Haunted house offers $20,000 to anyone who can finish it, but does it take fright too far?

As Halloween approaches, many people are looking to get their share of the scare by attending spooky attractions and harmless haunted houses.

But when do haunted houses take scaring people too far? Recently, one haunted house visitor in Fremont, Ohio, Haley Jones, was left unnerved when an actor at Haunted Hydro drew on her face with a Sharpie and rubbed a spit-covered toy on her face.

Besides unwanted physical contact, plot lines can also cross a line, such as the recent experience at Nightmare Vermont, which opened with an allusion to a school shooting. It included an actor named “Jake,” a student pulling a gun from a locker, and a mention of Fair Haven Union High School. The plot was similar to a terrifying real-life incident that occurred in 2018 when Jack Sawyer was arrested for allegedly planning to bring a firearm to Fair Haven Union High School and commit mass harm.

Brooke Olsen-Farrell, Slate Valley Unified Union School District superintendent, complained about the scene, which has since been removed from the show. Olsen-Farrell tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the incident “had a lasting impact on the community,” and that the “plot line surrounding Nightmare Vermont has been a disappointing setback in the healing process for our community.”

Frank T. McAndrew, a social psychologist and the Cornelia H. Dudley Professor of Psychology at Knox College, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that, while the Nightmare Vermont plot is in poor taste, he does not expect such a storyline — or the physical interaction that Jones experienced — to lead to lingering trauma, especially since participants visited the haunted house willingly.

But is that the same case with the infamous McKamey Manor?

Some extreme thrill-seekers have found themselves signing a 40-page contract to (hopefully) experience 10 hours of psychological torture in order to win $20,000. However, not a single visitor of McKamey Manor in Summertown, Tenn., has completed the tour without calling it quits with the required safe word. In fact, some online communities question whether the prize money even really exists, or if McKamey Manor is just banking on torturing people to the breaking point every time.

Russ McKamey, the owner and operator of McKamey Manor, describes himself as a “happy-go-lucky kind of guy.” He’s charming and affable, but he also runs what is widely considered the world’s scariest haunted house, where survivors are chained, buried alive, or are forced to face other types of torture in the “survival horror” haunt.

“The big misconception about me is I’m this crazy, psycho guy when in reality I’m a super conservative guy,” McKamey tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Never been drunk in my life, never had a cigarette in my entire life, never had a cup of coffee even. I don’t even cuss.”

If a survivor does use profanity inside the attraction, which would be hard even for a nun to avoid if she were upside down in a cage surrounded by moray eels — an experience at McKamey Manor — then $500 would be deducted from their theoretically potential prize of $20,000.

According to McKamey, the Manor has been around, in one form or another, for 40 years, but he estimates it wasn’t until around 2010 that it really started to take off when he opened the extreme haunt on his San Diego property. Eventually, the attraction moved to Summertown, Tenn.

“It didn’t matter if I was in the Navy on ships or in a one-bedroom apartment, I was always building a haunt someplace,” McKamey says. “It escalated to all this craziness. It progressed to what it is now.”

McKamey estimates he has put more than a million dollars into the Manor — and to visit, people only have to pay by bringing a bag of dog food, given to his five rescue dogs or the local shelter.

“I’m not a very good businessman,” McKamey jokes.

But getting the chance to complete the haunt and come out $20,000 richer is not easy. McKamey estimates over 27,000 people are currently on the waiting list, with the number growing as the attraction gains in popularity. There aren’t that many chances to experience the show, as McKamey puts on just one show each week due to the “demanding” nature of the performance.

The vetting process is also incredibly intense, according to McKamey.

Along with completing a sports physical, providing a doctor’s letter stating you are physically and mentally cleared, proving you have medical insurance, and passing a drug test on the day of the show, a contestant must pass a background check.

“There’s a lot of knuckleheads out there. I need people who have good common sense… people that know that this is a game and it’s not worth getting hurt over,” McKamey tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Soon as you start offering money, then all the knuckleheads come out. They think, ‘Oh, this is my chance, I’m going to win $20,000.’ No, you’re not.”

Part of the screening process of participants includes a detailed report on potential visitors. Beyond the participant being interviewed about their lives, fears, and phobias, McKamey contacts their family members and friends.

