There are mysteries that are so eerie and strange that they boggle the mind for days on end. The case of Elisa Lam is one of them. In February 2013, this 21-year-old student from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead inside the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank in Los Angeles.
The L.A. County Department of Coroner ruled the death “accidental due to drowning” and said no traces of drugs or alcohol were found during the autopsy. However, there is much more to the story than what is implied by police reports. The first piece of evidence that needs to be considered is an elevator surveillance tape that recorded Elisa’s behavior only a few moments before she lost her life.
At first, Elisa enters the elevator and apparently presses all of its buttons. She then waits for something to happen but, for some reason, the elevator door doesn’t shut. She starts to look around, as if she is expecting (or hiding from) someone. At 1:57, her arms and hands start moving in a very strange matter (almost not human) as she appears to be talking to someone, something … or nothing at all. She then walks away. The elevator door then shuts and appears to start working again.
Right after the events of the video, Elisa apparently gained access to the rooftop of the hotel, climbed to its water tank and, somehow, ended up drowning in it. Her body was found two weeks after her death, after hotel guests complained about the water’s taste and color. Incredible.
From the Police report
The body of Elisa Lam had been decomposing in the water tower for 19 days. She was found naked, with her belongings floating beside her and covered in a ‘sand-like substance.’ There was no suicide note.
The door to the roof was locked and alarmed, raising questions about how she could get on the roof in the first place. Additionally, you needed a ladder and a strong arm to climb the tank and get inside. There was no ladder on the scene, and Elisa was 5.5ft and weighed only 121 lbs.
Seeing the surveillance footage, most people would conclude that she was under the influence of drugs. However, Elisa did not have a history of drug use and her autopsy concluded that no drugs were involved. When one looks at the context and the circumstances of this death, things become even more mysterious.
Cecil Hotel’s Dark History
Built in the 1920s to cater to “businessmen to come into town and spend a night or two”, Cecil Hotel was quickly upstaged by more glamorous hotels. Located near the infamous Skid Row area, the hotel began renting rooms on a long-term basis for cheap prices, a policy that attracted a shiftier crowd. The hotel’s reputation quickly went from “shifty” to “morbid” when it became notorious for numerous suicides and murders, as well as lodging famous serial killers.
Satanist and serial killer, Richard Ramirez lived at the hotel while he terrorized the streets of Los Angeles in the mid eighties. It’s believed he murdered 13 people while staying at the hotel. Austrian serial killer, Jack Unterweger, also stayed at the hotel in 1991. He murdered three prostitutes during his time there.
Another Strange Coincidence
Shortly after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body, a deadly outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Skid Row, near Cecil Hotel. You probably won’t believe the name of the test kit used in these kinds of situations: LAM-ELISA. That is hardcore synchronicity.
What on Earth accounts for the absolutely insane connection between her name and the TB test?
No Foul Play?
LA authorities ruled in June 2013 that Elisa Lam’s death was accidental and that she was “probably bi-polar”. That being said, some questions remain unanswered. How did Elisa, who was obviously not in her right mind, end up in the hotel’s water tank, an area that is difficult to access?
Was Elisa Lam Murdered by a Ghost?
Even stranger things!
As a final nail in the totally creepy coffin, Elisa’s phone was never recovered. But her Tumblr account mysteriously started to post images up to six months after she died. Images, like this one, which was retrieved from her Tumblr account:
Experts believe that she had set up her Tumblr posts automatically before her death. But it’s still creepy as hell. After postponing the official cause of death several times, it was officially ruled as an accident. That’s one freaky accident. We think we’ll avoid that hotel at all costs.
Another strange death linked to the hotel
On a brisk January morning in 1947, a local resident called Betty Bersinger walked through a vacant lot in Leimert Park, Los Angeles. She spotted what at first appeared be a discarded store mannequin. As Betty got closer, it became clear that she had stumbled upon one of the most horrific murders of the 20th Century.
Actress, Elizabeth Short, had been murdered. All of the blood from her body had been drained, and she had been completely severed at the waist. The killer had carved a smile on her face, and mutilated the body. Her cadaver had been arranged in such a way that led police to speculate that it was a ritual killing of some sort.
The killer’s identity was never discovered, although he contacted police to send some of Short’s belongings such as an address book.
Police never discovered what happened to Elizabeth, or how she had spent the week before her death when she appeared to drop off the radar. But they did have a tip as to where she was seen last. It was none other than the Cecil Hotel.
Released in 2005, the horror flick, Dark Waters, tells the story of a tragic young girl who is drowned in the water tank that sat on top of the apartment building where she lived. Her body however is undiscovered for some time, and as it slowly decomposes, the residents in the apartment building begin to complain of “foul tasting” water.
Almost eight years later in February 2013, the body of Elisa Lam was discovered in the water tower of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles.