When you think of infamous prisons, Alcatraz is probably on your list. The prison accepted the first group of prisoners on this date, back in 1934. Located off the coast of San Francisco, it wasn’t likely that anyone with a sentence there would escape. Plenty of lore surrounds this infamous prison, though, and one of those tales involves three inmates who escaped the facility back in 1962 and are believed to still be alive today.
If you’re familiar with the movie and novel “The Shawshank Redemption,” you know that the main character, Andy Dufresne, spent years chiseling a tunnel through the prison walls into the sewer. Three prisoners completed a similar feat in Alcatraz over 50 years ago. Instead of sneaking through the sewer lines as Dufresne did, the three men chipped away a pathway into the roof of the prison.
To buy themselves time, John and Clarence Anglin (who are brothers) and Frank Morris, made dummies of themselves out of papier-mâché and actual human hair from the barber shop to fool guards into thinking they were in their beds fast asleep. For their journey across the water back to land, they stole raincoats and transformed them into a raft. Alcatraz officials deemed the men dead, but evidence from the Anglin family suggests that the men may still be alive today.
John and Clarence Anglin’s nephews hinted that their uncles were alive until at least the mid-1970’s and could still be kicking today. The evidence is so credible that investigators are planning to go down to South America to find the brothers. The Anglins had leads to where the brothers may be for years, but didn’t disclose the details because they were harassed by FBI officials. They were inspired to act on the leads because they wanted to solve the case while the Anglin brother’s sister was still alive. In addition, Alcatraz officials insisted that an escape was not possible, so the family wanted to prove them wrong.
What exactly gave the Anglin family hope their relatives were still alive? First, Christmas cards signed with John and Clarence’s name were sent to the Anglin brother’s mom for three years after the escape. No postage was on the cards and handwriting analysts stated that they found a match.
Another piece of evidence was found with another Anglin brother. Alfred Anglin was electrocuted when he tried to escape from an Alabama prison. His body was dug up for the purposes of DNA comparison. The reason for this was to compare his DNA to that of bones that washed up on the shore of San Francisco in 1962, the same year as the escape from Alcatraz. The DNA was not a match, however, giving the Anglin family continued hope.
All signs point towards re-writing the Alcatraz history books and marking down the Anglin brothers and Frank Morris as the first prisoners to escape the facility.