by Ian Fortey
Contrary to the awesome good time you'll see in movies like Tango & Cash and The Rock, prison is not an action-packed actionpocalypse of action. Lots of times it's sitting, or maybe standing, or maybe being in one of the 300 documentaries about prison that are on TV right now. And when that's not going on, some prisoners get a little antsy, a little creative and start making things that maybe they shouldn't make. We already dove into things like prison spears, but that's just the tip of the iceberg.
2 Inmates Made A Computer And Broke Into The Prison Network
Can you even imagine trying to live without your computer right now? No laptop, no phone, not even a glorified coaster of a tablet. That's what convicts are dealing with every day. And as well they should -- they're being punished, so they don't need to be watching YouTube or buying HDMI cables on Amazon. But try telling them that.
"I will not be denied Hearthstone!"
Over in Marion County, Ohio, prison life got to be too much of a hassle for two inmates who were tasked with breaking down broken gadgets as part of a prison "do something so you don't spend all day making stabbing weapons" program. At some point, according to the inmates, it became clear they weren't being well supervised, and lack of supervision means tacit permission to do whatever you can get away with in prison. So they stole a bunch of those spare parts they had access to and made their own computer.
Officials found two computers hidden in the ceiling, which is the best place to hide a computer if you're interested. They'd managed to get wired into the prison's network as well and had been using the internet to research tax refund fraud and recipes for homemade drugs, as well as making fake passes to get around the prison. Oh, and porn because come on now.
"Don't judge me."
The gig was up when prison IT workers noticed someone was using a lot more internet than they were supposed to and tracked it to the stolen credentials of a prison contractor. When the computers were discovered and the two inmates responsible were questioned, they were happy to point out that they managed to acquire, transport, build, use and hide the computers almost exclusively because it seemed like no one at the prison cared and supervision was as relaxed as your dad on the beach after 6 beers.
Prisoners Made A Bomb Out Of Coffee Whitener
You've probably heard about grain silos exploding in the past. The reason that happens, essentially, is that the grain inside produces a super fine dust that, if it gets ignited, will burn extremely fast. It essentially combusts the very air in the silo, causing the whole thing to blow.
Farming is hardcore, son.
That same principle can work with any extremely fine powder -- mines used to explode thanks to very fine coal dust catching fire, or just due to random Balrog attacks. But if you're super devious and super clever, you could do the same thing -- the explosive part, not the Balrog part -- with something a simple as coffee whitener.
Some prisons don't always provide inmates with milk, so ironically they get access to whitener, which is clearly a lot more dangerous. Four inmates in the UK were caught when their homemade explosive device burst, after it was lit and tossed in a stairwell. It didn't fully explode, mind you ... prison bombs aren't an exact science. But it did alert authorities to what could have been a seriously dangerous weapon.
POWs Make A Fully Functioning Glider In Secret
There are a ton of amazing stories about the perseverance and determination of Allied soldiers held in POW camps ... and few are more inspiring than the tale of the Colditz Cock, an incredible piece of history with a name that really didn't stand the test of time at all.
"We also built a battleship out of newspapers and macaroni."
Sometimes, Allied soldiers managed to escape German prison camps ... and if they were recaptured, they'd often be sent to Colditz Castle, which was widely considered to be inescapable. But Allied soldiers were nothing if not industrious, even after The Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in which 76 men tunneled out of the prison in a bid for freedom before the 77th was seen, resulting in their recapture and 50 executions. Lucky for the men at Colditz, the Germans were so concerned with looking for tunnels, no one ever thought to look up.
Working in an attic with plans to launch from the roof where it couldn't be seen, British Airmen began constructing a glider from purloined wood around the prison compound. Slats from beds, random scraps from floorboards, even wiring torn from unused portions of the castle were all used to construct it, entirely in secret. They even used ration millet (sort of a porridge type of cereal), boiled down to make a sealing agent.
The soldiers built a false wall in the attic to hide the glider, which had a 32 foot wingspan, and managed to keep it entirely hidden from German forces. The glider never actually got to fly, thanks to American forces who liberated the camp shortly before the Brits planned to launch the thing. And no one knows what became of it afterward, since Soviets took it over, but the original plans were used to build a replica fifty years later, and you better believe that thing flew.
