scary entrance to haunted building
Thomas Nelson
Thomas Nelson
February 17, 2023 ·  4 min read

Are You Brave Enough to go through the World’s Scariest Haunted House for A $20,000 Reward?

$20,000 sounds like a charm, but I’ll pass. What use is a nice sum sitting in the bank while half my sanity has been taken away forever? The McKamey Manor has been named the world’s scariest haunted house many times over, and in my opinion, it deserves the title. While the scares in most haunted houses are usually predictable and easy to get used to after a while, the McKamey manor is so terrifying that visitors must sign a 40-page waiver before being let in. 

customer of McKamey Manor screaming as a masked actor presses their face against his
Image Credit: McKamey Manor

With sites located in Nashville, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama, the manor is owned by U.S Navy veteran Russ McKamey who is also a theatre study major. He recently launched the Desolation show where participants visit the house and attempt to withstand its extreme horrors and torturous mind games for a $20,000 USD cash prize [1].

If you can provide a doctor’s note showing that you’re in perfect medical condition and pass a drug test that day, you stand a chance of getting into the house to contest for the grand prize – that’s if you can complete the entire challenge. Participants must be 21 years or older, or for people between the ages of 18 and 20, have parental consent.  

The Manor will have you blindfolded, feed you solid fear and bathe you in liquid terror – literally. The spiders and roaches that would crawl all over you would be more realistic than you’ve ever imagined, and when they play Drown, they are not exactly playing. They’ll lock you in a freezer and drench you in fake blood, but that’s just the easy stuff. 

Rules of the haunted house

McKamey claims that as of 2015, there have been more than 27,000 people on the waiting list, vying to get into the house to contest for the money [2]. The Manor has been in operation for 20 years now, with the first location in San Diego, California. Children were formerly allowed to visit the house but they had to be cut off when the challenge became more realistic and aggressive. 

For starters, every visitor has to create a safe word, and you’ll remain in the 10-hour torture ride until you scream the word. According to McKamey, no one has ever completed the entire thing. There’s no wonder why. 

customer of McKamey Manor with fake blood being squirt in his face
Image Credit: McKamey Manor

Actors will scream at you and launch false but rather creepy attacks, and you’re not allowed to touch them or fight back. You have to endure their antics as part of the house rules. Also, no matter how startled you are, you’re not allowed to use foul language while in the house. You’ll also be required to watch a horrifying two-hour “orientation” video titled And Then There Were None. It’s a compilation of all the people who have flunked the challenge (which is everyone who’s ever tried) with a voice intermittently echoing “You really don’t want to do this.”

Their promo video is so disturbing, we chose not to post it on the site. You can check it out on youtube…If you dare!

People can be seen screaming their lungs out and begging to be let out barely 10 minutes into the challenge. 

Nobody’s even made it to the starting clock with this new show,” McKamey said to WGNTV [3]. “With the new mental game, it’s much more difficult. And because of that, no one’s even started the clock.

Are you the ultimate adrenaline junkie? 

McKamey says he spent over a million dollars getting the house set up. All year long there’s a tour every week and there’s every promise of the deepest horrors that will “shake you to your core.”

If you’re willing to go down the road to destruction, the entry fee is just a bag of food for McKamey’s five dogs.

customer of McKamey Manor interacting with an actor portraying a zombie
Image Credit: McKamey Manor

According to The Guardian, there were complaints from people who said the manor’s tricks were far too extreme for the human mind, but McKamey followed it up by providing tapes of everyone who ever went into the house [4]. Apparently, the scares didn’t cross the so-called extreme lines and were still within the confines of the law. According to McKamey, his manor props are inspired by all the horror movies he’s ever watched.

I’m a very straight-laced conservative guy, but here I run this crazy haunted house that people think is this torture factory, fetish factory,” he said. All of these things that it’s not, but people believe that based upon the films that I have made.”

The McKamey Manor has been featured both in an episode of David Farrier’s Netflix series Dark Tourist and Netflix’s documentary Haunters.

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  1. Haunted House Is So Scary You Need A Doctor’s Note To Enter.” Lad Bible. Claire Reid. October 24, 2019.
  2. Thrill-seekers could win $20K if they finish terrifying haunted house — but not one has yet.” Global News. Meaghan Rhay. October 24, 2019.
  3. This extreme torture-horror haunted house pays $20K if you finish it – but nobody ever has. Fast Company. Joe Berkowitz. October 23, 2019.
  4. Extreme haunted house: inside the real-life kingdom of masochists.” The Guardian. Rory Carrol and Mae Ryan. October 30, 2015.
  5. Official Website.” McKamey Manor. Retrieved October 24, 2019.

    This article originally appeared on The Hearty Soul and has been published here with permission.