Alcatraz – Ghosts Live Here

Shadowy Figure - Cell Block A
Alcatraz Ghost?

Alcatraz island is a cold, yet beautiful place. There is no protection on this outcrop from the icy pacific gusts that assault non-stop. Birds nest here, wildflowers grow. But standing stark and ominous above it all, and clearly unforgiving, the infamous prison dominates this tiny piece of land that juts out in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Simultaneously a symbol of both despair and the undying hope of the human spirit, “The Rock” housed the most notorious criminals of the day. The prison was dubbed as inescapable, and some men died trying to find out if this was true.

The cracked and aged concrete walls loom high as you enter the foreboding structure, and immediately the mind begins to travel back in time. Ghosts do exist here – you can feel them all around you, as they scuffle past you in their dark uniforms, staring curiously. Here inside these walls, you are a curiousity, a reminder of worlds long ago lost. They sniff at your perfume and brush against you as you pass.

As you move deeper into the depths, you become completely possessed by the spirits of those that languished here. You too, have become a prisoner inside these walls. And when you finally pile back into the ferry that will take you safely back to the mainland, you cannot help but feel that a piece of you will forever remain behind.


Shadowy figure in Cell Block A - closer
Shadowy figure in Cell Block A – closer

I snapped this photo of Cell Block A, which was the only cell block closed off to the public. The block appeared to be in a greater state of disrepair than the others. The photo was taken through the metal cage/fence that kept the public out of the run-down cell block. I did not see anyone in the cell block at the time, and I noticed nothing in the photo until i got home and blew it up on my computer screen. That’s when I saw the shadowy figure at the opposite end of the block. Could this potentially be the ghost of a former prisoner?

Shadowy figure - Cell Block A - closeup
Shadowy figure – Cell Block A – close-up

I took next photo while standing inside one of the solitary confinement cells in cell block D:

mist-like apparition

Surprisingly, it shows an odd, mist-like apparition, which again, I only noticed after blowing up the photo.

misty apparition up close
misty apparition

21 thoughts on “Alcatraz – Ghosts Live Here

  1. Hi, I found your site after googling for haunted alcatraz. I just came from Alcatraz this morning. I, too, had felt this overwhelming feeling as soon as I entered Isolation room 12, so I decided to move to room 11 to have my picture taken inside. As soon as my brother took my picture, I shifted to the left corner of the room to change positions with him, and as I did I felt something cold against my left arm and a moaning voice come from that side of the room. I couldn’t get out of the cell any quicker. I usually tend to “hear” things in haunted sites, and I’m used to it so I often don’t freak out, but this experience really spooked me. I still get the shivers whenever I think about it.


  2. I returned yesterday from a trip with my husband to san fransico-I had a very distinct experience in front of one of the cells-I had an intense, overwhelmind feeling of sadness, a “pit of my stomach” heavy feeling, I became covered in chills, and was flooded with tears. It was instantaneous, and so overwhelming, I felt as if I couldn’t move my legs. I felt as if I was being pulled down-held in my tracks, so to speak, in front of the cell. I had to focus to control my breathing.
    I was aware that I was feeling scared of what was happening, but also felt that I couldn’t stop what had overcome me. I am going to try to figure out which cell I was in front of, as I can picture the corridor and cell… was during the audio tour.
    I am sure I sound crazy, but I cannot deny what happened. It was way too strong/overwhelming…I moved away after a few minutes to continue on the tour, and to try to escape the feelings I was having in that spot-and when In did, the feeling lifted off of me like a mist. Gone, just like that. I have chills writing this…it was an incredible place, I didn’t have that feeling again in there..just once. jenn


  3. In the last picture of the young apparition at Cell D’s entrance what is that red lanyard with the black box around his neck along with the shorter white
    lanyard? I visited Alcatraz 5 months ago, and we were all given a recorder
    and ear phones to wear, I recall, around our necks for an audio tour. In the 2nd to the last pic (the far away shot of this same figure) what’s on his ears?


    1. Rebecca, thanks for your comment. The figure in that photo is one of our investigators. What we found interesting is the mist-like white mass that is near his arm.


  4. I have saw spirits since I was 12 years old. When I moved to Cailf. I went to alcatraz. As we were going across the water toward the rock everything was fine. After getting off the boat and we met the tour guide, he took us inside alcatraz. We walked down the isles looking at the cells, I started to feel sick to my stomach, we further I walked the more sicker I felt plus feeling weak. When we were ablout to enter the kitchen area, I felt my legs growing numb, I felt like I could not take another step or I would pass out. I told my friend that I could not go any farther. I went outside to wait for the other tourist, still feeling sick and weak. Around 10 minutes later the tourist came out and everyone got on the boat. The closer we got to the shore the better I was feeling. When we got to land I felt fine, dissapointed that I could not finish seeing the rest of the prison. Something made me sick in that prison and yes I would say that It was an evil presence even though I saw nothing.


  5. Ranger Craig,

    Thank you for your comment and observations. I’m jealous of your nights spent at Alcatraz! We applied for the overnight program but unfortunately were not selected. 😦

    The only thing about your guess on it being a visitor, is that on the day in question (early in November of 2008) Cell Block A was completely closed off to the public. If you’ll notice the very top photo in this post (this is the original photo – the others are zoomed in / crops of this one) – the photo was taken through a fence that closed off the entire cell block A, and there was absolutely no one in the block. If it had been open, there would have been at least a few people in the block, considering there were hundreds of people roaming around the blocks at that time). I was lamenting the fact that we couldn’t get into this particular Cell Block (because I love going into closed off / abandoned / off limits places) ;), so that is why I took the photo through the fence – because we couldn’t get in. Also, we saw no one at all in the cell block at the time the photo was taken.

    I still believe Alcatraz to be haunted, in at least some sense of the word. It is certainly a fascinating place well worth spending some time.


  6. Your photo of a ‘ghost” in A block is clearly a visitor in the (open to the public) other side of A block. Heck, the clothing that person is wearing isn’t anything like the inmates wore.

    I have spent many nights on the island, guards patrol the island every night. None of us have heard or seen anything unusual. It’s not that I’m not open to the idea, I love a good ghost story, but having worked on the island for 17 years I’ve yet to have had anything happen worth talking about. And I’ve tried – I’ve slept in the psych ward, the hospital, the dungeons. Alas, nothing worth mentioning.


  7. I take it all back.
    My first reaction was “That is a guard.”
    That is NOT a guard. This is an amazing photo. You can see detail yet the person is not quite solid. Also interesting is the shadow that appears to be cast from the figure is going the wrong way.
    I’m floored by this photo.
    What the hell am I looking at?


  8. I really liked this one. I floated around Alcatraz but didn’t pay the big bucks to get off the boat and do a looksee.

    The photos in this blog sure are high quality shots.

    Great post!


    1. Thank you! It is really worth a trip inside… if anyplace is haunted, Alcatraz is, but the photos were quite a surprise. Hope to one day return for a night tour or an overnight within the prison. Thanks for reading and for linking to us!


  9. I love this post!!! This is, by the way, the best ghost picture I have EVER seen. I have to see Alcatraz; still haven’t done that.


    1. Kirsten,

      I agree. I spent quite a while analyzing the Cell Block A photo. It seems to exhibit some paranormal characteristics. I can’t completely explain away what I’m seeing.


    2. yes i agree there is something in the walls of the prison that just lurk there forever i wish to one day have a job in the paranormal field everything about it fascinates me to the brim of excitement


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