Shut down McKamey Manor


Sydney Kinzy

Haunted house photo illustration

Imagine being thrown into the back of a van, blindfolded and taken to a place where you are force fed weird substances. You might think this is some sort of torture, and it is not that far off. The haunted house McKamey Manor has been called “legal torture” by newspapers such as the Inquisitr who have gone through the mansion.

When McKamey Manor tried to move into a small Illinois town just two miles from St. Louis, people gathered outside the building in protest. Some prayed in front of it, and others threw bricks through the windows in attempt to destroy it. After the destruction, its owner Russ McKamey decided to move it away from St. Louis.

What could go down in the mansion that causes so much hatred?

The regular tour of McKamey Manor is seven to eight hours of suffering. At the beginning of the tour, victims are kidnapped, blindfolded and thrown into the back of a van to be taken to the actual manor. Once there, people are are force fed and dunked into water repeatedly as they are led through the experience.

Not only is it a torturous experience, but McKamey refuses to release full-videos of what happens in the mansion. He claims that it would be ruining the fun. Whenever reporters go into the mansion, McKamey gives them what he calls “sissy tours,” or less rough versions of the regular tour. Should not people have the right to know what they are signing up for? To know exactly what torture they would be going through?

The only way that McKamey gets away with this legally is his waiver, which people sign beforehand. But just because there is a waiver does not mean McKamey should be able to do whatever he wants to people. And most importantly, people should be able to have the right to make the actors stop.

The waiver even states, “there is no turning back, no quitting, [visitors] will not be removed under any circumstances. [Visitors] accept this challenge freely and without being under any type of distress.”

This means at McKamey Manor, there is no safeword. Regular haunted houses have a safeword participants yell that tell the actors that you need to leave. It makes sure that the guests are having fun and not suffering through the experience.

Visitors should have the right to leave any time they want, especially if people are putting them through such emotional torture.  Surely this is not ethical.

To the actors, this is just a job. Harassing people like that should not be legal in the workplace, even when there is a waiver for it. It even violates the idea of basic human rights that you are taught from a very young age – never hurt other people.

And McKamey Manor is not the only haunted house bordering the line between legality. In New York’s haunted house called Blackout, actors are naked and sexually harass visitors.

Haunted houses are supposed to be a fun experience: People with chainsaws jumping out at you and scaring you, zombies crawling out of the shadows. Nobody is supposed to get hurt. Nobody is supposed to be crying and begging to leave. And if they do beg to leave, they should be able to leave in the middle of the tour.

There is a fine line between having fun and being attacked. Having fun means you are laughing after you are scared. But many leaving McKamey Manor are crying and begging it to stop.

“I love scaring folks,” McKamey said in an interview with NPR. “Once you scare somebody, the first time – your first boo – that’s addicting. Now ramp it up about a 1,000 percent and put people in genuine panic mode, you know, sounds mean, but, you know they’re OK.”

Sure, your visitors are okay. You are only forced to put your head into a cage full of snakes and force fed rotten eggs. That is completely humane, right?

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the Parkway School District.