There’s been an obscure mystery involving a missing Canadian woman skimming the local LA news. She went missing on January 31, but many of the details and attention have been diverted by the attention-grabbing Christopher Dorner fireworks show that has monopolized news coverage for most of February.
Elisa Lam, 21, was supposedly en route from her home in Vancouver, British Columbia, to Santa Cruz, California, but for an unknown reason, she ended up at the Hotel Cecil in downtown Los Angeles beginning January 26. The hotel is a legendary Los Angeles artifact which has been retrofitted to make it more hip and trendy, but the fact of the matter is that it sits in the middle of one of the seediest neighborhoods of Los Angeles proper, Skid Row. It is a bleak, apocalyptic area abundant with homeless people, drug addicts, and the ugliest prostitutes in the world. It’s an urban way station that is a temporary home to hordes of transient and criminal journeyers. Adding to the unbecoming nature of the Hotel Cecil is its dark history of murders, suicides and legendary hauntings. Richard Ramirez, the “Night Stalker” killer who terrorized Southern California in the 80s, stayed there for a while.
There’s a nice, chilling summary of the Hotel Cecil’s spooky history detailed in a post at “The Memories Project” blog and accompanied by some personal anecdotes about sinister experiences at the hotel.
Today they released a video taken from an elevator security camera at the Hotel Cecil that documents the last known images of Lam taken on January 31. Lam enters the elevator and begins madly poking multiple floor buttons while peeking her head out continuously as if looking for someone. At one point, she presses into one of the elevator corners as if hiding, and later she steps out and appears to be talking to someone again and gesturing with her hands. But no one is there, or not on the camera. I suppose I could choose to analyze the video logically and assume it is capturing the psychotic or drug-induced paranoia of an unbalanced woman who has gone missing, but I can’t help but entertain the spooky fascination that she is in fact talking to something that cannot appear on the camera. We can’t see it. Perhaps I’ve watched too many Paranormal movies. But it is the Hotel Cecil.