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For many, the thought of prison is enough to keep them on the straight and narrow; but
for others, prison is merely a consequence of their chosen lifestyle.
And for a select few, prison is nothing more than a challenge, a puzzle begging to be solved.
Today we'll look at some of the more creative escapes, in this episode of the infographics
show, the greatest prison escapes in history.
We're starting off with a classic, fictionalized by Hollywood into the film “The Great Escape”
starring Steve McQueen, though the real story is fraught with far more drama than what could
fit on the silver screen.
In World War II the prisoner of war camp known as Stalag Luft III was thought to be the most
secure POW camp in Europe.
100 miles southeast of Berlin, it was located deep in enemy territory and featured a host
of security features meant to make it difficult to escape from.
Along with barbed wire fences, the Germans had sunk microphones nine feet deep into the
soil all along the perimeter in order to detect the sound of digging.
The prisoner's huts were all built on stilts, raised up above the ground so any tunnel would
be immediately visible.
Lastly, the sandy soil made it nearly impossible to dig through, threatening collapse at any moment.
Yet none of these things stopped a band of British, Canadian, Australian, French and
American airmen from attempting an escape anyways.
The plan was to build three tunnels codenamed Tom, Dick, and Harry.
Using only metal silverware and milk tin cans, the prisoners painstakingly chipped away at
the building support columns of three different huts in order to avoid being seen working
underneath them.
They accessed their below-floor workspace via a secret trapdoor over which they kept
a heating stove permanently lit in order to discourage any Nazi guards from getting to close.
In order to solve the microphone problem, the escapees dug their tunnels a whopping
thirty feet deep, excavating an astonishing 100 tons of sand all by hand.
To avoid raising suspicion, the excavated sand was concealed in stuffed socks which
they would sprinkle discreetly on garden soil being raked by other prisoners.
To shore up their tunnel walls the prisoners stripped 4,000 wooden bed boards, and then
lined each tunnel with 1700 blankets to muffle the sounds of digging.
They converted discarded milk tins into lamps, with wicks made from pajama cords and burned
in mutton fat the prisoners skimmed off the greasy soup they were served.
Stealing a few hundred feet of electrical wire, the prisoners even managed to fashion
their own work lights which they plugged directly into the camp's electrical supply.
And if that's not enough ingenuity, the prisoners also created an air pump using hockey sticks
and other discarded bits of trash and even built an underground trolly system to transport the excavated sand.
On March 24, 1944 the prisoners finally made their escape.
Forced to move one by one through the cramped tunnels, barely a dozen managed to make it
out per hour, and at one point a 1 hour blackout during an air raid further slowed the escape
At around 5 am however disaster struck, with a Nazi guard on patrol nearly falling into
the exit shaft of one of the three tunnels and discovering the plot.
A massive manhunt was mobilized and eventually the Germans recovered 73 of the 76 escapees-
three would make it to safety: two Norwegians who stowed away on a freighter to sweden and
a Dutchman who made his way to Gibraltar by rail and foot.
A furious Hitler ordered the execution of 50 of the escapees, violating the Geneva convention.
Years after the war, a military tribunal found 18 Nazi soldiers guilty of war crimes for
shooting the recaptured POWs, and 13 of them were executed.
As one of the largest manhunts in American history, the prison escape of the Texas Seven
in December of 2000 made headlines around the world.
On December 13th, 2000, the seven inmates convinced a maintenance supervisor to let
them skip lunch so they could wax the floors of the maintenance room.
Distracting the supervisor, one of the inmates knocked him unconscious with a blow to the
back of the head, then undressed him, tied him up and locked him in an electrical room.
During this time three other inmates, four prison guards and nine supervisors wandered
into the room, and incredibly all were subdued by the inmates.
That's when the Texas Seven put their plan into action.
By impersonating various supervisors over the telephone the inmates got out of 12 headcounts,
and then making their way to the gatehouse incredibly conned their way inside by pretending to be monitor installers.
Once inside the gatehouse the prisoners subdued the lone guard and got his firearm along with
a few other weapons from a weapons cache.
Then the prisoners opened the back gate and drove their way out in a stolen pickup truck,
launching a multi-state manhunt that would be one of the largest in American history.
Eventually found thanks in part to the television program America's Most Wanted, the prisoners
even demanded a TV appearance before they would agree to surrender.
In the end, no such appearance would be granted, and all of the seven were brought back into custody.
There's never been a more iconic prison in history than Alcatraz, and naturally it is
the setting for our greatest prison escape story.
A lifelong criminal, Frank Morris was serving a ten year stint for bank robbery when he
broke out of the Louisiana State Penitentiary only to be recaptured a year later and sent to Alcatraz.
Ranked in the top 2% of the population in intelligence and with an IQ of 133, Morris
paid no heed to Alcatraz's reputation as an inescapable prison and quickly went to work
developing an escape plan.
Partnering with brothers John and Clarence Anglin and car thief Allen West, the four
prisoners discovered an unguarded utility corridor that ran just behind their cells,
which housed a ventilation shaft to the roof.
Utilizing scavenged saw blades, spoons stolen from the commissary and even a home-built
drill made from the motor of a broken vacuum cleaner, the four gradually widened the ventilation
duct opening in each of their cells.
The holes were concealed using cardboard and paint, and Morris's accordion provided cover
for the sound of their work.
Once inside the utility corridor, the four climbed to the roof of their cell block and
set up a small workshop there.
Using stolen and donated materials, the four made makeshift life preservers using 50 raincoats
from a design they had seen in an issue of Popular Mechanics.
They also used the raincoats to create a 6 by 14 foot (1.8 by 4.3 meter) rubber raft,
and used a small accordion-like concertina they stole from another inmate as a bellows
to inflate the raft.
Their paddles were made from scrap wood and stolen screws.
On the night of June 11th, 1962, the men began their escape.
Of the four though, Allen West was unable to leave his cell, having used cement to shore
up the crumbling concrete around the vent opening in his cell which threatened to give him away.
Once dried, the cement narrowed the escape hole and fixed the steel grill in place, and
by the time he had rewidened his hole and removed the grill the others had already left without him.
The other three inmates climbed the ventilation shaft to the roof, then hauled their homemade
life preservers and raft fifty feet down a kitchen vent pipe to the ground, and then
scaled two 12 foot (3.7meter) barbed wire fences.
Somewhere along the northeast shoreline of Alcatraz, where the prison's network of searchlights
and gun towers had a blind spot, the men inflated their raft and then rowed into the dense fog,
trying to reach Angel island two miles to the north.
In the ensuing manhunt police would recover one of the paddles and bits of raft and life
preservers, but no sign of the men.
With their stated plan having been to steal clothing and a car, and no vehicle or clothing
thefts reported in the area after the escape, the police finally concluded that in all likelihood
the men drowned in the strong currents and frigid waters of San Francisco Bay.
What would be your prison escape plan- trickery and brute force like the Texas Seven, or careful
and patient digging like the brave airmen of the Great Escape?
Let us know in the comments!
Also, be sure to check out our other video called What Happens to your body while having sex!
Thanks for watching, and, as always, don't forget to like, share, and subscribe.
See you next time!”
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The Most Insane Ways Men Escaped from Prison

4011 Folder Collection
Samuel published on December 2, 2018    羅世康 translated    Evangeline reviewed
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