Teaching assistant Sheila Sillery-Walsh from Birmingham took the photo on her iPhone 5c when she visited the former prison in April while on holiday in San Francisco with her partner, Paul Rice.
The 48-year-old said: “Alcatraz Penitentiary is a must-see for any tourist. However as soon as we entered the prison, everything felt very eerie. I didn’t feel comfortable there.
“Whilst doing an audio-tour of the place, I casually stopped to take a snap of the empty visitation block window on my iPhone.”
The couple have tried to find out the identity of the ghostly woman in the photo by contacting staff at the Alcatraz site, but none of the old-timers could recognize the woman in the picture.
“I am so curious to know who she could be though – perhaps she was a female visitor of a prisoner who kept returning back. I would love to know why she’s shown herself in my photo.
“Weirdly when we were near that cell, a woman came on the audio tour who used to visit a prisoner. It makes you wonder.”
If you’re stuck at home during COVID-19 quarantine or if you’re working and need a break to help you put life into perspective, I recommend the list of movies and documentaries about death provided by the Order of the Good Death. The selection is great and made up of quality films.
My personal favourite was The Bridge, a documentary about the Golden Gate bridge as a popular landmark for suicides. My initial attraction to the movie was that I am in love with San Francisco and my main goal in life right now is to find a way to relocate there from Canada. I never realized that other people would go there for the express purpose of taking their own lives. To me, what made the documentary strong was that it never exploited people’s suffering or idealized suicide. In fact, it became about stories of resilience and helping people overcome suicide ideation. I warn you that the movie is graphic, showing people taking their lives as they jump off the bridge. But, that very stark look at suicide is what makes the movie so strong.
Built in 1980, the Queen Anne Hotel was originally one of the most exclusive girls’ boarding schools in the San Francisco area. The headmistress of the school, Miss Mary Lake, allegedly had an affair with James “Slippery Jim” Fair, the Senator who funded the building of the beautiful Victorian mansion. Mary Lake denied the rumors, but it didn’t do her much good. A local newspaper published an article titled “Cupid and Mr. Fair,” and the nasty rumors of the affair continued circulating until Mary’s death.
Since her death, the Queen Anne Hotel has had many owners, from brothel owners to church caretakers, to mysterious secret societies. With such a curious history, it is no surprise the hotel could be haunted – but by whom?
Read more about the Queen Anne Hotel at Wild SF Walking Tours: Is the Queen Anne Hotel in San Francisco Really Haunted?
I recently returned from a trip to my favourite city, San Francisco. I particularly love the hippy neighborhood the Haight. I like to spend time there with the spirits of Janis Joplin, Jerry Garcia and Jimi Hendrix. I was interested to then see this video about hotels haunted by celebrity ghosts, among them the hotel in Los Angeles where Joplin lost her life to a drug overdose.