The Disappearance of Elisa Lam

In the first edition of Creepy Stories, I’ve decided to share with you a local tale. While the death and disappearance of Elisa Lam in Los Angeles is incredibly unfortunate, the manner in which she died is very questionable in nature.

cecil hotel

Image Source: Jezebel

The Story

Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old Canadian tourist on vacation in Los Angeles while venturing through the West Coast. Throughout her journey, she remained in very close contact with her parents via phone and posting about her trip on her blog. However, on January 31, 2013, she vanished and was known to be last seen in the lobby of the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

LAPD and additional local authorities weren’t able to turn up any answers until one day in February, they were able to release an elevator surveillance video of Lam right before her disappearance. In the footage, you can see that Elisa is acting incredibly strange and even paranoid. She seems to be talking to someone who isn’t there and she’s checking to see if someone is following her from outside of the elevator. There’s more that happens in the video that could propose theories of unknown suspects, demonic possession or even a psychotic breakdown.

Skip ahead to February 19 when a hotel employee had to climb to the roof to investigate the hotel’s water storage tanks due to malfunctioning plumbing that had been occurring for weeks. On this morning is when the authorities were able to locate the naked and decomposing body of Lam.

Right after this was brought into the public eye, NBC Los Angeles was able to identify some odd circumstances stemming from where Lam’s body was located, as well as the dark history of the Cecil Hotel.

  • The tank has a metal latch that can be opened, but authorities said access to the roof is secured with an alarm and lock.
  • The single-room-occupancy hotel has an unusual history. “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez, who was found guilty of 14 slayings in the 1980s, lived on the 14th floor for several months in 1985. And international serial killer Jack Unterweger is suspected of murdering three prostitutes during the time he lived there in 1991. He killed himself in jail in 1994.
  • In 1962, a female occupant jumped out of one the hotel’s windows, killing herself and a pedestrian on whom she landed.