“They’re all willing to rat them out. Then you just customize it from there. It’s a piece of cake from that point,” McKamey explains.

Also prior to participating, contestants must sign a 40-page waiver, which, according to a leaked portion of the alleged waiver, includes agreeing that the tour “may include the use of hypodermic needles, zappers, Tasers, or dog shock collars” that a “nail may pierce their hand,” or “be smashed with tools,” or that the “nails may be removed from their nail beds.” Participants who sign the contract even agree to possibly receive a tattoo, and that they may “have a tooth extracted without Novocain.”

“Nobody is ever going to win a penny, because the Manor is always going to win,” McKamey says, adding that at least 10,000 people have tried and failed to complete the tour. “Some people just don’t understand that.”

Yet, people continue to consent to what some online critics call “legal torture.”

Although questionable, everything that occurs at McKamey Manor is legal, according to Tennessee’s district attorney general, Brent A. Cooper.

“It’s legal because basically the people that are subjecting themselves to the McKamey program, or whatever you want to call it — they’re doing so voluntarily,” Cooper, who did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment, told the Nashville Scene.

However, Cooper added: “Tennessee is a state where you can withdraw your consent at any time. Even though someone may sign a really long consent form, if they ever indicate that they’re withdrawing consent, [McKamey] should take that seriously. Because if the person really has withdrawn consent, and [you] continue to confine the person against their will, then you’re actually committing a crime.”

But this certainly raises the question of where a line should be drawn.

McKamey films and shares every show in a private Facebook group, in which McKamey or a volunteer vets members before being accepted. The videos are for both viewers online and to protect himself in court should a participant say something happened that did not occur.

The graphic videos are difficult to watch. In one nearly two-hour-long movie, which McKamey requires all visitors to view, contestants from July 2017 to August 2019 are filmed quitting the show and uttering the required phrase, “You really don’t want to do this.” One contestant, appearing utterly terrified, says the words as wet mud is poured over him as he is being “buried alive.” However, unedited shows are solely released in the private group.

The experience itself is extremely toll-taking, according to McKamey.

“You’re going to be inside an incinerator where there’s fire surrounding you. If you breathe, you’re going to burn your lungs — you could actually die,” McKamey says.

He adds that contestants could be raised 150 feet in the air on the “Manorhorn,” and that they may need to traverse a 200-yard, underwater haunted house, with Ralphie — a caiman, which he describes as a smaller alligator with razor-sharp teeth, who likes to bite. Ralphie is accompanied by snapping turtles and water moccasins, a type of venomous snake.

“[The water moccasins,] they’re the least of your worries. They don’t go after you, but the turtles, Ralphie, they will,” McKamey says.

McKamey, who has a fear of bugs, spiders, snakes, and small spaces, admits that this may be his way of working through his fears, but he’s glad when contestants, who are allowed to opt-out of two things written in the contract, choose to avoid the “creepy crawlies.”

“I may have built the haunt around my fears,” McKamey says. “All the things I don’t like, you’re going to find inside. All the things that scare me, you’re going to have to deal with yourself.”

What lasting effect could this incredibly physical experience do to a person? According to McAndrew, so long as the safe word is respected, possibly not much.

“The fact that they have a ‘safe word’ that gives them a way out,” McAndrew tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “It lets them know that they can escape at any time, which would take away some of the most extreme terror that might be experienced under these circumstances.”

He adds: “Since people know they are signing up for a pretty intense experience, and since they have the option of bailing out at any time, I would not expect most of the participants to experience any serious, lingering trauma. People who would be most vulnerable to this would not sign up for such a thing in the first place. The trauma would come from being subjected to this without having any control, and not knowing whether you will live or die.”

However, some past participants disagree.

In 2015, Amy Milligan said that her experience at the Manor’s San Diego location, which has since been closed, was traumatic. Milligan claims that she was waterboarded and begged to be let go. She said she thought she was going to die. McKamey refuted Milligan’s claims. Yahoo Lifestyle was unable to locate Milligan for comment.

In 2016, Laura Hertz Brotherton, who declined to comment to Yahoo Lifestyle, voiced a similar story.

