rss
twitter
    "Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

San Lucas Island Prison

“If you don't have anything to do, don't come here to do it."

It seems the Ghost Hunters International team has become fascinated in investigating the penal system around the world. Their next stop is San Lucas Island in Costa Rica. This island's history horror began in the 16th Century. The Spanish conquistador Gonzalo Fernandez Oviedo used San Lucas as a concentration camp for local Chara people. These people were slaughtered on the site of their sacred burial grounds.

A few hundred years later, San Lucas was turned in to a penal island. The prison was constructed in 1873 by dictator Tomás Miguel Guardia Gutiérre. It was dubbed the Caribbean Alcatraz. However, San Lucas also didn't achieve the inescapable label so many prisons sought. There were many daring escapes to shark infested waters and tragic failures. But then again who wouldn't want to attempt freedom from one of the most heinous prisons known to man.

Only the worst criminals in Costa Rica were sent to San Lucas. The prison was considered the largest in the country's history. The former buildings include a historic dock that is still in use after the first dock was destroyed, a Catholic church, a medical building, temporary holding cells, a three story main office, a large concrete disc used to hold a water tank, and water pumps. There are also several water pumps and a cemetery under excavation on the island. There are prison cells of varying security levels, containing the typical graffiti such as religious phrases, pornographic images, signatures, and drawings. The above statement is written in one of these cells.

The death penalty was abolished by Gutiérre a year after the prison opened its doors. However, with such prison conditions, a stint in San Lucas was a death sentence in itself. Sixty to a hundred inmates occupied one cell at time. Cells contained low ceilings, few windows, and iron beds with thin mattresses. Those without a bed slept on the floor. Each prisoner was issued a ball and chain. The weight of the ball was determined by how dangerous the inmate was deemed to be.

Inmates labored in the tropical sun, breaking rocks and harvesting salt from the sea. "The Disk" sits in the center of the prison courtyard. In the middle is a hole half filled with water. This was considered solitary confinement. Some inmates spent months in there with only 15 minutes above ground each day. A former inmate, José León Sánchez, wrote a fictional account of his incarceration at San Lucas titled La Isla de Hombres Solos or The Lonely Men's Island. The prison remaind operational until 1991. The island has since been turned in to a wildlife preserve and San Lucas is now opened as a tourist attraction.

Many believe the former inhabitants of this maximum security facility are still roaming the property.
Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

6 comments:

Julie said...

Great history.....here's hoping that GHI gets some great evidence.

Andrea Allison said...

Is it just me or has GHI been slacking a bit. It's like they do the walk through but don't quite cover all the activity going on in the hot spots. Sometimes you don't know if there are shadows or voices in particular room of a location until after they have started the investigation.

I get that they don't show everything they film, but that fact is starting to become more obvious.

Anonymous said...

i was born in this the ghost..... awwwwwwwwwwwwww

Natalie said...

Please contact me about this article: tarzanproperties@gmail.com

-Natalie

gary mac said...

hi there people my names gary n i spent 3 weeks on this island with 15 other people we were there with raleigh and help to preserve the widlife..........

i was there in 2005 and this place his really eary n full of willdlife i also read the book the lonely man island and found out a lot of history about the island n just being on the island can fell the pain that that occur there......

theres so many facts about the island that have not been told ....

we had plesure of finding out what went on.........

the island itself his beautfull place with many beaches and trails....

there his a lot of injudsted about the island but this would have been a really bad place to be imprison....

while there a lot of stuff happen that no one could explain .....

in the short info they talk about fail exscapes thats because the prison use to use the blood of pigs to atarct the sharks to the island.......

on ur way into the island there a sunk ship that can bn seen when the tide out........

some people say it sunk with 1000s of people on broad that were due to be imprisoned on the island....

the island also as some beauful veiws from watch towers n the peir at night his just breath takin when the sun is setting......

i become obessed with the island when i left and due to traval back for 4th time this year......

i hope other poeple find this place has intersing has i do.....

and if you have not been to the island i reccoment the you go to expernice it for urself ......

Andrew said...

Hello my name is Andrew, i have recently found out that my great grandfather was once a prisoner there and would like to try to find some hard evidence on it, please, if anyone has any archives, inmate lists or knows someone who has info on the san lucas prison please email me at andres.cordero29@gmail.com
I would greatly appreciate any help that anybody could give.


Andrew

 
Blogger Templates