If this actually worked, then it’s regarded as one of the most ingenious prison breaks of all time.
The infamous case of prisoners escaping the Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary many years ago has been brought back into the public and FBI spotlight after a letter by someone claiming to be one of the escaped men was uncovered.
Three men carried out this daring prison escape on June 11, 1962. Frank Morris, along with brothers John and Clarence Anglin escaped from the prison never to be seen again.
In 1979, the FBI eventually closed the case concluding that the men drowned and their bodies were swept out to sea.
The letter begins: “My name is John Anglin. I escape sic from Alcatraz in June 1962 with my brother Clarence and Frank Morris,” it reads. “Yes we all made it that night but barely!”
The men had become folk heroes as they captured the attention of the public through their escape.
Only 36 prisoners had made attempts to escape the prison and until 2013, it was known that all of those attempts failed.
On June 12, 1962, the three were discovered missing from their cells during a morning bed check. FBI documents revealed that the men created dummies to fool the prison guards long enough to make the overnight escape.
After plotting for months, they escaped the prison through ventilation ducts in their cells by using saw blades, sharpened spoons and a drill. The men hid the sound of grinding and picking by playing the accordion loudly.
‘AWM’ gives us more details of this mysterious letter sent to the FBI from a man claiming to be John Anglin:
From there, the story gets really murky. The FBI became involved in the search soon after, but all that was discovered was some remnants of the raft. No other evidence ever turned up, until 2013.
A man claiming to be John Anglin sent a letter to the FBI that year, revealing his identity and the success of their escape. Apparently, the other two had passed in recent years, but all three managed to escape. John included a photo of two of the three escapees enjoying their freedom together to prove it.
John described how he now had cancer and asked for medical treatment in exchange for a prison sentence of, “less than a year.”
The letter was tested for the DNA that was left in the prison cells, but the results were reported as, “inconclusive.” This generally means that the test couldn’t be verified one way or another, meaning that this certainly could be the real John Anglin.
The FBI last reported in 2018 that they did, in fact, receive the letter and had reopened the investigation into the escape. But there has never been any follow-up with the supposed, “John Anglin,” who presumably has passed from his illness in the years since.
Clearly, there is much more to this story, and hopefully, the FBI will release all the information we need to clear up the ending. For now, all we can do is wonder whether these three men managed to pull off the most impossible prison escape of all time.
If these men were still alive today, John Anglin would be 90 years old, and his brother, 91. Morris would be 94 years old.