The Case of Elisa Lam: Grisly Murder or Paranormal Possession

Paranormal, Unexplained
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On February 21st 2013, a maintenance worker responding to complaints by guests of the Cecil Hotel in East Los Angeles, discovered a decomposing body at the bottom of the hotel’s water tank. For 19 days hotel guests had bathed, brushed their teeth and drank of the water despite its “funny, sweet, disgusting taste.” The body dredged up from the rooftop water tank was identified as Elisa Lam, a 21 year old Canadian tourist on her way to Santa Cruz. Los Angeles robbery/homicide detectives are treating the still unsolved case as a murder.
elisa lam body discovered in water tank

After combing through hotel surveillance tapes, police uncovered an extremely disturbing video of Elisa taken from the night she died. One’s immediate response is to assume the young woman was either 1) being followed 2) on drugs (possibly bath salts) or 3) both.


The first impression one likely gets from watching the first minute or so of this video is that Elisa is hiding from someone. But this seemingly obvious explanation is complicated, perhaps undermined, by the remainder of the video, in which the woman’s behavior becomes increasingly bizarre. Strange gestures, erratic movements, waiting outside the elevator as though summoning something–none of these seem in keeping with the petrified terror one would experience if being stalked or followed.

Since the autopsy is incomplete pending further investigation, including a toxicology report that won’t be ready for 3 weeks, the Ghost Diaries will now present a 4th option: paranormal possession.

Why go there? The skeptic asks. Answer…the Cecil Hotel has served as temporary home for no less than two serial killers: the legendary “Nightstalker” Richard Ramirez and Austrian Euro-ghoul Jack Unterweger.
nightstalker serial killers cecil hotel
In 1985, Ramirez paid $14 a night to stay on the 14th floor of the Cecil, where he killed 14 people. Six years later, Unterweger murdered several prostitutes while living at the Cecil.

The Cecil Hotel was also the scene of a 1962 suicide, in which 27 year-old Pauline Otten jumped out of her window and landed on a pedestrian, killing both. Two years later, Goldie Osgood, known by some as the Pershing Square Pigeon Lady, was found raped and strangled at the Cecil. It is also widely rumored that Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, patronized the seedy hotel and the bar next door shortly before her notorious disappearance in 1947.
the black dahlia

Hollywood is not a stranger to strange phenomenon and potential paranormal activity….but what does all this add up to? At the very least, an extremely peculiar pattern of death and murder localized at one hotel and spanning nearly 6 decades.

Was Elisa Lam stalked and murdered, then taken up to the roof of the Cecil and stuffed into the water tank? Were there drugs involved, perhaps a drug deal gone wrong? If not drugs, what else could have prompted her to go in and out of the elevator making freakish, occult gestures? The Ghost Diaries proposes a paranormal explanation. Go back and watch the video again–like so many other freakish YouTube videos, this one makes the hair on your neck stiffen.

If the toxicology report comes back negative, it may well turn from a homicide investigation into proof of paranormal or demonic possession.


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  • Purfus

    This woman is definitely on mushrooms, and i know this sounds strange, (after all mushrooms are mushrooms), but i think i can even be confident in saying that the strain was pink buffalo, a strain known for its spiritual effects and ability to allow for spirit possession.

    This is not to say she was not possessed. She definitely is, i can especially tell by her swaying walk as she stepped out of the elevator. It seems to me that unfortunately this case might just be a suicide or an accidental death WHILE she was possessed. She probably was recognized as being high, offered some weed or something by someone with access to the roof, (this is where i would go to smoke a joint if i worked at a hotel). Then one thing led to another and next thing you know she ends up in a water tank.

    That is what i think anyhow. Same theory with a little bit of potential explanation to it i hope.

    • Purfus

      Now that i read the above comment i need to add it also may have been a murder. My theory isnt meant to disagree with others, it is meant to add the little bit of authoratative knowledge i can, being that i know a think or two about mushroom use 😉

      • theghostdiaries

        It’s an interesting theory–it’s also possible that she was 1) on drugs 2) possessed (and making bad decisions) and 3) stalked and murdered. We won’t be able to rule out the drugs until the toxicology comes back.

