The Cecil Hotel


Most seedy old buildings have curious histories but the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is, shall we say, a cut above. Built in 1927 for business travelers, it quickly became known as a magnet for suicides and lunatics. Even walking by the place could get you killed, as when Pauline Otten jumped to her death in 1962 and wiped out the unfortunate pedestrian she hit on the way down. Two years later, Goldie Osgood, locally known as the The Pershing Square Pigeon Lady, was raped and murdered in her room. Even if you discount the unsubstantiated allegation that the Black Dahlia liked to hang out there and drink at the bar next door,┬áThe Cecil’s deadly reputation was cemented in the late 80s and early 90s when it housed infamous serial killers Richard Ramirez (a.k.a. The “Night Stalker”) and Jack Unterweger. Those links alone would be enough to earn it a stop on any morbid tour of L.A., but in February of 2013, the Cecil substantially upped its ghoulish quotient by playing host to the Mysterious Case of Elisa Lam. Guests began complaining of low water pressure, and a foul taste and color. Upon investigation of the water tank on the roof, beyond an allegedly locked door, staff discovered the decomposing body of a Canadian tourist . There are too many weird details and coincidences to cover here, but chief among them is a surveillance video of Lam acting very strangely before she died, as if playing a game with or trying to evade an unknown assailant.