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(Gizmodo)   Everything you need to escape from Alcatraz, circa 1962   (gizmodo.com) divider line 26
    More: Interesting, U.S. federal prisons, Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary, waterproofs  
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4825 clicks; posted to Main » on 12 Aug 2014 at 12:38 PM (23 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



26 Comments   (+0 »)
   
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2014-08-12 11:10:19 AM  
The Alcatraz tour is one of the best touristy things one can do when in San Francisco.

It also makes for one hell of a Phil Hartman cameo...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOYeW864w3Q
 
2014-08-12 12:40:56 PM  
Unimpressed

www.oschti.ch
 
2014-08-12 12:43:31 PM  
 I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile - prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him - sometimes he was able to fight 'em off, sometimes not. And that's how it went for Andy - that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.
 
2014-08-12 12:44:37 PM  
Interesting.

I find it amusing that the conclusion is "We never heard from them again, they must have died." While that may be the likely outcome, one can just as easily view that as the most successful prison escape ever- if your goal is to escape confinement in perpetuity, then you don't want to show up on anybody's radar ever after. If they managed to do that, well, they succeeded beyond their own wildest dreams.

Yeah, they probably never made it to shore, but failure and complete success would look the same to those who were searching for them.

/Maybe they went home and farked the prom queen.
 
2014-08-12 12:48:55 PM  
static.dramastyle.com

Clint Eastwood did it!
 
2014-08-12 12:52:48 PM  
 filled with cement in an effort to avoid protection.

*sigh*
 
2014-08-12 12:55:56 PM  

ChipNASA: I wish I could tell you that Andy fought the good fight, and the Sisters let him be. I wish I could tell you that - but prison is no fairy-tale world. He never said who did it, but we all knew. Things went on like that for awhile - prison life consists of routine, and then more routine. Every so often, Andy would show up with fresh bruises. The Sisters kept at him - sometimes he was able to fight 'em off, sometimes not. And that's how it went for Andy - that was his routine. I do believe those first two years were the worst for him, and I also believe that if things had gone on that way, this place would have got the best of him.


titty sprinkles.
 
2014-08-12 01:03:35 PM  
A wrench... for wrenching things. Would you like to know more?
 
2014-08-12 01:04:33 PM  

akula: Interesting.

I find it amusing that the conclusion is "We never heard from them again, they must have died." While that may be the likely outcome, one can just as easily view that as the most successful prison escape ever- if your goal is to escape confinement in perpetuity, then you don't want to show up on anybody's radar ever after. If they managed to do that, well, they succeeded beyond their own wildest dreams.

Yeah, they probably never made it to shore, but failure and complete success would look the same to those who were searching for them.

/Maybe they went home and farked the prom queen.


If I escaped prison and got away with it I think I'd make a deathbed confession just to poke my finger in the eye of the law.

Unless that would put loved ones in jeopardy for harboring a fugitive or something.  The movie held the promise that maybe they made it.  Who knows?

I can't imagine drowning.  I'm a decent swimmer and they had a farking raft - a makeshift shiatty raft, but even if that broke up you just have to keep your head above water until you can reach the shore.
 
2014-08-12 01:11:22 PM  
We made it.
 
2014-08-12 01:11:28 PM  
"lawyer" strangely absent from the list
 
2014-08-12 01:15:46 PM  
... available in a kit from eBay for $23.75
 
2014-08-12 01:15:47 PM  

brap: The Alcatraz tour is one of the best touristy things one can do when in San Francisco.

It also makes for one hell of a Phil Hartman cameo...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOYeW864w3Q


If you get that chance, take the night tour.  On the night tour you get to visit the infirmary and the creepy factor goes way up.
 
2014-08-12 01:22:13 PM  
Oh, and if anyone is planning on going you need to book voyage on the ferry months in advance..
 
2014-08-12 01:23:06 PM  

drsmith: Oh, and if anyone is planning on going you need to book voyage on the ferry months in advance..


No need, I'll swim.
 