  • Miss Hello Kitty

    I would say that she is DEFINITELY on drugs, and I don’t know about you, but if someone was after me in a creepy hotel, I sure as hell wouldn’t be jumping in and out of the elevator like that. She couldn’t work the elevator, she was not (or did not appear to be) panic-stricken or anything for most

  • Miss Hello Kitty

    Oops! Lol
    Anyway, I went on to say, she didn’t seem that freaked out like someone was chasing her. I think possession by a poor, murdered lost soul, a permanent resident of the Cecil.

  • hmm

    In reference to the above comment about mushrooms- absolute made up bullshit. First of all you can never tell from a minutes long video of someone what drugs they were on. You could SUPPOSE at best the use of pschedlic drugs due to odd behavior but you could NEVER discern whether a person was on mushrooms versus lsd or mescaline or other such compounds by looking at them. Never. Observable physical symptoms of both tryptamine and phenthylamine hallucinogens are IDENTICAL. Second, there are no “strains” of mushrooms with different effects. Mushrooms are either psilocybin cubensis which contains psilocybin-the prodrug metabolized into psychoactive tryptamine hallucinogen psilocin– or they are not. There are other mushrooms asuch as amanita muscaria but they are not the common “magic mushrolms” and are exceedinglyrare outside of serious entheogenic devotee circles. Just wanted to throw this out there. If you dont know something, dont make some shit up and call yourself an authority on the subject. Go take what is clearly your first dose and grow up.

    • Dreadful Dac

      first thing i said was mushrooms, if you ever tripped on shrooms or any other pyscodelic you know what i mean. i do the same thing with my hands that she does when she steps out of the elevator

  • Miss Hello Kitty

    She seemed scared to you? At first maybe a little. But if she was sober and someone or something was “after her” she sure as hell wouldn’t be jumping in and out of the elevator like a weirdo. She couldn’t even work the elevator. If you’re a woman being chased, sober, this is NOT how you behave. She was on something, no doubt about it whether it be alcohol or drugs of some sort. But that doesn’t explain her death. I believe it had something to do with the crazy-haunted history of the hotel, and her being on drugs is pretty much unrelated to that.

  • Gav

    There is a huge coverup going on this case. I’m not sure if this is because of a murder of paranormal possession. I feel that if they were covering up something paranormal they would be more careful though, so it’s probably just important information relating to the murder. You can see what I’m talking about here:

  • Phillip Hernandez

    Very interesting , very interesting . Call it what you wish but you have to watch the video over and over for details . Nobody can honestly say what happened to Ms Lam . All we can do is speculate on what happened based on the evidence that we see on her last moments before her disappearance . If you notice the presence of a shadow in the elevator in front of the floor leaning over the number pad . It remains there thu the complete tape … If you check the history of this hotel it is rich in negitive happenings throughout its history … you be the judge

  • Jacob Thomas

    This is a particularly interesting case. There are a few points one would have to consider in attempting to understand this case.

    1) A complete sober and sane woman of her age and stature, either being followed or chased by someone would not continuously reappear in the very same elevator. According to the building – there are several stairwells she may have gone through in order to escape.

    2) The hotel maintenance logs establish a pattern of foul water protruding from the water line – and essentially the water faucets throughout the hotel. Throughout history, reports of medical complications, including severe mental distress, has been caused by contaminated water in certain areas.

    3) There is no telling whether the woman in question knew of the previous incidents taken place in the very same hotel.

    4) In a previous report I had read quite some time ago on this case revealed the woman in question did however suffer from a minor mental disorder – but not the level of the disorder in which will cause erratic behavior such as is exhibited in the video.

    5) The “shadows” seen in the video are lighting differentials caused by the camera given the time of day in the video. This is called “focus”.

    6) There is no telling whether the woman in question was on any particular drugs but the likelihood of vagrants and various other less than conspicuous persons are high – considering the police reports.

    7) According to the maintenance staff, the lock on the container she was found – naked at that – was shut and thus would have been impossible for the woman to have climbed in. In a less than conspicuous facility employing less than friendly staff, mistakes and/or false reporting would more than likely be common – leading to the possibility Ms Lam did in fact climb in by herself.

    8) Her being found naked in the end does present some extra questions – as is still pending investigations and autopsy reports.

