Unsolved Mystery #4: Cecil Hotel and Elisa Lam

A new season of American Horror Story has begun and I’m in love with it already. The first episode was absolutely mindblowig and amazing, except for the scene of the guy being raped by a scary creature, that was just a little bit too much even for me and believe me, I’ve seen a lot of “weird” stuff, but that bit apart the rest was glorious. Soundtrack on point, Matt Bomer and Wes Bentley are both gorgeous (can’t wait to see Evan Peters though) and “Liz Taylor” is my favourite character already, so stylish with that gown, even if he reminds me of a more “FABULOUS” version of Voldemort (Am I the only one who got this kind of vibe?)

But now let’s talk about the opulent hotel itself, with that Decó atmosphere and the Shining “recall”. The Cortez Hotel from American Horror Story reminds me of the Cecil Hotel (now known as the Stay on Main) a place where murders, fatal accidents, suicides and mysteries have occurred until the present day.

The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles was built in 1927, a cheap place for many professionals who, for one reason or another, stopped in the cinematographic Hollywood. It was then modernized during the 50s to perform also the function of residence.

In 1954 Helen Gurnee falls from her room on the seventh floor and smashes on the sign of the hotel. A week before she was registered with a fake name: Margaret Brown. It was never discovered the reason for that jump nor why she didn’t declare her true identity. A similiar event happened in 1962 when Julia Moore threw herself out of a window of the eight floor, shattering a skylight before touching the ground. The causes of the suicide were never verified.

On June 4th, 1964 Goldie Osgood, a telephone operator in retirement, has been found dead in her room. The woman has been raped, strangled and stabbed. The killer left the hotel room upside down, perhaps looking for something of value. A few hours later the police officers stopped a man with clothes dripping with blood, although at first glance he seems just the killer of the old lady, they can not find any evidence against him and was released. The police failed to find the guilty.

In the years 1984-1985 the hotel hosts Ricardo “Richard” Ramirez, known as the Night Stalker. In his $ 14 per night room he mutilates, rapes and tortures 14 victims, following a precise satanic ritual, panicking the entire Los Angeles. He was arrested on August the 31st, 1985 and sentenced to the gas chamber.

In 1991 the serial killer Johann “Jack” Unterweger (known as Jack the Writer) rents a room for five weeks. During his stay at the Cecil Hotel he kills three prostitues. He rapes and strangles them with their bra, a technique he will use for each of his 11 murders between Austria and US. He was arrested in 1992 but committed suicide the day of the sentence.

Now, back to our days (almost), on January 2013 it was found the body of Elisa Lam, a Canadian student, disappeared a few days before. The body was found in a big water tank on the roof of the building. The young girl is pronounced dead as a result of an accidental drowning. There are still many doubts on her death, starting with the way she has been able to reach a private area of the hotel which is also protected by an alarm system. We do have a video of her last moments but it is kind of a puzzle as she seems to be communicating with someone else. The truth is still unknown.

The Cecil Hotel is a very myserious place indeed, I guess that if I will plan a trip to Los Angeles I know where I’m going to check in.

Elle. xx

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