The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam


There are mysteries that are so eerie and strange that they boggle the mind for days on end. The case of Elisa Lam is one of them. In February 2013, this 21-year-old student from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead inside the Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank in Los Angeles. The L.A. County Department of Coroner ruled the death “accidental due to drowning” and said no traces of drugs or alcohol were found during the autopsy. However, there is much more to the story than what is implied by police reports. The first piece of evidence that needs to be considered is an elevator surveillance tape that recorded Elisa’s behavior only a few moments before she lost her life.

The four-minute video posted on YouTube shows Elisa pressing all of the elevator buttons and waiting for it to move. Seeing that the elevator doors are not closing, starts behaving extremely bizarrely. Here’s the video.

At first, Elisa enters the elevator and apparently presses all of its buttons. She then waits for something to happen but, for some reason, the elevator door doesn’t shut. She starts to look around, as if she is expecting (or hiding from) someone. At 1:57, her arms and hands start moving in a very strange matter (almost not human) as she appears to be talking to someone, something … or nothing at all. She then walks away. The elevator door then shuts and appears to start working again.

Right after the events of the video, Elisa apparently gained access to the rooftop of the hotel, climbed to its water tank and, somehow, ended up drowning in it. Her body was found two weeks after her death, after hotel guests complained about the water’s taste and color. Incredible.

Seeing the surveillance footage, most people would conclude that she was under the influence of drugs. However, Elisa did not have a history of drug use and her autopsy concluded that no drugs were involved. When one looks at the context and the circumstances of this death, things become even more mysterious.

Cecil Hotel’s Dark History

Built in the 1920s to cater to “businessmen to come into town and spend a night or two”, Cecil Hotel was quickly upstaged by more glamorous hotels. Located near the infamous Skid Row area, the hotel began renting rooms on a long-term basis for cheap prices, a policy that attracted a shiftier crowd. The hotel’s reputation quickly went from “shifty” to “morbid” when it became notorious for numerous suicides and murders, as well as lodging famous serial killers.

“Part of its sordid history, involves two serial killers,  Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.

Now on death row, Ramirez, labeled “the Nightstalker”, was living at the Cecil Hotel in 1985, in a top floor room.  He was charged 14 dollars a night.  In a building filled with transients, he remained unnoticed as he stalked and killed his 13 female victims. Richard Schave, said “He was dumping his bloody clothes in the Dumpster, at the end of his evening and returned via the back entrance.”

Jack Unterweger, was a journalist covering crime in Los Angeles for an Austrian magazine in 1991.  “We believe he was living at the Cecil Hotel in homage to Ramirez,” Schave said.

He is blamed with killing three prostitutes in Los Angeles, while being a guest at the Cecil.

In the 50’s and 60’s the Cecil was known as a place that people would go to jump out of one of the hotel’s windows to commit suicide.

Helen Gurnee, in her 50s, leaped from a seventh floor window, landing on the Cecil Hotel marquee, on October 22, 1954.

Julia Moore jumped from her eighth floor room window, on February 11, 1962.

Pauline Otton, 27, jumped from a ninth floor window after an argument with her estranged husband, on October 12, 1962.  Otton landed on George Gianinni, 65, who was walking on the side walk, 90 feet below. Both were killed instantly.

There was also a murder of one of the residents.  “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood, a retired telephone operator, known for protecting and feeding pigeons in a nearby park, was found dead in his ransacked room on June 4, 1964.  He had been stabbed, strangled, and raped.  The crime still remains unsolved.”

– Las Vegas Guardian Express, Elisa Lam, Morbid History Of Two Serial Killers Unfolds At “Cecil Hotel”

Elisa Lam’s case is yet another sordid addition to the hotel’s history and can lead us to ask: “What the hell is wrong with that place”?

The Movie “Dark Water”


The story of Elisa Lam is eerily similar to the 2005 horror movie Dark Water. Dahlia, the main protagonist of the movie moves into an apartment building with her young daughter Cecilia. Both of these names are relevant. Black Dahlia is the nickname given to Elizabeth Short, a woman who was the victim of a gruesome murder in 1947 – one that appeared to be particularly ritualistic. The case was never solved. According to LA Observed, it is rumored that Black Dahlia was at Cecil Hotel right before she lost her life.

“The Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, is alleged in at least one book to have hung out at the Cecil and drank at the bar next door before she disappeared in 1947, though cultural historians Kim Cooper and Richard Schave of Esotouric say that’s just rumor.”
– LA Observed, Serial Killer Central

In the movie, the daughter’s name, Cecilia, is, obviously, quite similar to the name Cecil Hotel.

