Alcatraz Prison Escape Conspiracy Theory

The Alcatraz prison escape left some people wondering if the escapees were dead or alive.

Diya Schon

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Alcatraz in San Francisco

The Alcatraz escapees caused many conspiracy theories leaving people wondering what had happened to them.

Alcatraz was a federal prison in California’s San Francisco Bay. According to, it housed some of the most dangerous felons during its years of operation from 1934 to 1963. 

Alcatraz was on an island claiming to be impossible to escape although many prisoners had attempted. In 1962, three men by the names of Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin had successfully escaped the prison, but it was unknown if they had survived. Years later, the Federal Bureau of Investigation received a letter said to be from John Anglin explaining that they had all survived that night, but he was the only one still living. Some people believed that they had all died that night until the letter was sent. According to The Washington Post, the FBI submitted the letter into the forensic lab to get the handwriting analyzed based on past samples from the escapees and the results came back inconclusive.

According to The Washington Post, the letter said, “My name is John Anglin. I escape [sic] from Alcatraz in June 1962 with my brother Clarence and Frank Morris. I’m 83 years old and in bad shape. I have cancer. Yes, we all made it that night but barely! If you announce on TV that I will be promised to first go to jail for no more than a year and get medical attention, I will write back to let you know exactly where I am. This is no joke.”

The Alcatraz prisoners that had escaped the prison were never found, leading people to think that they had not survived. Some people thought there was the possibility of survival, since there was no evidence of their remains, or indication showing they had died. 

I believe that Frank Morris, John, and Clarence Anglin escaped and it is possible that they survived it, but I do not believe that they are still alive today,” junior Alyssa Olson said. “When John sent the note to the FBI in 2014, it is possible they could have been alive and were just bragging since they got away with the most famous escape ever to be heard of.”

Some believe that there is some truth to the story and that they had survived the escape and may have lived a longer life than what was expected. 

“I believe that the three escapees or at least one of them are still alive today,” junior Logan Phillips said. “The idea of them dying in the water seems highly unlikely and no bodies were found. I believe that once they escaped they began living a life in complete secrecy, possibly with entirely new identities.”

Many people believe the theory that they had successfully escaped and survived, but with evidence that cannot be confirmed, it’s harder to believe.

“I think it’s definitely possible that the prisoners escaped and got to shore safely somehow,” senior Allison Kane said. “I do not believe the theory that they died due to insufficient evidence.”

The multiple theories on the prisoners who had escaped Alcatraz are difficult to prove with the shortage of evidence on the situation, making it harder to prove if the theories are accurate.