Online Petition Asks Tennessee Senate To Shut Down Extreme Haunted House McKamey Manor

David Farrier
David Farrier, host of Netflix's "Dark Tourist" explains beliefs behind McKamey Manor Chad Hurst/Getty

Support to shut down an extreme haunted house in Summertown, Tennessee is growing quickly after a North Carolina woman called it "a torture chamber under disguise" in an online petition demanding its closure.

Frankie Towery, who started the petition, said she regards McKamey Manor as a "kidnapping and torture house" because she said people are not permitted to immediately leave when they ask to do so. By Tuesday afternoon, more than 43,000 people signed her petition.

"They do screenings to find the weakest, most easily manipulated people to do the 'haunt' and if Russ doesn't think you're easily manipulated, you aren't allowed to go," Towery said in the petition.

According to the McKamey Manor website, participants must be medically cleared by a doctor, pass a background check, be screened via facetime or phone, sign a 40-page waiver and pass a drug test on the day of the experience.

The website also states that every experience is different than the next and could last up to 10 hours. Although participants are offered $20,000 if they complete the experience, owner Russ McKamey has told the media that no one has made it the entire way through.

Participants are also required to watch a two-hour video prior to the experience which compiles attempts by all contestants from 2017 to 2019. Because no one has fully completed the experience, the video is a compilation of people saying, "You really don't want to do this."

According to the haunted house's website, participants can choose to drop out of the experience at any time.

Towery does not agree. "Previously no safe word was allowed, he [Russ] changed that but there's been reports that the torture continues even when people repeat their safe word for several minutes."

Towery also takes note of McKamey Manor's "free" entry—all McKamey accepts is a bag of dog food. "People don't pay money to get in, which is technically the loophole – they're "doing it for fun" (and it's not fun after about 10 minutes of getting duct tape wrapped around your head, forced to eat things, be waterboarded and forced underwater," she wrote.

McKamey Manor was featured on Netflix's "Haunters: Art of the Scare" and on an episode of "Dark Tourist." Newsweek reached out to David Farrier, host of "Dark Tourist" who detailed the different beliefs surrounding McKamey Manor and how McKamey has used his "media savviness" to make the manor more popular.

"Everything about that place is built to trigger intrigue. It's a house of mirrors, in that it is not all as it seems, and it's all about his 'sell'," Farrier said. "The myth he's built up behind it – payment in dog food, the thousands on the waiting list – it's all part of the myth. The waiver, too, and the waiver is part of the haunt in that it's built to shock."

Farrier also detailed the fact that petitions such as the one to end McKamey manor somewhat help grow the fear around it. "There are Facebook pages set up around ending the manor and stopping Russ," he said. "And that just plays into Russ' myth building."