Dead Body in Hotel's Water Tank Caused Water to Run Black & That's Not Even the Scary Part

Twisted 27

Hotel CecilFor 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

crime, death


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DebaLa DebaLa

Of course no one would stay there, unless you're of a certain element or a thrifty student. Alsomnmentioned in a previous comment, this hotel has a hostel within it, that has only slightly better accommodations, but shared access and common amenties to parts of the hotel. So it is prime predatory breeding grounds for picking off young, traveling students, like Elisa. Is that the kind of history you're looking for?

She wasn't down and out, she was a healthy vibrant person with family and a bright future who probably tried to save a few bucks in the hostel, believing she would be safe there, among her stops while touring the California coast. Her character and behavior should not be in question here. 

nonmember avatar JGM1764

@ PRIMA487, Lam's ancestry is irrelevant in the comparison. I never saw the original Dark Water, but I did see the remake with Jennifer Connolly. Before I even clicked the link for this story my mind went straight to that movie when I saw the headline. If you've seen the movie the comparison was apt.

nonmember avatar phoenix

Prima, you are an idiot who jumped to a conclusion of racism. Have you seen Dark Water? The comparison is not because the victim is asian, it's because the plot of Dark Water involves an undiscovered body being found in a buildings water tank, causing all kinds of unexplained problems.

It's the first thing I thought of when I heard this story. The whole thing is creepy.

Truel... Truelove77

Wow ummm such a sad story :(

nonmember avatar JaneDoe

@DebaLa: You may know the layout and ins and out of that hotel (which makes you rather suspect, IMO, after all you have this insight and are posting anonymous). However, you do not know whether this woman was "a healthy vibrant person with family and a bright future". I have seen the video footage. It appeared she was "tripping" or had some mental issues. There was nothing sane about her behavior and it certainly didnt appear as if she was interacting with a live human being. More than likely she was on something, along with mental issues and had an unfortunately encounter with someone (if what you claim is true about locked doors/employees, etc. That is yet to be determined as FACT). She also could have been tripping on some illicit drug and ended up in there herself. Drugs and mental issues make people do crazy things. The hotel is known for its bottom of the barrel clientele. That is just the facts. Regardless of the facts, it is a sad & tragic story for her and her family. Period.

Laura Cook

If you click the link to watch the elevator footage, it says that they found her body in the water tank the next day.  This article makes it sound like her body was in there decomposing for a very long time to make the water "run black".

It's still gross to think of drinking water with a dead body in it, even if it was only in there for a few minutes the thought is disgusting, but decomposition would have only been in the very early stages by the next day.  Not enough to turn the water black.  Something else was going on, my guess is whomever disposed of her remains also did something else to the water.

DebaLa DebaLa

Well, Jane Doe, I invite you to view the myriad articles interviewing those that knew her best, what her business was there, and the very public information posted about the hotel, with descriptions and ratings by actual guests. OMG... I researched! What is YOUR connection here with such a unique name?... Besides you projecting onto Elisa about mental health and drug issues?

Angel... AngelGirl1517

Laura Cook, she was last seen alive January 31st, was supposed to check out on Feb 1, but didn't and wasn't discovered until Feburary 19th. So yeah, she was there a good 2.5 weeks.  

And I will have to agree with DebaLa. I don't think it's strange at all for a college student (do you remember those days? or did you not get to experience the total lack of wealth that comes with being a student?) to seek out "Budget" hotel accomidations, why wouldn't she try to save some cash to spend on other activites? Especially not being from the area or the country, I think it's crazy to try to say her choice of hotels (Which markets it's self as much better than it is) reflects her character in any way. I've stayed in a total hole in the wall, because the price was right and it was available - but most people think I'm a great person and don't even hold my choice in temporary housing against me!  

Katie Cruz

I believe that, yes, she was talking to whoever killed her. However, I used to work at a hotel, and I can tell you that people can access things that are supposed to be for employees only. Numerous times rooms were broken into, and you need a key to get in. IDK how they did it, but they did. So, it's not that unbelievable. If the elevator wasn't working, maybe the alarm system wasn't working properly, either. She does seem to be either drunk or under the influence of drugs. WTF would make her think that hiding in the corner would get the doors to close? There IS a "close doors" button. It says she's from Southern California, therefore, probably English-speaking. And no, she was not signing. I've taken two sign language classes, and she was not signing. She was waving her hands around as if she were talking to someone or possibly freaking out. She did appear to be hiding from someone, but the truth is that none of us can really say exactly what happened unless we have more information so we can make an educated guess.

Katie Cruz

*Maybe she's not from California. I just re-read the top part of the article. I saw Southern California in there somewhere, and I thought she was from here. (CA)

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