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.