The contrast between the beautiful views outside the prison gates, and the tiny 5′ x 7′ cells prisoners were relegated to on Alcatraz is unsettling. Right when you enter the former federal prison, you step into a room with a giant communal shower which feels like it’s straight out of a concentration camp. Each tourist is issued a set of headphones and is guided by the voices of former prison guards and inmates around the prison cells, through the library, and warden’s office.
Want to know which cells the Anglin brothers lived in prior to their escape? Listen in and you’ll find out. If you do the night tour, there are a few lectures you can attend after walking around the prison. We learned about John Paul Scott’s* “successful” escape – he swam all the way to the Golden Gate Bridge, passed out from hypothermia and woke up less than 24-hours later in the Alcatraz prison infirmary. I couldn’t help but feel bad for the guy.
Jude and I attempted to explore an area on our own after the lecture ended, and I completely freaked out. I don’t care if it’s haunted or not, I had the heebie-jeebies (yes, a technical term) and gave Jude a good laugh.
*During the lecture, we learned that Scott had tried to escape alone. According to Wikipedia (clearly, a reliable source), Scott tried to escape with Darl Lee Parker.
© Sarah Milstein 2014