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The Alcatraz Redemption

Article #257 • Written by Marisa Brook

Alcatraz Island (pdphoto.org)
Alcatraz Island (pdphoto.org)

Officially, there were never any successful escape attempts from California's notorious Alcatraz Prison. Nicknamed 'The Rock', Alcatraz is located on the tiny island of the same name in San Francisco Bay. It is about one and a quarter miles from the mainland, outside reasonable swimming distance and surrounded by strong ocean currents. This location afforded it formidable defenses against escape. Between 1934 and 1963, when the prison was operating, only fourteen attempts were made; most of the escapees involved were shot by guards or recaptured.

One exception, however, came in 1962. Prisoners Frank Lee Morris, Clarence Anglin, and John Anglin had spent months developing an elaborate plan to get out of the imposing structure, as well as a way to cross San Francisco Bay to the mainland with a makeshift raft. After lights-out on the night of 11 June 1962, the trio decided that the time was right and set their plan in motion. After that, however, they were never seen again.

Arguably the ringleader of the event was Morris, who spent his childhood in a series of foster homes and his teen years on the wrong side of the law. Rumored to be highly intelligent, Morris certainly demonstrated a knack for breaking out of prisons.

Frank Lee Morris (1926-1962?)
Frank Lee Morris (1926-1962?)

This cleverness was insufficient to keep him out of them for long, though. The cycle of Morris getting into trouble and getting out of prison caused Federal officials substantial frustration, and eventually it was decided that this escape spree would end with Morris's imprisonment at Alcatraz.

On 20 January 1960, the 33-year-old Morris was sent to The Rock. There, he reconnected with some old friends from a federal prison in Atlanta, brothers Clarence and John Anglin. Along with a third brother, the Anglins were in Alcatraz after having been arrested for grand larceny and bank robbery. Both Clarence and John were loud and outspoken. Also, like Morris, they were experienced escape artists.

Though Morris had probably started looking for potential ways to escape the minute he arrived, it would be nearly two years before he and the Anglins began to organize their efforts. They were also joined by fellow inmate Allen West who knew John Anglin from time spent at a Florida state prison. The four prisoners' cells were relatively close together, which facilitated their plans.

The escape plan had several parts. In preparation, the men constructed a set of papier-mâché heads using materials found around the prison, including real hair clippings collected during their visits to the inmates' barbershop. The men worked on the model heads in pairs: one kept a lookout for guards. By placing these heads in their beds on the night of the escape, the prisoners hoped to keep their absence from being noticed during the head-count that would take place that evening.

Brothers Clarence and John Anglin
Brothers Clarence and John Anglin

The route towards freedom would be a rarely-used utility corridor which ran behind all of their cells. The prisoners thus proceeded to chip away at the wall - a relatively easy task considering that the wall was water-damaged. They used resourceful invented tools, such as an extra motor from a prison vacuum-cleaner and a chisel created from a spoon reinforced with the metal of a coin. They worked on the holes only during music hour so that the noise would not be obvious, and concealed their work behind rudimentary false walls; in the relative darkness of the cells, this was enough to deceive the prison guards. The next challenge was an air vent covering the corridor. The vent included several fans, so the prisoners removed these and replaced them with false grilles carved from bars of stolen soap.

The easy access to this corridor provided space for construction relating to the next stage of their escape project. Leaving the island by swimming would not be feasible, so the men required a raft in order to reach the mainland. They conceived of a design created from about fifty prison-issued rubber raincoats - some stolen, others donated. The men frequently snuck out of their cells to work on the raft on top of the cellblock. When it was finally completed, it was six feet wide and fourteen feet long. To go with it, the men also built their own life-preservers and plywood paddles.

All this took several months to prepare. Finally, just after lights-out at 9:30 PM on 11 June 1962, Morris decided that the group was ready to make its escape. He and the Anglins retrieved the dummy heads from their hiding place atop the cellblock, placed them in the beds, collected the raft, accessories, and a number of possessions, then left their cells for the last time.

Allen West
Allen West

Allen West had been unable to join them, though the reasons for this are unclear. Some sources say that he had not dug enough to loosen his grille properly; others claim that he had reinforced his flimsy false wall with concrete and it had set, sealing him inside his cell. Regardless, the other three went ahead without him. Climbing a set of pipes, they took their raft and belongings thirty feet up to the prison roof, then climbed down the side of the building to the water's edge. There, they inflated the raft with a stolen concertina, a musical instrument similar to an accordion. At sometime around 10 PM that night they climbed aboard, shoved off, and started paddling. They have never been seen since.

The following morning, guards discovered that the prisoners were missing and that the beds were occupied by disembodied artificial heads. They immediately alerted the FBI. After discovering that Allen West had originally been part of the plot, agents pressed him for information. The plan, he said, had been to paddle to nearby Angel Island, then swim the Raccoon Straits to the Marin Headlands, near the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. From there, they intended to steal a car, find a clothing store to rob, and then go their separate ways.

The investigation that included this interview was immense, but there was simply no sign of Morris or of the Anglin brothers. No car-thefts or clothing-store robberies were reported locally in the days following the breakout, and the men did not seem to have had any friends or contacts in San Francisco who could have assisted them with their escape.

Later, fragments of the makeshift raft and some of the prisoners' personal items were discovered on the shore of Angel Island. These were carefully wrapped to make them waterproof, leading investigators to suspect that the men had drowned since they would not have willingly abandoned their possessions. Also, some time later, a dead man in a prison uniform was discovered at sea. Though authorities suspected it to be the body of one of the three escapees, it had deteriorated too much to be identified.

Officially, the three are recorded as missing and presumed drowned. Red & White Fleet, the company that manages the ferry to present-day Alcatraz, has offered one million dollars for the recapture of the three men; however, there has been no conclusive evidence that any of them survived. The FBI noted that the three men had previously been repeat offenders, but were never arrested again after their escape attempt. This observation cast further doubt on the possibility that they had survived it.

Some recent attention to the story has come from its 2003 appearance on the Discovery Channel's MythBusters. The San-Francisco-based program examines urban legends via experiments. To investigate what might have happened to Morris and the Anglin brothers on that night in 1962, hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage attempted to replicate the events of the escape attempt. They constructed a raft using raincoats made from similar material; they waited for a day with similar ocean currents in San Francisco Bay; and, with a third man standing for the third member of the original crossing, they successfully paddled the distance.

The MythBusters' experiment prompted a new hypothesis suggesting that the men could have reached the Marin Headlands directly with their raft, and ocean currents could have carried their possessions to Angel Island afterwards.

© 2007 TerraMetrics
© 2007 TerraMetrics

Therefore, the show's hosts ruled that it was "plausible" that the prisoners may have survived their intricate escape attempt.

Most recently, the story of the escape was re-broadcast on America's Most Wanted in November 2005. Though the men were officially pronounced dead long ago, the lack of closure to the case keeps the legend alive. So far there has not been any strong evidence to support either outcome, and there perhaps never will be. While it seems likely that the three men perished at sea, some can't help but wonder whether the clever escape artists - who would all be about eighty by now - could have managed to successfully steal back their freedom after all.

Article written by Marisa Brook, published on 25 February 2007. Marisa lives in Toronto, Canada. She collects postcards, fridge magnets, lapel pins, interesting rocks, and linguistics degrees.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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88 Comments
Tink
Posted 25 February 2007 at 11:35 pm

DI! Can't imagine that anyone who survived this attempt and possibly lived to be 80 wouldn't have bragged to someone about their great escape. Though I suppose it would of been possible and they might have managed to change id's and lived... Ah, an interesting mystery.

Oh and (ahem) 1st!


didinskee
Posted 25 February 2007 at 11:37 pm

sweet! i hope they made it. the fact that they weren't caught again for any offense means they must have learned their lesson enough to deserve some freedom... or clever enough not to get caught at all to deserve that freedom.


Kiwi
Posted 26 February 2007 at 12:04 am

I'm sure that one of the escapee would of come out from hiding if they survived. Very damn interesting that there is no trace of their landing or wreckage from their raft!


Zamemee
Posted 26 February 2007 at 12:07 am

Definitely DI. I didn't know that parts of the raft were found, nor that a man in prison clothes was discovered either. Thickens the plot a little.


Kiwi
Posted 26 February 2007 at 12:18 am

Woops didn't read the article properly.... guess there was quite a bit of evidence! Still very damn interesting


Gerry Matlack
Posted 26 February 2007 at 02:34 am

Tink said: "DI! Can't imagine that anyone who survived this attempt and possibly lived to be 80 wouldn't have bragged to someone about their great escape. "

Probably a case of "The first rule of prison escape club is: You don't talk about prison escape club!" ;)


Abu Ibrahim
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:21 am

Also, some time later, a dead man in a prison uniform was discovered at sea. Though authorities suspected it to be the body of one of the three escapees, it had deteriorated too much to be identified

I believe that was part of the ploy to hinder any searchs for them. Depending on how long was 'some time later' the bodies may have not have reached such state of detoriation that quickly.


Dublin
Posted 26 February 2007 at 05:03 am

They could be reading this article right now! DI thanks for a nice lunchtime read.


Byrden
Posted 26 February 2007 at 06:25 am

Looking at the cell photo, I notice a lot of institutional buildings from the early part of the 20th century seem to have the same grey-green paint on the lower half of the walls.
Was this a well-known 'official' paint colour and can anyone get me a reference to it?


