Often horror movies and television shows call upon the truth to help make their stories seem scarier to the viewers. A few years ago, American Horror Story did a season based on spirits trapped in a hotel. Some doomed to repeat their fates over and over while other spirits caused the deaths the living which added to the amount of spirits staying at the hotel. The hotel that the season was based on is a real hotel that is still open to the public. It is truly haunted and it seems to some that the spirits at this hotel are killing the living. It’s most recent death mimics a horror film called Dark Water.
Built in 1924 in Los Angeles by William Banks Hanner, the Cecil Hotel seemed doomed to be married by tragedy soon after it opened. It was only open for five years before the Great Depression happened.
Death and suicide in and around the hotel was so often occurring that by the 1960’s the Cecil Hotel was often called The Suicide. The first recorded suicide there happened in 1931 when a guest by the name of W. K. Norton took his own life in his room by swallowing poison capsules. In 1947, the bar at the Cecil Hotel is one of the last places that Elizabeth Short was seen before her death. Some of y’all may know her better as the Black Dahlia. Her murder was never solved. In 1962, Pauline Otton decided to jump to her death after an argument with her husband. What the 27 year old didn’t know at the time was that her decision to commit suicide would also make her briefly a murderer. Right at the moment that she jumped from her window, 65 year old George Gianni was walking under her window. Pauline accidentally fell on him, killing him instantly. In 1964, “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood was found in dead in her hotel room. She was beaten, rapped, and stabbed to death. Her murder was never solved. In the mid 1980’s, serial killer Richard Ramirez stayed at the hotel. Those staying at the hotel said it wasn’t unusual to see the man who would later be identified as The Night Stalker to walk into the lobby of the hotel completely naked. He would leave his bloody clothes in the alley ways where junkies and homeless gathered. Later, another serial killer named Jack Unterweger would stay at the Cecil because he was inspired by Richard Ramirez’s crimes.
With all the death that have happened on the property, its not surprising that people are reporting experiencing paranormal activity. People have reported feeling watched. Shadow figures have been seen darting across rooms. Down in the basement, people have been chased out by shadow people. At night guests say that feel their sheets being pulled off them while they sleep. Some have said that it feels like someone is sitting on their chest at night or hearing either growling or whispering in their ear. Others have said that felt something messing with their feet at night. Faucets and the shower heads in the bathrooms have been known to turn themselves on and off by themselves. Singing and humming has been heard coming from vacant rooms. Doors and windows open by themselves. Screams right outside windows have been heard. Workers in the hotel have said that they have cleaned a room only to return a few moments later to find it trashed again. People have reported seeing a woman looking like Elizabeth Short drinking in the bar. Others have said they passed someone that looks like Richard Ramirez in the hallway but when they turn around, he’s no longer there.
Was She Killed By A Spirit?
This case happened in 2013. Even before talk of the paranormal being a part of the case, I was following what was going on with the case of the missing Canadian student named Elisa Lam who was visiting Los Angeles alone. Elisa Lam went missing in the beginning of February, 2013. The oddness of the security videos taken just before she went missing is what started the talk of paranormal involvement even before she was even found.
The elevator footage shows several odd things. Elisa is seen entering the elevator and pressing several buttons. The elevator does not respond to the button pushing and the doors remain open despite no one standing close to the doors and her pressing the close button repeatedly. Elisa can be seen hiding from someone or something. A few times she jumps out of the elevator looking for someone before hoping back into the elevator. At one point she looks like she is talking and gesturing with another person. At first it seems as though the person is just off screen but if you watch her body language, you can see that whatever she is talking to seems to cross the open space in front of the elevator door and stand in front of her. Except there appears to be nothing there.
Some people have suspected that she was hallucinating or on drugs at the time. Toxicology tests would later show she was not on drugs or alcohol at the time of her death. Elisa did have bipolar disorder and was on medication for it. I have talked before about the paranormal and mental health and I do believe that her bipolar disorder did make her more sensitive to paranormal activity.
About three weeks after she was reported missing, the maintenance workers at the hotel were investing claims of foul smelling water and dark water running from the taps in the hotel’s bathrooms. Much to their horror, when they open one of the water towers on the roof of the hotel, they found the naked body of Elisa. Elisa Lam’s clothing that she is seen wearing in the elevator footage was found in the tank with her. Finding her body in the tank opened many questions that couldn’t be answered and still haven’t been answered. In the days following her disappearance, the LAPD had search dogs on the roof of the building. The dogs never picked up on her scent while they were up there. The stairways and doors that go to the roof are locked and only the maintenance workers have the keys. The water tank itself also needed keys. The lid to the water tank cannot be closed from the inside. While many suspect that she was murdered, no one can figure out who did it. The maintenance workers were cleared of any involvement. Some people suspect that she was lured up there by ghosts that wander the halls of the hotel. My sister and I are some of those that think the paranormal had something to do with her death.
If you want to take a chance and stay the night at the Cecil Hotel, you can find reservation information on their website. I recommend watching American Horror Story season called Hotel and the movie Dark Water (the Japanese version is better than the American version but the American version isn’t too bad) before you go.