When the Spanish first entered San Francisco Bay in 1775, it was named “Isla de los Alcatraces” or Island of the Pelicans. In 1848, Mexico ceded the island to the United States and the famous 12 acre precipitous rocky island was declared a military reservation by executive order on November 6, 1850. As a part of the area’s defensive system, it was intended to guard the entrance to the bay. Its first fortifications were begun in 1853 under the direction of Lt. Zealous Bates Tower, U.S. Corps of Engineers, and consisted of a main brick building, 200 by 100 foot citadel, batteries, two barrack structures for troops and three cell blocks.

First garrisoned on December 30, 1859, it was often referred to as Fort Alcatraz. By 1861, the fort had 85 cannons and a garrison of 130 men. The island became a detention camp for political prisoners during the Civil War and later was a disciplinary barracks for military prisoners, a prison for recalcitrant Indians, P.O.W. facility for Spanish American and Philippine Island prisoners and then World War 1 conscientious objectors. It was used as a fort until the disastrous 1906 earthquake, when San Francisco jail inmates were transferred there for safekeeping. “The Rock”, as it was popularly called, was an Army prison from 1917 to 1933 when title to the island passed to the Department of Justice.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons, an agency of the Justice Department, took it over and ran Alcatraz as a maximum security prison for incorrigible criminals until 1964. It was then shut down because of its progressively decaying condition and deteriorating assurances of incarceration. Asserting century old treaty rights, a large group of militant Native Americans Indians occupied the island in defiance of the federal government for nine months ending in June 1971. Alcatraz Island is now part of the golden Gate National Recreation Area.



On May 22, 2004, CCPI met up with Gloria Young of Ghosttrackers to participate in a BBC production of the series “Dead Famous”. The BBC was on location in San Francisco filming a segment entitled “The Ghosts of Alcatraz” and had asked Ms. Young to gather 8 others to participate in this segment which would feature a séance at the federal prison on the Island.

Since the séance was to occur early Sunday morning, we headed to San Francisco and arrived at 1:00 AM on Pier 39 to take a specially arranged water taxi to Alcatraz Island. Once on the Island, we were transported with our gear to the prison at the top, where we met with the BBC crew. Once inside, we were fortunate to meet the other participants, namely, Richard Senate, a recognized top Paranormal Investigator from Ventura, CA; Carla Baron, a psychic detective from Southern CA; Christopher Fleming, a Psychic and founder of Unknown Magazine. Our group included Gloria Young from Ghost-Trackers, with her son Scott & daughter Chrystie; Jim Carter from Ghoststudy.Info; Stephen Pristavok, photographer from Vacaville, CA and Mark and I from CCPI.

After the introductions and some discussions about events that happened before we arrived, it was decided that the séance would take place in the hospital infirmary ward on the second floor of the prison. It was one large room, six barred cells with double windows, three on each side facing an outer wall and another small room at the end opposite the main doorway. According to the psychics, the large room was the most active.

We then proceeded to gather and sit in a circle, hands on our knees with palms up while Mr. Senate and Ms. Baron gave us a few instructions on how the séance would proceed. During the course of the séance, Mr. Fleming went in and out of a trancelike state and most notably, there was a ghost of a prior inmate, named “Armando”, who spoke through him. “Armando”, stated that he and others were not able to leave because they were being held by another, stronger and evil ghost who controlled them all. Ms. Baron identified this ghost as Stan/Stanley, who she said was a rapist and then quite forcibly, proceeded to call him names daring him to manifest himself in some way for all those present to see. Ms. Baron also stated that ten ghosts inhabited Alcatraz at this time.

About 4:15 AM, one side of our circle felt a temperature change. According to Mr. Carters temperature readings, it was about a 10 degree drop. Further, Scott related that he was feeling sick/anxious and uncomfortable. Whereby Ms. Baron and Mr. Fleming talked with him for some minutes and all three told whatever it was to “get out,” Scott looked visibly relieved even smiling.

