Located in San Francisco Bay with a great view of the Golden Gate Bridge and downtown San Francisco, you'll find perhaps the most famous prison in the world. Alcatraz, nicknamed "The Rock", was originally known as "La Isla de los Alcatraces" or "The Island of the Pelicans" because of its appearance as a barren white rock. The white was caused by pelican droppings, hence the name. It served as a lighthouse, then a military fortification, then a military prison followed by a federal prison until 1963, when it became a national recreation area. Today it is maintained by the Golden Gate National Recreation Area and nearly a million visitors per year stop by to check the place out.
The island, believed to be an evil place by Native Americans, has seen centuries of death from accidents, murders, and suicides. With this dark history, it's no wonder Alcatraz is said to be one of the most haunted places in the nation. If ghosts return to haunt the places where they suffered traumatic experiences when they were alive, then Alcatraz must be bursting at the seams with spirits.
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For years there have been reports of mysterious happenings on Alcatraz Island. These reports come from visitors, former guards, former prisoners, and national park service employees. From the original lighthouse reappearing on occasion to clanging, screaming, and sobbing, there are too many tales to put into this short article. It would definitely take a book to tell them all. Some of the strange occurences are recounted in the following paragraphs.
The Lighthouse - There have been several reports that on foggy nights the old lighthouse, built in 1854 and torn down after it was damaged in the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake, will suddenly appear, accompanied by an eerie whistling sound and a flashing green light that makes its way slowly around the island and then vanishes as suddenly as it appears.
The Grounds - Many guards and park rangers have reported experiencing unexplainable crashing sounds, cell doors mysteriously closing, unearthly screams, and intense feelings of being watched. A number of guards from 1946 through 1963 experienced something out of the ordinary at one time or another. There have been reports of sounds of sobbing and moaning, horrible smells, phantom cannon shots, gun shots, and screams. Once in a while, groups of phantom prisoners and soldiers appear in front of startled guards, guests, and the families who lived on the island. None of these occurances have ever been explained.
The door and the corridor - Behind a door in Cellblock C that looks as if it has been welded shut, lies the utility corridor where Bernard Coy, Joseph Cretzer and Marvin Hubbard were killed by grenades and bullets during the bloodiest escape attempt in Alcatraz's history in 1946. Additionally, the attempt took the lives of two guards and injured 18 others. The trial afterward resulted in the execution of two more convicts who took part in the aborted escape. Behind this door can sometimes be heard loud clanging along with the sounds of people running as if trying to escape and disembodied voices. Others have reported seeing the apparitions of men wearing fatigues at the site of the riot that left the three prisoners dead. As a result, this utility corridor is recognized as one of the most haunted spots in the prison.
The laundry room - Also in Cellblock C is the laundry room that is said to hold an unseen presence. The story is told that a hit man named Butcher was killed in the laundry room. The room is said to occasionally emanate a strong odor of smoke, as if something was on fire. The sensation of the choking smoke would drive guards out of the room, only to return a few minutes later, the area now completely smoke free.
The most haunted area on Alcatraz is Cellblock D, or solitary, as it was often called. D-Block, which became known as the Treatment Unit was made up of 42 cells with varying restrictions. None of the prisoners put in D-Block was able to have contact with the general population. These inmates were not allowed to work or go to the mess hall to eat; they had to eat in their cells. They were allowed one visit to the recreation yard and two showers a week. These cells faced the Golden Gate Bridge, from which fierce cold winds often blew and one guard who worked D-Block was notorious for turning on the air conditioning to make it even colder for those confined on the block.
Five of the cells in D-Block, cells 9-14, are known as "The Hole,". These cells contained only a sink and toilet, had no windows and only one light with a low-wattage bulb that could be turned off by the guards on a whim. The darkness made it seem like a hole in the ground. Reserved for the most serious prison rule breakers, these cells were located on the bottom tier, the coldest place in the prison. All mattresses were taken away during the day and the prisoners were not allowed time in the yard, showers, or reading materials. Inmates could be sentenced to up to 19 days in the hole, completely isolated from the rest of the world.
Needless to say, these horrible conditions led to misery, anger, and possibly even insanity. That ambiance seems to linger to this day. Most people who go to Cellblock D get feelings of sudden intensity and a feeling of cold in certain cells, especially cell 14-D. This cell is often reported to be 20 degrees colder than the rest of the cells on the block. Psychics who have visited the area reported picking up on the feelings of torture, misery, and abuse that were left behind by 29 years' worth of prisoners who were forced to stay there. These cells are so eerie that some national park service employees refuse to go there alone.
