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A Ghost Hunters Guide To Night Tours of Alcatraz

Alcatraz Prison is now a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. But from 1934 to 1963 it housed the most dangerous prisoners in the United States. And it's Haunted or so they say!

Alcatraz Prison is now a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. But from 1934 to 1963 it housed the most dangerous prisoners in the United States. And it's Haunted or so they say!

by Tommy Netzband

Tommy Netzband is the creator of the Haunted Haight Walking Tour and Founder and President of The San
Francisco Ghost Society. He frequently lectures on the paranormal throughout San Francisco.

 

When you think of a trip to San Francisco, the first place a ghost hunter or ghost enthusiast imagines is Alcatraz. I have always been the type of ghost researcher that really enjoys the historical aspects of a haunted location. I enjoy the research that goes into explaining the paranormal activity, through its history. Alcatraz is one of those places that is so submerged in rich layers of the past, you could literally spend a lifetime researching every aspect of its many layers. The island has served several purposes over its active years. The National Park Service does an excellent job trying to preserve and celebrate that history. Some of those historical layers are a gold fort, a military prison, a federal prison and it was even reclaimed and inhabited by a group of Native American tribes for over a year. I've had a never ending fascination with the island of Alcatraz and visit it any chance I can get. Friends and family that visit me in San Francisco never leave without the offer to go on a tour to the lonely island.

Alcatraz Prison is now a popular tourist attraction in San Francisco. But from 1934 to 1963 it housed the most dangerous prisoners in the United States. And it's Haunted or so they say!

Last year, one of my biggest dreams came true. I received an invitation to spend the whole night on Alcatraz with a group of paranormal researchers. I did not end up sleeping at all that night! It was an amazing evening and we were able to validate several of the ghost stories that are told of the island. There were a total of thirty five ghost hunters from all over the United States who participated in this occasion. Some old friends were present and several people I was honored to just meet, came together on that wet and chilly evening.

There was a private ferry ride to “The Rock” and you can imagine how we felt when the ferry announcer blasted over the speaker system to a waiting crowd, “Hey everyone, these folks will be spending the night on the island tonight” he blasted! The crowd sighed with envy and then began to cheer for us.

Aprivate ferry ride to “The Rock”

Once we departed the boat for the dock, we made our way to a covered section tucked away in the corner. We were met by our personal National Park Service ranger for the overnight stay. He was stern and serious, a clean shaven guy in his forties in green uniform and matching hat. His deep voice loudly welcomed the group to the island. He followed his speech by explaining the many rules that we must follow on our overnight stay. No smoking, no food in the cell house and absolutely no going in restricted areas. These restricted places were off limits for safety concerns. The National Park Service invests a lot of money to maintain the weather beaten and corroded buildings that still remain on the island. There is constant construction that takes place to keep up with the aging of the areas. Our overnight ranger informed us that we would all spend the night in solitary confinement cells. My eyes widened and I smiled, because it is the notoriously haunted Cell Block D section of the prison. This infamous solitary confinement area was known to have its share of ghostly activity. During the Federal prison operation, it's said that an inmate could be locked in the pitch black cells and would be kept there for several days. The last three cells...12, 13 and 14 are known to have the most spirit activity. I was very lucky to secure Cell 12 that evening.

My dear friend and colleague, psychic/medium Annalisa Bastiani would be my cell mate for the evening. Annalisa arrived on the island with great anticipation. She ended up being so energy drained early in the evening that she turned in and the next morning explained vivid dreams of 1940's show girls. I suppose many inmates would have had those dreams during a long sentence on Alcatraz in that era.

A Real Alcatraz Ghost Photo?

Alcatraz Ghost Photo

This was taken in June of 2007. I took this picture at the morgue at Alcatraz without thinking there was a ghost of any sort there. The picture was taken by a digital camera and there was no glass in front of the camera when I took the picture. I found out recently that Alcatraz is riddled with haunts. Photo submitted by Mark Wolo.

I was able to validate what I have known about cell 12, through my research. There are many reports of feelings of nausea in the cell. My first thought was to look for any environmental factors that could cause this, like mold, high EMF fields, slants in the floor, etc. There was nothing unusual that evening. I do know through my own personal experiences in ghost research, that nausea is common when experiencing a residual haunting. So to validate this claim, I sought people who were not aware of the tales told of cell 12. I invited them to spend some time in there and let me know what impressions they felt. All participants felt the nausea when staying in the solitary cell. I found this truly amazing and a good validation of the stories.

We were also able to capture some class A EVP (Electronic Voice Phenomena) in the infirmary area of the prison that same night. The hospital is considered one of the most active areas of the prison. We certainly had our share of doors slamming behind us, dark shadows darting across the hall and foul phantom smells. However, some tales told of the island were impossible to verify...like the apparitions in the Warden's house. Unfortunately, all that remains of the Warden's house is a couple walls that stand like a skeleton in the area that it once towered over. You can learn more about that night we spent on Alcatraz, by hearing the San Francisco Ghost Society's Live Podcast from the over night stay.

