Saturday, January 7, 2012

The Ghosts of Alcatraz

Just for a moment, reflect upon one day in your life and all of your freedoms. You wake up when you want, eat when you want, drive wherever you want, go see a movie, have a steak dinner, bathe as many times a day or week as you want, or just decide to watch a good movie until midnight then crawl into your nice soft bed.

Now, imagine that your life was controlled through a series of strict routines that are designed to break the hardest of criminals. A whistle blows to signal the beginning and end of every task throughout the day. Your told, when to get up, when to eat, when to stop eating, when to go to work, and every evening you are locked in a cell from 5pm until 6:30am the next morning with lights out at 9:30pm. This is your routine every night. You are not permitted to sing or talk loudly. You may quietly talk or play a game with a person in a neighboring cell, but that is it. You are entitled to food, clothes, shelter, and medical attention and anything else is a privilege you must earn. Punishment for rule breaking is severe. Now imagine, you are facing several years of this routine. Ahead of you are years of depression, and years inside a violent pressure cooker of dangerous criminals.

Now imagine that your life ends while in this despair, whether it was a failed escape attempt, suicide, or you were murdered by another inmate.  And now, either denying you are dead or afraid of judgment, you are trapped.  Each day, you are reliving the same routine you experienced when your life ended, always lingering between the physical plane and the other side. You are scared, untrusting, and confused and what was once the possibility of getting released has turned into an eternity of misery. This is the life of the ghosts of Alcatraz.

Researching the topic of the ghosts of Alcatraz, I found myself compelled to dig deeper into the daily routine of the prisoners and the history of the prison. The more information I uncovered the more claustrophobic I became envisioning the confinement and control that was placed on these men. I too may have become desperate to get out in any way possible. I do not condone the crimes these men, who still dwell in the cell blocks, have committed, but I find myself wondering when their debt to society is paid in full and they can move on from Alcatraz.

Some of the Claims of Paranormal Activity at Alcatraz

Cell 14D – This Cell on D block has been reported by many as one of the main areas of activity dating back to when the prison was still in operation. A story has been told by some of the guards that in the 1940’s an inmate who was kept in Cell 14D began screaming that something with glowing red eyes was in his cell. For hours, the inmate screamed and then abruptly stopped. The following morning, the inmate was found dead with hand marks on his throat. The cause of death was listed as "non-self-inflicted strangulation." The next day, when the guards did a head count, their tally kept coming up one extra. A former prison guard said that he saw the man who died the night before in line, but he then vanished.

The Utility Corridor – The Utility Corridor is the area where three inmates lost their life while trying to escape in the Battle of Alcatraz. Bernard Coy, Marvin Hubbard, and Joe Cretzer were shot to death in a standoff that also took the lives Guards William A. Miller and Harold Stites.

Many claim that the Utility Corridor is one of the areas with the most paranormal activity. There have been reports of an eerie clanging come from inside the area with no definite cause.

Cell blocks A, B, and C visitors claim to have heard crying and moaning. A psychic visiting the prison wrote that he allegedly came upon a disruptive spirit named Butcher. Prison records show that another inmate in block C murdered Abie Maldowitz, a mob hit man whose nickname was Butcher.

Al Capone on the Banjo – Al Capone spent several years at Alcatraz but was ultimately transferred when his health declined due to syphilis. It is reported that Capone took up playing the banjo with the prison band and practiced in the shower room rather than the yard. There have been several reports, many in recent years, that a banjo can be heard being played.

Alcatraz Island was first used as a Civil War prison in 1861 and was closed as a Federal Penitentiary in 1963. Throughout its 102 years as a prison, Alcatraz Island has been surrounded by rumors of torture and severe, cruel punishment in addition to numerous murders, suicides, and deaths from natural causes. Clearly, from the current visitors to Alcatraz, some inmates are still serving time.

For More Information about Alcatraz and its Prisoners:

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