Prisoners improvising weapons out of everyday objects like sociopathic MacGyvers are a staple of every movie that takes place inside a prison. However, real inmates aren't limited to just the sharpened toothbrushes and Nicolas Cage fleshmasks Hollywood gives them credit for.
Some prisoners melt down chocolate bars and throw the boiling hot confection over their enemies, which sticks like napalm and causes severe burns. We figure this must have been an idea the killer from Se7en kicked around during his gluttony planning phase.
At least you'll be a delicious burn victim.
Lorenzo Pollard built a pair of nunchucks in his cell out of bedsheets and a chair. Like Michelangelo imprisoned for accidentally killing a stripper on Donatello's birthday, he beat the hell out of a dozen guards and vaulted the prison walls to freedom (although he was quickly recaptured, which was decidedly less radical).
One prisoner in Wales spent his time building matchstick replicas of weapons from both the Final Fantasy series and the anime Bleach, presumably because being surrounded by unshaven men terrified of taking showers reminded him too much of Comic-Con. Incredibly, the blades were all razor sharp and perfectly capable of gutting some skinhead in an epileptic flurry of strobe flashes and floating cats, so the guards confiscated them.
Short on toothbrushes (those old standbys) and razors, one inmate made a papier-mache shank out of toilet paper. This is officially the worst possible way that a person can be stabbed short of honing a petrified turd into a dagger.
The inmates at San Quentin carve blades from the metal frameworks of their beds and then tie them to poles formed of tightly bound magazines to make spears. This seems to suggest that either all of the guards were blinded by the same transformer explosion or there is a serious tiger infestation in the jail that nobody's doing anything about.
One convicted murderer built an incendiary bomb out of batteries, electrical wire and matches, and then mailed it to the judge who sentenced him. The package made it all the way to the judge before it was disarmed, because apparently nobody at any stage of prison administration thought this was suspicious. After all, it might have been cookies.
"Yeah, that seems on the level."
In 1984, two German prisoners made a shotgun out of bedposts with "buckshot" composed of lead flakes and matches. Despite being in a fortress full of people with real, actual guns, they managed to take a guard hostage with it and steal a car to escape.
In the past, inmates routinely made flamethrowers (yes, that sentence contained both the word "routinely" and the plural "flamethrowers") out of coffee creamer. They would take a tube of some sort, hold a lighter at one end and blow creamer through it from the other. The granules would pass through the flame and ignite like a Rammstein concert, so most prisons nowadays cruelly force their inmates to drink their coffee black.
For everyone not in prison, truck stops just got a lot more interesting.
One prisoner in solitary confinement in Manitoba, Canada, spent his time in the dark assembling an incredibly intricate crossbow, sort of like if Tony Stark had been imprisoned by Saxons and tasked with building them a fiefdom-leveling catapult. Seriously, check out the list of components -- 10 toothbrushes (they should really just limit inmates to rigorous Scope rinsings), tongs, string, a lighter and darts made out of tinfoil and cotton swabs. It's almost like a ghost dared him to kill his captors using only Piccadilly Cafeteria and the personal hygiene aisle of Rite-Aid.
Behold: The Crapbow.
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