035 Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary

Alcatraz today from the water. https://pixabay.com/photos/alcatraz-prison-building-island-53168/

Is Alcatraz Haunted?

Is Alcatraz haunted? In Ghostly’s thirty-fifth episode, Pat and Rebecca explore Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the United States. Not only does this former fortress have an interesting history, it also is shrouded in spooky stories. But is it a home for ghosts?

Questions Explored in this Episode

What is the history of Alcatraz Island, and how did it get its name? What role did the prison play in the Civil War? How did it go from military fortress to Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary to tourist destination? Did anyone ever escape from Alcatraz? Which cell blocks are considered the most haunted and why? Who are some of the most famous “residents” of the island? What are the biggest ghost stories? Is Alcatraz haunted?

Listener Mail and Questions

Special Bonus Reader Request! Eric, son of Mondo, requested we tell a story in honor of Chinese New Year, so listen to how the beginnings of this major holiday actually stem from a supernatural creature.

We also have some great personal stories from listener Elisa involving a personal ghost…or do they? Have a story or question of your own (or someone you know)? Send your story or question to info@ghostlypodcast.com and we might read it on the podcast. You can also email us individually at pat@ghostlypodcast.com or rebecca@ghostlypodcast.com. You could be on a future episode of Ghostly!

Ghost Story – Alcatraz

Listen to Rebecca tell a story based on one of the most famous ghost sightings on Alcatraz involving one of its most famous residents.

History of Alcatraz

Listen to Pat give the history of Alcatraz prison. He explains how it came into the hands of the United States government, and then discusses the Rock’s dark history of being first a military fortress and then a maximum-security federal penitentiary.

Alcatraz was only in use for 29 years as a federal prison. But during that time it housed some of the most notorious criminals in American History.

  • Al Capone
  • The Birdman of Alcatraz – Robert Franklin Stroud (who was actually a Ornithologist, but he couldn’t keep birds on Alcatraz) (he was also a pimp at the age of 18 in Alaska)
  • George “Machine Gun” Kelly
  • Bumpy Johnson (got the name from a bump on the back of his head)
  • Rafael Cancel Miranda (a member of the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party who attacked the United States Capitol building in 1954)
  • Mickey Cohen (who was actually a Professional Boxer and a mobster boss)
  • Arthur R. “Doc” Barker (he was killed while trying to escape Alcatraz)
  • Alvin “Creepy” Karpis (holds the record for the most time in prison on Alcatraz – 26 years) named creepy because of his sinister smile. He was a Canadian and of Lithuanian decent

Time for Debate!

Join Pat and Rebecca for a debate on several of the most often told stories of the prison. Cell Blocks D and C are full of ghost stories and former guards and even a warden have spooky experiences to share. Are they telling the truth? Listen and you decide.

Vote on the Episode

Vote on if Alcatraz is haunted using the poll on our Facebook page.  Just search for Ghostly Podcast on Facebook and be sure to Like us so you don’t miss anything!

Poll Results

Find out what listeners said for the Tarot Card episode. Do you all think Tarot Cards can predict the future? Still need to listen to our previous episode? Check it out here.

Done Listening to the Episode?

Please subscribe to Ghostly and give us a rating on iTunes or any podcast app where they let you. Tell your friends! Then you can debate the truth yourselves! Word of mouth is one of the best ways to grow our audience, so we can do all the amazing things we have planned for this year. And be sure to find us on all social media at Ghostly Podcast.

Then visit our website, www.ghostlypodcast.com, to learn more about Ghostly, and, of course, give us your opinion on our polls on Facebook. Also, be sure to check out our new merchandise Zazzle store at http://ghostlypodcast.com/store for all your Ghostly merch!

We want to hear from you! Tell us your ghost stories or even your non-stories if you later realized you saw nothing paranormal. We would also love your suggestions for stories to cover in the future. Email us both at info@ghostlypodcast.com or individually at pat@ghostlypodcast.com or rebecca@ghostlypodcast.com  Follow us on Facebook and Instagram at GhostlyPodcast

Sources for this Week’s Episode


Music for this episode was performed by Michael Rivers
Intro: “III. Allegro moderato from Gargoyles” by Lowell Liebermann
Outro: “Dream Images (Love-Death Music)” by George Crumb
Bumper: “Ghost Waltz” by Lowell Liebermann