I have been obsessed with the disappearance of Elisa Lam since it happened in 2013.
A quick recap:
Tourist and 21-year-old student Elisa Lam from Vancouver, Canada, was found dead inside the rooftop water tank of the Cecil hotel on Los Angeles’ skid row. The LA.County Department of Coroner ruled the death “accidental due to drowning” and said no traces of drugs or alcohol were found during the autopsy. However, there is much more to the story than what is implied by police reports. Much, much more.
Never mind the fact that rooftop was locked and the 8-foot-tall water cistern was incredibly difficult to access, making an accidental fall into it all but impossible. There’s video surveillance, see, and that video tape surveillance is one of the most bone-chilling things you will ever witness.
From Vigilant Citizen:
The four-minute video posted on YouTube shows Elisa pressing all of the elevator buttons and waiting for it to move. Seeing that the elevator doors are not closing, starts behaving extremely bizarrely. At first, Elisa enters the elevator and apparently presses all of its buttons. She then waits for something to happen but, for some reason, the elevator door doesn’t shut. She starts to look around, as if she is expecting (or hiding from) someone. At 1:57, her arms and hands start moving in a very strange matter (almost not human) as she appears to be talking to someone, something … or nothing at all. She then walks away. The elevator door then shuts and appears to start working again.
Watch it now, I dare you. Pay extra-special attention to those weird-ass hand movements, like she had no bones, like they were somehow elongated, like they were somehow not her own – WTF IS THAT?
And who was she hiding from? Who was she talking to? And why was the elevator door taking so long to close?
Now, Netflix is on the case and we might have some answers soon!
Directed and executive produced by true crime veteran Joe Berlinger (who also made Netflix’s Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes), the four-part series is set to drop on 10 February, and we already can’t wait. It comes almost eight years to the day since Los Angeles police released the last-known CCTV footage of Elisa, taken inside the hotel elevator. The footage shows Elisa acting so erratically the clips have birthed a thousand conspiracy theories about alien abduction, human trafficking and haunted hotels, to name but a few.
“As a true crime documentarian, I was fascinated in 2013, when the elevator video of Elisa Lam went viral and legions of amateur detectives used the internet to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist on her first trip to Los Angeles,” the director said in a statement.
“So, when journalist Josh Dean, who is also a producer on the project, brought us his research into this case, we realised there was as an opportunity to do something different by not just telling the story of Elisa’s disappearance, but to create a series that explores a particular location’s role in encouraging or abetting crime — or the perception thereof.”
The series will also go deep on the checkered history of the Cecil Hotel, which is admittedly pretty spooky in itself. Along with Elisa’s case, the notorious site hosted serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger, and even became the inspiration for American Horror Story’s hotel-themed season. “My past projects have leaned into individual crimes and criminals, but I have never explored the role a particular location has played in creating an environment in which multiple crimes seemingly take place over and over again,” writes Joe Berlinger. “The fact that Elisa disappeared in a location that has a multi-decade history of crimes is what made her case fascinating to me.”
Check in to the Cecil Hotel on February 10, only on Netflix.