A guard who worked at the prison in the 1940's reported that guards often saw the ghostly presence of a man dressed in late 1800's prison attire was often seen walking the hallway of "The Hole". Perhaps the strangest event occured when an inmate locked in a cell in "The Hole" immediately began to scream that someone with glowing eyes was in there with him. The spectral prisoner had become so much of a practical joke among the guards that the convict's cries were ignored. The inmate's screams continued well into the night, and then suddenly stopped. When the guards inspected the cell, the convict was dead with a terrible expression on his face and noticeable handprints around his throat. The autopsy revealed that the strangulation could not have been self-inflicted.
At the time, many believed the inmate was strangled by a guard who got tired of hearing the inmate scream, but no one ever admitted to the strangling. Most believed the prisoner was killed by the restless, evil spirit of the nineteenth century prisoner who was so often seen wandering the corridors.
Those few brave scientists, doctors and researchers willing to risk their careers and reputation to come up front with the most helpful and detailed explanations ever as to what to expect beyond the death the physical body, are often ridiculed by their contemporaries and put aside. Even worse too many physicians just emphasize that physical life is all there is, and no consciousness can possibly "escape" the confines of the physical brain, and when the physical brain dies, that's it, no more consciousness! In this great and terrible "valley of the shadow of death" I am simply appalled at the universal lack of understanding regarding spiritualism. So little is known about the reality of life after death, it is shocking.
As a footnote to this tale, when the guards lined-up the convicts for the daily count, there was one too many convicts in the line-up. At the end of the row, stood the recently strangled convict. As everyone looked on in stunned silence, the ghostly figure vanished.
As the years go by, ghost hunters, authors, crime buffs and curiosity-seekers continue to visit the island hoping to have their own encounter with the ghosts of Alcatraz. Although most encounter nothing, they do have a tendancy to leave with a feeling of uneasiness. The majority of the ghostly experiences of Alcatraz have been reported by former guards and national park service employees who often spend hours alone on the island. Many claim not to believe in the supernatural but occasionally, one of them will admit that weird things happen here that they cannot explain.
Denise Villani - About the Author:
Denise Villani an author and the webmaster of several websites and article directories. Find more articles and information on Alcatraz and other haunted places by visiting HauntedStuff.net.
Rich with tales of civil war apparitions and ghosts of former hospital patients, Maryland is a state that has a colorful paranormal history. Today we'll focus on just a few of the homes that have earned the ghastly reputation of being haunted -in case you're in market for some haunted real estate of your own.
The first stop on our tour is the Paint Branch Home in the city of Adelphi, which is currently being used as a retirement home. A former slave house, the spirits that haunt the estate don't appear to be violent, but have been known to linger around bedrooms and fill the house with their singing. Songs of the dead can be bone chilling indeed!
Next up is the abandoned mansion on Asylum Road in Catonsville. Whispers and loud noises can be heard from inside in the house, even though the property has been vacant for many years. Some have even claimed to see people walking around the yard, only to disappear into the ether a moment later.
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In Ellicott City, Oak Lawn is a stone house that dates back nearly two hundred years. Reports of paranormal activity include disembodied footsteps, flickering lights, and the smell of food cooking. Due to the ghost's penchant for food, he became known as the Cooking Ghost, and has become a regular fixture on the property.
Also in Ellicott is a home known as Lilburn. It's reputed to be one of the most haunted places in the state of Maryland. There's constant speculation as to who is actually haunting the home, as a number of people have died on the premises. Inexplicable noises, windows refusing to stay shut, and strong odors in empty rooms are just a few of the happenings reported by witnesses. One of the staff members in the house also claimed to have seen the ghostly figures of a man and a girl wandering around, as well as hearing a child's cry coming from one of the rooms.
In the unincorporated town of Urbana, Landon House has become particularly famous for its resident ghost dogs. In the early days of the house, a large number of dogs died in the basement area, leaving behind panicked scratch marks on the walls and unsettled spiritual energy. The dogs have been heard barking by a number of witnesses over the years, with no rational explanation. In addition to the dogs, the apparition of a friendly female spirit has been spotted on the estate, as well as the specter of a Civil War officer.
In Perryman, the legend of the Perryman Mansion has grown over the years thanks to its remote location and imposing demeanor. It hasn't been lived in for a number of years, and has fallen into an advanced state of disrepair. Common reports include mysterious voices, horrible stenches, and collections of animal bones both in and outside the house.
