Fooling the Guards and Planning Your Escape From Alcatraz by Night
You step into the cell. It’s pitch black but you close your eyes anyway, spin around. Squeeze eyelids hard until colored lights appear. A gravelly voice in your ear tells you prisoners on Alcatraz in solitary confinement used to do this as entertainment, madness-laced concentration forming TV-like images and trips outside reality. The mechanics of visiting Alcatraz by night are little different to by day, though approaching the island as the light fades adds an extra menacing, horror film touch to the environment. The compulsory audio tour—narrated by former prison guards and inmates—is prescriptive yet fascinating, as you are ordered down cage-lined corridors, regaled with tales of riots and escape attempts, and startled by cell door clangings, shouts, and once even the sucking thud of a stabbing. Atmospheric, informative, and often poignant, when the tour ends in the excessively cheesy gift shop, you are glad to escape the island prison yourself.