Alcatraz Prison | Abandoned Prison | San Francisco

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


History of Alcatraz Prison

The unique island in San Francisco Bay was discovered in 1775 and named “Alcatraces”, Spanish for “strange bird”. Over time it became Alcatraz, and the perfect location for a military and prison fortification.

The current prison building was constructed in 1911 by military prisoners stationed on the island.

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”. No escape was ever successful, and many resulted in death by drowning.

Alcatraz closed in 1963 because it was too expensive to run.


An area known as the “Utility Corridor” has the most reported activity. Three inmates ran into this area while trying to escape, and were shot down by guards. In this space people have heard noises similar to bullets hitting the steel walls.

Alcatraz, San Francisco, California - Al Capone
Al Capone

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

Alcatraz drove some prisoners insane.  Some would claim to here 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 just criminals telling lies?  A former warden named James Johnston was convinced Alcatraz was haunted.  During tours of the prison, hearing what sounded like the sobbing of a woman.

Al Capone is said to still be at Alcatraz. Guards allowed him to learn the banjo during the years of his declining health. So he would not be harmed, guards gave Capone access to the shower room while others were in the yard.  The banjo is still heard from the shower room today.

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

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