3 Seriously Creepy Circumstances Surrounding Woman's Mysterious Hotel Death

Twisted 66

Elisa LamDo you remember the unsettling story of Elisa Lam, the 21-year-old Canadian tourist who was found dead in a downtown Los Angeles hotel's rooftop water tank? Workers at the historic Cecil Hotel near Skid Row made the gruesome discovery after hotel guests complained of low water pressure, and although there was a very strange surveillance footage video of Lam inside an elevator pushing buttons and behaving oddly, authorities ruled in June 2013 that her death was accidental.

The only explanation offered for how Lam ended up in a difficult-to-access water cistern (workers had to cut the tank open to remove her body) is that she had bipolar disorder. That might shed some light on the disturbing elevator footage ... but it certainly doesn't answer all the questions.

In fact, some believe that the hotel itself may have played a role in her death. I know, I know -- but check out these skin-crawling theories.

Let me back up a little to the circumstances of her death. Lam, of Vancouver, BC, had traveled alone to Los Angeles on January 26 and was last seen five days later by workers at the Cecil Hotel. Her plan was to travel to Santa Cruz, but on February 19, a maintenance worker found her body in one of the four 8-foot tall, 4-foot diameter tanks on the hotel roof.

Surveillance video taken minutes before her death shows Elisa Lam entering and exiting the elevator in the hotel’s lobby, pushing all of the buttons, and generally acting very strange. The footage at 2:00 is particularly odd, when you see her hand gestures. Also weird? The elevator itself. Why does the door stay open for so long?


It's also difficult to understand how she accessed the water tank, when the rooftop area is locked and protected by an alarm system. Plus, the holding tanks themselves look really hard to get into, and how would she have managed to shut the lid of the tank?


Here's a news video describing the tank holding area:


The coroner report noted that the medical examination found no visible signs of trauma on Lam's body and toxicology tests found nothing that contributed to her death. Her death was ultimately concluded to be an "accidental drowning," with her bipolar disorder listed as a "significant condition."

Okay, so far we have a really unusual story that we can generally chalk up to the inexplicable actions of a mentally ill woman. If you want to take things a little farther into the Twilight Zone, though, here are a few more creepy facts:

The Cecil Hotel has a hell of a dark past. Richard Ramirez, a serial killer and rapist known as the "Night Stalker," lived on the hotel's 14th floor for several months in 1985. Johann "Jack" Unterweger is another serial killer who lived in the hotel in 1991. In 1964 a woman was found dead in her ransacked room, having been stabbed, strangled, and raped by an known assailant. The hotel has also been home to a number of suicide deaths from patrons who leaped from an upper-floor windows, including a woman who jumped from the 9th floor in 1962 and killed a man walking below.

Elisa's death is uncomfortably similar to a horror movie plot. The 2005 film Dark Water (a remake of a 2002 Japanese movie by the same name) tells the story of a young woman found drowned in a hotel water tank. A scene in the movie depicts an elevator malfunctioning, and a character is named Cecilia. Cecilia/Cecil?

There's a REALLY weird medical test name coincidence. Just days after Elisa Lam's body was found, national health experts were called into Skid Row near the hotel to investigate a deadly persistent tuberculosis (TB) outbreak that local health officials called the largest in a decade. More than 4,500 people may have been exposed to tuberculosis and scientists linked the outbreak to a TB strain unique to L.A. A test used to diagnose tuberculosis, particularly in patients with advanced immunosuppression? The LAM-ELISA. That's ... huh.

My skeptic nature insists that people are just scrambling for explanations for something that simply can't be explained, but it's hard not to get swept up in the mystery of it all, isn't it? I guess no one will ever truly know what happened to Elisa Lam, and I can only begin to imagine how tragic that must be for her family.

What do you think about this story? Do you think Elisa Lam died by suicide, or was there something else going on?


Image via YouTube

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adamat34 adamat34

Anyone else expecting something scary to pop into the elevator video????

nonmember avatar Suni

If I didn't know the poor woman ended up dead, I would find the elevator video sort of amusing. I kinda reminds me of kids pulling pranks in an elevator.

Mrseoc Mrseoc

Yrs that elevator footage was just chilling. I just kept expecting to see another person. At one point it looked like she was talking to someone out of site.. perhaps explaining the elevator not working.. then disappeared perhaps to take the stairs. I feel like this hotel is haunted or something. The video just feels creepy

nonmember avatar JEM

Yes creepy but I think it is a malfunctioning elevator causing a poor (possibly mentally ill) woman grief which made her a target for some sicko stalker killer. I in NO way can believe she climbed into one of those tanks. Ridiculous. ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay which is used to detect many things. A standard lab test used all over the world for much more than TB.

nonmember avatar Neo

did you just find out about this case now? there was pshycic who actually predicted police will not find anything. if you search about it you will find it.

nonmember avatar Patty

You need a proof reader. "Some ARE believe"?

nonmember avatar dani

@nonmember from Geo Thanks for clearing the LAM-ELISA reference hahaha... It made me laugh

Terra King

@Patty, it doesn't sound like Neo's first language is English. Give him a break.

I think this whole story is sad, but explainable. Mentally ill people can do some really strange things. They often manage super strength to do things they normally wouldn't be able to do. I think her behavior in the elevator is paranoid behavior. I think she hit all the buttons to perhaps throw off a perceived stalker or other danger. Her talking to someone not seen in the video is probably part and parcel of her bipolar disorder. No one was there that anyone else could see. As far as the elevator not closing, that could have been a malfunction or a safety feature since so many buttons were pushed. How did she get into the restricted and heavily protected area? That's a harder question, but looking at the photos of the area, I can see a few places that aren't as protected and I believe if someone was determined to get in, they could. If she could get the lid open and feel in, on purpose or by accident, she could have grabbed the lid to stop her fall and it ended up closing on her. No one will ever know the truth unless there was foul play and someone comes forward. JMO

Nicol... Nicollynne

Am I the only one that believes her "weird hand gestures" were sign language??

nonmember avatar almosthere

There is a person who posted a comment on the latimesblog webpage about how he suspected that a registered sex offender by the name of alvin taylor who's lived in the cecil for decades and his "adopted" son (the commenter on latimesblog stated that he was manipulative) might be linked. apparently those 2 are rather shady characters.

the comment i was talking about on the latimesblog site is on this link http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2013/02/elisa-lams-death-continues-to-draw-attention-in-china-canada.html

it's in the comments section and is the top comment.

some excerpts from his comment:

"There is no evil cult! Only a god damn sex offender on the 10th floor who calls himself Alvin Taylor and his adopted son Aiden who is a definitely a manipulative criminal who will do anything for money and who I also suspect in this case with Elisa..."

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