Talentscout
Posted 26 February 2007 at 08:14 am

I recently watched the Escape From Alcatraz DVD and surprisingly the film seems to have portrayed this escape with some accuracy. At least according to the details outlined in this article.


Tink
Posted 26 February 2007 at 08:16 am

Gerry Matlack said: "Probably a case of "The first rule of prison escape club is: You don't talk about prison escape club!" ;)"

Lol, Yeah, you got me there!
Guess its a good thing I never persued a criminal career, afraid I ain't got the smarts to be a wise guy. Ha!


Xoebe
Posted 26 February 2007 at 11:20 am

Wonder what they did with the remains of the body they found. Be interesting to see DNA testing done on it.

These guys went to a lot of trouble. As someone above implied, it looks to me like Allen West stayed behind to throw the fuzz off the trail. Also, why raft to Angel Island then swim to Marin? At night, it wouldn't take long to raft to the City, you could make it before dawn, and it would be a lot easier to hide there. One could find a tramp and dispose of him, swap clothes with him and toss the body in the water.

It would serve the authorities much better to claim that they had drowned rather than admit that anyone had gotten away. The escapees might have realized this and thrown them some evidence that would have made it hard to justify the expense - and embarrasment - of conducting an extensive on shore search.


rev.felix
Posted 26 February 2007 at 12:18 pm

Gerry Matlack said: "Probably a case of "The first rule of prison escape club is: You don't talk about prison escape club!" ;)"

The second rule of prison escape club is: You don't talk about prison escape club!


grisbald
Posted 26 February 2007 at 02:07 pm

Back in the early 80's, our family went to California for vacation, and we visited Alcatraz. They had 2 of the paper mache heads on display, the escape was talked about, and the guide said they always looked over men in their 60's for any resemblance. We visited soon after Clint Eastwoods movie was shot there.


Lista
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:00 pm

This is my first comment here, even though I regularly read these amazing stories for quite some time now. I apologize for this strange occurrence. :))

This story is no different, either.
Hasn't there been a film made based on this story? I'm not quite sure, but I could swear that I've watched at least two of them with the 'doll' trick. And to make things clear, I believe they made it. Heck, maybe one of them even wrote the article.


brienhopkins
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:14 pm

Lista said: " Hasn't there been a film made based on this story? I'm not quite sure, but I could swear that I've watched at least two of them with the 'doll' trick. And to make things clear, I believe they made it. Heck, maybe one of them even wrote the article."

There's a Clint Eastwood movie all about it. Its called "Escape from Alcatraz"

In regards to their successful escape, these three men seem very clever. Its completely plausible that they planned to drop select items over board their raft, creating the illusion they drowned, in an attempt to kill the FBI's man hunt. Moreover, the fourth man who was left behind was probably well informed and would have attempted to throw authorities off the trail during interrogation by including Angel Island in the escape plan.


brienhopkins
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:23 pm

Concerning the discovery of the corpse dressed in a prison uniform at sea, it's completely sensible that at least one of the men killed a local civilian, swapped clothes to minimize attention to himself, and left the body in the sea, in an effort to further throw the FBI off.


brienhopkins
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:24 pm

When exactly did they find that corpse?


brienhopkins
Posted 26 February 2007 at 03:28 pm

I live in the San Fransisco Bay Area and from my knowledge of the bay it doesn't make sense to row to Angel Island then the Marin Headlands. You don't need to be a local to eyeball the shortest distance on that overhead view.


bookcrafter
Posted 26 February 2007 at 04:06 pm

Xoebe said: "Wonder what they did with the remains of the body they found. Be interesting to see DNA testing done on it."

It may indeed be interesting, but probably not very useful since it is unlikely that a DNA sample could be obtained of any of the escapees.

Nevertheless, a DI article Thank you!


GigsTaggart
Posted 26 February 2007 at 04:12 pm

Brien, you can't neglect the water currents. Mythbusters did indeed row the gap as the article notes, and Angel Island was the easiest thing to row to, once you take the currents into account.


GigsTaggart
Posted 26 February 2007 at 04:13 pm

"it is unlikely that a DNA sample could be obtained of any of the escapees."

Maybe not... Wonder how much of the hair on those papier mache heads was theirs? Their personal affects were probably preserved as part of the investigation too. Wouldn't take a lot to get some usable DNA.


bookcrafter
Posted 26 February 2007 at 04:42 pm

Hard to say how useful their personal affects would be, but if the hair clippings were actually their own hair that would certainly do it. I wonder if anyone is persuing this. Seems like it would be worth the million dollar reward.....


sh0cktopus
Posted 26 February 2007 at 04:43 pm

This reminds me of a documentary I saw recently about the "Great Escape" from the Stalag Luft III concentration camp. I guess there was a movie about that also, starring Steve McQueen. It was exponentially more elaborate than this escape. Mind-boggling, really.

Token Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_Luft_III
It always surprises me that prisoners have so much unsupervised time that they can dig holes through their cell walls. Or that cells don't get inspected more thoroughly on a regular basis. We all know that inmates have nothing better to do than create improvised tools out of the materials at hand. But what do I know. I've been in jail for a day, which sucked, but prison is a whole separate world, with its own rules.


Talentscout
Posted 26 February 2007 at 05:30 pm

Does anyone know if these guys were in for anything other than the grand larceny and bank robbery mentioned in the article? Several of these theories entail murdering a transient and tossing him in the bay for evidence. Just wondered if we had any known cold blooded killers in the group. Or maybe I'm just underestimating the volatile mix of group mentality and desperation.


ExperimentNo6
Posted 26 February 2007 at 07:13 pm

Well, even if the hair clipping were exclusively theirs, it wouldn't work unless the barber accidentally pulled the hair out by the roots. It's not the strands of hair that have the the DNA, it's the root it grows from that does.


elifint
Posted 26 February 2007 at 09:52 pm

GigsTaggart said: "Brien, you can't neglect the water currents. Mythbusters did indeed row the gap as the article notes, and Angel Island was the easiest thing to row to, once you take the currents into account."

Agreed. I've paddled a sea kayak in that same area, which is surely more seaworthy and certainly much faster (important when fighting currents) than a makeshift rubber raft would be. The run between Alcatraz and Angel Islands is relatively easy. You have to fight some currents for a while, but once you get out of the main flow, you're fine. Heading towards San Francisco, even though it looks like a shorter distance, makes you cross the very strong and difficult currents coming through the Golden Gate. If your boat can only make 1 knot and you're in a 2 knot current, you don't get to choose the direction you head in. And suddenly the distance looks a whole lot longer. Also there's an awful lot of big ship traffic through that corridor that a slow little raft would have a very hard time dodging at night (not to mention increasing their chance of getting spotted). Remember that they were trying to maximize chances of success, and they would have had to conservatively assume that the ruse with the fake heads wouldn't work, and that the authorities would be looking for them.

On the other hand, you could land on Angel Island without being spotted pretty easily, and when the current slacks it's really not very far to swim to the peninsula. And it's a lot harder to spot swimmers than a boat made of prison raincoats. It might actually be the case that the described scenario was their best chance for success. At the very least it's plausible enough that it's not an absurd cover story.

I suppose another option would be to wait for a flood current and then ride it straight from Alcatraz to Treasure Island (in the right middle of the overhead picture, with the Bay Bridge running through it). I suspect you could really cover some distance fast doing that, even in a slow boat! The trick is getting out of the current at the right time. And it'd potentially be pretty choppy. Did they have skilled boaters in their group? Including people who knew the local area? Unfortunately for them, I think Treasure Island was an active military base at the time. And I doubt you could car-jack on the Bay Bridge without getting spotted!


senorstu
Posted 26 February 2007 at 10:56 pm

"You don't talk about prison escape club!"

Took the words right out of my mouth. Getting out is the easy part - the hard part is staying out.

Prison breaks facinate me. Let's hope these three hung up their hats after that one.


senorstu
Posted 26 February 2007 at 11:01 pm

"facinate"?


brienhopkins
Posted 27 February 2007 at 01:40 am

Why not row directly to the Marin Headlands?


inmyopinion
Posted 27 February 2007 at 02:21 am

So that body they found was "deteriorated" beyond recognition? Deteriorated as in "rotted away" or as in "chopped-to-bits-by-rotor-from-large-boat-that-couldnt-be-seen-at-night"?Considering that the only thing found of the rubber boat where little bits...

I doubt they made it.

But they DID got out of jail! :) Yay!


Andinov
Posted 27 February 2007 at 04:30 am

From their personnality profiles alone you know they couldn't have made it;

"Morris, who spent his childhood in a series of foster homes and his teen years on the wrong side of the law ... This cleverness was insufficient to keep him out of them (prisons) for long"
and
"Both Clarence and John were loud and outspoken. Also, like Morris, they were experienced escape artists"

From this it is very hard to believe that not only did these guys never got in trouble with the law again but never talked/bragged about it either!


iq_two
Posted 27 February 2007 at 07:38 am

Andinov said: "From their personnality profiles alone you know they couldn't have made it;


"Morris, who spent his childhood in a series of foster homes and his teen years on the wrong side of the law … This cleverness was insufficient to keep him out of them (prisons) for long"
and
"Both Clarence and John were loud and outspoken. Also, like Morris, they were experienced escape artists"

From this it is very hard to believe that not only did these guys never got in trouble with the law again but never talked/bragged about it either!"

