Industry Experts Say McKamey Manor Is NOT A Haunted House!
With another Halloween season come the news articles on traditional media and social media about that ‘extreme haunted house’ that requires a 40 page waiver and offers a huge cash prize to anyone who can make it through. Members of the Haunted Attraction Association, the only official association of the haunted house industry, are tired of seeing this consensual torture experience described as a ‘haunted house’.
“Responsible haunted attraction operators are dedicated to providing visitors with an experience focused equally on providing a good scare as on providing a fun, safe environment for guests.” Said Brett Molitor, President of the Haunted Attractions Association and owner of Hysterium Haunted Asylum as well as Haunted Hotel 13th Floor — both located in Indiana.
“McKamey Manor is more or less the antithesis of everything we try to put forward with our haunted attraction. The average consumer needs to understand that nothing described in those articles bears any resemblance to what they can expect at a modern haunted house. While it’s all about the scares, it’s also about the safety of our guests and recognizing boundaries” said Brett Hays.
Hays is the operator of Fear Fair, a haunted house in its 19th season and former President of the Haunted Attraction Association.“ The intensive media attention received by McKamey Manor in recent years is very harmful to our industry”, Hays continued “The average person who might be considering attending their first haunted attraction sees those articles and may be deterred from beginning a fun annual tradition. At the same time, those who might be seeking that sort of intense experience may come to expect something like that from their local haunted house. I truthfully am not sure of the appropriate term to describe McKamey Manor; endurance test, extreme horror tour, torture tour, a number of things come to mind. One thing it certainly is NOT, is a haunted house.”
According the the events Wikipedia, McKamey Manor is as a “torture house” not a haunted house. McKamey Manor was founded in San Diego by resident Russ McKamey and was originally located on his property. It is known for its simulated aggression towards its guests, who must sign a liability waiver to get in. Employees of the Manor may physically assault patrons, hit them with vibrating toys, waterboard them, force them to eat and drink unknown substances, have them bound and gagged, or engage in other forms of emotional, physical, and psychological torture. The event now takes place at McKamey’s residential properties in Alabama and Tennessee. What it boils down to is peoples kids are being abused by this guy and it needs to stop. One journalist, Tara West, mentions that in the communities where it occurs, the residents question how the attraction stays legal, even with a waiver.
Given the history of McKamey Manor, and after watching the trailers, one has to wonder if this place is really safe — and according to industry experts, it is not a haunted house and safety is a major concern as it takes place at a residential home. There have been reports of a heart attack and other injuries at the event.
The Haunted Attraction Association’s mission is to Protect, Promote, and Educate the haunted attraction industry.
The Certified Haunted Attraction Operator Safety (C.H.A.O.S.) Program is the Haunted Attraction Association (HAA)’s safety course that is recommended to anyone running a haunted attraction. Each year, HAA offers safety classes haunt industry professionals can attend to fulfill their requirement for certification.
Individuals must complete eight hours in order to receive their certification. Once they have completed the eight hours, they will receive a certificate that can be used to show their fire marshal, insurance carrier, and local authority their desire to run a safe haunted attraction. Producers of McKamey Manor have not completed this course.
The Haunted Attraction Association maintains a list of the top haunted attractions in the US. These attractions all meet standards for safety and show quality. “You will note that Russ McKamey’s event, whatever it is, does not appear anywhere on the HAA Top Haunts List“, said Hays.
Brett Molitor added, “McKamey Manor is not a member of the Haunted Attraction Association and is not qualified for membership.”
The HAA offered the following links:
2019 HAA Top Haunt List
HAA Safety Tips
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