Alcatraz Prison | San Francisco California | USA

Located on Alcatraz Island off the port of San Francisco, California, USA – MAP

History of Alcatraz Prison

They discovered the unique island on San Francisco Bay in 1775.  Named it “Alcatraces”, Spanish for “strange bird”.  It became Alcatraz.  The location perfect for a military and prison structure.

The current structure built in 1911 to house military prisoners stationed on the island.

Alcatraz Prison, San Francisco, California
Alcatraz Prison, San Francisco, California

Famous criminals like Al Capone, Machine Gun Kelly and Doc Barker all did time at Alcatraz.  There were 14 attempted escapes from “The Rock”.  Contrary to Hollywood, no one ever successfully escaped the prison.  With many attempts ending in death by drowning.

Alcatraz closed in 1963.  It became expensive to run.


An area called the “Utility Corridor” has the most reported activity.  Trying to escape, 3 inmates ran into this area.  Guards shot them done.  In this space people have heard noises similar to bullets hitting the steel walls.

Al Capone mug shot before Alcatraz
Al Capone

Cell 14-D may be home to a demon. In the 1940’s, they locked a prisoner in 14-D overnight.  During the night guards heard the man’s screams, but did nothing.  They thought the inmate was acting.  The screams stopped.  They next morning they found the strangled body.

Alcatraz drove some prisoners insane.  Some would claim to hear voices, whispering sounds at night.  Inside D-block, an inmate screamed all night after swearing to seeing red, glowing eyes from the dark hallway.

Think it might be criminals telling lies?  Tell that to a former warden named James Johnston.  Convinced Alcatraz was haunted!  During tours of the prison, he heard what sounded like the sobbing of a woman.


Then there’s Al Capone.  They say the famous gangster haunts Alcatraz.  In life guards allowed him to learn the banjo during the years of his declining health.  Also so he would not be harmed, guards gave Capone exclusive access to the shower room.  That banjo is heard from the same shower room today.

Read ghost stories from other haunted jails, including Toronto’s Don Jail | The Ottawa Jail | Charleston Old City Jail | Ohio State Reformatory (Mansfield) | West Virginia Penitentiary