Maybe they did brag about it, but nobody believed them.
And also, they only found one body, so even if it was one of them, two of them could have made it.


misanthrope
Posted 27 February 2007 at 08:55 am

RE: DNA from the hair clippings - unless some breakthrough has been made in the last few years, usable DNA is only found in the hair follicles, so cut hair is useless. Hair from hairbrushes is sometimes used to obtain DNA, because some of the hairs have been pulled out rather than broken, and will therefore have remnants of the follicle attached.

RE: Alcatraz claiming that no-one had ever escaped - Whether these men died in the attempt or not, they left the building and they left the island. Labelling that as anything but escape is no more than spin, and pretty dumb spin at that.


PuzzledWoeman
Posted 27 February 2007 at 10:20 am

I enjoy educational tidbits found in nice size articles on the web. Because of that, I am pleased to have found your website. Without delay, I linked to your site from mine and I will not hesitate to come back.

Just in case you're interested in synchronicity, I thought you might like to know. I was reading this article today. In the middle of reading it, I telephoned home to my husband, who is home sick from work. He asks me what I'm doing, I tell him I'm reading an article about an escape from Alcatraz. He tells me that on the t.v. that very minute is a documentary about escapes from Alcatraz.


Tink
Posted 27 February 2007 at 11:54 am

PuzzledWoeman said: "I linked to your site from mine and I will not hesitate to come back...

Just in case you're interested in synchronicity,... He tells me that on the t.v. that very minute is a documentary about escapes from Alcatraz."

Here ya go, one of the classics at DI!. Oh and welcome aboard!
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=417


Dave Group
Posted 27 February 2007 at 02:15 pm

I had always thought that West committed suicide before the escape attempt was discovered, though maybe I'm just confusing the movie with the facts. In any event, facts about Alcatraz are difficult to pin down, as authorities kept a tight lid on any info (Robert "Birdman of Alcatraz" Stroud's autobiography has still never seen the light of day). You could also have mentioned that the papier-mache were constructed from unnumbered pages carefully cut from books and magazines and painted with art supplies from the prison. Plus, Morris learned how to build the raft from a magazine article he read while in prison (I believe it was from Popular Mechanics). As amazing as this escape was, we should keep in mind that these guys were habitual criminals, and probably caused no small amount of grief for a lot of people.

This case was also profiled on Unsolved Mysteries a while back. Certainly other inmates were aware of what was going on, but kept silent because they wanted to see someone beat "The Rock." The show also presented the theory that the men were picked up by a small boat somewhere along the way, so they wouldn't have had to paddle the whole way to shore. There have been several boks written on this case, including J. Campbell Bruce's Escape from Alcatraz and Don DeNevi's Riddle of the Rock (which asserts that Morris DID survive).


Jeremy
Posted 27 February 2007 at 03:49 pm

sh0cktopus said: "This reminds me of a documentary I saw recently about the "Great Escape" from the Stalag Luft III concentration camp. I guess there was a movie about that also, starring Steve McQueen. It was exponentially more elaborate than this escape. Mind-boggling, really.

Token Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stalag_Luft_III

When I was in junior high a man who had been a World War II glider pilot came to speak to my history class. He had been captured and spent time in the same prisoner of war camp where the Great Escape took place.

One thing he said that I found pretty surprising was that German guards were notoriously easy to bribe with, of all things, Hershey's chocolate bars. The American prisoners got them in their Red Cross care packages, and the German guards went nuts for them (I guess by that time rationing had gotten pretty severe in Germany). In exchange for Hershey's bars and cigarettes, they were able to acquire parts to build a radio (which they concealed in a hollowed out table leg) and even some of the tools which they used to dig the escape tunnels.


Talentscout
Posted 27 February 2007 at 05:18 pm

That's so freaky. For months now, I've been having this recurring dream where this elusive figure keeps repeating "PuzzledWoeman will come, PuzzledWoeman will come" before she fades into the mist...


dogu4
Posted 27 February 2007 at 06:25 pm

Interesting program. I had the priveledge to work out on Alcatraz over a period of a few years, guiding visitors and so I know a bit of the history. While there were no official escapes during the Federal Penetentiary era, previously, dating back to the early days of SF's history around the Civil War, the fortifications there were a common place to send Federal Prisoners while they did their time for whatever it was that earned 'em "down time"; from indigenous rebels to confederate spies to guys who were found guildty of being drunk on duty or od having gone AWOL...later the military used it as a West Coast federal prison, but it was kinda expensive to run the place. Back during those years there were reports of a number of prisoners concocting small floatation rigs and one attempt ended up with one or two of the guys in the bars or the Barbary Coast and another attempt had the wouldbe escapees washing up nearly dead somewhere near Baker Beach, hypothermic and eager to be rescued.

While the official story and the one to which most would adhere would be that they died. The reasons they give are pretty lame and all rest on the presumption that these guys were some how destined to be stupid because they'd been stupid in the past, and y'know, prisoners are just stupid...d'uh. I'm not a romantic about these guys but even being stupid, I wouldn't go so far as to say that every prison guard,let alone any prison system, isn't subject to some sort of stupid weakness that wiseguys with nothing else to do but think about escaping might just discover...and the prison by the time the guys made their escape was showing a lot of age: rusted fixtures, crumbling cement, guards were underpaid and understaffed...and probably believed that the prisoners were just as convinced of the futility of trying to escape as the guards themselves believed it to be.
Oh, and as for the Birdman's biography...dude, it would make for some pretty strange reading. He was not your everyday sorta guy with a troubled past as portrayed by Burt Lancaster. Some of the stories I'd heard are pretty funny in a not altogether funny sorta way. Even though, I find the whole institutional concept of prison as punishment to be a pretty pathetic way to deal with the kinds of behaviour that destroy the fabric of society and replaces it with an equally corrosive system. I'd be surprised if the old Birdman didn't have a few exta bits of X and Y chromosomes foating around in his miotic spindle.


brienhopkins
Posted 27 February 2007 at 06:27 pm

Talentscout said: "That's so freaky. For months now, I've been having this recurring dream where this elusive figure keeps repeating "PuzzledWoeman will come, PuzzledWoeman will come" before she fades into the mist…"

Your dream is indeed freaky, but how does it concern escaping prison, Scout?


ti83
Posted 27 February 2007 at 08:41 pm

That's pretty fetch.


kwiksand
Posted 27 February 2007 at 09:15 pm

brienhopkins said: "Your dream is indeed freaky, but how does it concern escaping prison, Scout?"

I was wondering the same thing.. It seemed to have no relation to anything..


madmax
Posted 28 February 2007 at 04:26 am

the mythbusters guys showed that this could be done, one of the first few eps they built a boat in the same way with the same plastic rain coats, and they made it easily to the shore, though they used the natural currents to get there.. and they landed in a different area than what was thought the escapees landed.... the mythbusters boys thought it was very possible that they made it....


Talentscout
Posted 28 February 2007 at 05:56 am

PuzzledWoeman said: "Just in case you're interested in synchronicity, I thought you might like to know. I was reading this article today. In the middle of reading it, I telephoned home to my husband, who is home sick from work. He asks me what I'm doing, I tell him I'm reading an article about an escape from Alcatraz. He tells me that on the t.v. that very minute is a documentary about escapes from Alcatraz."

Sorry. It vaguely had to do with the above quote from Puzzled Woeman. I was afraid the attempt at humor might be a long shot but that it might just work! Much like an attempt to escape from Alcatraz. Oh, there you go. I knew the connection was there somewhere... : )


inmyopinion
Posted 28 February 2007 at 09:05 am

madmax said: "the mythbusters guys showed that this could be done, one of the first few eps they built a boat in the same way with the same plastic rain coats, and they made it easily to the shore, though they used the natural currents to get there.. and they landed in a different area than what was thought the escapees landed…. the mythbusters boys thought it was very possible that they made it…."

Unless Adam and Jamie ended up missing and later a guy dressed in a mythbuster t-shirt was found dead and floating at open sea, I would say that it probably didn't mimick the historical events quite the same.

No offense to Mythbusters, they provide excellent shows, but they tend to leave out crucial details. They ain't scientists, ok? They also never replicate a test. Maybe you can get lucky crossing to an island once or twice, but that doesn't really prove anything other than that there is a chance to make it. Which is the case for a lot of things.


sulkykid
Posted 28 February 2007 at 09:42 am

These were hardened criminals and multiple repeat offenders. If any of these guys had made it, they surely would have recidivitated. Since they were never seen again, they died. Further proof is the unidentifiable prisoner body.


Dblock
Posted 28 February 2007 at 02:40 pm

Very nteresting comments. I'd like to add my ten cents worth if that's ok.

I keep seeing people say (throughout the Internet) how far the swim is and how "professional swimmers could probably make the journey, but a non professional swimmer would have a difficult time." But what is not considered when making that comment is that these three men had homemade life jackets, a home made raft that they were able to hold onto, and there were three of them to propel themselves. If one got tired, there were two others to keep them going.

There will always be people, including myself, with theories of how they actually made it. As the article above states, America's Most Wanted aired an episode on this in 2005, which I missed, but you can see clips from it on the website. It is very interesting and it sort of answers the question of whether any of them bragged about being who they were.

