Alcatraz: 4 Tragic Tales Of The Most Haunted Prison In The World

    Alcatraz jail is supposed to be one of the most haunted sites in the country, if not the world, according to legend. Is it, however, genuinely haunted? According to many persons who have visited it and seen unexplained phenomena, the prison appears to be haunted mysteriously.    

    Even the spirits of the most deranged and infamous criminals were broken at Alcatraz. It is supposed that the restless souls who remain in Alcatraz live in the vacant cells within its walls. This prison housed some of America’s most notorious criminals, including Arthur Doc Barker, Machine Gun Kelly, and Al Capone. 

    History Of Alcatraz Prison

    Source: City Experiences

    Although the most famous Alcatraz inmates — notably “Scarface” gangster Al Capone and murderer Robert Stroud, the “Birdman of Alcatraz” — occupied the island between 1934 and 1963, the island’s tale began far earlier.     

    The craggy island was dubbed La Isla de Los Alcatraces, or Island of the Pelicans, by a Spanish adventurer in 1775. President Millard Fillmore gave the island to the American military three-quarters of a century later, and it became the site of the first operable lighthouse on the West Coast.    

    Alcatraz swiftly gained a reputation as a safe place for cannons, military munitions, and dangerous criminals due to its fortress-like appearance. The military used Alcatraz Island to keep Civil War prisoners of war as early as 1861. San Francisco and the state of California had been using the island to house civilian criminals by 1906, but it wasn’t until 1933 that the United States Department of Justice purchased it.    

    Legendary Ghosts Haunting The Prison

    Source: Britannica

    With all of these tragic tales and interesting folklore, ghost-hunters travel to The Rock in search of communication with some of the most infamous departed souls.:    

    1. Native American Ghosts – Some ghost-hunters and spirit-seekers claim they have encountered ghosts on Alcatraz since its inception. Some people believe that Native American captives who died during the Civil War still haunt the prison, describing hearing whispering and groaning sounds and seeing floating blue lights and figures at night. Some people claim to have heard the clanking of jail chains.    
    2. Warden James Johnston — During his tenure patrolling Alcatraz, the first warden, James A. Johnson, reportedly heard and saw numerous weird sounds and sights, implying that the ghosts that now linger in the blocks may be from the prison’s past as a military jail or perhaps before. During a visit of the prison in its prime, Johnson allegedly overheard a woman sobbing.    
    3. The Ghost Woman of Alcatraz – A British couple on a tour of the island in 2014 took a photograph of a ghostly woman they nicknamed The Ghost Woman of Alcatraz. The couple maintains they had no intention of photographing ghosts during their journey and only noticed the woman who appears to be peering deliberately into the camera’s lens after taking the picture.    
    4. Al Capone’s Banjo — Al Capone is said to have spent many of his final days in Alcatraz strumming his guitar in the shower area, where the guards let him do so rather than risk his life in the prison yard. Some visitors to the prison say they can now hear a distant banjo strumming all over the place. Cell 14-D – Paranormal investigators say Alcatraz’s D-Block is the most haunted. It includes cell 14-D, dubbed “The Hole”, because it was used to punish extremely troublesome inmates. Cell 14-D is constantly brutally cold, even in the summer, according to visitors, and it produces a feeling of unexpected intensity. People also think that ghosts haunt D-Block cells 11, 12, and 13.


    Is Alcatraz a haunted prison? That is something you’ll have to decide for yourself. Make sure you go on one of the excursions to learn more about the island and the jail, as well as to see it for yourself. At the very least, this ominous prison will give you the creeps and provide you with some thrilling tales to take home with you!


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