Visiting Alcatraz Island

by Richard
(Idaho Falls)

Last year, my wife and I took a trip to San Francisco and while the majority of the trip was fun and exciting, the highlight of the trip was visiting Alcatraz prison.

Upon setting foot upon the island, we felt many sensations. The most noticeable were loneliness and isolation and agitation. During its years as a prison, we found out that prisoners had extremely limited to no way of expressing themselves through speech (except at mealtimes and for 3 minutes maximum during work breaks). The consequences were, at times, a series of violent outbreaks and escape attempts. Thus, explaining the ever-present undercurrent of tension and angst that pervaded the entire island.

Entering the cellblocks, the feelings of angst were amplified several times. When we went to D BLOCK, a certain darkness seemed to cast a shadow over an otherwise sunlit corridor. At the far end of the hall, there were 4 solitary confinement cells. We knew immediately that we had entered a special section of Hell for some of the worst insubordinate convicts.

Upon entrance to one of the solitary confinement cells (or the "hole" as it was referred to) one could feel the cold dank air caress the skin and the dark, desperate emotional charge of emptiness pierce the soul. The feeling of total and complete exile would be exacerbated only by the closing and locking of the steel bar gate and the steel door behind leaving only blackness and silence.

During our time on D block, we entered 2 hole cells and one felt abnormally colder than the other by 15 degrees. That was the cell reported to be haunted the most. The trip was unforgettable and especially Alcatraz island.

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