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Cecil Hotel's eerie history - tragic deaths and people vanishing without trace

Ashley Bautista May 1, 2022
US-HISTORY-CRIME
Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images

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Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel is considered to be one of the most haunted hotels in the world. Although it has reopened the stories still linger.

Ever been to Los Angeles’ Stay on Main? Well, it was previously known as the Cecil Hotel.

Cecil Hotel is located in Downtown Los Angeles, a very popular tourist area for those that visit the city for the first time. The hotel was founded in 1924, however, over the years, it saw some mysterious events and tragedies.

The story of Elisa Lam’s disappearance and the Cecil Hotel has been discussed for several years, with Netflix putting on a documentary to dive into what really happened.

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What happened at the Cecil Hotel?

The infamous Hotel Cecil was named a historic-cultural monument by the City Council in a unanimous 10-0 vote in Los Angeles, California on February 28, 2017 The hotel, built in 1924, has been the scene of at least 15 murders and suicides as well as the temporary home of serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger. It’s most recent tragedy was when 21-year-old Canadian Elisa Lam’s naked body was found in the building’s rooftop water tank after guests had complained about the water tasting funny. / AFP / Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP via Getty Images)

The breaking point of Cecil Hotel was Elisa Lam and her strange disappearance.

The hotel has been known for its morbid history and mysterious tragedies. But 89 years after it opened, the disappearance of a 21-year-old student named Elisa Lam went viral.

She was on a solo adventure on the West Coast of the United States in 2013 and decided to crash at the Cecil Hotel. However, Elisa ended up disappearing after a matter of days.

Two weeks after the disappearance, her body was sadly found in the hotel’s water tank on the roof.

CCTV footage revealed unexpected behaviour in the hours leading up to her vanishing. It was later reported she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Authorities believe she possibly drowned by accident in the water tank.

Nonetheless, her case is still spoken about to this day. No one exactly knows the exact truth of Elisa Lam’s case and unexplained happenings inside the Cecil Hotel.

Cecil Hotel’s eerie history

What gave Cecil Hotel its reputation are the other deaths of 16 people inside or around the area of the hotel.

The first death was Percy Ormond Cook’s on January 22, 1926, decades before Elisa Lam’s on February 19, 2013.

Reports by Los Angeles Times announced another death came two years after Elisa’s.

However, not many details have been released. Reports say a 28-year-old man reportedly killed himself by jumping from the hotel.

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Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

This is for crime lovers. A year ago, the service released the true-crime docu-series, Netflix’s Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.

During the four episodes, it unveiled the story of Elisa Lam. It showed her final moments in CCTV footage to her heartbreaking story of death.

The mystery became an obsession to those trying to solve the case amid Cecil Hotel’s paranormal conspiracy.

Cecil Hotel and Elisa’s case also inspired the making of American Horror Story: Hotel in which Lady Gaga starred.

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Cecil Hotel reopens as affordable housing

Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

According to Euro News, the former 600 hotel rooms have been turned into an affordable housing complex. The move was from a new partnership between its owner, Richard Born, and the Skid Row Housing Trust.

The area features shared kitchens, laundry facilities, and even a recreational area for the younger residents. Eerily, it is also the area where Elisa Lam’s body was found.

The purpose to turn Cecil Hotel into an affordable housing complex is to help reduce homelessness in Los Angeles. The number of residents who are homeless currently stands at 66,433 people, according to NBC Los Angeles.

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Ashley is a journalism graduate from Kingston University, currently writing for HITC, Reality Titbit and The Focus. She loves to travel and learn new languages and cultures. She also has an interest in celebrity news and the entertainment world. When she’s not writing, she’s on social media, watching K-dramas or shopping.