There are many famous prisons around the world and through history, but one of the most infamous is located on an island off San Francisco. It was said to have been impossible to escape from and its name was Alcatraz. Although closed and a tourist site these days, it was home to some of the most famous and dangerous criminals in American history. These included notorious gangsters such as Al Capone and “Machine-Gun” Kelly.
During its twenty-nine-year history as a penitentiary, thirty-five inmates attempted to escape the island. However, the massive security and the fact that there was two miles of cold Pacific Ocean waters to reach land, all of them failed with many of the escapees being shot dead by the guards or drowning due to the strong currents. But did they all fail?
Three prisoners by the names of Clarence Anglin, his brother John Anglin and Frank Lee Morris disappeared from the prison undercover of darkness and have not been seen again. Officially they are presumed to have drowned making their escape. Morris was reckoned to be in the top two per cent of intelligence and was played by Clint Eastwood in the movie “Escape from Alcatraz.” The two brothers were bank robbers although they only ever took toy guns to their crimes.
Their methos of escape had been well thought out. They got hold of blades and built their own drill. Then they worked their respective air vents loose in the back of their cells until they had made a hole large enough to get through. They now created a small workshop in the space behind their cells where, over a period of six month, they constructed a boat measuring 6×14 feet. Not only that, they used fifty raincoats to make the boat and life-jackets for themselves. Finally, they made paddles out of an old musical instrument and made a pump to inflate their boat.
But that was not all. To fool the guards into thinking they were still in their beds sleeping, they made “human heads” to put in the beds. These were fashioned out of a form of papier-mache with hair from the prison barbers and paint from a machinery shop.
In 11th June 1962, they made their escape by climbing up a ventilator shaft onto the roof, then down a chimney stack before climbing a fence and taking their boat to the north-east shoreline to make their way across the water. That was the last that was seen or heard of them again.
This was very embarrassing for the authorities and much was made that they had drowned. However, no bodies have ever been found. Evidence of their boat and a wallet belonging to one of them was found floating but no bodies. Over the years, there have been reported sightings of the men. In fact, a photograph said to be the two brothers was found and when subjected to facial recognition techniques, it came back as a match for them. A friend of Morris also reported that he had met him since the escape. But officially, the FBI insists that they failed in their escape and drowned.
What do you think?