The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: Why the Elisa Lam mystery is still relevant

The Cecil Hotel has a lengthy history of horrific happenings that goes back decades. Elisa Lam’s death at the Cecil Hotel in 2013 should have been another drop in the bucket, but it wasn’t.

When she first went missing, the video released by the authorities would make her infamous even though there have been so many other occurrences.

The documentary Crime Scene: The vanishing at the Cecil Hotel carefully explains why Elisa’s story is so intriguing and reveals why the case is closed from an investigator’s perspective. While amateur internet detectives believe there is someone out there responsible for Elisa’s murder, the police have reason to believe that the case is closed.

It all starts with the Cecil Hotel’s dark history and how it gives the place an almost supernatural vibe. Located in sketchy Skid row, The Cecil Hotel was once dubbed the Suicide Hotel for obvious reasons. The serial killer called “The Nightstalker” even checked in for a stay.

It is rumored that he would come back to his room covered in blood after a night of murder. Even a senior who loved feeding pigeons at a nearby park named Pigeon Goldie was raped, stabbed, and murdered at the hotel.

There have been 16 deaths at or around the Cecil Hotel since it first opened in 1924. One of which included the Canadian student Elisa Lam who was on vacation at the hotel before her disappearance.

She would go missing for over two weeks before they would find her body. The only evidence of her last moments is in a surveillance video that shows Elisa acting oddly in an elevator. Elisa presses the elevators’ buttons and appears to be hiding from someone and then speaking to someone although she is alone.

Why people believe that Elisa Lam was killed at the Cecil Hotel

Crime Scene: The vanishing at the Cecil Hotel

Episode 1 of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021

The internet latched onto this video, and an explosion of theories and accusations developed that all concluded that someone killed Elisa. In truth, Elisa was found inside a water tank on the hotel roof, and the coroner deemed her death an accident. So, why continue to insist that there’s more to this story? There are just parts of the story that don’t add up.

For starters, the video appears to have been edited. There is an entire minute missing, and the hotel manager and the police department claim that no one has touched the video on their end. The elevator stays open for an extended amount of time as if it’s being held open by someone. Then there’s the question of whether the lid of the water tank was light enough for Elisa to lift.

However, as many who watch the documentary will discover, there are perfectly rational reasons why this case is not considered a murder. Elisa was on bipolar medication and had not been taking her medication correctly before her disappearance. At one point, she had roommates who claimed that Elisa exhibited strange behavior, so the hotel separated them.

Therefore, Elisa could have been experiencing hallucinations and other side effects of not taking her meds. It would explain why Elisa was acting strangely in the elevator video and why she could have ended up in the water tank. Lastly, the police claim that they found no bruises on Elisa’s body, and there would have been bruises if someone threw her into the tank.

Despite all the evidence, there are still those who choose to believe there are questions that have not been answered. When it comes to the Cecil Hotel, Elisa Lam will always come up as an unsolved mystery.

Stream Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel on Netflix.