When it comes to a daring escape from Alcatraz, John and Clarence Anglin stand as an enduring mystery to this day. The FBI says the brothers drowned while escaping Alcatraz prison back in 1962, but the Anglin family claims they have evidence the Alcatraz prisoners survived The Rock.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, hundreds of Taliban prisoners escaped from Ghazni prison when it was raided by insurgents.
Out of the 36 prisoners who tried to escape Alcatraz, John and Clarence Anglin and Frank Lee Morris are the only names left unaccounted for after all these years. In the movie Escape From Alcatraz, Clint Eastwood famously played the role of Morris, who was portrayed as the mastermind of the one the most famous prison escapes in history.
Frank Morris was convicted of his first crime at the the young ag of 13, and by the time he was an adult, his criminal record already listed a range of crimes, including armed robbery. By 1960, Morris had earned his sentence at Alcatraz prison based upon an impressive history of jail escapes, which Federal officials had nicknamed “shotgun freedom.” Thus, in January of 1960 Morris became prison inmate #AZ-1441.
Before becoming Morris’ accomplices in his escape from Alcatraz, John and Clarence Anglin were also serving prison sentences for bank robbery, having been convicted along with their brother, Alfred. Morris and the Anglin brothers had first become acquainted while being incarcerated at the the Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta, where John and Clarence attempted multiple prison escapes.
According to Alcatraz History, the plan for the great escape was fairly complicated, and required fooling the Alcatraz guards with fake heads created with a cement powder mixture using materials like soap and toilet water. John and Clarence Anglin even added such details as real human hair from the barbershop, and flesh tones using prison art kits.
Dummy head used by John Anglin to fool prison guards, Alcatraz. 1962 pic.twitter.com/XjtVWcsGpj
— History In Pictures (@JustHistoryPics) July 14, 2015
Over time, Morris and the Anglin brothers dug holes in their prison cells with spoons and forks, although they tried creating a makeshift motorized drill using stolen drill bits, barber clippers, and a vacuum motor. They eventually tunneled through to a utility corner where they were able to climb up to the roof through a vent. There, they assembled a raft out of 50 cotton rain coats, and fashioned a rapid inflation device out of a accordion-like musical instrument.
This is where their escape from Alcatraz hit a snag. The goal was to use their raft to cross the San Francisco Bay and reach Angel Island. After resting, they would re-enter the Bay, swim through a waterway called Raccoon Straits, and then reach freedom on land. But most assume the powerful ocean currents swept the Alcatraz prisoners toward the Golden Gate Bridge away to their doom in the Pacific Ocean.
In 2014, this assumption was challenged by Dutch scientists who used a hydraulic simulation program for modeling the movement of the water in the San Francisco Bay. They analyzed the 1962 Alcatraz escape plan based upon worst case and best case scenarios, and it is possible they survived depending on the time frame in which they launched their rafts.
If Frank Morris, John and Clarence Anglin, and the rest of the escapees launched before midnight, then Dr. Rolf Hut says they were doomed.
“In the worst-case scenario, where paddling was ineffective, the outgoing tide would have swept them out to the ocean and they would have died of hypothermia, for sure. The San Francisco Bay area has one of the strongest tidal currents going under the Golden Gate Bridge.”
But if they launched right around the stroke of midnight, it is possible the reverse tides around the Golden Gate Bridge would have given them a chance to reach the Marin headlands near the bridge. In addition, one of the raft’s paddles was later found drifting around Angel Island.
On the 50th anniversary for the escape from Alcatraz, John and Carlence Anglin’s sisters said their brother survived.
“I’ve always believed they made it, and I haven’t changed my mind about that… If they are not alive, then why is the government still looking for them?” asked Marie Widner and Mearly Taylor back in 2012.
The U.S. Marshals service still has a warrant out for the arrest of the three men, which was explained by U.S. Marshal Michael Dyke.
“We have to operate under the assumption they made it… (If we ever catch them) I’d have to compliment them because it was very meticulous what they did, how they escaped from here.”
According to FOX 8, a History Channel program called Alcatraz: Search for the Truth will explore the possibility that the Anglin’s sisters are right. Nephews of the two men, David and Ken Widner, claim that the family kept quiet about evidence, which includes hand-written Christmas cards and photographs. It is possible that, after escaping Alcatraz, John and Clarence Anglin went to South America, and they may even be alive today in Brazil.
If the Anglin brothers are alive, then what happened to Frank Morris? The original plan called for stealing a car and robbing a clothing store, but investigators have long since noted that no reports of such crimes were made after the Alcatraz escape. According to the New York Post, authorities discovered a set of human bones in 1963 which may have belonged to Morris, and a DNA test proved the human remains are not those of John or Clarence Anglin. It’s possible Morris also got away, but if that’s the case there’s no evidence for that scenario.
So, what happens if the Anglin brothers are found? It is possible that international extradition laws may not allow the brothers to be brought back to the United States. But, even if the brothers died in Brazil from old age, the family hopes to see them brought back home to Florida where they will be buried with the rest of the family.
[Image via U.S. Department of Justice]