An earlier comment metioned how they found a body, but it was so badly deteriorated that it is questionable how long it was really in the water. Well, to add to that, there were reports of previous escapees, before the 1962 attempt, that were never found. If the body was that bad, it could possibly have been one of them.

Unlike Bigfoot, Roswell, and Elvis being alive, the theory that these three escape artists made it out of Alcatraz successfully and survived the cold waters of the bay, is one I believe.


lfsmith
Posted 28 February 2007 at 02:56 pm

Where is the redemption in the story? I may be just missing it.


brienhopkins
Posted 28 February 2007 at 04:11 pm

there were reports of previous escapees, before the 1962 attempt, that were never found. If the body was that bad, it could possibly have been one of them."

I thought no one ever escaped. Aside from the possibility of these three.


Talentscout
Posted 28 February 2007 at 08:18 pm

lfsmith said: "Where is the redemption in the story? I may be just missing it."

A reference to Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, a short novel by Stephen King that was later made into the movie The Shawshank Redemption. Unless you pose the question in search of a far deeper answer, in which case I cheerfully yield to our panel of experts...


Talentscout
Posted 28 February 2007 at 08:22 pm

Off the topic, but I just recently stumbled on this site and you all are some Damn Interesting people with some Damn Interesting observations as well.


lfsmith
Posted 28 February 2007 at 08:33 pm

I understood the reference to Shawshank Redemption, but there WAS redemption in the movie, unlike this article. This story doesnt seem to contain the redemption necessary to draw a parallel between the two.


brienhopkins
Posted 28 February 2007 at 09:22 pm

Can we get an article about Jesus' tomb up in this piece?


Dblock
Posted 01 March 2007 at 07:14 am

brienhopkins, this is copied form alcatrazhistory.com.

#2. December 16, 1937 - While working in the mat shop in the model industries building, Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe had, over a period of time, filed their way through the flat iron bars on a window. After climbing through the window, they made their way down to the water's edge and disappeared into San Francisco Bay. This attempt occurred during a bad storm and the Bay's currents were especially fast and strong - most people believe Roe and Cole were swept out to sea. Officially, they are listed missing and presumed dead.

I believe there was another case, but this is one I know of for sure.


inmyopinion
Posted 01 March 2007 at 08:47 am

Dblock said: "brienhopkins, this is copied form alcatrazhistory.com.


#2. December 16, 1937 - While working in the mat shop in the model industries building, Theodore Cole and Ralph Roe had, over a period of time, filed their way through the flat iron bars on a window. After climbing through the window, they made their way down to the water's edge and disappeared into San Francisco Bay. This attempt occurred during a bad storm and the Bay's currents were especially fast and strong - most people believe Roe and Cole were swept out to sea. Officially, they are listed missing and presumed dead.

I believe there was another case, but this is one I know of for sure."

If you are implying that this could account for the body found; bodies don't float around at sea for 25 years.

I also think that they couldn't have had so many break outs that they couldn't keep track anymore. If there was another break out just weeks or months before the last one, and a couple of people went missing, I would think this little fact would not escape history.


Coherent
Posted 01 March 2007 at 02:25 pm

Since they were never re-arrested, if they made it, they probably left the country afterwards. Although it's also possible that only 1 or 2 of the three men made it. Perhaps one of them either accidentally died or was lost during the crossing, or was killed as part of an elaborate plan to make it seem like they died in the attempt.


Dave Group
Posted 02 March 2007 at 06:52 am

I believe there was one escapee in the 1960s who was able to swim to shore, but he was so tired, he fell asleep. When he awoke, he was surrounded by cops pointing guns at him (bummer).


Dblock
Posted 02 March 2007 at 07:29 am

Dave Group, if Alcatraz was really that tough, they should have made the escapee swim back. If nothing else, it would have taught him a lesson. lol

I don't think two of the three would have killed one of the others to make it look like they drowned. Especially a brother. Although all three were obviously dangerous because of their crimes, I don't believe any of them were murderers. Maybe the body that was found was one of the escpaed convicts, but for all three to be missing just seems really strange to me. Remember, there were three men to kick and propell them through the water. A single swimmer, I could see not making it. If they were out in the middle of the ocan with no land around, I could see them drowinging as well, but this was in a bay and again, there were three of them. Unless the water was so cold that all six legs got numb and none of them could kick any longer and they drifted, it just seems strange that all three would drown just like that. I agree that if any of them did survive, they probably fled the US somehow. I would also think that Morris went on his own if all three made it.

I also have another question. I read that there were a few more prisoners, besides West, who were planning to go, but changed their mind earlier on. Is it possible, even if not liekly, that one of those prisoners made arrangements with a friend or family member living in SF to be waiting in the bay with a boat? We know Morris had no family and the Anglins family couldn't afford to come to SF and get a boat, but what of there was an inamte from SF area that had connections? I know it seems like a stretch, but so does the plan of the escape itself.


Radiatidon
Posted 02 March 2007 at 11:15 am

Discovered this interesting tidbid about Alcatraz Escapes -- http://www.alcatrazhistory.com/escapes1.htm


Ahuva
Posted 03 March 2007 at 04:31 am

I am so jealous of PuzzledWoeman, discovered by Talentscout.


mai.
Posted 03 March 2007 at 02:02 pm

brienhopkins said: "I live in the San Fransisco Bay Area and from my knowledge of the bay it doesn't make sense to row to Angel Island then the Marin Headlands. You don't need to be a local to eyeball the shortest distance on that overhead view."

I agree. maybe they made two rafts, and sent one in the direction of angel island, with one of the brothers, and took the other to san francisco, where they could have killed a civillian, swapped clothes, somehow got hold of a boat, and dropped the body in the area of where it was found. being clever enough to escape from various jails, i think morris would have thaught of everything. also, when people are determined enough, even to the point of crazyness, i think they can achieve anything.

why the mythbusters sometimes leave out details, is so that careless teenagers dont repeat the expiriment, especially when theres a chance of getting hurt, and that could result in the mythbusters getting sued, which would dammage thier careers and such.


mungbeansprout
Posted 04 March 2007 at 12:13 pm

I had a huge bowel movement yesterday. It is reminiscing about these that fills my days with meaning. Much more than thinking about George W. Bush and the way he has fucked America.


mungbeansprout
Posted 04 March 2007 at 12:13 pm

Mai (above) cannot spell worth a shit.


midnight
Posted 06 March 2007 at 02:24 pm

The full show on Mythbusters covered the currents. It's very possible they used the current to get to the headlands and then ditched their stuff. Any inmate with could see the current switches in the morning and goes from the open sea to Angel Island. This would account for the stuff being there and if Morris had said it would be the goal while never intending to take Allen then the info would have panned out correctly.

While it is romantic to think they beat the odds and then managed to keep clean the whole time, it is unlikely they survived. The odds are too stacked against them having stayed free this long.


Dblock
Posted 08 March 2007 at 07:57 am

midnight said: While it is romantic to think they beat the odds and then managed to keep clean the whole time, it is unlikely they survived. The odds are too stacked against them having stayed free this long."

I am not so sure that is impossible. Look at how many fugitives are wanted by the FBI and a few have been loose for a long time. If they somehow made it out of the country to South America or even over seas that would have increased their odds even more. Morris apparantly had no family to help him, but that's what he told authorities. Unwritten rule among cons is that you don't snitch or offer any information to the authorities. We don't know for sure that he didn't have contacts somwhere to help them. Yes, it is romantic to imagine them making it, but I'm not so sure it wasn't possible. Also maybe they haven't stayed out of trouble. In recent years I've seen news reports on TV and on the Internet about old men robbing banks and getting away and noobody knows who they are. Hmmmmm. Don't get me wrong, I'm not ruling out that they did drown, but three bodies and a life raft made of raincoats all disapearing into the sea in one night from the Bay? I just think that something concrete would have been found. I still find it kind of funny how these guys were criminals and obviously dangerous, but because Clint made Morris seem so likeable in Escape From Alcatraz, we kind of have that little hope that they did make it. In reality, all three could possibly have been real assholes. For example, Robert Stroud, the Birdman, was shown as a friendly person in movies depicting him and from what I read, in reality, he was a major SOB to everyone. Hollywood sure has a way of glorifying the guilty to almost making them appear as heros.


E-hero
Posted 10 March 2007 at 05:44 pm

I would love to think that they survived because that would be so cool that someone did, but if I were them, at 80 I'd just announce that I did it and go to jail for the last few years of my life, and be remembered as a total genious.


LWP
Posted 18 March 2007 at 10:45 am

I suppose escaping from prison and surviving drowning in the cold water of the bay might be a cathartic bonding experience. In that case I would not be surprised that these escapees would never talk about this to anyone.


drflavio
Posted 18 July 2007 at 01:56 am

for what itis worth.. i truly think that they made it.. they just arrested a man here in ga last year who had, had a warrant for his arrest with a date of 1946 on it so yeah its possible to stay out of trouble for all those years, its interesting reading anyway.


ANGLINrelated
Posted 23 July 2007 at 10:59 am

I was driving home yesterday when my brother called me up with a big shocker. MY brother is engaged and on the way home he told me that his fiance is related to the Aldin brothers. They are her great uncles - her grandfather's brothers. I was just so surprised because I had just saw a thing about their escape on the history channel. He has knwon that his fiance LOVES to swim and now that he knows this bit of info about her family, he always teases her about loving to swim and being good at it since her great uncles were such great swimmers - lol.