    ***Possible conclusion arrived at – given current information known and evidence found – she may have been sexually assaulted. During such was she slipped a minor narcotic or potent drug strong enough to cause similar effects of current bath salt craze or LSD. In an attempt to hide the body, the criminal stripped her naked knowing it was a water reserve and would wash away any evidence of sexual assault. This would provide the criminal a perfect killing ground given at minimum the hotels history of both crime and potential paranormal activity***

  • phantasy phootball

    No, you can’t. Stop being so melodramatic.

  • Kevin

    If you watch the elevator door, It does close slightly then open back up. Right after she got on the elevator and pushed buttons. Which is probably why she peeked her head out and looked to both sides of the elevator. This wasn’t the break of a mind, she was murdered.

  • Nightshade09

    I find it creepy on how many sock puppets have infested the comments section parroting the Bi-Polar / Hallucination line.

    I’ve been around Bi-Polar people most of my life. Best friend in grade school, a girl friend in high school, another best friend in collage and a girl friend there. I’ve seen manic more times then I’ve whished to see.. Its like watching someone on Speed. They don’t hallucinate!

    Those suffering schizophrenia do hallucinate as do those having mental break. (psychosis) . Yet no where in Elisa Lam official records does it state her condition was anywhere near this state. Thus those conditions must be ruled out. In such a case as the above the hallucinatory experience goes hand in hand with extreme paranoia which Elisa Lam is clearly not experiencing. She’s in fact giddy, child like, playful behavior. Here hand gestures are not ‘groping for air) but she’s directing music and if you take notice she does appear to dancing in the hallway (her body half cut by the corner)

    Secondly, Once at university I was trapped in a elevator that had experienced free fall and thank god somehow jammed/wedged itself between floors before impact. (A lot of Paranormal Events happened! But that’s’ for another post) I was trapped in that elevator for 8 hours overnight before the fire department and repair crews could get me out. Needless to say not only did I press all the buttons but I also kicked the panel (with full force hiking boots and myself being 6‘4 230 lbs at the time); anything, to get out of there. I can say even during a catastrophic mechanical failure and abuse by the occupent. Inner doors of a elevator do still work properly under such extreme state!

    On the surveillance footage there are 3 anomies’

    1. The delay in the elevator doors.

    2. Watch Elisa exit and then entire the elevator the first time. Pay special attention to the reflection of the hallway and floor on the door jamb of the button panel. You will see Elisa’s reflect leave the elevator but NOT re-enter the elevator nor .

    3. As Elisa finally exits for good and the door closes as it moves floor to floor. Keep an eye on the button panel. A defused area that changes with each floor landing. While as logical expected you don’t see any other part of the elevator experience this since its perfectly still.

    Its very clear that tape has been altered to hide a hidden hand or body in that elevator that steps forward towards the operations panel once Elsia Lam leaves for good.


    This hotel is within LA’s famous Skid Row. Its inhabitants low to poverty income transient population. The invisible of our society. The perfect lab rats within their individual cages sort of speak.

    Elisa’s action and body language is NOT one of fear or panic, prey eluding some unseen predator. Nor that of one having a mental break. Her movement and actions are (even manner of her death; taking a swim in a hotels water tanks) very consistent of being under the influence of drugs. Namely LSD or sub case of drugs.

    Elisa Lam was the perfect “Human Test Subject” An Asian woman. As an Asian cross sampling In a hotel of North American Human Test Subjects.

    It could very well be that Elsa Lam stumbled upon a modern version of the famous Covert testing of LSD on unsuspecting Americans in 1950s.

    • Sandie Victoria Monte

      Did you see the other part of the “coincidence” that happened at the same time as this? A drug-resistant form of TB broke out in LA and it was named the LAM Elisa strain. ????!!!!!! I think she was a good target for a lab controlled planned outbreak. Infect someone who isn’t anyone, somewhere no one knows them, and then put their infected body into a water tank to infect an unknowing sample of poverty (“low-life nobodies” if you will) people in order to monitor and control…what? I’m just tying things together here… but what if?

  • Sadie

    I worked as a elevator cleaner for 2 years and I have no doubt in my mind that something is weird with those doors. An elevator door automatically closes after 30 seconds unless it is being controlled by the operator switch which requires a key. There is a possibility of prolonging the time the doors are open by having your arm in front of the sensor but even then the doors forcefully shut after the warning alarm. I am shocked at the duration of the open doors and I think there is another explanation.

  • Barrison Hughes

    Yeah. You’re an idiot.