McKamey Manor, The Tennessee Haunted House Accused Of Being A Torture Chamber, Files Lawsuits Against Hulu & The TN Attorney General

McKamey Manor

America’s most notorious haunted house is back in the headlines – and we’re still months away from Halloween.

It seems like it’s usually not until the fall that we start to hear stories about McKamey Manor.

What is McKamey Manor? The twisted brainchild of Navy vet Russ McKamey, it is likely the scariest haunted house on planet Earth. Located in in Summertown, Tennessee and Huntsville, Alabama, this place is scary enough to not only possibly hurt you physically, but maybe even send you to the psych ward. And last fall, it was the subject of a Hulu documentary called Monster Inside: America’s Most Extreme Haunted House.

The synopsis of the documentary read:

“Russ McKamey is the creator of the world’s “most extreme haunted house” – McKamey Manor. He is also a manipulative abuser, according to three people who realize the horror is never over once you decide to enter the Manor.”

The documentary follows a few stories from people who visited the “haunted house,”  with the film’s ultimate goal being to get McKamey Manor shut down.

However, despite the previous attempts to get it shut down, and the new Hulu documentary, there’s no shortage of people willing to try it. It’s garnered quite the cult following and even has an extensive interview process to get in.

Why? Well, take a look at some requirements that you need to pass the screening process:

– they make you sign a 40 – FORTY! – page waiver.

– you must be 21 and above, or 18-20 with parents approval.

– you must get a “Sports Physical” and doctor’s letter stating you are physically and mentally cleared.

– pass a background check.

– pass a screening via Facebook, FaceTime or phone.

– have proof of medical insurance.

– and finally, pass a portable drug test on the day of the “tour.”

Once you schedule your trauma-inducing experience, you’ll partake in the horror fest that takes over 10 hours… and maybe even longer. Who really knows if there is an end. IF you complete the journey (and follow the rules they lay out such as no cursing, drinking, smoking, running, eating, or touching the actors or props), you can win $20,000.

However, fair warning… NOBODY has ever finished.

According to Nashville Scene, the house can shave your head or eyebrows, inject you with hallucinogens, make you eat bugs, snap you with a mousetrap, wrap plastic wrap around your face, whip you, taze you, bury you alive… and that’s just the beginning. It has been dubbed by some as a real life torture chamber.

So while some claim they were scarred for life by the experience, others have tried to complete the challenge more than once. And since Russ films the entire encounter, there is tons of footage available detailing what you can expect.

However, some participants have claimed they left with broken bones, bruises, were waterboarded and that founder Russ McKamey and company don’t adhere to the proposed safe word in a timely fashion.

And after the release of the documentary, the Tennessee Attorney General announced he was opening an investigation into the twisted attraction.

Jonathan Skrmetti announced on Halloween of last year – which I’m sure was just a coincidence – that his office sent a letter to McKamey Manor raising concerns about the business practices of the popular attraction.

The letter from the AG, which was obtained by The Tennessean, expresses “serious concerns” about McKamey’s practice of not honoring participants wishes to stop during the tour, as evidenced by the owner’s comments in the Hulu documentary:

“We’re known for no quitting and no safe wording.”

And the letter, written by Assistant Attorney General Kristine Knowles, also called into question the practice of not allowing participants to review the required 40-page waiver describing the risks involved with the experience in advance of showing up for the tour:

“Former participants describe the adrenaline and pressure they felt when reviewing the waiver at the start of the tour. One interviewee from the Hulu documentary stated, “I had too much excitement going through my veins at the time.’ If [the waiver] would have said that a man is going to come out of the woods and murder you during this event, I would’ve have signed it.”

But now McKamey is fighting back.

Recently, the owner of the haunted attraction filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Attorney General, asking the court to issue an order to ensure that McKamey wouldn’t have to testify in the state’s investigation.

McKamey met with investigators with the AG’s office earlier this month and invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to testify. And in the lawsuit, he argues that his testimony could be used against him in criminal proceedings, arguing that the investigation is politically motivated.

McKamey’s attorney issued a statement on the lawsuit:

“It’s goal is simply to prohibit further violations of and retaliations against Mr. McKamey’s First, Fourth, and Fifth Amendment rights, which, it should be said, have existed in this country for longer than the State of Tennessee itself,”

But that’s not the only lawsuit McKamey has filed to try to protect his name and business. Earlier this week, McKamey also filed a complaint against Hulu and one of the participants in the documentary, claiming that the documentary and the former visitor to the haunted house invaded his privacy and a violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The participant in the documentary, Justin Yerace, had previously taken part in the McKamey Manor experience. Afterward, he started a Facebook group called McKamey Manor Exposed, and admitted in the documentary that he obtained McKamey’s emails by requesting the password to McKamey’s account. The emails were then included in the documentary.

In the lawsuit, McKamey is requesting a jury trial and $8.4 million in damages from Yerace, Hulu and the production company behind the documentary, with his attorney blasting Hulu for including the personal emails in the film:

“It’s bad enough that Mr. McKamey’s email account was hacked and his most personal emails published on the internet by an individual with some sort of grudge, but it is beyond comprehension how sophisticated parties like Hulu and North of Now could possibly think that publishing those same hacked emails to over 48 million people was lawful. Imagine that happening to you

Hulu and North of Now also somehow thought they could feature Mr. McKamey in a central role in their movie without his permission. My best guess is they thought Mr. McKamey would not do anything about it, which was a mistake.” 

I guess we’ll have to wait and see whether all this affects the haunted house’s 2024 season, or if the legal issues are finally able to shut down McKamey Manor once and for all.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock