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What Happened to Elisa Lam at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles?

Updated on February 13, 2020
Marquis Mayhem profile image

I've been interested in researching the supernatural and paranormal for many years.

Elisa Lam displayed some very erratic behavior on the elevator at the Cecil Hotel.
Elisa Lam displayed some very erratic behavior on the elevator at the Cecil Hotel.

It was February 19, 2013. Residents, mostly transients, of the Cecil Hotel, located in Los Angeles Skid Row, were complaining that the water on the tap tasted funny and smelled and looked funny. Some investigation by staff revealed a body in one of the water tanks on the secured roof of the hotel. The body was that of Elisa Lam, a Canadian that had been missing for weeks, having traveled from Canada to California by herself.

The death was officially ruled an accident by the LA Police Department. But the circumstances are very fishy. There are many unanswered questions, in particular her bizarre behavior prior to her death is still mystifying those intrigued by this strange and compelling story.

So, what happened to Elisa Lam that night she died seemingly from drowning in a 10-foot water cistern on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in downtown LA?

Video of Elisa Lam on the Elevator

Shortly after the discovery of Elisa's body, video tape was released and found on the news and Internet, that showed her on the elevator of the Cecil Hotel, minutes before her death. In the video, she gets on the elevator and proceeds to push a series of buttons to multiple floors. The elevator doors won't close and she stands there in the elevator. She looks out of the elevator, then gets back inside and hides in a corner of the elevator. The doors are still not closing and she gets out of the elevator and stands outside of it, seeming to be growing distraught, putting her hands on her head. She gets back into the elevator and pushes buttons again. She goes back outside of the elevator and her behavior gets more frightful. She begins to eerily make movements with her hands, her fingers contorted and extended.

The video ends with her exiting the elevator and the elevator doors begin to open and close.

Elisa Lam Elevator Video

The video seems to raise more questions than it answers. Why was she pushing so many buttons and what buttons did she push? Some have suggested that one of the buttons she pushed was one for keeping the door of the elevator open. Did she do this intentionally and, if so, why?

Is she talking to someone after she exits the elevator and is standing just outside of it? It appears that she might be talking, but it's unclear to whom or why. She might be talking to herself, which is something that you might do if you are panicking.

It should be noted that Elisa was suffering from severe depression and there is plenty of evidence of this from the blog which she kept. She, in fact, had been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder and was taking medications for it. Had she slipped into a manic phase? Did she neglect to take her medication?

Why does she hide in the corner of the elevator? Is someone following her? There has been speculation, in fact, that she was being stalked; in fact, it has been said that she had mentioned being stalked in her blog and that a friend said she had revealed something very shocking to her in a postcard, though the friend did not disclose exactly what that shocking thing was.

Possibly the most bizarre aspect of this video is when she begins to wave her hands and her fingers appear bent out of shape. This, along with other strange findings in the video, has led many investigators to believe paranormal activity was involved or some kind of advanced technology.

Conspiracy Theories About Elisa Lam

Many people simply believe that Elisa had an episode due to her psychological disorder and somehow accidentally fell into the huge vat of water on the Cecil Hotel's roof. There are a few problems with this conclusion.

The roof of the hotel is secured with locks and an alarm system. Someone would have to be very skilled to enter the rooftop undetected. In addition, the water tank where Elisa was found is 10-feet high, has a very heavy lid and the opening in the top is only 16 inches. There would be difficulty entering the rooftop, scaling the water tank, getting through the small space on top and somehow, miraculously, closing the lid. She was found in the tank, nude, with the lid on. Where were her clothes, why was she not wearing them and how did she put the lid on the tank after getting in the tank? These questions are valid and have not been answered.

Stalking Theory

One theory about her death is that she had been drugged and was being stalked. There was no evidence of drugs in her system though. However, video surveillance does indicate the possibility that she was being followed, as I alluded to before.

Military Cloaking

It had been discovered that Elisa was in contact through social media with a man in the US Army, stationed in South Korea. It is well-known that the US develops and experiments with cloaking technology in South Korea. In the video, many have said, you can see evidence that, in fact, someone else is in the elevator with her and you can see the shadow of a foot but not the rest of the person; presumably because he or she is cloaked with advanced military technology. This certainly would explain her strange behavior; why she leaves the elevator, gets back in it and hides and appears to be talking to someone at some point.

Demonic Possession

It should be noted that the Cecil Hotel has a history of strange occurrences, housing two of the most notorious serial killers at one time (Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger), as well as being home for a time to Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, who was brutally murdered in 1947. In addition, there have been many cases of suicide occurring at the hotel, as well as murder.

Did Lam fall victim to the bad energies and spirits of the hotel?

Snuff Film

One of the less popular theories is that the Hollywood elite and LA government produce snuff films at the hotel and that Elisa fell victim to one of these operations.

The Tuberculosis Connection

Strangely, at the time of Elisa's death there was an outbreak of Tuberculosis in the LA area. The kit used to find out whether someone has TB is called LAM-Elisa. In addition, Elisa, being from Canada, had planned to attend the University of British Columbia, a place where intense research on TB is conducted. Was this an experiment gone wrong?

Aleister Crowley Connection

Turns out the infamous occult figure Aleister Crowley stayed at the Cecil Hotel in London in the late 1800s where he wrote a poem called Jephtha; Jephtha was a judge in the Bible that sacrificed his daughter. The Crowley poem is full of reference to death and also alludes to a tower at midnight. Added to these strange coincidences, Crowley at one time called up a strange spirit called LAM in his many paranormal adventures.

Did the spirit of Crowley or some spirit he conjured kill Elisa Lam?

Elisa Lam and the area where she was found.
Elisa Lam and the area where she was found.

There are many theories as to what happened to Elisa Lam. There is even a theory that she died in an Illuminati ritual.

I personally cannot believe she simply had a psychotic episode and somehow managed to climb the huge water tank after having accessed the roof that is locked and alarmed, fit herself through the narrow opening at the top and jump in and manage to put the heavy lid back on the tank. I also think that, at her young age, 21-years old, it is unlikely she was caught in a government conspiracy or deeply involved with military personnel who use cloaking devices. While I wouldn't say it is impossible that she could be caught up in such things, I think it would be unlikely.

I think the more plausible theory is that she was possessed by some supernatural energy. This would explain her behavior on the elevator which appeared as if she was having hallucinations, like something might be controlling her mind and body, and also explains how her fingers become misshapen as she waves them frantically. It seems as if she is looking at something that isn't there, talking to something or someone not there. She tries to hide, goes in and out of the elevator and then leaves. Minutes later, she was dead.

Being controlled by something not "physical" would also explain why there were no wounds found on her body, as if something else had been compelling her or controlling her and ultimately controlled her fate at the top of the Cecil Hotel.

The case bears a resemblance to a case in Mississippi involving a football coach who tried to contact "energies" to help his team, but instead these energies put him in a state similar to that of Lam just prior to her "accident". It is possible, considering many factors involved, including Lam's desperate state, that she might have tried to contact these energies and was overcome by them.


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    • mythbuster profile image


      4 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      There are a lot more questions that come up after poring over articles on this mysteray than when one first starts looking into this story.


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