2014-08-12 01:31:52 PM  
I went there in high school when the American Indian Movement had taken it over.
A group of kids gathered donations and we got a sponsor with a sailboat to take the stuff over there; the natives wouldn't let us past the dock however, which was probably just as well - the place was in a dangerous state of disrepair
 
2014-08-12 01:45:35 PM  
 
2014-08-12 01:45:44 PM  
My uncle took me to the 25th anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz when I was in junior high school.  It was a really fascinating trip.  I met a woman who grew up there as a little girl, former guards, and former prisoners.

One of the former guards described this exact escape in detail, taking us to the spots where each occurrence took place.  It ended with us walking down to the rocks where they finally jumped into the drink.  He described how they had learned to make impromptu wetsuits out of plastic wrap and lard.  They formed kickboards out of foam taken from the inside of a door of a refrigerator.  They seamed lifejackets out of waterproof material.  Then he looked out over the bay and said "I'm sure they either drowned or were eaten by the ferocious sharks that patrol this bay."

Now, you can tell a big group of Nebraska tourists some shiat like that, but in 1988, I was a little hot sh*t surfer kid.  I'd gone spear-fishing, swimming, and paddling in more treacherous waters than that.  I couldn't hold my tongue. I piped right up and said, "I think they made it."
He smiled, and said "Son, there's no way they made it.  The currents here are some of the strongest in the world.  The water is 53 degrees Fahrenheit, and full of hungry great white sharks.  I've seen 'em."
"Yeah, and I've seen 20' whites off the coast of Carpinteria when I've got a corvina on my sling, but they didn't bother me.  Shark attacks are rare.  And the currents?  I can see the shore from here.  I can make out the people.  It's not that far.  And you said that they made their escape in June.  The water is closer to 60º then.  And have you ever worn a wetsuit?  Even without one, the average man could last six, eight hours before hypothermia set in.  No, they made it."
"Son," he said through gritted teeth, "I don't think you know what you're talking about." And he kept on with his tour.
A couple minutes later, as the tour group pulled away, my uncle pulled me aside, leaned in and said "What the f*ck were you doing back there?"
"It's bull.  You know that guy is wrong."
"Listen. You embarrassed me. And worse, you embarrassed him. That guy worked his ass off keeping these guys locked up. You know what a smarmy little pain in the ass you just sounded like? Don't ever publicly show a guy up when he's at his job.  Especially in public like that. You f*cking ruined his tour. He's not getting paid for this.  They asked him to come down here and do this.  You're lucky he's still around to tell his side of the story and I'm sure this isn't easy for him. You got an opinion? Great. Keep it to yourself."
The guy ended the tour with "If anybody has any questions, unless you think you're Jacques Cousteau, I'll be happy to answer them."  I could feel the hot glare of my uncle's eyes on the back of my neck, and I knew I'd better keep my sh*t stowed.

It was a long, quiet ride home.

/CSB
 
2014-08-12 01:52:31 PM  

The Hammer of the Lord: Unimpressed


Come on, the author did her best.
 
2014-08-12 02:08:16 PM  

shamalamadingdong: My uncle took me to the 25th anniversary of the closing of Alcatraz when I was in junior high school.  It was a really fascinating trip.  I met a woman who grew up there as a little girl, former guards, and former prisoners.

One of the former guards described this exact escape in detail, taking us to the spots where each occurrence took place.  It ended with us walking down to the rocks where they finally jumped into the drink.  He described how they had learned to make impromptu wetsuits out of plastic wrap and lard.  They formed kickboards out of foam taken from the inside of a door of a refrigerator.  They seamed lifejackets out of waterproof material.  Then he looked out over the bay and said "I'm sure they either drowned or were eaten by the ferocious sharks that patrol this bay."

Now, you can tell a big group of Nebraska tourists some shiat like that, but in 1988, I was a little hot sh*t surfer kid.  I'd gone spear-fishing, swimming, and paddling in more treacherous waters than that.  I couldn't hold my tongue. I piped right up and said, "I think they made it."
He smiled, and said "Son, there's no way they made it.  The currents here are some of the strongest in the world.  The water is 53 degrees Fahrenheit, and full of hungry great white sharks.  I've seen 'em."
"Yeah, and I've seen 20' whites off the coast of Carpinteria when I've got a corvina on my sling, but they didn't bother me.  Shark attacks are rare.  And the currents?  I can see the shore from here.  I can make out the people.  It's not that far.  And you said that they made their escape in June.  The water is closer to 60º then.  And have you ever worn a wetsuit?  Even without one, the average man could last six, eight hours before hypothermia set in.  No, they made it."
"Son," he said through gritted teeth, "I don't think you know what you're talking about." And he kept on with his tour.
A couple minutes later, as the tour group pulled away, my uncle pulled me aside, leaned in and said "What th ...