Towards the end of the séance, Ms. Baron, with assistance from others in the circle, guided nine ghosts through a gate encouraging them to move on. Afterwards, there were closing protection words from Ms. Baron and a brief discussion of the events. The circle was dissolved. We took pictures of the infirmary and went downstairs to the cell blocks to take more pictures before our departure at 6:00 AM.



Having never participated in a séance prior to this night, I was certainly curious and excited to be a part in one. I was not disappointed. While I have some doubts as to the malevolent ghost of “Stan/Stanley”, the psychics’ role during the séance was interesting and a little puzzling. I must admit I was not expecting them to act as they did. For example, in my opinion Ms. Barons’ loud taunting, belittling and demanding attitude and speech towards “Stan/Stanley” was not what I had ever read about, heard of or seen previously. And while Mr. Fleming’s attitude was more subdued, it would be interesting to see him in action under other circumstances. Ghosts carry the same persona they had in life. So if “Stan/Stanley” was a rapist while alive, as Ms. Baron claimed, he would most likely be afraid of or angry at women and verbally battering him could have two results, 1) so much negative energy he would throw a fit (and everything else) so that any paranormal activity would be unmistakable to everyone in the room, or, 2) he would run and hide to the point he would not cooperate at all. The latter is what I think may have happened. There were no moving objects, no valid EMF readings, no EVP and no visible signs of any phenomena during this séance, save perhaps one, Scotts feeling of anxiety. And while the psychics’ technique may work under other or different circumstances, results taken during this séance are inconclusive. In my opinion, we were asked by implication to believe what the psychics were telling us and to rely on facts that they presented without any proof whatsoever. While this may sound a little harsh and appear to imply that I do not believe or respect psychics, quite the contrary is true. I do believe and have the utmost respect for psychics/sensitives and in fact, know one such person with a natural psychic ability for seeing and understanding what most of us cannot.

As for the temperature fluctuations, they may raise a yellow flag that a ghost may be present but there are other factors that should be taken into account before making that assumption here, 1) it was already cold, middle 50’s, and windy outside, 2) the séance room had no heating system, 3) broken glass in the window panes on the outside walls in each cell, and 4) the coldest part of the day occurs in the predawn hours just before sunrise. Unfortunately, there were too many variables coupled with the lack of scientific indicators for this occurrence to be conclusive of any ghostly presence during the séance. Had the temperature drop been closer to the 20 degree mark, it might then indicate a “cold spot” due to an energy drain of the immediate area, which could then be interpreted as some form of paranormal phenomena taking place.

As I mentioned, after the séance we were able to walk around and take more pictures. These next 5 pictures represent the best of what I took after the séance ended.

This first picture was taken while every one was packing up their equipment. I stepped up to cell 5 and took the picture below. There was nothing else in the cell or outer room that could have produced these phenomena. It is my belief this is Ecto-Fog.

Picture 1: Hospital Infirmary Ward: Cell 5

Picture 2: Hospital Infirmary Ward (Séance room) with Cell 5 on right.

Picture 3: Hospital Infirmary Ward (Séance Room), taken right after Picture 2 with white, round orbs.

Picture 4: “C” Block corridor. Middle left, one faint but very large orb.

Picture 5: “C” Block corridor, taken right after picture 4, large orb gone, smaller faint orb near same area

All living things contain forms of energy and as we learned in science class, energy cannot be destroyed only transformed. These pictures are indicators that there is some kind of energy patterns happening at Alcatraz. Who were they? Are they former inmates? Is Stan/Stanley watching us? Why are they here? Can we communicate with them? Are they as curious about us as we are about them? As Paranormal Investigators, we come away with more questions than answers. Then why do we roam the corridors in the early morning hours of a federal prison known to house some of the most notorious criminals in American history?

To find the answers,

It’s what we do----Investigate, Validate and Educate.

Jackie Meador

Central California Paranormal Investigators