After moving into her apartment, Dahlia notices dark water leaking from the ceiling in her bathroom. She ultimately discovers that a young girl named Natasha Rimsky drowned in the building’s rooftop water tank, which caused the water to turn black. The owner of the apartment building knew about this fact but refused to take action. Elisa Lam’s body was  in the water tank for over two weeks, causing hotel guests to complain about foul tasting “black water”.

The ending of the movie is also eerily relevant: The apartment buildings elevator malfunctions and the ghost of Cecilia’s mother braids her hair. Is Elisa Lam’s death one of those ritualistic murders that are synchronistically mirrored in a Hollywood movie?

Another Strange Coincidence

Shortly after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body, a deadly outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Skid Row, near Cecil Hotel. You probably won’t believe the name of the test kit used in these kinds of situations: LAM-ELISA. That is hardcore synchronicity.

No Foul Play?

LA authorities ruled in June 2013 that Elisa Lam’s death was accidental and that she was “probably bi-polar”. That being said, some questions remain unanswered. How did Elisa, who was obviously not in her right mind, end up in the hotel’s water tank, an area that is difficult to access? Here’s a news report describing the water tank area.

As the reporter states in the video, the rooftop area is protected by an alarm system and the water tank is difficult to reach. How did Elisa reach that area? Also, how did she close the water tank lid?

As is usually the case for strange deaths, authorities have been incredibly secretive and non-transparent during this investigation. What truly happened here? Why are there so many strange coincidences? Why was Elisa Lam acting so strange in the elevator? Was there a ritualistic aspect to this death? Why is the Cecil Hotel a hotbed for these kinds of stories? Is there some paranormal stuff going on there involving dark entities? The mystery appears to be whole and authorities do not seem to be wanting to probe further. Maybe I should cite here the slogan that appears on Dark Water movie posters : “Some mysteries are not meant to be solved”.



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2167 Comments on "The Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam"

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6 months 28 days ago

This is so simple…she was being stalked by an employee, or spooked, and the employee had shut the elevator to not work, or rigged it so it wouldn't (they have stop buttons). There is no other reason for the doors not working, physically, and it not responding. Her movements are typical of someone who is creeped the heck out by something already, and when the elevator doesn't work, she is clearly distressed. Since there's no sound, we have no idea if she was being taunted. The only way for anyone to have access to the roof was to be an… Read more »

10 months 25 days ago

Thanks, Mario, for scaring the poop out of me with your fantastic story. Now I'm gonna have nightmares for a week. Did you know about the book called "Titan" about a ship that was sunk by an iceberg? The book was written about 20-30 years before the sinking of the Titanic (really the Olympic, but they switched ships at the ship yard due to an insurance fraud job). I guess satan likes to prove his presence just like our YHWY. He's a copy cat, ya know.

6 months 28 days ago

Dark entities? Bizarre actions? fuck no. Take a walk down Skid Row and you'll see a million Elisa Lam's walking around, sketching out on bad dope. This ain't the Devil folks, it aint' Jesus neither. It's the inbetween: US! People are dark and bizarre.

8 months 20 days ago

Something similar like this happened in my country. Police are puzzled how the deceased got into a tank which was locked..

11 months 21 days ago

Strangely enough, almost a year later an aspiring actress Carmen Noriega was found in a similar manner in a water tank and was discovered only after complaints from residents. Do we have a serial killer? Or coincidence. These are not accidents as the new reports.

1 year 2 days ago

Poor girl being called mental after she's dead and not here to defend herself. It was obviously someone with a gun! Assume the positon, robbery then rape then murder. You should be calling the killer insane, mental and crazy. God Bless

1 year 14 days ago

Ok this is creepy, and i read more about it and is getting more scary…

1 year 1 month ago

wait, they also found her NAKED? Where did her clothes go?
Ugh this is just creepy.

1 year 1 month ago

First time here.. this is a great site VC!

I'm wondering.. what if she was sleep-walking the whole time, till she plunged to her death. Is it possible?

1 year 1 month ago

Why cant anyone track her phone? it was a smart phone right?

1 year 2 months ago

After reading this article, it seems like there is a killer out on the loose, and he works at the Cecil Hotel. He would have access to the rooftop and water tank. At minute 2:28 in the elevator video, you can see another foot leave seconds after Elisa left. Just my 2 cents.

1 year 2 months ago

Perhaps she was trying to hide from someone or something and climbed into the tank as a hiding place?

