Alcatraz “The Rock”

This article is about the infamous Alcatraz, also known as ‘The Rock.’ The first topic is about the famous inmates and a few of the crimes they commit to where they had to go to Alcatraz. The second topic is about the history of the prison and how it came to be. The last topic but certainly not the least is about the haunting in Alcatraz which is the most interesting part and what Alcatraz is known for. So please sit back, try not to get too scared and enjoy this article about ‘The Rock’ Alcatraz.

Infamous Inmates
George “Kelly” Barnes also known as ‘Machine Gun Kelly’ received his life sentence in 1933 when he kidnapped a wealthy business man named Charles F. Urschel and his friend Walter R. Jarrett. He is known for his infamous crimes such as bootlegging, armed robbery, and kidnapping which had already been in the gangster business by the year 1927. He was incarcerated in Leavenworth, Kansas and was later transferred out to Alcatraz in 1934 due to his repetitious escape threats.
Al Capone, one of the most notorious mobsters in America, was born in New York in 1899. He started his career in Brooklyn before moving to Chicago where he had already been on the FBI’s “Most Wanted” list by the end of the 1920’s. Al Capone was convicted of income tax invasion in 1931 and found guilty on 5 counts. He was sent to an Atlanta prison in 1932 and then transferred in 1934 to Alcatraz.
Henry “Henri” Young started his career as a bank robber and committed murder in 1933, he was found guilty and served time in different state prisons. In 1935 he went to the U.S. Penitentiary on McNeil Island in Washington State and later transferred to Alcatraz in the same year. Henri Young was convicted in 1942 for involuntary manslaughter for stabbing an inmate to death. His life story was made famous by the movie ‘Murder In The First.’
Robert Stroud, also known as the ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ was convicted in 1909 for manslaughter when he brutally shot and murdered a bartender. He was transferred from McNeil Island to Leavenworth, Kansas where he began to develop an interest in birds. He was aloud to breed them and he could carry on a lab. He was transferred to Alcatraz in 1942 for the rest of his life. His life was made famous by the movie ‘ The Birdman of Alcatraz’ starring Burt Lancaster.
History Of Alcatraz
Alcatraz was discovered in the sixteenth century by Spanish explorers. The U.S. took control of it in 1850 and turned it into a military prison and then later a federal prison. Many of the guards thought because of the cold strong current that surrounded Alcatraz, the prison was “escape proof.” Out of the 26 prison escape attempts only 5 inmates remain unaccounted for. The prison was closed on March 21, 1963 due to deterioritating structural condition. It was operated for 29 years. The battle of Alcatraz was another moment in history of the prison. What happened was an unsuccessful escape attempt that lasted from May 2-4, 1946. Two guards, Royal Cline and Harold Stites, and three inmates were killed in the “battle” with another eleven guards and one inmate injured, two of the surviving convicts that participated in the escape were later executed for their roles in the escape attempt turned revolt.

Haunting Of Alcatraz
The Utility Corridor
Coy Cretzer and Hubbard were submerged with bullets in a failed prison escape. In 1976 a night security guard claimed that he heard unexplained eerie clanging sounds coming from inside the prison.
Cell 14D
Visitors and employees have said that they feel a raw coldness and at some moments ‘intensity’ in Cell 14D also known as ‘The Hole.’
Tales have been told about a prisoner being locked in the cell in 1940 and he was screaming all night that a creature with glowing eyes was killing him. The next day the guards found his body in the cell it appeared that he had been strangled to death. The day after they found his body, when the guards were doing head count they counted one too many inmates and the guard swore they saw the dead prisoner but then he quickly vanished.
Warden Johnson
Warden Johnson was given the nickname “The Golden Rule Warden.”
He was showing visitors around when they all heard sobbing coming from the inside of the prison walls and then a cold wind flew by the entire group.
Cell Blocks A, B, and C
Visitors have said that they hear crying and moaning, a psychic that visited wrote that when he was in cell block C he came upon a disruptive spirit named Butcher, prison records showed that another inmate in cell block C murdered Abie Maldowitz, a mob hit man known as Butcher.
The Ghost of Al Capone
Al Capone feared that if he spent his recreational time in the “yard” he would be murdered, so he got permission to spend it practicing playing his banjo in the shower room. In recent years a park ranger said that he heard banjo music coming from the shower room. Other visitors and employees said they heard the banjo music as well.
Other strange occurrences that happened, guards smelled smoke but found no fire; sounds of unexplained crying and moaning; unexplained cold spots or ghost appearances from past inmates or military personnel.


Eagle, Adam Fortunate. Heart of the Rock: The Indian Invasion of Alcatraz. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2002.
Odier, Pierre. The Rock: A History of Alcatraz. Eagle Rock, Calif.: L'Image Odier, 1982.
Paul S. Voakes/C. W.
Montaldo, Charles. Alcatraz Island. Photograph. San Francisco.
Montaldo, Charles. "Haunting Ghost Stories of Alcatraz." Haunting Ghost Stories of Alcatraz. Charles Montaldo. Web. 7 May 2010. <>.

Voakes, Paul S. "Alcatraz." Dictionary of American History. Ed. Stanley I. Kutler. 3rd ed. Vol. 1. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003. 115-116. History & Terrorism Collection. Web. 8 Apr. 2010