Alcatraz Prison


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Who hasn’t heard of Alcatraz? Even Hollywood made movies, TV shows and games about the most famous prison in the world. Now open to tours and visits, you reach the isolated island by ferry departing from a Pier near the Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. The tours are very entertaining but you must prepare yourself for some surprises!

The History

The prison of Alcatraz is located on an island in the San Francisco Bay, and often referred to as “THE ROCK”. Prior to becoming a federal prison for the Federal Bureau of Prisons in 1934, the island of Alcatraz was a fully operational lighthouse, the first to be built on the Pacific coast. It then became a military fortification and finally, the most infamous, hated and feared military prison in the USA. Turned into an escape proof, maximum security prison, only the most hardened and ruthless convicts were housed in it. Today, Alcatraz is maintained by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area as a state park area.

This former federal prison sits on a rock island a good distance away from the mainland and has also often been branded as the loneliest jail in the world. The isolation felt inside the fortress is said to be worse than the prison itself.

The Haunted History & Paranormal Activity

Famous Inmates and Escapes

Alcatraz is not just famous for being a former prison located on a rock, the inmates and their escape attempts (some successful) have given it it’s amazing notoriety, too. Amongst the most famous inmates being Al Capone, as well as Alvin Karpis and Machine-Gun Kelly.

Three inmates that have also helped with Alcatraz’s legendary status devised one of the cleverest escapes in the history of the prison. Frank Morris, and brothers John and Clarence Anglin managed to flee the dark rock after leaving dummies made up of plaster in their cells. To make it more real, the trio carefully stuck strands of real human hair on the dummies, which they had stolen from the prison’s barbershop. They had crafted a raft out of raincoats, and after climbing through vent shafts, and then down the roof they made it to the water where the were never seen again.

To this day, the investigation is still ongoing and it is assumed that they may have reached San Francisco after they jumped from the prison into the cold waters of San Francisco Bay and disappeared for good. The movie “Escape from Alcatraz” was made after their story and it is still one of the bigger mysteries of the Rock.

A misty place for mystic appearances!

Yes, the famous mist that surrounds the Rock is there to welcome you into the unknown and when the nights replace the days, you can expect the unexplainable… Could it be that the inmates have returned from the dead? Many park rangers insist something sinister is living with the walls, and many tour visitors walk away shaken and disturbed.

Some of the more haunted locations on Alcatraz appear to be the prison hospital, the laundry room, the Warden’s house, and the cell block “C” utility door.

The utility door…

This little known utility door in Alcatraz is probably one of the most haunted areas on the Rock! Upon entering the building, after passing through many other doorways, opposite the visiting room, stands a massive metal door. It is assumed that it was once welded shut. This is the door leading to the utility corridor where in 1946 bank robbers and federal prisoners Cretzer, Coy and Hubbard’s lives came to a brutal end after a bloody failed escape attempt.

Since the killing of these three inmates, lots of hauntings have been reported around this utility area and most particularly on the very spot they were killed. One watchman once heard eerie noises and sounds of clanging coming from behind this massive unwelcoming door. After opening and closing the door several times to check for the noise, he never saw anything. Yet, each time he shut the door, the eerie and distressing sounds started again… For some “strange reasons”, tour guides never say a word about this door, so if you recognize the door while taking a tour, perhaps you could challenge them and ask if this is the spot!

The running men…

Watchmen patrolling the cell houses have also told about strange unearthly sounds and sighting shadows of men fleetingly dashing through the maze of cells. Others have reported hearing the noises of footsteps, as well as men running, especially in the upper part of the building. Once again, although investigated, the sounds and noises have never been explained and remain a mystery!

A Trip to “The Hole”

The ‘D’ cell block was used for solitary confinement and is so frightening and eerie some current park rangers refuse to go there alone. Cells 9-14 were often referred to as “the Hole” and for good reason, those cells had no windows and only 1 light controlled by the guards. The darkness was so intense that it was like a “hole in the ground.” To most of those who go there, a feeling of sudden intensity pervades the cells and corridor.

One employee, who reported the incident years after it had happened, said that she had heard a very loud scream coming from the bottom of stairs leading to the dungeons. The scream was so loud and frightening that she fled the scene and never discussed it until much later for fear of being ridiculed.

Number 14D

Cell number 14D is probably the most mysterious of all the haunted cells in Alcatraz. This cell is so icy cold most of the time, and the temperature can shift in minutes, and for absolutely no reason that has been found. The temperature has sometimes suddenly soared and reached the 70’s, then dropped back to a harsh chill within the space of a few minutes. Guards as well as visitors have experienced strange feelings when visiting this cell and more particularly a sudden rush of indescribable intensity of fear and anxiety after spending only a few minutes in the cell. The general atmosphere of this dark, gloomy and unwelcoming room is so icy that wearing a jacket is nearly mandatory, even during the summer!

Contact Alcatraz Prison

Alcatraz Island
National Park Service
Golden Gate National Recreation Area
Fort Mason, B201
San Francisco, CA 94123
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