This was a whirlwind trip, an opportunity that came up fast and so I jumped to it. I had two nights in San Francisco and I knew I wanted to return to Alcatraz!
I had been here about 5 years ago in 2005 and I had taken the day tour with my daughter out to Alcatraz island and toured the prison and surrounding land. You take a ferry out of Fisherman's wharf at Pier 33. There isn't any parking so you can take a trolley car, a taxi or walk on down there from your hotel depending on where you are staying at.
This time, we thought to take a taxi down to the wharf as there was not much time between landing and arriving at the airport before we had to hurry on down to the pier to catch the ferry out to Alcatraz. So we were dressed for ghost hunting and I had my equipment all set up and ready and in one bag.
Now, a few things about this.
For one, ghost hunting on Alcatraz. When I attended my first ghost hunting event with Darkness Radio and Ghost Hunters, I had asked Jason and Grant if they had investigated Alcatraz yet? They told me that that no, they had not (at the time) because they were told it would cost them $25,000.00!! Holy smokes! But then, if anyone follows their show, Ghost Hunters, you will have seen that their 100th episode was filmed where? Alcatraz!! So either Alcatraz relented or the SyFy channel coughed up that much money! Wow huh?!
So...how did "I" manage to do this? ;)
When you arrive by ferry to the island, you are separated into a few groups and led by a tour guide up the hill to where you can receive the headphones to take the recorded self-tour of Alcatraz. This is a very STEEP hill by the way! The walking up there is not for the faint of heart! It's a good lil hike! I remember having done this with my daughter before. The recorded tour is really great! You get to hear sounds of what the prison was like with the inmates incarcerated within and the stories of the more famed prisoners and the history and it's just a really great tour! If you have not done so, I do highly recommend it! They will even show you the locking mechanism of the doors and demonstrate it. After the recorded portion of the tour, they have also added several smaller points of interest where a tour guide will tell a story of a particular area. Unfortunately, some of those go on at the same time and hard to choose which you want to hear of more. Should tell you that just one trip here, is not going to cut it and you will have to return a few times!
Alcatraz the island itself, is gorgeous with all the teeming wildlife and flowers and unique plants that abound there. The scenery is really beautiful and I got some great shots in the slide show in the link below.
The building is safe to tour through and the parts that are not, are sectioned off and you are not allowed to go in there. They are also ever mindful of the different mating seasons and hatching of the birds and will keep you from disturbing the wildlife as much as possible.
So having already taken that particular recorded tour before, my daughter and I picked up the headphones and then we quickly cut ahead of everyone else and got away from them and headed straight to solitary on our own!
It felt a bit spooky to be there without anyone else and we could feel a bit of tension inside a few of the cells that I had remembered were purported to be haunted. I did conduct a few evp sessions but I have yet to fully listen to everything as I took alot of recordings while there. It was hard to determine if I got anything or if it was all contaminated because the place echoes badly and we could still hear the people as they got closer and further along in their tour.
Listening to EVPs is the hardest thing for me and I've promised myself to get better at listening to them. I did get a new headset to help me really listen better and I'll go over that when I finish up on Alcatraz. :)
So we continued along to various locations of the prison, keeping as far ahead of the crowds as much as we could. We had taken the night tour. If you are looking to take the tour of Alcatraz, I highly suggest and recommend...the NIGHT TOUR! It's the better tour, especially for all you ghost affecionados! ;)
Well not just because it's night time! Although, when we went, it was on a particular odd and rare night when the moon was rising at the exact same moment as the sun was setting. It was a most magickal and strong night, energy wise! So of course I took full advantage of that!
Now, another reason the night tour is the better tour....the night tour is the only time when they open up the hospital wing and they only open it for 30 minutes! This makes me wonder just why?? Is there something going on or things happen in there that they are trying to protect the public from? Good question! This is where the famed Birdman of Alcatraz was kept and they monitor this area very closely while you are there and they make sure everyone is out when it's time to close up.
One other note too is that some of the guards are not too keen about ghost hunters. The lady I spoke to at the hospital wing was a huge skeptic, yet most can't deny that weird things happen there.
We had taken the earlier night tour, thinking that we would have a time lapse before the next tour came in and to where we would get an extra 30 minutes on the island without having to return. So I thought that most people would be leaving and we would have more time alone. This was not so as others too, stayed with that same notion.
The night we went, the recreation yard was closed and also would not be opening until a certain hour in the night (I believe the same as the hospital wing, at 8pm) and then close thereafter. We went to ask a guard if we could possibly get out to the recreation yard ahead of time? She said we could but we would have to walk around and go up the steep stone stair. So we thanked her and took off around the side. There was caution tape at the top but since the guard said we could, we quickly climbed to the top and ducked under the tape and went into the rec yard. We were there alone for quite some time, it was just my daughter and I and a single Canadian goose!
I let my daughter loose with the camera to go take pictures at will and I sat upon the stairs inside the yard and recorded an evp session as I would use the Shack Hack at times also. They never did open the recreation yard to the rest of the people, so we got very lucky to have had it all to ourselves.
I would use the Shack Hack here or there throughout our walk around the prison and at one point, we heard a name come out thru the white noise and it was the very name of the man who had first attempted escape from Alcatraz and get this...we were standing at the very spot he had tried it! Wow! That was wild!
We made a YouTube video for you to enjoy of this trip to Alcatraz that starts out with the starkness of the prison and then moves on to the beauty that abounds there. I hope you enjoy it!
Alcatraz - The Prison and Nature as One
It was a most magickal night there at Alcatraz. As darkness descended, it got very spooky and creepy and you could just feel the ominous energy that surrounded the place. Looking out to the other islands, I felt a longing and stirring to go explore those islands too as I had a feeling they told another tale that was not well known to the public. Perhaps another time.
On a side note, the next day, my daughter and I spent the day in Chinatown. We were hoping to catch the ghost tour there but alas, they do not start that up until June and we were there just a few days too early. Perhaps another time, we will be able to take that tour.
Beautiful Architecture of Chinatown
I can say however, the first time we were in San Francisco, back in 2005 or so, we had taken a ghost tour and we had the most fun on that one! The host was very knowledgeable about the history and stories of several locations and it was a good hike! He was very good at slight of hand and there were a few things that happened that I am still not sure if it was just mental telepathy or telekinesis or just a magick trick. But if you are in San Francisco, it is well worth to take his ghost tour and he had given us a cute lil ghost pin that I still have to this day!
Best Ghost Hunt & Tour of San Francisco ---Thanks Jim!
Jim is an exceptional storyteller and ghost guide along the streets of San Francisco! We had a great time and won't forget our fun experiences! I loved to hear the history and all the great stories he had to tell!
I know I barely scratched the surface of this gorgeous fun city and I am sure I will be returning many times!