The Unsolved Mystery Of The Escape From Alcatraz
This is the story of three waterfowl who had an incredible and adventurous escape from a prison claimed to be the most secure in the world!!
From 1934 to 1964, the prison stood on 12 acres of land on Alcatraz Island, 1.25 miles from San Francisco, USA. The prison was also known as Alcatraz Prison after the name of the island itself.
The authorities had a similar claim to this prison as the builders of the Titanic. It means that no one can escape from there. It was not just a claim, but the equipment that was there was as tough as it was.
First of all, being on an island, the prison was surrounded by the sea. Its water was extremely cold. At that time, Alcatraz was the only place where hot water was provided for bathing. The reason for this is that Dinene was used to bathing in hot water, and when any of the suspects tried to escape, the body’s ability to withstand the extreme cold of the water in the sea was reduced.
The prison, on the other hand, was surrounded by high barbed wire fences and strong concrete walls. In every corner of the prison there were many unerring officers standing at all times with guns. They were given full authority to immediately shoot down anyone trying to escape.
The security inside the prison was also tight. At any given time, the large three-block jail has as many as nine officers roaming the veranda. Also the occasional surprise check.
There were a total of 250 people in the jails that could accommodate 600 people. For one to try to break through all these barriers and escape was apparently tantamount to an attempt at suicide. However, attempts to escape have not been made. It is said that there have been over thirty escape attempts in the history of the prison, all but one of which were caught. Many who tried were shot dead in the middle of the attempt. Others drowned in the water. But a daring attempt on June 11, 1962 remains unsolved even today. That is our story!!
Big serial killers with mental problems! Those who tried to escape from other prisons and failed. Alcatraz prison was the last resort for these high-profile suspects.
The Anglin brothers and Frank Morris arrived there in this way. The Anglin brothers (John Anglin & Clarence Anglin) were both notorious thieves. Both planned all the plans together. Caught in a bank robbery, they attempted to escape from the Atlanta federal prison and were finally brought to Alcatraz on October 21, 1960.
Frank Morris was an orphan from a young age. It is often the circumstances of life that make a person a criminal. Frank was a criminal from a very young age. 1960 Alcatraz is the reason Frank was caught trying to break out of the same prison.
In fact, the story begins when they met a man named Allen West when they started their prison life. Allen was a senior. The accused arrived there 3 years before them. So Alan knew the topography of the prison very well.
Alcatraz had a small jail for each convict. It will have all the necessary infrastructure. There are other facilities including outdoor play and library.
Each has its appointed times. Convicts also have the opportunity to earn by working outside. Such people were specially encouraged by the prison authorities.
Allen would somehow do all the work inside the prison (cleaning, painting etc). Once cleaning the roof of the prison block, a small ventilator catches Alan’s attention. Alan examined it closely. One could barely fit his body through it, dusty and dirty. Alan realizes that if he climbs through it, he can reach the roof of Alcatraz prison.
Alan shared this plan with his cellmate, Frank Morris. Frank Anglin also invites the brothers to the project. All four were in adjacent cells. And so the four together. Marks the beginning of an incredible story.
(for more photos. go to this link)
Each of their subsequent discoveries was in a form that makes sense of the phrase necessity is the mother of invention.
There was a utility corridor behind the jail which nobody used. They realize that if they reach the path where the sewage pipes of the prison were collected, they can grab the pipe through it and reach the ventilator they had found earlier on the top of the prison block.
But if the plan is to work, they must first get out of the prison where they live. The way to do that should have been sought first. They soon found a shortcut to that. Nothing but a small ventilator in their jail cell.
Because the very small ventilator is inside an 18-inch thick concrete wall, they have to make a hole around it in a shape that they can fit their bodies through. Organized the possible weapons for that purpose. The main weapon was a spoon stolen from the mess. When that happens, it’s easy to hide.
They also used a technique to prevent the outside rockers from hearing the sound of digging into the concrete with a spoon. One person digs while the other person plays loud music. They were allowed to play musical instruments for a short time at night. At any given time, one person is digging while the other is standing guard. When approaching the police cell in the corridor, the guard will transmit a special signal to the nearest one. Moreover, in order to hide the art work they did on the concrete wall, an artificial form of the wall and the ventilator was made out of cardboard and painted in the same color. Officials coming from outside could not recognize this cottage industry of theirs as they would cover it up after finishing work.
After several months they were able to make a hole through which their bodies could barely pass through. All these plans of theirs were known to the other accused in the jail. They helped them throughout the project as much as they could. (In a movie, it is shown that the cement dust obtained from drilling is deposited in the pocket and when going out for work, it is dropped down through the leg through a hole in the pocket. I don’t know if it is real or the imagination of the director)
After months of effort, they were able to make a way out of their cell. They have to find a way to overcome the sea in front of them, even if they go through it and reach the top of the prison block through the hole they saw earlier, reach the roof of the prison and get out.
The biggest obstacle to escape was the sea around the prison. As mentioned earlier it is impossible to swim to shore in extremely cold water. Excessive cold can lead the body to a state called hypothermia. Loss of consciousness can cause death. The proof of that is the story of John Paul Scott’s escape from captivity. He had to get out of jail very skillfully. As soon as the authorities got to know the news, a search was launched with the help of the Coast Guard. Scott was found unconscious on shore. Luck did not help him when he reached the shore. After being taken to the hospital and given the necessary treatment, he was transferred back to Alcatraz.
