For three weeks, the body of 21-year-old Canadian student Elisa Lam sat in the water tank of the Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles. Guests complained of funny tasting water and faucets that "ran black", and yet no one ever thought a discovery as gruesome as this would happen.
There are so many creepy and horrifying aspects to this story, it's worse than any Japanese horror film with a bad American remake (Dark Water). Let's start with the video that has been widely circulated of a seemingly terrified Lam trying to press elevator buttons and failing, gesturing wildly to some unseen "person" or thing off-camera. What. The. Hell. And then there is the hotel itself.
The Hotel Cecil is a budget hotel in downtown Los Angeles where some people live. Always a bad sign in a hotel. But even worse, its history chills the bones.
In 1962, a woman jumped to her death from the top of the building and landed on a pedestrian passing by who she also killed. Rumor has it that the Black Dahlia -- the most famous unsolved murder in LA's history -- hung out there before her grisly murder. "Night Stalker" serial killer Richard Ramirez used to stay there.
Terrifyingly, Ramirez isn't the only serial killer to call the hotel "home" briefly. Johann "Jack" Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer, stayed at the Cecil Hotel for five weeks in 1991 while murdering prostitutes. He then killed himself just a few blocks away as the police closed in on him. Yes. Seriously.
The Lam death is scary, mysterious, and as yet unsolved. Was she murdered? Did she have a psychotic break and climb into the water tank on her own? Was she trying to hide from someone?
We don't know anything so far. The only thing I know is that I won't be staying at the Hotel Cecil the next time I am in Los Angeles. I am not sure if I believe in ghosts exactly, but I do believe in energy and the importance of it. A hotel with this many tragedies can't possibly have good energy. And if I did believe in ghosts, I would have to believe that some are in the Hotel Cecil.
Of course, none of this solves whatever happened to this poor girl. Whatever happened, her death is a horrible tragedy and I hope her family is able to get some kind of answer soon.
Would you stay in the Hotel Cecil?
Image via ericrichardson/Flickr