It believed it could fly. It believed it could touch the sky ...
Prisoners Escape By Making Fake Door Signs Out Of Peanut Butter
Peanut butter is one of those foods people either love or hate, and the people who hate it are wrong. Unless they're allergic, but even then, that doesn't change peanut butter's awesomeness and versatility. Most of us are probably stuck thinking you can't do much beyond sandwiches and peanut butter cups with it, but that's just because most of us never have to think outside the box. Or inside the big house.
These days, prisons are mostly operated from central control rooms where guards can monitor everything on closed circuit cameras. Twelve inmates at an Alabama prison took advantage of the newest guard in the room when they requested that the guard unlock a cell door so they could get in, which he did, inadvertently letting them out of the whole facility.
They then took 3 hostages, using a gun made out of jelly.
So how do you dupe a guard into letting you out of the entire prison instead of into your cell? You pull the peanut butter switcheroo. The inmates had used peanut butter purloined from commissary to obscure the door number, essentially using it like putty. They relabeled the door so that, to the inexperienced guard, it looked like the right door. Eleven of the inmates were recaptured within eight hours, and the twelfth was taken a short time after that. But overall, the plan was pretty clearly a good one. They should have just brought more peanut butter to obscure themselves out in the wild.
A Guy Made A Pair Of Nunchucks And Went Full-On Ninja
Where prisons are concerned, ever wonder what the difference is between minimum, medium and maximum security? Well, we won't go into all that -- you have Google -- but one thing you can use as a benchmark for medium security is that you can escape from it, using only a pair of homemade nunchucks. So that's something.
Lorenzo Pollard was in St. Louis' medium security workhouse when he fashioned himself a nice pair of ninja turtle weapons out of chair legs and bed sheets. That might sound like the sort of thing a 13 year old kid would make and then use to successfully knock himself out, but Pollard actually managed to fight off a dozen guards before bashing out a glass block window and scaling two separate razor wire fences, essentially making him the Bruce Lee of prison breaks.
"Remember all those 80's movies about ninjas? ... I have an idea ..."
At some point, while at least two guards were trying to subdue him, Pollard climbed up to the second tier of cells, presumably while swinging his sheet-encrusted chair legs like the second coming of Michelangelo, and held off the rest until he found his way out of that window.
We're going to repeat that, because it's insane: he escaped and fought guards at the same. It wasn't one and then the other. He took out a window made of that thick, security-block glass while holding back a dozen armed men. They seriously should have just let him go after that, because he pretty much earned it.
The 1930s Murderer Who Killed Himself With A Bomb Made Out Of Playing Cards
Of all the unsettling and bizarre things ever made in a prison, one of the most terrifying and disturbingly simple ones was created in the 1930s by death row inmate, William Kogut, in San Quentin Prison. Kogut had been incarcerated and was facing execution for a murder. According to a note he left for the warden, he regretted his crime, and coupled with an understanding that no matter what happened, this was going to be the end of his road, he decided to end his life ... with a deck of cards.
"Hey, we don't mean any trouble. Just put. The cards. Down."
Kogut pulled loose the leg of this cot, which was essentially just a metal cylinder. Then he proceeded to shred a deck of cards and stuff the pieces into the pipe. After filling the pipe, Kogut used a broom handle to seal one end, then filled the other with water, soaking the card bits. He set that on top of a kerosene heater, because 1930s prisons were a little more fast and loose with what they let inmates have in their cells, and then he waited.
Lying down on his bed, the open end of the pipe pointed at his head, the heat built inside the pipe until the pressure became too great, and the card bits shot out of the pipe so hard that they actually penetrated Kogut's skull, ending his life.
So there's a nice, upbeat note to end on. Enjoy your day, and try not to think about violent, card-shotgun suicide.
Like this article? Check out "5 People Who Wanted More From Nintendo (And Then Made It Themselves)" and "5 People Who Got Fed Up With Expensive Stuffs And Just Built It Themselves".