From 1934 to 1963 Alcatraz Island had one of the hardest to escape prisons in the world. This prison was home to some of the greatest criminal masterminds so despite the tight security the prison had there were many escape attempts. Despite the 14 attempts by 36 different prisoners none successfully were able to escape the island.
The closest a group ever came to escaping were Frank Lee Morris, brothers Clarence and John Anglin. Now known as “The Great Escape”, the men used lifelike dummies, water rafts and life preservers.
The inmates were incredibly resourceful. They crafted tools for digging from objects gathered around the prison, and built life preservers by gluing rain coats together. However, the most impressive thing the inmates created were the dummies. They built the heads out of a homemade cement powder mixture, toilet paper and soap. The men stole skin colored paint from the prison art kits and hair from the barbershop to make them lifelike.
The inmates dug through and increased the size of the ventilation shaft in their cells, and some even ate less in order to lose enough weight to squeeze through them. The inmates then made a thirty-foot climb up the plumbing to the cell house roof, walked precariously 100 feet across the rooftop, and then carefully maneuvered down fifty feet of piping to the ground near the entrance to the shower area.
This was the last time any of these men would ever be seen. There has been much speculation over the years as to whether or not the men successfully navigated the bay in their raft and reached safety. An FBI investigation determined that the plan had failed and they died of dehydration or hypothermia in the waters surrounding the island.