Should the Tennessee Haunted Manor Be Shut Down?


Zoe Zou

The Tennessee haunted manor, also known as McKamey Manor, located in Summertown, Alabama, has gained popularity for the extremely haunted and torturous acts that occur there. Russ McKamey, the founder of the manor, describes his attraction as just “smoke and mirrors.” Hundreds of people have tried to reserve a tour or ticket for the manor, but unfortunately for them, the waiting list is extensive.

In order to reserve a tour or get into the manor, participants must obtain a sports physical and doctor’s letter stating they are physically and mentally cleared to partake in the events, have a safe word, be 21 or older or 18-20 with a  parent’s approval, pass a background check, be screened by FB facetime or phone, have proof of medical insurance, sign a detailed 40-page waiver, and pass a portable drug test on the day of the tour. All the requirements are displayed on the manor’s website.

The website warns of physically demanding environments. The waiver states that participants, once signing, have agreed to be shocked, submerged in water, slapped or hit, tied up, shaved, or even have unwanted dental work. One person at a time is allowed on tour. The admission is a large bag of dog food or $40.

If a participant makes it through the 10 hours of the tour, he/she will be given around $20,000. So far, no one has been able to survive the full 10 hours without quitting. “Who would want to get tortured for $20,000? It is not logical,” Johnny Lu, a sophomore, commented. On the contrary, Julio Torres stated, “I would do it; money is money.” The website features movies produced by the McKamey family. One of the movies the McKamey family has produced shows a complete experience of the tour and contestants quitting from around July 2018 to August 2019. To enter the manor, Russ requires all the participants to watch the hour and forty-eight-minute movie for legal purposes; they will also be tested in order to make sure they have watched the whole movie.

Some of the contestants shown in the movie are shown being buried alive in a brown, moist substance. One of the contestants being buried alive was shown begging to get out. The contestant whimpered, “I cannot breathe,” to which Russ replied, “That is not my problem.” The contestant responded, “Please, get me out.” The contestant was forced to quit due to lack of oxygen. Another contestant named Jeffy, whose last name was not stated, was offered $10,000 to come back and finish the second part of the manor but refused several times. Jamie Tuck, a participant, was featured moaning, blindfolded, and hallucinating in the movie. On a social media post, Tuck stated, “…At one point, my body was pushed so hard I had hallucinations, and that is not easy to do.” Tuck’s review was overall positive. Other contestants were shown being put through other gruesome acts, such as being tied/strapped down to metal tables with snakes, having clothespins attached to their face, and being bruised, shivering, and bleeding. To quit the experience, contestants are forced to say “McKamey Manor kicked my butt, stole my milk money, and ate my lunch.” They are also shown in the film detailing why people should not come and partake in the manor. “This is a ridiculous idea and must have been created by some people with serious mental issues,” Andrew Director, a sophomore, stated. Russ encourages the people interested in his manor to watch Mind Over Manor, Pro Hunter, and Netflix’s Back in the U.S.A.

Recently, Russ has gotten backlash for his supposed torture chamber. Frankie Towery has started a petition to close down McKamey Manor permanently. Over a 100,000 people have signed the petition. The movement is called “Shutdown McKamey Manor.” Towery and others claim the manor is a torture chamber in disguise. They have also claimed that Russ sells physiological torture as fun. Towery has stated on his petition’s website that “there have been reports of sexual assault at the manor. There are reports that he hires workers with violent histories and sex offenders. There are reports that he uses needles to inject people with drugs, forces them to ingest pills/questionable items to force hallucinations.” In addition to these claims, Russ was featured in his movie, stating, “This is so much fun,” while a contestant was begging to quit the manor.

According to International Business Times’ website (, Russ said, “They are not getting hurt. I use a lot of hypnosis, a lot of mind control techniques. If you can hypnotize people, you can make them think about whatever you want. I do not need to rough anyone up. ” Referring to the participants, he also added, “Hypnosis is a powerful tool. I can put somebody in a pool with three inches of water and tell them there is a great white shark, and they are going to believe they are swimming (in the ocean) with a great white shark.”