lam

From time to time when I walk past the Hotel Cecil I gaze up and look at the tops of the water tanks that sit on the roof. Two years ago a 21 year-old student named Elisa Lam was found dead inside one of them.

It’s a death that you probably have heard about. A woman is seen in a CCTV security tape going into an elevator and acting in a very bizarre manner. She disappears from sight and is found several days later floating in one of the building’s water tanks.

However, unlike the many deaths that have occurred inside the hotel Elisa Lam’s death wasn’t ruled a suicide or homicide. It was ruled as an accidental drowning, which could have been caused by her bipolar disorder.

Years later there’s still no satisfactory explanation on Elisa’s strange behavior and mysterious death. The only thing we’re left with is the unnerving CCTV video and the countless questions it left behind. Here is where Elisa’s story becomes interesting.

TB Outbreak

Hotel Cecil is situated 3-4 blocks away from Los Angeles’ infamous Skid Row. A seedy part of Downtown that houses many tuberculosiscriminals, junkies, and mentally disturbed individuals. It has been this way for decades, like back when Richard Ramirez was on the loose and terrorizing most of Los Angeles in the 1980s. Skid Row and the Hotel Cecil were places that Ramirez frequented while he went through his murderous spree killing Angelenos. Years later another serial killer would call the Hotel Cecil his temporary home.

In 2013 Skid Row and most of Downtown was under the threat of a severe Tuberculosis outbreak.

“Historically, Skid Row has been kind of a…for lack of a better term…a Petri dish for a whole lot of things,” he said. “As long as I’ve known it and we just got to find a way to change that…”  – LAPD Senior Lead Officer Deon Joseph

The Los Angeles Times reports that more than 4,500 people may have been exposed to tuberculosis and that scientists have recently linked this recent outbreak to a TB strain unique to L.A., with a small number of isolated cases outside the area.

Isoniazid is the most common antibiotic prescribed to those who suffer from TB. One of the main side effects of this drug is confusion and abnormal behavior. Why is this relevant?

In a strange coincidence, a tool that is being used to test patients for Tuberculosis is called the LAM-ELISA test, or Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent assay.

MMRP.org has the information:

Of interest was a significant correlation between the level of microscopic density of mycobacteria in sputum and LAM antigen concentration in urine (χ2=8.44). The LAM-ELISA is a field-adapted tool that can improve screening standards in countries with a high incidence of TB.
We are currently conducting a much larger final phase III evaluation in TB suspect patients in Mbeya.

In a city that has an outbreak of Tuberculosis, a woman named ELISA LAM is recorded on video behaving abnormally in the lobby of the Hotel Cecil hours before her death. A suspicious death in where her lifeless, naked body was found floating inside one of the water tanks.

Is there a correlation between Tuberculosis and Elisa’s death?

Well besides the highly strange coincidence of both the name of the TB test and the victim, the answer is no. Unless you were to think about the possibility of Elisa being some secret guinea pig for a new anti-TB drug. In that case, that’s one hell of a side effect if you asked me.

Dark Water

There exists another strange, highly coincidental fact in this odd case. In 2005 a movie titled Dark Water was released in the U.S.

darkwaterThe film opens in 1974, as a young girl, Dahlia, stands outside after school in the rain, waiting for her mother.

Flash forward to 2005, the audience sees a grown-up Dahlia (Jennifer Connelly) in the midst of a bitter mediation with ex-husband, Kyle (Dougray Scott), over custody of their daughter, Cecilia (Ariel Gade). Kyle wants Cecilia to live closer to his apartment in Jersey City, but Dahlia wants to move to Roosevelt Island, where she has found a good school. Kyle threatens to sue for full custody because he feels the distance is too great. He also claims that Dahlia is “mentally unstable.”

Dahlia and Cecilia see an apartment in a complex on Roosevelt Island, which is just a few blocks from Cecilia’s new school. The superintendent of the dilapidated building is Mr. Veeck (Pete Postlethwaite). The manager is Mr. Murray (John C. Reilly). During the tour, Cecilia sneaks to the roof where she finds a Hello Kitty backpack near a large water tank. They leave the bag with Veeck, and Murray promises Cecilia that she can have it if no one claims it. Cecilia, who had disliked the apartment, now wants desperately to live there. Dahlia agrees to move in.

Shortly after, the bedroom ceiling begins to leak dark water. The source is the apartment above, 10F, where the Rimsky family lived up until a month ago. Dahlia enters 10F and finds it flooded, with dark water flowing from every faucet, the walls and toilet. She finds a family portrait of the former tenants—a mother, father, and a girl Cecilia’s age. Dahlia complains to both Veeck and Murray about the water, but the former does little about it despite the insistence of the latter. Meanwhile, Cecilia develops a strong bond of friendship with an imaginary friend called Natasha.

The ceiling, shoddily patched by Veeck, leaks again. At school, Cecilia appears to get into a fight with Natasha, who appears to control her hand while painting. She’s taken to the girls’ bathroom where she passes out after dark water gushes from the toilets and sinks. Dahlia, who is meeting with her lawyer, Jeff Platzer, can’t be reached so Kyle picks Cecilia up and takes her to his apartment. Later on that night, Dahlia is feeling better, now that Jeff will have her apartment fixed and that Cecilia is safe with Kyle. Dahlia hears footfalls from the hallway outside of her apartment going up to the roof. She sees that water is spilling out of the water tank. She climbs up the ladder, opens the hatch to the water tank and finds Natasha’s body floating in the water. Dahlia is stunned and Natasha’s eyes snap open.