Please go to URL: http://www.sfghostsociety.org/html/webcast.html

I do realize that most people cannot be fortunate enough to spend a full overnight stay on Alcatraz, but most visitors don't realize that you can visit the island on a night tour. This is the next best thing to staying overnight. When folks visit San Francisco, they find out about these tours once they are here. They are usually disappointed to hear that it is too late to get tickets because all spaces are sold out weeks in advance. This is especially true during San Francisco's high summer season.

The goal of this article is to help you have the most enjoyable adventure on Alcatraz. You will do this by just following the few valuable tips that are contained here. You will avoid most of the tourist traps that are offered by vendors and be able to concentrate on the areas where most paranormal evidence is captured.

So, if you plan on visiting San Francisco, it is best to handle a night tour to the island in advance. The best way to book your tour is by going to the National Park Service web site directly at www.alcatrazcruises.com. They also offer discounts for kids and seniors.

When you are booked and ready to visit the island make sure you bring a jacket because the evenings can be very chilly in San Francisco's Bay. It never hurts to have some good walking shoes when you visit Alcatraz. There are a few inclines you'll have to climb on your way up to the cell house. They usually stop at every incline to discuss the history of the island. This also allows you a bit of a rest.

Once you arrive at the cell house, you should go directly to the tour desk. Your admission to Alcatraz allows you to take free tours that are only offered on the evening excursion. These tours include highly active places like the citadel and Infirmary. There is limited space on these tours and they do go very fast. You can do a hard hat tour of the Citadel portion of the island first. This was the original layer that was once a fort and is often called “the dungeon,” because it contains several cubby holes that prisoners were shackled in by their arms and legs, then left for weeks in complete and total darkness. There are many rumors of screams and crying in the Citadel and it is an exciting tour to see. Make sure you bring a good flashlight.

Is it a real Alcatraz Ghost?

Is it a real Alcatraz Ghost Photo? Alcatraz Ghosts: This reported as real Ghost Photo was sent to us by Glenn Shelton. He believes he has captured a real Alcatraz Ghost on film. Shelton says he blieves this proves that Alcatraz is the" Most Haunted Federal Prison" In the world.

Alcatraz Ghosts: This reported as real Ghost Photo was sent to us by Glenn Shelton. He believes he has captured a real Alcatraz Ghost on film. Shelton says he believes this proves that Alcatraz is the" Most Haunted Federal Prison" In the world.

The other tour of the infirmary is very exciting too. They do not offer this tour on any of the day excursions, so it is a must! There is plenty of activity in this section of the prison and many psychics and paranormal researchers have talked about the spirits that still haunt the hospital section of Alcatraz. Some of our best evidence of that evening was caught in this area of the prison and is talked about on our live podcast. During the night we had asked the spirits if there was anything needed to communicate with them. When reviewing our audio we discovered an EVP that clearly answers us by stating, “The dark is power.” It was a unforgettable evening and I hope you too will go and validate the many ghosts of Alcatraz.

About Tommy Netzband

Tommy Netzband is the creator of the Haunted Haight Walking Tour and Founder and President of The San
Francisco Ghost Society. He frequently lectures on the paranormal throughout San Francisco.

Tommy Netzband is the creator and host of the Haunted Haight Walking Tour www.hauntedhaight.com. He also in the founder and President of the San Francisco Ghost Society, a paranormal group that researches claims on of the supernatural in the city of San Francisco. Tommy is often called a "ghost historian" for his passion for researching the history of ghosts. Come discover the macabre history of San Francisco and learn all about the ghosts of Haight-Ashbury .Email: hauntedhaight@yahoo.com. Also see: Tommy Netsband info here!

 

The San Francisco Ghost Society was founded by Tommy Netzband as a small all volunteer organization, devoted to the research and investigation of the city and county of San Francisco's ghosts and paranormal occurrences. We conduct FREE, professional and discreet investigations of locations where there have been reports of paranormal activity or unexplained occurrences. Our approach is one of flexible skepticism; we seek to remain unconvinced by the end of the investigation, as opposed to embracing every speck of dust caught on camera as proof positive of a haunting. To this end we conduct extensive research about a prospective site, to understand its history, architecture, infrastructure and location. We utilize a broad spectrum of equipment and technology to record and analyze the course of the investigation. Our team members are all responsible, knowledgeable and professional individuals from the San Francisco area, who contribute their diverse interests, talents and time to each investigation. Please click visit to learn more about our services.

Tommy Netzband is the creator and host of the Haunted Haight Walking Tour www.hauntedhaight.com. He also in the founder and President of the San Francisco Ghost Society, a paranormal group that researches claims on of the supernatural in the city of San Francisco. Tommy is often called a "ghost historian" for his passion for researching the history of ghosts. Come discover the macabre history of San Francisco and learn all about the ghosts of Haight-Ashbury .Email: hauntedhaight@yahoo.com. Also see: Tommy Netsband info here!

Haunted Haight Walking Tour www.hauntedhaight.com. Tommy is often called a "ghost historian" for his passion for researching the history of ghosts. Come discover the macabre history of San Francisco and learn all about the ghosts of Haight-Ashbury


Gina Lanier

 

Have The Dead Spoken To You Lately?

Lisa Lee Harp Waugh The Great American Necromancer