Screemers, and I even worked at a Haunt created by friends of mine a few years ago.
These experiences can range from ridiculously tame (because kids, and whatever, it’s cute seeing little ones dressed up and OH MY GOD LOOK A GHOST!), to…well, so frightening you cry and have a panic attack and scream to get away because screw everything on so many levels just NO.
This is regarding the latter. A video was recently posted (although it was uploaded last year) about a San Diego Haunt called McKamey Manor. In it’s 14th year, creator Russ McKamey boasts that it is “The world’s only TRUE interactive 4 to 7 hours EXTREME haunt experience”.
Okay. So what’s the big deal?
Before I watched the video, I went to the Haunt’s official website. Prominent warnings stating “NO ONE UNDER 21 YRS OF AGE ADMITTED” and “RESERVATIONS ONLY”. Also noted, all participants must sign a waiver prior to taking the tour.
Following the WARNING link, I’m starting to understand what’s so “extreme” about this Haunt. Participants can be touched, grabbed, tied up, gagged, screamed at, put in coffins….to name a few things.
(this is where I write HELL NOPE on the waiver)
Let’s check out the video.
Okay. So there’s THAT. More random info:
1. There can only be 2 participants at a time, keeping the Haunt nice and personal. Lovely.
2. Standard practice re: the waiver, but if you have a heart condition/are pregnant/really old/prone to passing out in fear/a giant wimp like myself, DO NOT DO THIS.
3. Admission is FREE with the donation of 4 cans/1 bag of dog food to Operation Greyhound.
According to McKamey, the reservation list is several thousand people long. Luckily, the Manor is open year round, so if you’re ever in the area, maybe check it out. But after the following video, you might not want to.
This is of a ‘trial run” of this year’s show. Spoiler alert…these dudes don’t make it. But apparently, neither has a single person yet.
This guy’s face basically says it all:
I’m really, really not okay with being physically restrained if I want to escape something. Struggling and trying to run away can result in cuts, bruising, bleeding, etc, so if you’re very “personal space”-y, this is definitely not something you want to do. Now, THAT BEING SAID, I don’t want to get into a “consent/this is assault” debate. Participants are warned this is aggressive, and very physically and mentally demanding. McKamey and his wife even called the guy above the next day to check up on him. That’s nice, isn’t it?
Generally, if a 15 year Marine lucidly tells you “If you want to do this…DON’T”…I’m inclined to believe him. But on the other hand, there are people on the Manor’s Facebook page who loved it. So I’ll remain on the fence. Part of me will be forever curious, but in the end, you probably couldn’t pay me to do this. Underneath my totally bad-ass exterior, I’d probably have a mental breakdown and subit to laying on the floor in a ball before I even hit half an hour.
On the survivor/more positive side of the coin, here’s a girl talking about her experience who totally loved it, recommends it to any scare junkie, and answers a lot of questions people have about it. She also notes in the video comments re: the trial run video I posted, that while you do get “roughed up”, you don’t get blatantly beaten, punched, etc. Basically, results REALLY vary:
Finally, via The LA Times, we have a pretty decent play-by-play of what went on inside in 2012. It seems much tamer than now, however.
On the Manor’s YouTube channel…a lot of people are really, REALLY, against the whole idea. Since I began researching for this article, there has been a lot of controversy surrounding the Manor, its owner, and how ethical/legal/sane the experience actually is. As of right now, there are very mixed opinions, but I’m going to be personally keeping an eye on this one.
There is a pretty thin line between “horror” and “torture porn” (thanks, Saw), and comments like “Are you a sociopath?” and “I hope you assholes get shut down” make it clear that this is certainly more of the latter, and it’s quickly becoming regarded as a behemoth in the Haunt world.
A little birdie told me (on the YouTube video) that if you can convince them that you deserve to visit the Manor before everyone else, and that you can handle it, you’ll be invited ahead of the wait list.
So tell me…will you be visiting McKamey Manor?