How a band of American outcasts created a genuine alternative family for themselves.
There's a place in central Florida where all your dreams come true. The weirder ones, anyway. The ones about your most decadent sexual fantasies, the ones where you're wandering through a party that never ends, or launching eggs into a 500-pound man's asshole, or fucking a girl while simultaneously taking a shit and showering. You can dance with snakes, ride ponies, and shoot Class 3 machine guns with the self-proclaimed "most ratchet stripper" in Orlando.
The place I'm talking about is called the Sausage Castle. You can find it in Osceola County, a hick region about an hour away from Walt Disney World. The Castle is a compound built in front of a swampy, feces-infested body of water called Alligator Lake. It's run by 34-year-old Mike Busey, who might be described as a Juggalo version of Willy Wonka (he also claims to be Garey Busey's nephew). Mike, his degenerate cohorts, and a handful of babes who go by "the Busey Beauties" live at the Castle and throw sex-crazed parties for Florida lowlifes and people like Bam Margera and GWAR. It's like a combination of the Island of Misfit Toys and the Pleasure Island from Disney's Pinocchio.
The Sausage Castle family tree. Illustration by Amanda Lanzone
"If you're not 500 pounds, a midget, or molested by your dad, we don't have a need for you," Mike said.
During all-nighters, it's normal for a girl to fuck another girl with a beer bottle. At one notorious party, Mike piloted a drone as the device yanked an American flag out of a queen's ass and brandished the soiled banner all across his property.
Chaz takes the Bunny for a pony ride
Over the last five years, these party tricks have gained Mike notoriety throughout Central Florida; last year the Orlando Sentinel named him the area's 51st most famous person. Over the summer, he became a full-blown internet phenom when Da Mafia 6ix's video of Ratchet Regi, one of his Beauties, giving a 500-pound man a "lapband dance" at the Gathering of the Juggalos went viral.
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I initially met Mike at the Gathering. His freak show intrigued me, mainly because it managed to shock thousands of Juggalos, a group known for relishing dysfunctional shit. Mike operated an outdoor strip club at the festival, where the Busey Beauties gave disabled men in wheelchairs lap dances and sat in a smelly whirlpool. When it came time for their big performance, Mike invited the audience on stage to watch Regi squirt chocolate out of her vagina and then blow a veteran.
"We're like a subgenre of the Juggalos," Regi said of her performance. Mike agreed: "I relate to the Juggalo community so much just because I'm a broke piece of shit who lived in a trailer."
For whatever reason, Mike also related to me. After the Gathering, he invited me to stay with him and his gang of weirdos at the Sausage Castle for a weekend. He promised me I would ride an airboat through Alligator Lake, interview him on record for more than five hours, and get my ass eaten.
Mike, Ari, and Kinky Kace take a dip in the hot tub in their living room
Mike's life hasn't always revolved around running a low-budget Playboy mansion in the Florida swamps. During his teenage years, he dedicated his life to God. He prayed daily and attended a Christian college where he played basketball—he was skinny back then. But the inner politics and hypocrisy of the school turned him off. He rebelled and eventually dropped out.
"From that point forward," Mike said, "let's just say me and the church had a little bit of a vacation."
Like Moses in exile in Midian, Mike entered a depression after he left the church. What was his purpose in life? Apparently, he was born to party. He ended up living with some bros he knew from pulling pranks on people at Downtown Disney. Mike's roommates threw wild parties, and after people noticed the absurd amount of males at the events their place started getting referred to as "the Sausage Castle."
Mike felt like his bros were his brothers, but what makes you popular with your bros rarely makes you popular with your landlord. The house's owner evicted them, devastating Mike. Then he moved into another party house—bringing the Sausage Castle nickname with him—until his new landlord evicted him too.
"[The second Sausage Castle] ended, and I was like, fuck. Then it dawned on me: You know what? We're gonna start naming these motherfuckers as we go—Sausage Castle one, two, three, four, five, six, seven," Mike said. "The Sausage Castle is wherever I and all my stupid shit go."
Sexy Sushi, Ari, and Ratchet Regi regularly breathe fire
Since then, Mike has lived in five more Sausage Castles. He moved into the current, and longest-lasting, Sausage Castle during the recent recession. When he found the house, it was a glorified two-story shack in front of Alligator Lake. According to Mike, it was owned by a good-ole-boy contractor and his wife who lost their fortune in the economic downturn. The house went into foreclosure, and a Jewish landlord Mike calls "Israel" bought the Castle. To this day, Mike rents from him.
To fund the Sausage Castle, Mike rents out rooms to veterans and the Busey Beauties, live-streams events in his house, buses Walt Disney World interns onto the property for "intern parties," charges cover fees at house events, and hosts "Rockstar Weekends," where a person pays a few thousand dollars to live in the Sausage Castle and act out his or her sexual fantasies.
"The fascination with me is I'm this fat broke guy with a small dick and I'm surrounded by rock stars and hot chicks," Mike told me. "I give the average Joe hope he can grow up to be fat with an ugly haircut and bad teeth and fuck beautiful women."
