Bed sheets, expert yoga skills and an eye for building model gliders may be more useful than you think.
A fortnight after two convicted murderers escaped from the Clinton Correctional Facility in the US, a rope ladder made of 64 bed sheets tied end to end has been discovered at a second New York prison.
The makeshift ladder was uncovered before its owner was able to use it to climb out of his window and shimmy 11 stories down to the street – and eventual freedom – in a devious plot he presumably borrowed from a cartoon.
With high-profile prison escapes and escape attempts in the news, we thought now was the perfect time to look at history’s most notorious breakouts. Just don't get any ideas...
Choi Gap-bok Squeezes Through A Food Slot In His Door
That’s right. A 50-year-old South Korean man escaped prison by forcing himself through the 6-inch x 17-inch gap in his cell door through which his daily meals were served. After asking his guard for a special 'skin ointment', the yoga expert supposedly went to sleep, before busting out in the night. This video, above, gives you an idea of what he went through.
He was caught six days later and given a cell with a smaller food slot, because everyone likes a challenge, right?
The Many Feats Of Jack Sheppard
In the 18th-century, one third of the population of London gathered at the hanging of repeat offender Jack Sheppard, hoping to be dazzled by his feats of escapology. He didn't get out of the execution, but had astounded authorities until then with his unique methods of setting himself free. History has it that Jack (who lived to be 22) was the first guy to come up with the idea of tying bed sheets together, then shimmying down the rope.
The only problem was that the first time he did this, Jack had to smash through the ceiling to get out, which created a lot of noise, attracting a crowd below. Upon landing Jack yelled, “He’s over there!” and ran away. He was caught again and escaped, then again, and again…
The Escape From Alcatraz
Escaping from Alcatraz is a thing of legend. Throughout the San Francisco prison island's operational period of 1934-1963, officials claimed everyone who tried to escape was either recaptured or killed. However, a handful of prisoners vanished after leaving the island. The most infamous escape was carried out by Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers who burrowed out of their cells, climbed to the top of the cell block, cut through bars and climbed through the air vent and down a drainpipe into a raft.
They’ve never been seen since, but are officially listed as missing, presumed drowned.
Flying To Freedom… Or Near Enough
Colditz is among the most famous of WW2 German Army POW camps and was located in Colditz Castle in Saxony. Jack Best and Bill Goldfinch were two British pilots who saw a unique opportunity for escape and successfully constructed a two-man glider part by part in the attic of the castle.
Just as they were about to fly to freedom, the camp was liberated by Allied forces, but a Channel 4 TV programme Escape From Colditz proved beyond doubt that the glider would have successfully carried the men to freedom.
Why Not Just Walk Out?
In 1995 Keith Rose, Andrew Rodger and Matthew Williams made a 25-foot ladder to scale the prison fence and a fake gun and key carved from memory after clocking the guard's own key on his chain. After completing a gym workout, the three men used the replica key to unlock the door. They then walked out across the yard, cut a hole in the inner fence and scaled the outer fence with their ladder.
They were caught four days later, apparently hiding in a shed.
_ Images: Channel 4 Still / Shutterstock/ Rex Features _