Suffering. That’s the only way to describe life in Alcatraz, an islet in San Francisco Bay. It housed the most notorious prisoners in the US, including Al Capone, in the 1940s. The prison closed in 1963 and became a tourist destination shortly afterwards.
Life was hell here. Guards routinely beat prisoners. After all, the site was for internment, not rehabilitation. The government punished you for your crimes. Trying to escape led to even more suffering.
What kind of suffering did the prisoners endure? The most common was insanity. Even Al Capone fell victim to it from untreated syphilis. Murder was common and so was suicide. Usually, there was quite a bit of torture. The guards had a fondness for cutting off fingers.
Today, the prison holds quite a few ghostly activities. The most active area is the solitary confinement wards. Cells 11, 12, 13 and 14 in Block D were called ‘holes.’ Prisoners were stripped, beaten and gagged before the guards placed them in these tiny, cement cells. The ‘holes’ got their name from the hole in the floor used as a bathroom. These are the cells that led to madness and suicide.
What kind of ghostly activities can you expect to see? The most common are unexplained clanging of metal doors; whistling; coughing; screams; and the sounds of a group running down the corridors. The old hospital ward is known for ghostly screams and crying. Ghost hunters haven’t reported any apparitions, but, you can occasionally hear a banjo playing near Capone’s former cell.
Jacob Rice began investigating and writing about the paranormal in 2007. He has published 3 books on ghost hunting, ghost stories and paranormal protection. His podcast, Ghostly Activities, dives into these topics even more. You can also watch his ghost hunts on the Ghostly Activities YouTube channel. He lives in Olympia, Washington.