Finally, visitors to Towson's Hampton Mansion have heard glass and china breaking, as well as the crashing of chandeliers, where no objects could be found. A former butler has also been seen roaming around the house from time to time, apparently unaware that he's long since been discharged from his position.
Kevin Koitz - About the Author:
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This encounter happened to me in Monterrey, Mexico in 1983, when I was 14 years old.
First of all let me tell you that at the time this happened, I did not believe in ghosts whatsoever, I was the kind of skeptic person that would mock at people when they would tell me ghosts stories. It was around 11:00 pm, and I was taking my usual night walks, there was a beautiful full moon that night, so I decided to stop by a big piece of land full of trees (I was told that in old times people were hanged on those old trees) to contemplate the moon, when suddenly from like 100 feet away, I see this woman in pajamas walking very peacefully through the trees, so when I saw her my first thought was like: Hey! What is that lady doing walking in pajamas in the middle of the night? She might get raped!
So I was staring at her, afterwards I noticed that she saw me, so she came towards me. As she got closer, I noticed that she had unusually long black hair that was moving with the wind, but then I realized: Hey! Its not windy tonight! And I thought Ok!? Weird!! Then I noticed other strange things about her like: she was not walking, she was floating like 3 feet high, and also she had like a white gown, and also I noticed that she was see through, she got as close as 10 feet away from me, and when I realized that what I was seeing was a ghost, I let out a very horrified scream, I felt my legs petrified. The thing is when I screamed, she hid behind a nearby tree and then she peaked to the side of the tree to see me again, I remember running like a jack rabbit! I think I have never ran so fast in my life lol! I realized with that experience that there is a spiritual world. It is something I will never forget! Thanks for reading my story! Have a nice day! :)
I used to spend a lot of time in the summer at my grandparents usually doing kids stuff such as, swimming, snorkeling, and a lot of time tubing or water skiing. Lucky for me there used to be a lot of kids that used to live 2 cottages down and 2 that lived right next door. For some reason we never really spent much time at my cottage we always went over to their cottages. I think one of the biggest reasons for this is because of where our cottage was located on the lake. It was very shallow off the end of the dock and had a lot of rocks in the water making it hard to jump in. The other two cottages we used to spend a lot of time may have had some rocks but it was usually safe to jump off the end of the dock.
One day we were going to have a game of what we call tube wars. Tube wars are where you go out in two tubes behind a boat and you try to throw the other person off their tube. We always remember to wear our life jackets and play as safely as we can, meaning we don't get pulled behind the boat at full speed.
I ran down to the basement which only the one door leading in from outside the cottage. I walked in and the first section of the basement had 3 rooms all unfinished. To the left there was an open room used for storage to the right was the tool room and behind it was the furnace room which was only big enough for the furnace and enough room to do any work that may be needed. The second section of the basement was taken up by the huge rock the cottage was built on.
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It was only 2 rooms 1 small room on the far right which housed the water filtration system; we used water from the lake, and the water softener. We always kept anything related to the water in the second section on the big rock that way it had a chance to dry out. I stepped in and looked in the first two rooms just in case someone got lazy and threw them in there instead of where they were supposed to be.
I got halfway to the other section of the basement when I saw a shadow coming out of the room with the water filtration system. I quickly said hello and waited for a response. I heard nothing but I continued to watch the shadow walk out from that room towards the doorway in front of me. It began to scare me as soon as I didn't get a response because I knew that no one else was supposed to be in the basement as everyone else was upstairs in the house.
I thought to myself well maybe someone came into the basement threw the crawlspace but being the smallest child in cottage and barely being able to fit I knew there was no way anyone else would attempt it. I called out to whoever was in the other room one more time but when I didn't get a response right away I turned and ran out of the basement. I didn't bother to close the door I just ran to the corner of the basement turned around and watched the door to see if anyone was going to come out. I stood there for a few second but it felt like minutes I could feel my heart pounding every time I felt it pound it felt like it was coming out of my chest. When I didn't see anyone come out I turned and ran up into the cottage and sat next to my grandma without saying a word.
I never did say anything to anyone about what happened that day. I never asked who it was nor did I ever talk about it again. Now some 15 years later no one can remember anything of that day so I will never find out what it was that I saw in the basement that day.
I decided to create the website http://hauntedcabin.net as a way of finding out what happened to me when I was a child. I further expanded to add a discussion forum located at http://hauntedcabin.net/forum to allow other people the chance to share their story just as I did.