Mysterious Death of Elisa Lam (Haunted hotel or murder?)

This article may be considered disturbing by some, reader discretion is advised.  

Elisa’s story:

(26th January 2013) Elisa Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian was described as a friendly person & intelligent student at the University of British Columbia. She went to vacation alone in LA, and checked into Cecil Hotel. During the first 5 days of her vacation, Elisa called her parents daily. Strangely, she stopped calling her parents on January 31. Worried, her parents reported Elisa’s disappearance to the police.

(19th February 2013) More than 2 weeks, guests complained of weird tasting drinking water & black water in the toilets. One day, a worker found a decomposed corpse floating in the water tanks of the hotel. The corpse was Elisa Lam.
These guests actually brushed their teeth, showered, & drank water contaminated by Elisa’s decomposing body (OMG, eww eeww)!

Investigating the case, detectives came across a shocking clip of Elisa in the hotel elevator, just before she died.
#This is a disturbing footage, makes me afraid of going elevator alone#

     This video was strange in a scary way… what happened at the elevator? … Why was she so scared? … What did she see? … Strangest of all, did you see some movements after 2:55 mins?

One of the first things that pulled me into the story is that Elisa is that she’s Canadian from Vancouver (my ex-hometown). Also, she is a psychology student like myself! *creeepy* Anyways, I’m always a curious person & I love to investigate. I swear that if I’m in LA, I would head straight off to the hotel to investigate myself. Anyhow, I’m not in LA and all I can do is Google. So, I went online & found an even more scary history about the hotel…

Cecil Hotel’s Dark History

Cecil Hotel is an old hotel built in the year 1927. Throughout the years, this hotel is a hotspot for crimes & death (three murders & several suicides). Below is several names who died at the hotel (these are real people, real names):

  • Helen Gurnee – Gurnee jumped mysteriously from the 7th-floor window, in October 1954.

  • Julian Moore – Moore jumped from the 8th-floor window, in February 1962
  • Pauline Otton – A young lady, Otton jumped from the 9th-floor window in October 1962. Freakiest of all, she landed on an old man pedestrian 90 feet below & killed him.

  • Osgood – Retired telephone operator, she was murdered in her room in June 1964. Her murder remains a mystery until today.

Cecil Hotel was also home for serial killers.

  • In 1985, Ramirez the “Night Stalker” lived on the 14th-floor room in Cecil Hotel.  Ramirez murdered 14 women; after each of his killing spree, he dumped bloody clothes at the dumpster before going back to the hotel via the back entrance.
  • In 1991, Austrian serial killer, Unterweger… stayed at Cecil Hotel while murdering prostitutes. At night, he welcomed the prostitutes to the hotel. Then, he strangled them with their own bra-straps, dumped their naked bodies nearby.

A hotel with so many mysteries & ghastly past, What do you make of it?
Now that you have the background of Elisa’s death & the hotel… let’s go more in-depth & examine the case. Shall we?

The truth: Haunted or Murdered?

As reported, Elisa was found in the water tank of Cecil Hotel. It was in one of these tanks her body was found;
The only biggest clue to her death is the video above, in the elevator. Judging from the video, some people said that she was taking drugs, some thought she was stalked, while some said she’s haunted.
Let’s analyze this… is she taking drugs? Based on her behavior in the video, personally, I think she might not be taking drugs. Her actions seemed as reactions to a fearful circumstance, rather than ‘high’ on drugs. Also, the elevator door didn’t close, even though Elisa was seen trying to press the close button again & again. And, how did she get to the water tank on the hotel roof alone?
According to the police, admission to the top of the hotel is restricted & only employees having access to that part of the building. However, the alarm system will ring until it was turned off using a special key. It means, that even employees who have the key will cause the alarm to ring before they can turn it off with their special key. Now, this is the mysterious part… no alarm was heard that night Elisa Lam died.

Here’s a more detail video of the story by AppleDaily News:

So, how did she alone or an employee managed to get to the water tanks without passing through the alarm system? And look at the picture above, how can a tiny girl like her climb to the top of the 10-feet tall water tank?

There are also witnesses who claim that the elevator Elisa took, was always filled with the strange pungent smell for years. Nobody could explain where the smell mysteriously came from. Another witness heard a loud noise above the hotel, like water gushing on the night Elisa died. Do these mysterious happenings explain Elisa’s death?

The police are still investigating… but let’s have our own brainstorm here. Is she on drug or murdered?
If she is on drugs, it’s quite impossible for her to go to the rooftop without a key to the roof. Maybe an employee brought her there? Even if an employee did it, the alarm system will ring for a while; but no alarm was heard that night. Strangest of all, autopsy reports could not confirm if she is murdered or suicide.

What do you think is actually happening? Do comment and see if any of our conclusions fit the mystery.
Before I end, Elisa Lam’s death reminds me of the movie Dark Water. Scary scary!

PS: For more information, read CNN news at http://edition.cnn.com/2013/02/20/us/california-hotel-water-corpse/index.html


  • Nic Chan

    I’m amaze that there are no other CCTV installed in other places other than the elevator. If there’s one at Hallway, i’m sure we will see more. But it won’t be interesting if it was done by one of the internal staff with the key access and stuffs…

  • momori

    well, i think there really is a CCTV at the hallway… it’s a hotel… i guess maybe someone disabled it? (if the murder was done by the hotel staff) but sadly, some hotels just decided to install fake CCTV at some parts of the hotel… or, they just didn’t release the other CCTV footages to the public… videos was cut from 2.55 onwards… the door opens n closes bcoz Elisa pressed all of the elevator’s button when she first step into it…

  • patrick

    Well, it is more looks like the movie 1427. Based on what U said.. I believe she is like the guy in the movie 1427. Try to do some research or she have some challenge with friend. But too bad… She either meet a real psycho get herself killed or the “thing” she try to look for had killed her. To me,she more likely encounter the spirits

  • mikhail

    very nice write-up! I’ve been sending my friends who doesn’t know about this case here so i don’t have to explain to them from scratch.non the topic, i heard somewhere there is another way to the rooftop besides the locked door. i wonder if this is true.

  • raj

    How has her behavior in the elevator footage been so widely misinterpreted? She was obviously waiting for someone, playing peekaboo, hopping, doing jazz hands, banging the multiple floors because that’s what young people do. I don’t see anything in the video to suggest she thought she was in any danger. As for how she got on the roof, logical explanation is she was taken up by a person or persons who were able to bypass the locks and alarms.

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