1 year 2 months ago

A lot of others are pointing out the coinciding (not coincidental) numbers from the other cases mentioned like the dates adding up to 22, etc. I'll just point out in addition that this was LA (L+A=13) & her name was LAM. M=13 as well. Also Aleister Crowley was in contact with an interdimensional (enter-demons-n-hell) entity called LAM. In addition to all these other things you can't say there was "no foul play". LAM-ELISA? You kidding me? These movies & news stories are magic rituals, to say "life imitates art" is an understatement.

1 year 2 months ago

I have one question, that was unanswered, and I wonder. She was fully clothed in the video, but they say they found her NAKED in the water tank deceased. Where are her clothes? Did they find those? It seems if they can find, and test those, they may get answers to how she got in there. Dust, or rust could show paths unknown… 2013 forensic study was allowed then, they could try to identify substances on her clothing to try and trace her path, paint particals, dust ect….

1 year 2 months ago

Yeah It couldn't just be that she was mentally ill and the elevator was on the fritz. It has to be demons and monsters and magic and ritual murder. Obviously. It also couldn't be that the elevator isn't working correctly so the doors aren't closing. Then she spends the next couple of minutes trying to figure it out,trying to hide from the door sensors, and including waving her hands through the door sensors trying to figure out why they aren't closing……oh I mean "Inhumanly" waving her hands through the door sensors trying to figure out why they aren't moving.

1 year 7 months ago

This was a very unsettling clip. I believe she was either suffering from a mental break of some sort, or drugged. It looks as if when she's talking, there easily could have been a fellow resident or hotel worker out there and the bizarre gesturing is somehow related to her attempting to explain the elevator issue. I cannot explain her off behavior (hiding in corner, pressing every button, so on) within the elevator., which leads me to the mental break or drugged theory. I want to know if there's a camera in the hallway-they bother to install an elevator cam,… Read more »

1 year 9 months ago

I'd love to see a real investigative piece on this sad story. I'm thinking Elisa's family and friends might possibly be able to shed some light on her strange behavior.

1 month 2 days ago

Definitely strange….but as always Hollywood or should I say HELLywood trying to hide evidence right in front of our eyes…definitely something occult…these types of cases always get forgotten as if they are trying to hide something but then again Hollywood is a satanic cult anyway…they are above our laws and get away with anything especially PEDOPHILIA !!!! We definitely live in a fallen world!!

1 month 16 days ago

Hey. Amigos Can-you zooming and slow motion at:2:24 to 2:29 , it appear that she made her first step with her right-leg to start walking -away and disappear, in that moment the camera recorded that all her mass of her body was on her right leg. when her right-leg is in the air, you are able to see the front of a masculine shoe appears to approaching to the range of the camera's angle, when she continue to her next step , you are able to see that the right-masculine shoe start pulling-away and disappear . possible scenario : the… Read more »

1 month 16 days ago

Hey. Amigos Can-you zooming and slow motion at:2:26 to 2:29 , it appear that she made her first step with her right-leg to start walking and desappear in that moment the camera recorded that all her mass of her body was on her right leg. when her right-leg is in the air, you are able to see that the front of a masculine shoe appears to approaching to the range of the camera's angle, when she continue to her next step , you are able to see that the right-masculine shoe start to desappearing . possible scenario : the suspect… Read more »

3 months 3 days ago

It is strange she appeared when it looked like she was hiding but it looks more like she was trying to get the elevator door to close which took an extremely abnormal amount of time it appeared to take about 3 minutes normally they close in about 1 minute so why was the door not closing it looks like she was waiting on the elevator which may have been tampered with and got tired of waiting and decided to take the stairs where either she was planning to go into the water tanks and got stuck or more likely someone… Read more »

3 months 14 days ago

Why didn't the elevator doors attempt to close, I timed it and it seems like they were malfunctioning or purposely online.

3 months 30 days ago

Did anyone notice that the doors in the background turned red after she left…this is definitely the creepiest video I have ever seen in my life. Great article VC!!

4 months 20 days ago

The advantage of door access systems is increased efficiency. Since this is a system which is more beneficial for offices as well as houses, you can easily forget about wasting time to fumble for your keys. Within seconds, you will be where you are authorized to be.

6 months 11 days ago

Her hands are looking as if they are being dragged, and she, numb as a child, coöperates, not sure what to do, wanting to run (through the elevator). Obviously she pushed ALL the buttons because she was running, paranoid and in ahurry. Didn't matter where she'd go, as long as it's away from here.. dark forces pulled her back nonetheless.. My guess is that if she was 'murdered' by people, someone would be in the control room, disabling the elevator and then reactivating it again after not seeing Elisa for 20 seconds. This is so fucking creepy. P.S. :You probably… Read more »