I think you were right.  It's theoretically possible that they made it.  I once treaded water for 5 hours in very chilly water just so I could hold the record for treading water longer than anyone else.    The sharks wouldn't be a problem.  They don't want to eat humans.  We're bony and fight back - not worth the effort. Did that guard really believe they were all eaten by sharks?  The current is a bit of a problem, but don't fight it.  Work with it.

As I see it, the biggest problem is what do you do once you hit shore?  You know the cops are going to be looking for you.  You know they're going to be watching your closest relatives and friends so you can't go to them.  You'll want to get far away from the prison you escaped, but you can't just openly hitchhike on the highway because that's a sure recipe for failure.  I figure your best hope is to steal a car that won't be noticed for at least a few hours and drive a few hundred miles and blend into the homeless population until you can figure out something better.

That's my plan anyway.
 
2014-08-12 02:17:05 PM  
Frank Morris's mother said she was convinced he was dead. She said that if he'd made it, he'd have sent her a postcard or something.
 
2014-08-12 03:14:12 PM  

gfid: As I see it, the biggest problem is what do you do once you hit shore?  You know the cops are going to be looking for you.  You know they're going to be watching your closest relatives and friends so you can't go to them.  You'll want to get far away from the prison you escaped, but you can't just openly hitchhike on the highway because that's a sure recipe for failure.


These guys had the smarts to devise and improvise a plan this complex and cunning.  I don't think the planning phase ended with contrived Saran-wrap wetsuits and fridge-foam kickboards.  They had it all figured, right down to the throw-away bag of personal effects, and friends and family, of which Frank Morris had few, were never part of the plan.  His mother was never a part of his life to begin with.

Also, as far as an after-plan, even one complicit guard would have gone a very, very long way.
 
2014-08-12 03:15:39 PM  
The Mythbusters proved that it was possible that they survived the trip across the bay.
 
2014-08-12 04:28:43 PM  

gfid: I can't imagine drowning.  I'm a decent swimmer and they had a farking raft - a makeshift shiatty raft, but even if that broke up you just have to keep your head above water until you can reach the shore.


You're likely fairly well nourished, in reasonably good health, and when you were swimming, you weren't wearing clothes or shoes or carrying them in a bag for use when you got on shore.

It's also likely that if you swim regularly, you've got better endurance than guys who spent most of their time in a small cell.
 
2014-08-12 05:10:29 PM  

dittybopper: gfid: I can't imagine drowning.  I'm a decent swimmer and they had a farking raft - a makeshift shiatty raft, but even if that broke up you just have to keep your head above water until you can reach the shore.

You're likely fairly well nourished, in reasonably good health, and when you were swimming, you weren't wearing clothes or shoes or carrying them in a bag for use when you got on shore.

It's also likely that if you swim regularly, you've got better endurance than guys who spent most of their time in a small cell.


Perhaps.  I never have swum while carrying anything.  That would complicate matters.  I don't mean to say these guys definitely didn't drown, but I think there's a good possibility that not all of them did.

I didn't even read the article - there's only so much cl1ckbait I can take.  I'm just going off of the memory of the Clint Eastwood movie and maybe a couple of documentaries I've seen.
 
2014-08-13 02:58:30 PM  

dittybopper: You're likely fairly well nourished, in reasonably good health, and when you were swimming, you weren't wearing clothes or shoes or carrying them in a bag for use when you got on shore.

It's also likely that if you swim regularly, you've got better endurance than guys who spent most of their time in a small cell.


Alcatraz convicts were extremely well-nourished; prison administrators at that time believed that a well-nourished inmate tended to be more docile.  The clothes they carried in the escape were in sealed bags, which acted as flotation devices.  And Alcatraz inmates were given regular duty in and around the prison, maintaining, gardening, etc. and regular exercise was encouraged.
 
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