“I was waterboarded, I was Tased, I was whipped,” she told the Nashville Scene. “I still have scars of everything they did to me. I was repeatedly hit in my face, over and over and over again. Like, open-handed, as hard as a man could hit a woman in her face.”

Brotherton went on to claim that she was blindfolded with duct tape and held underwater by her ankles for so long her body started to thrash involuntarily. According to Brotherton, she repeated the safe word for several minutes before the torture ended.

Others walk away feeling that it was precisely the experience they signed up for.

Jay Jahner said that his visit to the Manor was a “blast.”

“[McKamey] only brought what I asked for… He offers true fear and delivers,” Jahner wrote on Facebook. “I had an absolute blast being pushed as far as I was.”

Brian VanOver, who took the tour in 2018, left McKamey Manor feeling the same way.

“I had a great time yesterday… It was a blast,” VanOver said. “It’s like they say: You really don’t want to do this. That’s actually really accurate, and it makes sense now. But I’ll definitely be returning to take a second tour. The matter is when.”

Jahner and VanOver did not respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s requests for comment.

Many critics continue to voice their concerns regarding McKamey Manor. Change.org petitions have been started, calling for the shut down of the attraction, and YouTube viewers regularly leave comments describing McKamey as sadistic and questioning the safety of the Manor. A recent petition, started by Frankie Towery, calls for the closing of the Manor, describing it as “a torture chamber under disguise.” The petition was started three days ago and already has more than 45,000 signatures.

To the very vocal critics, McKamey says, “Take the tour.”

“The reality is that it is all a game; it’s not real life,” he says. “It is real what you’re doing, but everyone is perfectly safe. People are monitored. No one is being held against their will. You have a safe phrase, so if you want out, all you have to say is, ‘I quit!’ It’s all over. We have multiple people coming back because it’s a fun experience.”

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Tales of Rock: Iconic Jefferson Airplane and Starship singer Grace Slick celebrates her 80th birthday today

Feed this into your head: Grace Slick celebrates her 80th birthday today.

As a member of Jefferson Airplane , the powerhouse singer established herself as one of the iconic voices of the Woodstock era, then found continued success with the more mainstream-rock-oriented spinoff groups Jefferson Starship and Starship .

Prior to joining Jefferson Airplane, Slick sang with another Bay Area band, The Great Society . She replaced the Airplane’s original female vocalist Signe Anderson in late 1966 in time to record the group’s breakthrough second album, 1967’s Surrealistic Pillow . Slick brought two Great Society songs with her — “Somebody to Love,” written by the band’s lead guitarist and Grace’s then-brother-in-law, Darby Slick , and the self-penned “White Rabbit.”

The songs peaked at #5 and #8, respectively, on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Airplane’s biggest hits. The band emerged as one of the leading psychedelic acts in the U.S. and performed at the historic 1967 Monterey Pop and 1969 Woodstock festivals. In 1971, Slick and band mate Paul Kantner had a daughter, China Kantner .

After Airplane’s 1972 breakup, Grace and Paul formed Jefferson Starship. Jefferson Airplane co-founder Marty Balin soon joined the group, scoring hits such as “Miracles,” Count on Me,” “With Your Love” and “Runaway.”

Slick and Balin left the band in 1978, but Grace rejoined in 1981. After Kantner quit Jefferson Starship in 1984, the group changed its name to Starship and proceeded to score three #1 hits — “We Built This City,” “Sara” and “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Grace took part in a Jefferson Airplane reunion album and tour in 1989 but retired from music after the trek ended. Since then, she’s focused on painting.

Slick was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Jefferson Airplane in 1996.

 

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The One Type of Jealousy That’s Actually Good for Your Relationship

All men have a green-eyed monster that lives deep inside us. Some of us are able to keep it at bay, where others let it roam freely, constantly jealous of our romantic partners.

Well, it turns out there are a few different types of jealousy, and they all impact a romantic relationship differently. In the past two decades, research has broken down jealousy into three distinct categories: anxious, preventative, and reactive. A team of Canadian researchers recently explored how these different types of jealousies impact the likelihood of staying with a partner—or what the scientific community calls “mate retention.” They published their study in Personal Relationships this past December.