LeannaLynn
Posted 09 August 2007 at 10:11 pm

*****Hey there me and my dad love this mistery and would love to know what actually happened to them, like everyone right? All I have to say is that Frank Morris, Clarence and John Anglin were way to smart to let a body of water to stand in there way of freedom. I hope they did make it, but I just wish we knew for sure.*****

*~Leanna O'Dea ~* Of Grand Falls-Windsor, Newfoundland


frankmahearn
Posted 30 September 2007 at 12:27 pm

How to Disappear… Alcatraz Style

Those of you who recognize my name know that I am a skip tracer, one who finds people; however, more interesting, I teach people how to disappear. About a year ago, I met up with some famed Hollywood Producers about creating a show about me finding people who have disappeared - titled Missing.

The producers were interested in doing cases where it was possible the missing people maybe alive. Like Whitey Bulger leader of the Winter Hill Gang, DB Cooper skyjacker and bank robber, Lord Lucan British high society and suspected murderer, Moana Pozzi Italian porn star. Out all the cases that were kicked around they were interested in brothers Clarence & JW Anglin the famed escape from Alcatraz, made popular by Clint Eastwood in his portrayal of Frank Lee Morris one of the escapees.

My attitude was negative I figured there is no way the Anglins or Morris made it out the dark waters with their makeshift rafts, boy was I wrong. Therefore, the journey of locating the Anglin brothers begins, I started my search by locating family.

The Anglin name is somewhat of a common southern name, most searches on line brought me to IMDB.com the movie site that linked the movie Escape from Alcatraz. I located an old book written titled Riddle of the Rock by Don Denevi, an interesting book that discusses the escape in detail - unlike the movie that simplified the break out.

The theory is that Bumpy Johnson a notorious Harlem mob boss assisted in the escape by having a boat out in the bay waiting for the escapees. However when I did my research on Bumpy Johnson he had no power left and no money to finance such a feat. In addition, the environment on the rock was hostile, amongst the different ethnic groups, though some believe that the escape plan united the groups and kept it a secret from the guards.

The vital hope amongst the prisoners was that if the escapees made it out alive, they perhaps would shine light on the horrible conditions in Alcatraz. The big house was filled with small cells, no exercise and high carbohydrate diets to keep the inmates lazy although the Warden allowed painting on canvas.

After days of spinning my skip tracing wheels, I was unsuccessful in locating any of the Anglin family members. Sometimes when one skip traces the simple things are forgotten. I finally hit http://www.ancestry.com and start posting that I am a writer searching for Anglin family members. A few days later, I get an email from a woman who knows the oldest brother and patriarch of the family. I will refer to him as Man a family nickname.

I dial Man’s cell phone number and an easy southern voice answers. I tell him my story that I am working with some producers who want to do a TV show about his brothers. Of course, I leave out the part that we are looking to capture them. Man agrees to meet me at a nearby Arby’s restaurant the following day.

The next day I arrive at the Arby’s restaurant about forty minutes early, checking out the scene. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Man or other family members. When you’re a skip tracer being paranoid at times is your best tool. The paranoia can keep you one-step ahead. After assessing that, all was cool I walk in a sit down, shortly after walks in the kindest looking person I ever met, Man brother to JW and Clarence.

As Man was sitting down, he asked if I was going to make him rich and famous, I laughed. Although Man was not joking, he told me how the media pretty much used him and spit him out. He told me everyone else made money off his brother’s infamy but the Anglin family never received a dime from books, TV shows and movies made. My answer was simple, how bout we start with a cup of coffee I am buying. Man smiled, he preferred bottle water.

I wanted to know about the brothers, how they found themselves in a place like Alcatraz. Clarence and JW robbed a bank in Alabama, what most people do not realize is a third brother was with them and the supposed ringleader Alfred Anglin. Man told me that Alfred was always in trouble and prior to the bank robbery in Alabama Alfred was on the lamb for several years living in the middle of Florida working a farm picking fruit and vegetables.

While hiding out in Florida Alfred fell in love with a sixteen-year-old beauty named Jeanette. Like Romeo and Juliet it was a forbidden love, the couple crossed the state line and married.

Not far from the Arby’s restaurant is a small graveyard with Alfred’s headstone and an old photo of Alfred and Jeanette announcing their marriage for all to see, quite brazen for a man on the run. That was just the way Alfred was, he feared nothing and wanted to give his new bride more in life so he devised a plan.

While Alfred was picking fruit under the hot Florida sun, Clarence was working a road gang somewhere around Ft. Meyers. Turns out Clarence’s mother Rachel and another of her sons’ went to visit Clarence in the jail. Clarence told them not to come next week that he would be visiting them at home. The mother and brother shrugged it off to Clarence’s usual banter.

The following week, Clarence true to his word escaped the road gang with two other prisoners. Clarence was barefoot and made his way up the Gulf Coast, wading and swimming for more than sixty miles.

Man told me that Clarence and JW were thick as thieves and since childhood, they had a unique way of communicating between each other, secret destination to meet up at, phone calls with certain amount of hang-ups determined locations. JW received such a message and met up with Clarence when he escaped the Florida road gang and took him to stay with Alfred on the farm. Farm life was no life for Clarence, he had a tough edge to him and preferred easy money for the day as opposed to a weekly paycheck also picking fruit never paid that much.

The plan, Man told me that originally, Clarence and Alfred were going to rob the bank in Alabama, and originally JW wanted no part of the crime. JW was a ladies man, sharp dressed and loved fast cars. A fast car was needed for the bank robbery, JW refused to lend his car and eventually decided that he would go along and drive the getaway car. What the brothers did not know was Alabama supposedly still had the death penalty for bank robbery.

My meetings with Man became weekly, more like a Tuesday with Morrie but in an Arby’s sipping bad coffee and him the usual water. Man was always cautious about how he answered my questions; in his late seventies, he was sharp. One time he was bold and told me he had to watch what he said, he didn’t want to get in any type of trouble. Not sure, what he meant I pushed on, but his big southern smile always brought the conversation to another topic.

In another meeting with Man, he implied that I might be a US Marshal trying to capture his brothers and wanted to know if I was wired. I told him I was not, he asked me to take off my shirt and prove it to him. That afternoon in the Arby’s I stood and took off my shirt as the patrons looked at me as if I was crazy. Man, pulled out a business card of a US Marshal, forty years after the escape the US Marshals actually approached Man and asked him to take a polygraph test. They picked him up from his small lot where several trailers housed Man and a few siblings. The Marshal drove him to an office asked him thirteen questions, drove him back home and never discussed the results of the test.

The bank robbery, JW drives his brother up to the bank door. Clarence and Alfred enter the bank a toy gun is used a woman near faints. The two brothers stop the robbery and give her a glass of water - about 19k is stolen. Eventually the brothers are apprehended in Ohio. Less than 600 were spent from the loot. All three brothers were found guilty. Alfred was sent back to Atlanta since he owed the state time for his prior escape. JW and Clarence went to Leavenworth and eventually Alcatraz because of a foiled escape.

Fast forward Alcatraz June 11, 1962 Allen West the mastermind behind the Alcatraz escape is unable to exit his cell, JW, Clarence and Frank Lee Morris escape into the dark waters supposedly never to be seen again.

After the escape, Man told me that he was visiting Alfred in the penitentiary and in the prison bathroom Alfred said he received a message from Clarence and that he knew where the brothers were holed up and he was going to break out and meet up with the pair. Alfred true to his words attempted to escape prison only to be killed by electrocution.
Long after the Alcatraz, escape there have been several sightings and assumed correspondence from JW and Clarence. The smoking gun by Hollywood standards would be a postcard that arrived one day from Brazil, written in Clarence’s writing. Every year on the mother’s birthday, she received two dozen red roses with unsigned cards. The roses stop upon her death.

At times Man would open up and bring me closer to a world he shared with no one, not even his own siblings. They joke about if anyone knew the whereabouts, Man would know. I asked to see the postcard from Brazil, however, a week later Man told me the card is gone no one can find it. I offered him twenty thousand dollars just to look at the mysterious correspondence. Man smiled and again in that polite southern voice - it was misplaced.

Some years ago, Unsolved Mysteries did a segment about the Anglin brothers; I had the good fortune of meeting the Director of that segment who was now one of the producers I was working with. We flew together to meet up with the US Marshal that worked the tips from Unsolved Mysteries.

1. A woman called in claiming to have met Clarence Anglin after the escape at a barbecue. She claimed he was with a teen girl named Rachel, strangely enough that was the name of the Anglins mothers. The woman claimed that she also visited the home of Clarence in Georgia and mentioned particular features about Clarence that only would have been recognized in person.

2. In the same area of Georgia, a bank was robbed and the MO was similar to the Anglin bank robbery in Alabama. What is so interesting is the Georgia bank robbery is in the same town where the Anglins hail from. Mike the producer told me when he was shooting the Unsolved Mysteries segment he had the wanted posters of Clarence and JW faxed to a hotel managers office, the manager remarked that the faces looked like the guy who robbed the bank a few years back in Georgia.

3. The US Marshal met with another woman who claimed she was on her father’s ranch in Texas when several men showed up who were assisting a man being smuggled into Mexico. Her father claimed it was one of the Anglin brothers.

4. We learned that only a few years back the US Marshals received a tip that one of the Anglin brothers was in Brazil. The US Marshals went down to Brazil and got a confirmation from a local bartender that one of the brothers was there. Eventually the trail went cold.

