Elisa Lam was a Canadian student who rose to fame after being reported missing during a trip to Los Angeles. She had been staying in the infamous Cecil Hotel (which has its own dark history), and her body was eventually found naked in a water tank on the hotel’s rooftop over a fortnight later, after several other guests at the hotel reported an unusual taste and colour in the water they were drinking.
The strange part about this case is a security tape that was released roughly a week before Elisa Lam’s body was discovered, in which she can be seen acting very mysteriously in and around one of the hotel’s lift. You can see this video in full below:
We’ve listed some of the key incidents from the video below:
- 0:07 – Elisa can be seen pressing multiple lift buttons. The lift however does not seem to function.
- 0:20 – Elisa checks outside sneakily, before hiding in the corner of the lift from someone or something.
- 0:47 – Elisa cautiously steps outside the lift, before stepping sideways unusually and then backwards.
- 1:12-1:29 – After standing outside the lift, Elisa holds her hands behind her head as if she’s distressed.
- 1:34-1:49 – Elisa can be seen pushing more random lift buttons, as if she’s rapidly trying to get the lift to go somewhere.
- 1:57 – Elisa steps outside the lift and begins making very strange movements with her hands, with her palms flat and fingers all straightened out. She also appears to be talking to someone. This is followed by other hand movements as she begins to look more anxious.
- 2:26 – Elisa stumbles away from the lift.
- 3:00-4:00 – Having been malfunctioning the entire video, the lift door starts to mysteriously open and close again and again.
After the video it’s assumed that Elisa somehow found her way to the roof (which would have had a locked and alarmed door), and climbed into the water tank where she sadly drowned.
There are few theories on what happened to her, the obvious one being murder by a fellow guest or worker at the hotel. In the video around the 0:20 mark it does look like she is playing a game such as hide and seek. Or maybe she really is genuinely scared and hiding from an attacker for real. Because of the hotel’s poor reputation and location near the ‘skid row’ area of Los Angeles, it’s likely to attract shady people.
It’s widely believed that the video has been altered before being released to the police. You’d expect the timestamp in the corner of the video to change a digit 1 minute into the video, but this doesn’t happen until later on, suggesting that something was removed from the video and the rest of the footage was slowed down to compensate. Maybe the attacker or assassin was seen and removed?
The other popular theory for Elisa Lam’s death is suicide. She had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, and was taking four prescribed drugs to help her with the conditions – maybe these had caused her to hallucinate. Or perhaps she had forgotten to take these which caused her to act so strangely? The official autopsy said that no alcohol or drugs were found in Elisa’s body.
Elisa had run a blog which appeared to show her leading a happy and enjoyable lifestyle beforehand, which puts further doubts on the idea of it being a suicide.
Perhaps she was merely being possessed by something, who dumped her body into the water tank once it was done with it. We might not ever know the truth, but it’s a very creepy idea.