LA’s Cecil Hotel is no stranger to bizarre tragedies. In 1985 the Cecil was home to not only infamous serial killer Richard Ramirez, but fellow killer Jack Unterweger as well. Over the years it’s also been the sight of a string of strange deaths, most recently that of Elisa Lam. Stranger still is the hotel’s CCTV video taken from the the night of her death.


21-year-old Elisa’s body was found in February of this year, two weeks after her death, when the hotel patrons and staff began complaining that the water had begun to taste and look strange. Upon investigation, the police discovered her body had been unknowingly decomposing inside the rooftop water tanks.

Firefighters work to remove a body found inside a water tank on the rooftop of Hotel Cecil in Los Angeles

An investigation led police to a very strange hotel security video captured the night of Elisa’s death, though it gave no further information about what exactly had transpired during the early hours of the morning.

The strange video shows Elisa entering the elevator alone, stopping to press the buttons on the panel. After several failed attempts at working the buttons, she exits the elevator and appears to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t exist. She then walks away, and moments later the elevator doors shut. Authorities believe that after this video was recorded, Elisa gained access to the water tank and drowned.


The rooftop area of the hotel is protected by an alarm and considerably difficult for someone to gain access to, let alone climb inside and close the lid. Even weirder is that an autopsy of Elisa’s body found no drugs or alcohol in her system at all.

In recent years the hotel has become a hot spot for paranormal enthusists (both Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures have featured the building on TV) who believe the building is haunted by the spirits of the countless people who have met their end in the building. In the year since her death, no further information is known about Elisa Lam’s demise.

If you’re interested in visiting the hotel, it’s open to guests year round, and possibly paranormal investigation… just make sure to ask first.

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