Alan and his friends were thinking how to overcome this big crisis. Soon the answer came to them from the prison library. They were helped by an article in a mechanical magazine there that explained how to make a life jacket and raft. For that, they stole more than 50 raincoats from the prison with the help of others. It was torn so the plan was to build a raft and a life jacket. So many raincoats and construction tools need a place to safely hide them. The place they chose for that was the upper side of the jail block. Each stolen jacket was delivered there. But one problem was that from the officer’s seat in the block directly opposite the jail block, he could see the top of the block. If his attention is caught there, the whole project will fail. Allen used a different technique for that. Perhaps that was the biggest trick of the whole operation. While cleaning the roof of the prison block, Alan deliberately dusted it down. When a lot of dust was thrown up, the officers below became angry with Allen. Allan covered the top of the block with a blanket to keep the dust from falling to the bottom during cleaning!! Prison officials did not find anything unusual about Allen’s technique. Allan covered the top of the block with a blanket to keep the dust from falling to the bottom during cleaning!! Prison officials did not find anything unusual about Allen’s technique. Allan covered the top of the block with a blanket to keep the dust from falling to the bottom during cleaning!! Prison officials did not find anything unusual about Allen’s technique.
They used to make jackets at night by placing a dummy in their likeness on their bed in the prison. They got the materials needed for making dummies from the jail itself. Soap and paste and tissue paper. They used concrete powder to make the dummies.
Many people helped them for this. Also, real hair was added to give it an original look. The hair was donated by someone who worked in the prison’s barber shop. After two months of effort, the raft jacket and construction was completed. Fortunately, so many raincoats were stolen from the prison that no one noticed!!
June 11 – Monday, 1962. That is the climax day of the story. At 9.30 pm, when the light was switched off to sleep in the jail, the 4 persons started their escape attempt. Morris was the first to go out on the dummy bed. Together, the three reached the top of the cell block holding a pipe in the back alley of the prison.
Unfortunately, Allen West, the mastermind of the project, was unable to get the body through the ventilator inside his cell that day. Alan was working hard on it. The three people who had reached the top of the block were waiting for Alan. They could not wait long as the time was very critical. One by one they made their way to the top of the Alcatraz prison by the route they had already discovered. From there he went down to the bottom of the prison. Then he crossed the wire fence around the prison and reached the sea. Every step was taken with extreme caution. Then they put the raft they made into the water. By this time Allen had made his way outside and reached the top of the prison block. But it was too late.
That night passed.
At 7 am the bell rang for the prisoners to wake up.
As soon as they wake up in the morning, everyone must stand near the prison door. Then an officer will come and take the count. This was the way it was.
When everyone woke up, only the cell of the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris had no lights on. Seeing them lying in the bed, the prison officer came to them in front of the room and whistled loudly. Then he used the stick in his hand to wake him up.
He rolled his head and fell on the ground!!!
The officer was shocked to see this.
Know the information anywhere!!
They checked every nook and cranny of the jail. Within seconds, the Coast Guard and helicopter arrived at the scene and began a vigorous search. They searched every part of the surrounding sea but could not find even a trace of the accused.
What shocked the FBI officers most during the inspection was what they saw behind the blanket at the top of the prison block. It was like a spare parts shop.
Officers scoured the surrounding sea for two days but found nothing but a paddle. Another similar party was left by Alan on top of the prison block. So it was easily recognized as theirs.
As part of the investigation, everyone in the jail was strongly questioned.
An inspection of Alan’s room revealed Alan’s role in the scheme when a hole in the wall was discovered. But Allen wasn’t willing to reveal the whole thing. He said he didn’t know much and walked away.
But on the third day of the search, a bag made of a small rainbow was found from the side of another island (Angel Island) one mile beyond Alcatraz Island. There were many family photos and papers with addresses of some people. Upon examination, the photos were found to belong to the family of the Anglin brothers. Many of the FBI officials were of the strong opinion that the raft must have capsized and the three accused must have died, as the suspects would never have left such valuables at sea.
On the third day, all three of their life jackets were found on different sides of the island, but they never recovered their raft or their bodies. Many believed that because of this they would be saved. Moreover, according to the statement of the San Francisco police who was on duty on the night of the incident, a boat was seen abnormally between these two islands at around one o’clock on the night the defendants escaped. Many people speculated that someone might have been in the boat who had come to receive the three accused and later they would have escaped by boarding it.
If they had escaped, they would surely have reached their families, but for many years officers had been searching their homes in various guises and forms but to no avail. But during all these times letters were coming to the families in different names. And every Mother’s Day, the Anglin brothers’ mother received an unknown gift. Because of this, when the Anglin brothers’ mother died in 1973, the FBI searched the area until after the funeral, but found nothing. But on the morning of the death, three elderly women who were nowhere to be seen came to the house and were not seen later, according to the family members.
In 1977, the investigation was taken over by the United States Marshals Service, as the FBI’s investigation for fifteen years failed to provide any information about the suspects.
The truth is that no significant progress has been made in the investigation till date. It was said that the accused may have escaped to some other country. In any case, the story of their adventure is known to the world, but what happened to the three later has not been revealed to this day. Hollywood has released about four films based on the incredible adventure.