Head’s up: It’s important to note that increased mate retention only means a greater likelihood of two people remaining romantic partners. Abusive behavior can be an effective form of mate retention, despite being a cruel and harmful act. That’s why I reached out directly to the research team to see if any of the acts of jealousy not only increased mate retention, but also contributed to a healthy and fulfilling relationship for both partners.

Turns out, one specific type of jealousy did, but only for one gender.

This goes against what many modern researchers, therapists, and couple counselors believe. Often, all types of jealousies are thought as destructive behaviors. As Lesli Doares, a couples consultant and coach, told Men’s Health, “Quite frankly, jealousy is never beneficial for a healthy relationship. By definition, jealousy is about one person’s insecurities that they project onto others. It is really all just a form of anxiety, be it anxious, preventative or reactive, over not being able to control another person or situation.”

She continued, “It is a way to manipulate things by making things unpleasant for the other person. It can be presented about loving the other person ‘so much,’ but actually is about not letting that person be themselves. They have to modify their behavior to pacify the jealousy.”

Before we go further, let’s break down the 3 types of jealousy.

The simplest way to differentiate them is by categorizing each through time.

• Anxious jealousy is more future-oriented. It relates to how concerned you would be if your partner became sexually and/or romantically attracted to someone outside of the relationship.

• Preventive jealousy is more in the present. It addresses things like how possessive you are of your partner and how unacceptable you think it is for them to have “wandering eyes.”

• Reactive jealousy is more reflective, like asking how upset you would feel if your partner flirted or kissed someone else.

Another way to distinguish between the three jealousies is through the psychological process. “Anxious jealousy is more cognitive and involves a consideration of thought processes, whereas preventive jealousy is more behavioral in nature,” explains the paper’s lead researcher, Adam Davis. “In contrast, reactive jealousy is more emotional and gets at levels of distress involved with hypothetical instances of infidelity.”

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Jealousy, regardless of type, can cause either “cost-inflicting” or “benefit-provisioning” behaviors.

Simply put, these behaviors describe the things we do to protect our romantic relationship.

Cost-inflicting behavior involves riskier and negative acts, like threatening a rival with aggression, purposely making our partners jealous by flirting with someone else, or preventing a partner from going to parties to monopolize their time and affection. In contrast, benefit-provisioning behavior is healthier and more positive. It involves giving our partners compliments, buying them gifts, taking them out to restaurants, and performing sexual favors for them.

In their study, Davis and his team sampled 144 heterosexual participants who reported being in a committed romantic relationship at the time of the study. Using an already verified jealousy scale that breaks down the three jealousies by categories, the research team was able to see how high each participant ranked on all three types of jealousy. They then used the 38-item Mate Retention Inventory Questionnaire to see which type of jealousy correlated with engaging in either negative cost-inflicting or positive benefit-provisioning behavior.

So which type of jealousy is GOOD for a relationship?

Three interesting results emerged from the study. The first is that for women, but not men, reactive jealousy correlates with benefit-provisioning behavior. Women who experience higher levels of reactive jealousy tended to both reassure their partners of their commitment and give them compliments.

“This kind of jealousy for women, therefore, can be beneficial for the health and longevity of their romantic relationships,” Davis says.

MoMo Productions

His results support previous research, which found that reactive jealousy has been positively linked to high relationship satisfaction in quality, likely due to the fact that these women employ benefit-provisioning behaviors.

The second major finding was that anxious jealousy predicted both cost-inflicting and benefit-provisioning behavior. “Therefore, this kind of jealousy seems to be a bit of a ‘mixed bag’ when it comes to healthy and unhealthy mate retention behavior,” Adam explains.

Last but not least, “We also show that feelings in line with preventive jealousy are linked to [cost-inflicting] negative and unhealthy behavior for both women and men, such as emotionally manipulating our partners and trying to control where they go and who they are able to associate with.”

“It may seem odd to think of [certain types of] romantic jealousy as positive and healthy for a relationship,” Davis concludes. “Nonetheless, jealousy can signal very honestly to our partner(s) that we care about and value our relationship.”

It’s all about how we process and express our jealousy. If we attempt to control our partner through means of fear, intimidation, and anger, then it is absolutely not healthy. But, if we instead use jealousy positively—illustrating with love, reassurance, and compliments how much we care for them—it can potentially lead to both a long and healthy relationship.

