Alcatraz

I stumbled across this article in the LA Times and thought that it was interesting.

Getting rattled on ‘the Rock’

Alcatraz Island, Calif. — EACH day at sundown, when the last tour boat departs this desolate, wind-swept outpost, one lonesome soul is left behind. He’s the night watchman of Alcatraz.

Guided by the beam of his flashlight, Gregory Johnson inches down the gloomy infirmary ward of this retired prison, once home to the nation’s most malicious killers and psychotic criminal malcontents.”Hey, what’s that noise?” he asks, throwing the light against the half-open door of a solitary confinement cell. He pauses, shrugging off another unexplained Alcatraz phenomenon.

“Man,” he whispers, “I couldn’t imagine being out here at night without my gun.”

Until the first boat arrives after dawn, the U.S. park police officer spends the night battling both his nerves and imagination, patrolling the place once known as America’s Devil’s Island.

Pretty Crazy stuff. Here is one more section that caught my eye:

Johnson initially balked at the duty he shares with other officers. “I said, ‘You want me out there all by myself? Once you’re there, you can’t get off.’ “

At first, he tried to tame Alcatraz by absorbing its history. He took the park service’s audio tour, walking alone among the cellblocks, guided by the recorded voices of former guards and inmates.

Then he took a different tack: reveling in his fear.

Inside Capone’s old cell — No. 200 on the second tier of B block — he watched horror movies on his laptop, flinching at each murder and bloodletting. He soon questioned that decision.

“I like to be scared, but not that scared,” he said.

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2 Comments

  1. Jack's Shack April 9, 2007 at 7:05 am

    I have been there before. I think that I was around 16. It was interesting.

  2. The Misanthrope April 8, 2007 at 4:52 pm

    That was a somewhat interesting article. It made me want to take a tour of the island. I’d even like to send the night there. What about the woman guard who felt like her butt was always being pinched when guarding the prison?

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