Eight years after Dark Waters is released Elisa met a very similar fate to that of  the imaginary ghost friend named Natasha in the movie. Both being found dead inside the building’s rooftop water tanks under mysterious circumstances. Take note of the name of the  fictional character in the movie, Cecilia, and the name of the hotel in which Elisa’s body was found. Hotel Cecil.

Again, coincidence?

More than likely this is all just adds up to being one of the recent, most strangest mysteries in Los Angeles. Whatever happened to Elisa Lam no one knows. Given all the speculation and conspiracy theories that are floating out there about her death, it’s more than likely to remain an unsolved mystery.

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Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.

Latest posts by Xavier Ortega (see all)

  • George Shope

    One werd sums-up what happened to Elisa: “Psycho!” Watch the movie! ‘Norman Bates’ murdered Elisa, it’s OBVIOUS by the video ALONE!

  • George Shope

    Watch the movie Psycho!

  • George Shope

    She is counting on her fingers, as she is ALSO explaining to the hotel staff person PRESENT (aka: the KILLER) what all she did to try to ‘fix’ the situation. Her actions are those of someone that just got shanghaied by the Elevator, from her 4th floor to the TOP FLOOR, the 14th floor, and TRAPPED. Watch the movie Psycho to understand what happened and WHY!

  • George Shope

    You missed the FACT that the elevator doors were WIDE OPEN when the video starts, then she enters, and that’s because the video doesn’t show you the 60 seconds PRIOR to it starting, which is the 60 seconds it took the elevator to go from the 4th floor to the 14th floor, then for her to exit, stroll the corridor a bit, then to return to the elevator to try to get it to work. When she returns to the elevator is where the video begins, so you obviously didn’t catch that she didn’t intend to go to the 14th floor, she was TAKEN there by the elevator and someone controlling it, which then points to Norman Bates doing it and since Norman would have supplied the Police the video, he left-out the FIRST 60 seconds of it, the ride from the 4th floor to the 14th floor and the ‘strolling’ period after she got there. 😉

  • Mike Coyne

    What in the hell is this clusterfuck of insanity? Your post reads like some batshit crazy manifesto of madness. I don’t think there was a single grammatically correct sentence in the whole goddamned thing! It was an extremely painfu,yet somehow entertaining, read! I’m sure your stark raving lunacy has gotten you committed by now, but damn!

  • ella

    It’s amusing to see you going on about this guy’s grammar, but did you ever stop to think that maybe english isn’t their first language?? It’s not the easiest language to learn.

  • ronnieroo

    The rooftop door alarm may not have been tripped because I read that in a photograph that was taken shortly after her body was found, it showed that the doorknob was missing from that door.
    This would mean to me that:
    1) access to the roof WAS very easy, and
    2) is it possible that with the door being in need of repair, that it could have been propped open?

  • Jack Dundee

    She kept pressing the hold button. Also the released video is slowed down by 35% if you look at the timestamp. This all happens much, much faster. The doors actually don’t stay open that long.

  • Jack Dundee

    1. 20lbs is not heavy to an adult.
    2. The released video was actually slowed down by about 35%. This means the elevator door does not stay open as long as people think it does. She also pressed the hold button.
    3. That is not an additional foot. I suggest you look frame by frame. She does a spin on a single foot. When she does this, her foot is facing other direction.
    4. The drugs she was on, Venlafaxine, Lamotrigine and Bupropion metabolites. All come with some scary side effects. Lamotrigine could cause hallucinations, delusions and hyperthermia. All could serve as explanations why she might have ended up in the tank on her own accord. Remember that her roomates actually requested new rooms because she was scaring the shit out of them with her strange behavior.
    5. There are no such thing as ghosts, dude. You too might be a ill as this poor girl.

  • Jack Dundee

    Never seen anything like this? I find that hard to believe. There are plenty accounts of people with similar disorders to this woman behaving strangely. Like being found naked breaking into people’s homes and using their showers, or running into on-coming traffic or more recently the woman who suddenly got out of her vehicle while driving one day, stripped off all her clothes and climbed up onto a semi-truck.

    The drugs she was on, Venlafaxine, Lamotrigine and Bupropion metabolites. All come with some scary side effects. Lamotrigine could cause hallucinations, delusions and hyperthermia. All could serve as explanations why she might have ended up in the tank on her own accord. I listened to a podcast some time ago about an investigator suggesting that it was likely that she was trying out a new prescription but I forget what the exact evidence for this was.

  • Jack Dundee

    You are right. I dated a bi-polar lady in college and she did some very strange things. She was not medicated nor was she diagnosed with bi-polar disorder but her mother was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. But my ex-girlfriend’s behavior led me to believe she also was. She once, out of nowhere, grabbed my steering wheel and turned it into oncoming traffic. Also one time I came to visit her apartment I found her lying on the shower floor sleeping with the shower water running. She also once blacked out while driving (no drugs or alcohol). There was also another time where she called me while I was at work and told me good bye. I had to rush home and found her passed out, unable to awaken her and call an ambulance. I didn’t know what the hell happened there and she denied trying to kill herself by taking anything.

    The drugs Elisa Lam was on, Venlafaxine, Lamotrigine and Bupropion metabolites. All come with some scary side effects. Lamotrigine could cause hallucinations, delusions and hyperthermia. All could serve as explanations why she might have ended up in the tank on her own accord.

  • anonymous

    she wasn’t raped and she wasn’t japanese, idiot.

  • Pseudonymous

    A rape kit couldnt be done, because it would not work. According to Law and Order, you are not supposed to take a shower if you are raped, because it would be hard to see the trauma and the semen. Since she was in the water, it is equivalent to washing the semen inside her body, therefore they couldnt do a rape kit. Again this is just based on a show, I am not an expert and I could be wrong.

  • Ling

    One of the strangest coincidences in the case is this
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pt8lhNNk9So