Archive for San Francisco

Alcatraz Island

Posted in California with tags on May 5, 2010 by Haunted History Blog

A postcard manufactured by Edward H. Mitchell depicting haunted Alcatraz Island in San Francisco, California.

Alcatraz Island, also referred to as “The Rock,” is a small island located 1.5 miles offshore from San Francisco, California. The island was originally discovered in 1775 by Spanish explorer Juan Manuel de Ayala who named it “La Isla de los Alcatraces,” or “The Island of the Pelicans.”

The island first served as home to the Alcatraz Island Lighthouse which was constructed in 1853. On January 1st, 1934, the United States Department of Justice opened a prison on the island which remained in use for 29 years.

Several famous inmates served time at Alcatraz, including men like Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Robert Franklin Stroud, also known as “The Birdman of Alcatraz.” The penitentiary claims that none of its prisoners ever successfully escaped, with most being caught, shot, or lost at sea during their attempts.

Many people who visit Alcatraz believe that the energy of those who once served in the prison still remains. Night watchmen have reported the sounds of clanging chains, moving cell doors, and men running through the empty cellblocks.

Cell number 14D is considered the most haunted area of the prison. During the 1940s, an inmate was confined to the dark cell and immediately began screaming that a “creature with glowing eyes” was locked in the cell with him. The next morning, guards inspected the cell and found the convict dead with apparent strangulation marks around his neck

Today the island is a National Park Service historic site open to the public year round. Visitors interested in the site’s paranormal history are encouraged to attend one of San Francisco’s many ghost tours or to visit the prison during its daylight hours.