Ari strips on the living room's granite stage
In the past five years, he says, he's spent more than $50,000 transforming the decaying house into the Sausage Castle with weird shit like a granite strip-club stage in the living room that boasts a "Wheel of Debauchery" to inspire salacious activities. Instead of buying standard velvet strip-club chairs, he has surrounded the stage with church pews plastered with porn photos. He's also filled massive fish tanks with rubber dicks that he calls "Dildo Atlantis."
Ande Spade, Inmate Art, and Frog the Artist's murals of American icons like E.T. and Michael Jackson cover the walls, and Fleshlights have been built into wall murals of naked women. (As an advocate for gay rights, Mike also installed a butthole Fleshlight into a mural of a naked man, but someone stole that toy.)
Ratchet Regi plays with her snake in the kitchen, which is covered in photos and panties
"We try to keep it like Disney World. We like to hide dust and construction," Mike said. "We treat this like a set."
If Mike brought his kitchen to Art Basel Miami Beach, he could probably sell the room as an installation piece for $100,000. He removed his microwave and replaced it with a box covered in cheetah-print fabric, where he used to keep a snake. From the ceiling, he hangs panties that girls have given to him. And on the fridge, he keeps photos from parties and of his friends and low-culture celebrities he knows, like Weeman, Bret Michaels, and Michael Jordan's son. Not to mention he's got the condom he bust his virginity nut in hanging on the wall of his office.
Ratchet Regi, Robbie, Alyssa, and Big LA dance at an impromptu pool party
But it's not the decor that makes the Sausage Castle special. It's the people. They come to live with Mike for all kinds of reasons, but it usually boils down to the fact that they're outcasts exiled from their families and hometowns.
Ratchet Regi grew up in Kansas and spends her nights maintaining her status as the "most ratchet stripper in Orlando." An Afghanistan War veteran named Nick, who is plagued by PTSD, lives upstairs with a pack of dogs and smokes weed to keep himself calm. Another veteran named Robbie lives in an outhouse in the back and had to have a doctor install a metal plate into his head after he nearly died in a motocross accident. Among all these rugrats, Naked Ashley walks around the Sausage Castle in the nude all day for no apparent reason. And although Gay Aaron revealed little to me about his personal life, he regularly visits the Sausage Castle to detox from drugs, so I presume he's going through his own shit, just like all the other tenants and regulars.
Kinky Kace in the bedroom Mike calls "the treehouse"
Although the first Sausage Castle served as a bro pad, today's incarnation revolves around the needs of women, gay men, and veterans. Kinky Kace moved to the Castle after she came out as a lesbian in "super racist" Citrus County, Florida. Moving into the Sausage Castle, she told me, allowed her to find self-confidence.
"Every time we have a party, Mike's like, 'Kace—get yourself some pussy! Look at that ratchet bitch right there! She'll suck on your clit for hours,'" she said. "For me, being in a place—a home—where everybody accepts me for what I do or what I want, that gives me moral support."
To repay the Sausage Castle for providing her with a sanctuary, Kace renovated the girls' bathroom, painting it purple and pink, storing vintage Playboys on shelves above the sink, and installing a chandelier. Across from the toilet, she hung a sign that says, "Family, Friends, Forever." She said, "People look at that sign and think, Maybe [the Sausage Castle is] more than I thought."
Mike relaxing with his pugs in his bed
But of all the peculiar characters of the Sausage Castle, Mike might be the freakiest.
"My whole childhood was super fuckin' weird," he recalled. "I remember being four or five years old and burning part of my family's trailer. I blamed it on my sister. So my dad put me in the bathtub and rolled up newspaper and burned it and started taunting me with it like, 'You wanna get burnt, motherfucker? You like that? You like that?' Then he told me to pack all my shit up because he was giving me away. He dropped me off at a fuckin' children's home, drove around, came back, and took me to McDonald's."
Mike spent most of his youth in foster care in South Carolina and also lived in California, Louisiana, and Florida. When he was 13, another foster kid told him the man he thought was his dad wasn't actually his biological father. To this day, Mike has no clue who his real father is.
Mike and his alternative family watch 'American Horror Story' together
Without traditional familial ties, Mike created his own with his loved ones and friends who live and hang around the Sausage Castle. Even though they are crazies, covered in poo and period blood, the Sausage Castle residents take care of one another better than many people look after their biological children, siblings, and grandparents.
"I always felt this sense of insecurity, like things weren't stable," Mike said. "I've known different ways of life and different lifestyles growing up, but the Sausage Castle has been the most continuous, steady thing. It's going on, like, 15 years now. I've never had anything in my life last this long, not even a Christmas tradition or a relationship—nothing. It's one of the few places where I find some kind of sick, twisted contentment and inner joy and peace amid the ridiculousness of what I call my life."
Want to see more of the Sausage Castle? Check out the photo gallery of my wild weekend at the craziest house in Florida.