Creepy Cecil


Elisa Lam wanted to go on vacation to L.A. instead she met death in the hotel water tower (Photo credit to Netflix, photo courtesy of Pinterest).

Every great vacation starts with a hotel inhabited by serial killers, right? For Elisa Lam, possibly. Lam was a student who was looking to get away and venture into Los Angeles back in 2013 when she stumbled upon the Cecil Hotel, an incredibly cheap hotel that was smack dab in the middle of all the attractions she wished to visit. Little did she know that her hotel was the home of murdering, drugging, and her final resting place. 

“The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel ” is a docu-series by Netflix about Elisa Lam and her mysterious predicament. Lam suffered from bipolar disorder and often took to Tumblr to express her feelings.  It was there that she shared with the world the details of her trip,  a trip that was supposed to be a relaxing solo break away from her university back in Canada. Elisa chose to stay at the Cecil Hotel, which is known for tons of suicides that have taken place within its walls, one of the last possible known places of the “Black Dahlia”, a murdered staff member, and at least two serial killers. It is rumored that the second season of “American Horror Story” is based on this sketchy hotel. 

However, Lam was in a shared room with other females in a nicer and more renovated part of the building. The hotel management began receiving complaints about Lam’s behavior saying that she was annoying the other girls by leaving them sticky notes, not letting them in the door, etc. So they moved her to her own room, which was in one of the older parts of the hotel.

The hotel management thought that the situation was handled, but Lam had never checked out and her parents had reported her missing. When investigators looked for clues, they found a memorable video of her. Lam can be seen in the video, looking frightened and it looks like she is talking to someone yet also trying to hide from them. In the documentary, Netflix dives deep into the conspiracy theories developed by popular YouTubers at the time of Lam’s disappearance. Some said the hotel was haunted and that she was seeing demons while others claimed that maybe she was possessed or being stalked. 

Investigators tried retracing Lam’s steps via her Tumblr and interviewed as many people as possible, and they had claimed to search everywhere for her body. Many of the conspiracists were dedicated to the investigation, saying that maybe she was kidnapped on the dangerous nearby Skid Row. 

Whatever the case was, Lam’s body was found in the water tank on the roof of the hotel after guests had made complaints about the taste and tint of the water. She was found face up and naked, nineteen days later. Her medication levels were off in her body and forensics could not find any probable cause of death; it was then ruled an accident. The police came out and said that her lack of medication had caused her to hallucinate which explained her weird behavior in the elevator and towards her roommates. These hallucinations had somehow led her to the unlocked doors that led to the rooftop.

These events did not sit well with those following the investigation, as the doors, all leading to the top of the hotel were supposed to be locked with alarms on them and none ever went off. Plus, the water tank had a heavy lid on top of it, which was, apparently, closed at the time they found her body. 

Conspiracists also began to formulate ideas when there was a tuberculosis outbreak on Skid Row, which was right down the street from the Cecil Hotel. The test for tuberculosis was named, “LAM – Elisa”, and was released days before Lam’s death. On top of this test named eerily similar to her name, her death almost perfectly aligns with the plot of the movie “Dark Water” where a little girl dies in a water tower on top of her apartment and there is even a scene with a dysfunctional elevator. Conspiracists also tried to pin her death as murder on to a guest who had stayed at the hotel previously- a recording artist named “Morbid”. However, Morbid had not been to the hotel in a long time and had an airtight alibi. 

Overall, the show itself was drawn out to the point where it was bloated and dove too deep into the conspiracies. It would have been more realistic if they had interviewed friends, family, and more hotel guests opposed to the YouTubers they interviewed. Regardless of her sad Tumblr, internet sleuths, and the elevator video, Elisa Lam is a person and not a puzzle. Her death was ruled an accident back in 2012, and now her parents and family have to relive those emotions as the Netflix show has stirred up discussion regarding her death.