Mike and I eventually made our way to meet Man but first stopped in a local diner. We started talking with a few locals, one specifically who knew the family well. He told us what most people do not know is that one of the Anglin siblings was out in California during the escape and not far from the rock - information not in the FBI file.

The FBI file is an interesting piece of work, the attitude is summed up that most likely the trio drowned in the bay. Across the bay was a community of people known as the colony, these were family members of inmates locked up in Alcatraz. There is no record of the FBI ever speaking to members of the colony.

We picked Man up and he gave us a grand tour of where the Anglins grew up, from back woods swimming holes, to back roads where JW raced his Thunderbird. Man told stories of JW being a ladies man, dressing like a fancy preacher, Clarence being tough as nail and Alfred, well Alfred was just destined for trouble. Mike and I were hoping to get that smoking gun it never came.

Either way Hollywood passed on my show titled Missing, to them there was no smoking gun. The secret of Clarence and JW still hide behind the kind smile of a gentle man named Man. Through my search, I learned of things that are best left unsaid, things that imply or point to the strong possibilities of life after Alcatraz for JW and Clarence.

To me it was a great experience to dive so deep in the world of such a mystery - that will never be solved or at least not yet! That was the last time I saw Man and that’s how you disappear Alcatraz style.

Frank M. Ahearn
http://www.disappear.info


blue1965
Posted 25 January 2008 at 03:15 pm

I think they made it,of course it would look better if they let some of there personal effects go that the prison thought meant something to them.Once they made it they knew they better keep there mouths shut because they were never going to get the chance again.I remember reading when the Anglin's brother's mother died,two women showed up at the funeral heavily made up with make up and wigs that no one knew.The FBI were there to and it occured after the women left and they asked the family who they were,the family said they had no idea that the FBI might of let them slip through there fingers.On the mothers birthdays and x-mas cards would show up every year unsigned(there mail was being watched).The other one Frank was suppose to be spotted living in a trailer way back in the woods in Florida(back in the late 70's early 80's),this tip was called in,the FBI went to check it out but never could locate the place.The woman that left the tip was suppose to be a very mad and angry woman-who knows.It just kind of makes me think.


blue1965
Posted 25 January 2008 at 03:39 pm

I just read what was wrote after I put my comment in,WOW! how interesting to talk to the Anglin family.I still think there out there some where and I'm happy that they made it.They made the FBI look bad and the prison system,it was better to say they were dead then to say they escaped and couldn't be caught.The FBI had to think otherwise if after all those years they were still looking for them,I think they know the truth to but won't admit it to the public.


b12 black cat
Posted 25 November 2008 at 06:30 pm

Gerry Matlack said: "Probably a case of "The first rule of prison escape club is: You don't talk about prison escape club!" ;)"

How would u know? About escape club have you ever ecscaped/or been in jail?
How huh? Tell us my Email is tyler.airsoft@gmail.com
Answer my qeustion


b12 black cat
Posted 25 November 2008 at 06:37 pm

"Their probaly ill or dead."

1.) It would be Fu*king hard to get out of their and i think their covering it up because how
the hell could u brake out of their and not be seen at all huh their was like fking gaurd post like every few meters dunno but their was spot lights and so many gaurds probaly they must of had an insider that work at alcatraz i think so or its a cover up. You'd think they would find a few days after strange.


scargib
Posted 18 December 2008 at 11:21 pm

HOW FUNNY THINGS LIKE THIS MAKE U WONDER AND ONLY FEW KNOW THE TRUTH AND U SAY THEY WOULD BRAG THEY DID ALRIGTH LOL!!!!!U THINK THEY WANT THE WHOLE WORLD TO KNOW THEY ARE ON AMERICA MOST WANTED WHAT U THINK THE FAMILY GOING TO SAY SOMETHING HECK NO!!!!!!!


#AZ1441
Posted 29 July 2009 at 01:04 am

This case has interested me since I first saw the 1979 film starring Clint Eastwood. I've exhausted my research of the escape over the years, hoping that one day I'll finally stumble across that ever-elusive definitive clue that answers the question we all want to know -- Did Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers make it?

I'm like most of you. I want to believe, from a romantic point of view, that they made it. Most researchers and historians firmly suggest that they drowned, but offer little evidence that this was indeed their fate. I can't offer any revelational break-throughs in the case, but I do feel the need to provide my reasons for doubting the FBI's assumption that the trio drowned in the bay that night. Here are my reasons why:

1. Angel Island is approximately 2.8 kilometers directly north of Alcatraz. Historical records indicate that the tide was moving from east to west, in the direction of the Golden Gate Bridge, on the night of the escape. The winds were believed to have been blowing in the exact opposite direction of the tides, at approximately 10-15 mph. The wind may have counteracted the tidal effects.

Whether the tide or the wind was the greater force in determining the direction that the three men went, depends on whether they were sitting on top of the raft, or partially submerged in the water. I would assume that since paddles were made, the men were not submerged in the water, clinging to the raft and using their legs as the primary propelling force. If they had not planned to float on top of the raft, I doubt the paddles would have been constructed.

If the wind and tide counteracted one another, it is plausible that the trio could have paddled to Angel Island without a great degree of difficulty. If one force was a greater factor over the other, I would consider the tide to be the greater force. That said, had the men not fought the current, and the wind had not been a significant factor, they'd have drifted toward the Golden Gate Bridge area, in a matter of 1-2 hours, and in significantly less time had they paddled with the tide.

Allen West revealed in an interview after the escape that the original plan was to use their raft to make their way to Angel Island. Morris and the Anglins could not have known which direction the tides would be moving on the night that they executed the escape plan, but I have serious doubts that Morris, who's I.Q. was reported to be 133, would not have improvised a new plan based on the direction and speed of the tide, once in the water. These men had more than adequate preparation time to construct a fool-proof plan of escape. I would highly doubt that the direction and speed of the tide had not been discussed or planned for.

When Angel Island was searched the next day, only a paddle was found. This perhaps supports the claim that the three may have been successful in reaching Angel Island, considering the tide had been moving from east to west, toward the Golden Gate Bridge, and the paddle would likely have been carried in the direction of the bridge.

2. We know of one escaped convict, John Paul Scott, who after the June escape by Morris and the Anglins, successfully navigated the bay using inflated surgical gloves as a flotation device. He was later found at Fort Point, beneath the Golden Gate Bridge, suffering from hypothermia and exhaustion.

Scott's escape was made in December of 1962, while Morris and the Anglins had made their escape in June of 1962, in slightly more favorable conditions. Scott proved that the bay could be navigated. He swam nearly three miles to the shore, and did so using a means of flotation that was far inferior to the raft constructed by Morris and the Anglins. The attempt by John Paul Scott, while he ultimately failed and was returned to Alcatraz after recovering in Letterman General Hospital, supports the notion that Morris and the Anglins could have successfully navigated the bay.

3. It was reported on July 17th, 1962 that a Norwegian Freighter had seen a body floating 20-miles northwest of the Golden Gate Bridge. The crew claimed to have seen the body in July, although they did not report the sighting until October. Coroners in the area confirmed that a body could float for five weeks after drowning. The body was reported to have been badly decomposed, and could not be identified. It was determined that the body was clothed in full-length denim trousers, identical to prison issue uniforms. The FBI determined this sighting to be one of the most significant leads in the case.

There are too many holes in this bit of information that persuade me to believe that it can't be used as a significant lead in the case. First, and most importantly, the ship failed to report the sighting until October, even though the escape by Morris and the Anglins garnered a great deal of attention, and any lead, specifically one that occurred less than a month from the night of the escape, would have been highly valuable and important information to relay to the FBI, also considering the sighting happened a short distance from a U.S. penitentiary and in U.S. waters.

Secondly, the FBI presumed these three men to be dead only hours after they were discovered missing, without having any significant factual evidence to suggest they had drowned. For the FBI to suggest that a body floating in the water, which wasn't reported to them for four months, to be wearing a prison issue uniform is a bit questionable. Since the sighting had not been reported until October, the body was long gone, and the FBI had never seen it. Any information given by the FBI regarding the appearance of the body should immediately be called into question, considering that they never had the body present to identify, and had only second-hand information on a sighting that was reported four months too late. The body may have been wearing clothing similar to a prison issue uniform, and then again, may not have. The holes in this report suggest that it was nothing more than fabrication on the part of the FBI. There is no factual evidence to support their claim.

