Neighbors, county officials oppose extreme haunted house; owner - WSMV Channel 4

Neighbors, county officials oppose extreme haunted house; owner defends 'hobby'

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Russ McKamey's haunted house has drawn complaints from neighbors. (WSMV) Russ McKamey's haunted house has drawn complaints from neighbors. (WSMV)
SUMMERTOWN, TN (WSMV) -

A man claims there's a waiting list of 27,000 hoping to take part in an attraction only he can bring.

His new location is in Summertown. Neighbors claim what he's doing there is so terrifying, they can't let their kids outside.

"To me, this is the perfect place," said Russ McKamey, walking outside his new property on Stephenson Road. "This is roughly two acres, which to me is a park. Two acres is like a gold mine, my goodness gracious."

The talk in the area is what McKamey's doing with his quiet spot in the country.

"It's like the show, Fear Factor, on steroids," McKamey said.

McKamey calls his McKamey Manor locations the world's most extreme haunted house. He said it requires a doctor's note, background check and the signing of a waiver.

"We go over every single thing that might happen inside the tour," he said.

McKamey said it's all psychological.

"Is it dangerous? No," he said. "Do you panic in your mind? Absolutely. You're going to eat crazy things. You're going to have a lot of water on you."

"All you hear is people screaming," a neighbor who preferred to remain anonymous told News 4. "You're totally surrounded by residential homes. Most of them have family with kids. It's not really the case that people would have a problem with what they're doing. It's the location of where they're doing it."

"We do not want this in our town," added another neighbor. "When you drive by this place, I'm not sure what my child is going to see. If you want to live here peacefully in the country and drink your coffee on your front porch, that's fine. Just don't bring your crazy to public view."

A neighbor on Saturday told police they saw a screaming woman taken out of a car and onto the property. The incident later turned out to be staged.

"You never know what really is real," a neighbor said. "My daughter's wanting to come outside, and we can't let her because you can't subject them to hearing stuff like that."

"To me, they have a lot more serious issues here than to worry about a little haunted house," McKamey said. "They have a large drug problem here."

McKamey claimed opposition from neighbors, a commissioner and several other county officials is the result of believing the hype he created himself.

"It's not torture," he said. "What we're doing is absolutely frightening, but is it entertainment? Is that what it really is? Absolutely. This was America the last time I looked. Did I expect all the controversy? Yeah, I guess I did, because I know some folks just don't get it. Clearly, if there were anything really going on, I would've been shut down a million years ago. I'd be in jail if all the crazy, horrible things they said about us are true."

"They said, 'If you don't want to participate, you don't have to.' Well, I don't have a choice," said a neighbor. "When it's right in your face, and you have no choice to see it or hear it, that raises a lot of different concerns."

Commissioner Scott Franks said at issue is that the area is not zoned residential.

The Lawrence County sheriff said he has met with the district attorney, county executive and county attorney to discuss the concerns over McKamey Manor. McKamey said he wants to speak to the officials and has been reaching out to talk to them.

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