 

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The Ten Changes Every Man Should Make After the Age of 60

1. What is the best way for men over 60 to exercise?

First, it depends on how active you are and how active you want to be. If you are just starting out, you may want to get a medical consult first. The American College Of Sports Medicine recommends 30 minutes of moderate physical activity “most” days of the week. With school, work and kids, I could only manage to exercise for about one hour three to four days a week for most of my adult life. However, in 2010 I cut my work hours back to only 20 hours a week of dentistry to make time for charity work and entrepreneurial endeavors. As a result, I am now able to exercise daily for 60 minutes and have been doing this for the last ten years. I can honestly say I am in better shape today than I was in my twenties because I have the time, knowledge and diet to maximise my results.

My personal mantra is: “You can rest when you’re dead.”

At 60 years old the main focus needs to be strength training to prevent bone and muscle loss. In addition, it is paramount to incorporate flexibility and cardiovascular activity into the mix. If you can shoot for two to three days at the gym and three to four days of cardiovascular workouts such as aerobics, swimming, walking, jogging, biking or rowing you will be set. For cardio and gym days I always start with five to ten minutes of stretching. This helps to avoid injury and strains.

I have noted that generally it is not convenient for most of us to work out with a trainer at every gym session, however, I am a big supporter of working with a trainer to make a comprehensive routine and then follow up with them every two to three months to revise the plan as your goals are reached. Make sure you incorporate the following major muscle groups: abdomen, arms, back, chest, legs and shoulders.

2. What exercise do you think we should avoid?

As we age our joints cannot tolerate the stress of excessive weight. Therefore, the healthiest way to exercise in order to avoid injury is to use lower weights with more repetitions. For each exercise I suggest doing two sets of eight to ten repetitions with a comfortable amount of weight. This will produce a leaner more “ripped” aesthetic result as well. Also, machines are preferred over free weights. The assisted movement of the machine compensates by stabilizing the weight and helps to prevent injury.

3. When is the best time to work out?

When you can! For years I went before work. Now, I go at the end of my work day. I find that my muscles are not as stiff later in the day and I get a better work out.

4. What foods should we eat more of as we get older?

In general, we should always try to eat more of the “superfoods” at every stage of life. These include: wild salmon, blueberries, broccoli, tomatoes, soy, flaxseed, oats, strawberries, cantaloupe, garlic, beans, green tea. Personally, I love to start each day with a fruit, protein, flaxseed and oats smoothie. I have been doing this for 30 years!

5. Which foods should we avoid?

I don’t eat junk food, highly processed food, fried or fatty foods. I also avoid all alcohol. It is a personal choice, not because I ever had a problem. Also, a recent study published in the Lancet rejects the notion that any drinking can be healthy.

6. Any other diet advice you can share?

Eat smart and remember that what you eat today will make you what you are tomorrow. Try to focus on three healthy meals a day and little-to-moderate snacking between meals.

7. What do you say to people who say they are too busy to exercise?

If you want to live a long and healthy life, you need to not only make exercise a priority, but part of your life. I was once asked how I got in such great shape. My reply was: “I did not get in great shape… I was an athlete as a kid and have always kept exercising my whole life.”

8. You are the author of Billion Dollar Smile. What advice would you give to older men to look more youthful?

  • Don’t smoke, it ruins your skin, lungs and will probably kill you.
  • Don’t drink in excess, it puts on excessive weight and causes a lot of other problems.
  • Don’t spend too much time in the sun without sunscreen.
  • Do keep a healthy diet, exercise, get medical and dental checks regularly and see a good dermatologist annually.

Also, a good cosmetic dermatologist may recommend Botox and possibly fillers. In extreme cases, a facelift or eyelid lift can also help. I haven’t needed those procedures yet, but am totally open to it at the right time.

9. You talk about the importance of genetics… what can we do if we have ‘bad’ genetics?

Be smart and speak to a doctor. Many times diseases such as diabetes can be controlled by diet and people with fair skin and freckles are more prone to skin cancer. Know your body and how to best protect it.

10. For people who want to be ‘more like Bill’, what one piece of advice would you offer?

Be tenacious!

 

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