There have been other various reports such as unsigned postcards received by the Anglin brothers' mother, or a call to the U.S. Marshals Office a day after the escape, from a man claiming to be John Anglin, as well as other reports that I can't help but shrug off as merely hearsay. I do believe, however, that there is at least enough substantial evidence to believe that Frank Morris and John and Clarence Anglin could very well have made it, and lived a free life for some time after the escape. I myself, like to believe they did.


bizonbytes
Posted 15 January 2010 at 12:53 pm

I found a article about someone who said to have received a document containing a memoir of a man who had a role in the escape and knows what happen after the escape. After reading the article you could say it was plausible but again what is the credibility of that person who wrote the article in question.

http://hubpages.com/hub/Escape-From-Alcatraz-Mystery-Revealed


Clarence
Posted 02 January 2011 at 10:52 pm

I have done some research on this topic and my findings are that Frank and Clarence were picked up by the cia under george bush to help plan the jfk ass ass ination .Their new names are/were david atlee phillips ,(frank morris), and edward lansdale .(clarence anglin). The resemblance, I found to be more than a coinciding incident because their pictures and job outline are on the same page of the "did the bush's help kill jfk", on utube, under the heading "escaped convicts". If you read this however, the reference is to some other convicts in this article, but by reading between the lines with some imagination, intuition, and psychology, the possibility of this conundrum having any truth, is what real investigation will reveal. Any attempt to riddicule me is just another kick in the balls that I am so tired of (speaking for my countrymen as well) that those that posses this mentality will find true ridicule in their own hearts for being so repeatedly obnoxious ,and worthless For any such coward , suicide will seem joyfull, and that is sad. Sorry!I had to say that somewhere, Otherwise some truthfull criticism or support is really appreciated. what do you think? yes there is alot more than I can get into right now, but this corresponds.


tl1969
Posted 08 November 2013 at 11:18 pm

I believe they survived and moved on and also that one of the brothers is still with us. I've always thought it would be a nice gesture if one of them arranged for a message of some kind to be released before their deaths to say "we made it" and closure for the family. So many don't believe they could have moved on and never spoken about the escape again but when you think about it, people of all walks of life take secrets to the grave. Over the years, those homeless men on the streets, could have been them. Pick a State, pick a Country. Has been done before and will be done again. As for those that stayed behind, they made the right decision, they would have been caught. Time may tell.


Bud
Posted 12 December 2013 at 06:06 am

I heard on television that the Feds would drop the case if the State of Alabama would drop the bank robbery charges. Alabama refused. Their sister commented after an unsuccessful meeting with the Governor that 'those Alabama folks don't have one bit of a sense of humor.'
When they robbed the bank in Columbia Alabama with a toy gun a female clerk fainted. They stayed at the bank until they were sure she was ok.
There have been too many sightings - published and unpublished. Supermarket employees claim John cashed a (bad) check in Brundidge Alabama in June following the escape. They walked up on fishermen cooking beside the Chattahoochee River, asked for food and admitted who they were. Their sisters claim they were at their mother's funeral.
I think they made it. At least one brother went to South America and returned. Frank Morris died a few years after the escape. I think the Anglins have lived in their home area. Even the Feds can't get around those massive and unforgiving north Florida swamps like the Anglins.
BTW, when they were doing time in Florida, the state attempted to rehabilitate them by teaching them.....locksmithing. Yep, locksmithing. Then when the brothers went to jail they would stay as long as they thought proper, then open the doors and leave.
I wish Alabama would drop the charges so we would finally know the truth but I suspect that would leave egg on the Feds' faces so it won't happen.
I suspect a book will come out about their post-Alcatraz days. I just hope I live long enough to read it.
Good luck boys!


Win
Posted 20 January 2014 at 07:12 am

Great article, and an awesome website!

Just watched this National Geographic episode concerning the escape attempt.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsWsI7TnHtk

Bascially, in the past two decades some major substantiated evidence has come to light.

When the case was transferred from the FBI to the US Marshals (which I believe is standard protocol after a certain amount of time) all the files were examined in detail.

While the FBI never made it public, there's 2 records stating that a RAFT WAS FOUND on Angel Island the next day, along with footprints leading away from the raft.

The general reports of no stolen cars in the area that night (it was stated by Allan West, the prisoner in on the escape attempt but couldn't make it out of his cell on the night, that the three had planned to steal a car) are wrong. a 1955 blue Chevrolet was reported stolen, and it another possible piece of evidence, a motorist in Stockton, California (80 miles East of San Francisco) reported being forced off the road by three men in a blue Chevrolet driving at high speed)

The body that was seen floating in the bay by the Norwegian ship was believed to have came ashore at Point Reyes a week or so later. They examined the bones at this time and the proposed height of the person was an exact match to Frank Morris. (5'-7")

During this National Geographic documentary, this body was exhumed and DNA evidence was obtained. The US Marshals were able to find a living relative of Frank Morris and compared the DNA. It was not a match. Why they didn't do the same for a relative of the Anglins is a frustrating question.

Everything in the program seemed quite credible. The US Marshal in charge of the ongoing investigation is Michael Dyke, who I doubt would be involved in the program if the facts were sensationalized. (I believe the over dramatic music and bad re-enactments are the only flaw)

My theory is that they did survive, at least two of them.
It's interesting that the FBI didn't admit that they had found the raft and footprints. But it's not surprising. Alcatraz was held with great respect and I'm sure the FBI didn't want to tarnish it's image. Also, the FBI didn't want to admit that the 3 could have gotten away. So they (very quickly) declared them drowned. Perhaps they also did this hoping the three would relax a bit and then become easier targets to find.

As for none of them ever repeat offending, this is hard to believe, but not impossible. Two quick theories.

Maybe they didn't live long enough to repeat offend. Maybe they met tragic fates shortly afterwards.

Or possibly they left the country, assumed new identities, and continued their life of crime. Maybe they were rearrested in South America and lived the rest of their lives in a prison worse than Alcatraz?

Or what about the possibility that the FBI did find them a couple of years later, but didn't want this fact publicized, that they had escaped, and the FBI was wrong for announcing they had drowned. Perhaps the FBI secretly jailed them again, and they've been in a horrible maximum security isolation unit ever since. Maybe Frank Morris is wishing he still had access back issues of Popular Mechanics as he's planning one final escape...


spudhalvorson
Posted 26 February 2014 at 11:42 pm

For sake of argument: it is plausible, even believable that committed swimmers could make a successful crossing. They run an "Escape" race each year and some of those swimmers choose to only wear speedos, so the swim can be done without going into irreversible shock.

Also, if I had months and months to work on my escape plan, I most certainly would make any/all efforts to check the worthiness of the raft, including testing for leaks. This would not have prevented all leakage, but would have lessened problems. Also, the older chemicals/compounds "dope" as we call it, were exceptional in the 1960s and the team did have access to these materials.

In history, we do have evidence of persons that may have committed notorious acts.. and disappeared forever. The most famous allegations are that of Brushy Bill Roberts' claims of being Billy the Kid (plausible, there is evidence), and John Wilkes Booth. In each of those cases their survival and confessionals are compelling. The most incredulous evidence against them, however, is time. Some much time had gone by (or has gone by for the Anglins and Morris) that even if they did speak a confessional... it is unlikely they would easily be believed. Morris and the Anglins had to have drowned, correct? In fact, if they did survive it would be only through creating completely new identities for themselves and leading different lives. If they did create successful alternate lives, what possible benefit would exist for them in coming forward out of pride?


Ben Johnson
Posted 07 May 2014 at 04:44 pm

As soon as that raft was reported and documented on Angel Island; with footprints leading away; all assumptions of the escapees drowning can be eliminated. We will hear an end to this story...Why? It wasn't until recently that we heard about the raft found. The three men who stole a car in the area? Come on, If you worked that hard to escape, risk your life for freedom; you'll respect that freedom. The three men are/were living together in South America. The map found; including their study of Spanish is evidence of that. When one of the three men dies, the two left would burry the deceased. There will one day SOON be evidence revealed to US Marshall's Office that one survivor was determined deceased and identified as one of the escapees. And that's as far as it will go. The Anglins' mother received flowers every Mother's Day until she died....What does that tell you? U.S. Marshal Service Deputy Michael Dyke believes at least two of the three men survived. I believe all three survived due to the stolen car report. Remember the life preservers? Three were found floating with no bodies in them. And last..., the talk about how these men were repeated criminals doesn't mean that they didn't commit a bunch of crimes following their escape from Alcatraz. Obviously, they didn't get caught.


TAMI
Posted 26 June 2014 at 11:09 pm

THIS IS WHAT TOOK PLACE. RUTH TAYLOR, HELEN TAYLOR MCINTOSH'S OLDER SISTER WAS ACTUALLY WITH CLARENCE ANGLIN ON THE NIGHT OF THE OHIO FBI BUST(their last & final bust prior to going to Alcatraz). IN MOST OF THE ARTICLES FOR THIS BUST, IT MENTIONS NOTHING ABOUT CLARENCE BEING WITH ANYONE. BUT I FOUND AN ARTICLE IN THE LIBRARY ARCHIVES THAT INDEED SAYS THEY WERE TOGETHER. I BELIEVE RUTH TAYLOR WAS MY STEPMOTHER NAMED HELEN M. STURGELL. SHE MET MY DAD AS RUTH TAYLOR IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA. THIS WAS RIGHT AFTER CLARENCE ANGLIN GOT TO ALCATRAZ IN 1960/1961. MY DAD WAS A MERCHANT MARINE & WAS ALSO IN THE NAVY AFTER WW2. MY DAD WAS STATIONED IN SAN FRANCISCO, CA. & ALSO HAD A HOME IN PORT ANGELES, WA. AT THE SAME TIME. MY OTHER 2 UNCLES LIVED IN CA.. AS WELL. 1 OF THEM LIVING AT 10275 RIVERSIDE DRIVE SANTA CRUZ,CA.(google map it-)IT'S THE PLACE ON THE CORNER AT THE END. HOW PERFECT IS THAT? 1 OF MY UNCLES WAS A CAPTAIN IN THE NAVY FOR YEARS. THE OTHER UNCLE IN THE ARMY. SEPTEMBER 7TH, 1967 CLARENCE ANGLIN WAS SEEN SUPPOSIDLY BOARDING A MERCHANT SHIP AT THE PORT OF CHICAGO IN CALIFORNIA. SEPTEMBER 01, 1967 I FOUND ON 1 OF MY DADS MERCHANT MARINE DD214 FORMS FOR REPLACING HIS MILITARY SEAMENS I.D.... AUGUST 1968 FRANK LEE MORRIS WAS SUPPOSIDLY SEEN IN NEW ORLEANS. SPOKE TO AN EX G-FRIEND SAYING HE WAS WAITING TO BOARD A SHIP AS A MERCHANT SEAMAN. AUGUST 1968 FOUND ANOTHER MILITARY DD214 FORM OF MY DADS REPLACING HIS SEAMANS PAPERS. I THEN FOUND ANOTHER DD214 FORM OF MY DADS REPLACING HIS ID A~GAIN IN 1969. "3 TIMES" WITHIN A 2 YEAR SPAN!! COINSIDENCE? IN 1973 I STAYED WITH MY DAD THAT WEEKEND. JUST RECENTLY BY ACCIDENT REALLY, I REMEMBERED MEETING CLARENCE ANGLIN & SEEING JOHN SHAKE MY DADS HAND. AFTER ALL THESE YEARS WHY DIDN'T IT HIT ME BACK THEN!? I WAS 7 YEARS OLD THAT'S WHY-. IT HIT ME LIKE A TON OF BRICKS! THEN ON YOUTUBE.COM I FOUND A VIDEO OF THE ANGLIN SISTERS SHOWING THESE 2 PAINTINGS THAT JOHN & CLARENCE HAD IN THEIR CELLS AT ALCATRAZ. IMMEDIATLY I SAW MY STEPMOTHER!! EVEN THOUGH ITS A PAINTING I KNOW FOR 100% THAT IT IS HELEN, MY STEPMOTHER-. AT FIRST I THOUGHT IT WAS HELEN MCINTOSH W/HELEN MY STEPMOTHERS NAME & ALL, IT FIT & COME TO FIND OUT ITS NOT HELEN. ITS ACTUALLY RUTH TAYLOR. HELEN TAYLOR'S SISTER.- MY DAD WOULD ALWAYS CALL HELEN(my stepmother) RUTH WHEN HE WAS MAD AT HER. OH GOD SHE WOULD GET MAD AT HIM FOR CALLING HER RUTH!! I ASKED HIM WHY HE CALLED HER RUTH? HE REPLIED, HELEN ISN'T EXACTYLY WHO YOU THINK SHE IS MY DEAR. NOW, YEARS LATER, I KNOW WHY HE CALLED HER THAT..lol... MAKES PERFECT SENSE NOW.- I ONLY WISH I WOULD OF PUT 2+2 TOGETHER SOONER.-- WHEN I MET CLARENCE THE REASON I WALKED UP TO HIM AT MY DADS WAS DUE TO A TATTOO I SAW ON HIM THAT READ "NITA"..MY MOMS NAME IS "LITA" & I THOUGHT MAYBE IT WAS SPELLED WRONG OR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE, BUT I REMEMBER HIS FACE VERY VERY CLEARLY.- I WANT TO BE HYPNOTIZED TO PROVE I'M NOT A LIAR.- NOT SURE IF I'M THE TYPE THAT CAN GO UNDER OR NOT? BUT WILLING TO TRY ANYWAY-. I ALSO HAD 2 AUNTS LIVING IN THE SAN FRANCISCO BAY AREA BACK IN THE 1960'S TOO. 1 OF THEM WAS FILTHY FILTHY RICH!! SO $$ WAS NO OBJECT. ABOUT 3 MONTHS AGO, MY AUNT THAT WAS MARRIED TO MY OTYHER UNCLE HERE IN WASHINGTON STATE TOLD ME THAT HELEN(ruth taylor) & MY DAD & MY RICH AUNT & HER HUSBAND, ALL TOOK THE YACHT OUT 1 NIGHT LATE AT NIGHT ON TO SAN FRANCISCO BAY. THEY MOORED THEIR YACHT BY PIER 39/HUNTER'S POINT.- IF YOU DID YOUR HOMEWORK ABOUT THE ESCAPE, YOU WOULD KNOW THAT PIER 39/HUNTERS POINT IS WHERE BUMPY JOHNSON SAID THE BOAT WOULD BE COMING FROM ON THE NIGHT OF THE ESCAPE. MY DAD ALSO HAD A HOUSE ON FRONT STREET WHICH IS RIGHT THERE AT HUNTERS POINT..>"COINSIDENCE"? HARDLY- HELEN(ruth taylor) HAD A CHILD PRIOR TO MARRYING MY DAD. THE CHILD WAS BORN IN OCTOBER 1958. EXACTLY 9 MONTHS AFTER THE BUST IN HAMILTON, OHIO.- SHE NAMED HIM FRANK. HER PRIOR MARRIED LAST NAME IS SUPPOSIDLY & GET THIS, "MORRIS">!! SO THE CHILD'S NAME IS FRANK MORRIS JR.!! IT GETS EVEN BETTER>> MY MOTHER TOLD ME THAT HELEN WAS MARRIED TO A REALLY SMART ATTORNEY PRIOR TO MY DAD BY THE NAME FRANK MORRIS SR... HE LIVED IN SEATTLE,WA. & DIED IN SEATTLE,WA. IN 2000. HELEN, MY DAD, & ALL MY DADS SIBLINGS ARE ALL DECEASED. MY SISTER & I ARE THE ONLY LIVING FAMILY ANYWHERE LEFT OF MY DADS. I LOOKED UP WHERE HELEN MY STEPMOTHERS BURIED ONLINE. SHES BURIED IN THE WALL OF DIGNITY UP AT MOUNT ANGELES CREMATORY IN PORT ANGELES,WA. NEXT TO HER IS A FRANK MORRIS DIED IN 1970 IT READS ON THE MARKER. THEY ARE BURIED SIDE BY SIDE. FOR #1..WHY ISN'T SHE BURIED NEXT TO MY DAD? WHO WAS THIS GUY?! HER EX HUSBAND SUPPOSIDLY DIED IN 2000 NOT 1970- PLUS HE IS BURIED IN SEATTLE, SO..? I THEN FOUND AN OLD FBI FILE THAT READ THAT FERN TAYLOR HAD MOVED FROM HAMILTON OHIO TO SUPPOSIDLY TAMPA, FLORIDA IN 1968. THEN IT READ HE DIED IN 1970 IN TAMPA,FL. THE FATHER OF FRANK MORRIS JR., HELEN MY STEPMOTHERS SUPPOSIDE HUSBAND IS ACTUALLY JR'S GRANDFATHER FERN TAYLOR. RUTH & HELEN TAYLOR'S FATHER.- CONFUSED YET? YOU SHOULD BE BY NOW.- THAT'S EXACTLY THE WAY THEY WANTED IT!! THE MORE CONFUSING THE BETTER WAS THEIR MOTTO.- I WILL BET ON MY OWN GRAVE THAT IF A DNA TEST WAS DONE ON THE "FRANK MORRIS" BURIED NEXT TO HELEN(ruth taylor) & COMPARED TO HELEN MY STEPMOTHERS, YOU WOULD HAVE A DAUGHTER FATHER MATCH!! A WIFES DNA DOESN'T MATCH THEIR HUSBANDS DNA CORRECT? ALSO A MATCH TO BEING THE GRANDFATHER OF MORRIS JR. AS WELL.- MORRIS JR.'S WOULD THEN BE A MATCH TO THE ANGLIN FAMILY AS WELL.-- I KNOW I'M RIGHT~ I CAN UNDERSTAND 1 MAYBE UP TO LIKE 3 COINSIDENCES. BUT WHEN THERE'S ALOT MORE THEN 3 OR EVEN 6 OR 7 COINSIDENCES, THEY ARE NO LONGER A COINSIDENCE ANYMORE-!! AGREE? I HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO REASON TO LIE & I HATE TYPING- I HAVE AN IDEA AS TO WHERE THEY LIVED & SO ON AFTER THE ESCAPE BUT STILL WORKING ON THAT PART...I'LL TUNE IN LATER... SEE YA LATER BYEEEEEEEEE......... ~~~~~~


TAMI
Posted 27 June 2014 at 12:20 am

b12 black cat said: ""Their probaly ill or dead."

1.) It would be Fu*king hard to get out of their and i think their covering it up because how
the hell could u brake out of their and not be seen at all huh their was like fking gaurd post like every few meters dunno but their was spot lights and so many gaurds probaly they must of had an insider that work at alcatraz i think so or its a cover up. You'd think they would find a few days after strange."

"EXACTLY"!!!! BRAVO!!


TAMI
Posted 27 June 2014 at 12:22 am

TAMI said: "b12 black cat said: ""Their probaly ill or dead."

1.) It would be Fu*king hard to get out of their and i think their covering it up because how
the hell could u brake out of their and not be seen at all huh their was like fking gaurd post like every few meters dunno but their was spot lights and so many gaurds probaly they must of had an insider that work at alcatraz i think so or its a cover up. You'd think they would find a few days after strange."
"EXACTLY"!!!! BRAVO!!"

THE NIGHT THEY ALL ESCAPED WAS SUPER FOGGY OUT!!


END OF COMMENTS
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