The Case of Elisa Lam

Photo of Elisa Lam, 21
The infamous case of Elisa Lam truly is, without a doubt, one of the most baffling cases of modern times. What started as a disappearance case quickly turned into a mystery of global proportions. So, what was it about this specific case that captured worldwide attention of many? Simply put, a lot of really strange and unexplained stuff surrounding this case.


Elisa Lam, 21, was the average girl from Vancouver, Canada who in January of 2013, decided to take a trip to California. During her trip she stayed at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. Some witnesses report everything seemed to be going quite well for Elisa during her trip. However, on the day when she was supposed to check out of the hotel, she never showed up. That is when the police was notified about her disappearance and when the mystery started to emerge.


A week into the search for the missing girl, police released a video which gave this disappearance a whole new meaning. It was the video footage of Elisa Lam filmed in an elevator of the Cecil Hotel at the night of her disappearance. This video is one of the most bizarre videos that could be found online. It showed the girl acting strangely and even paranoid in an elevator; she was pressing buttons without obvious reasoning, communicating with someone who is not seen as well as ducking in and out of the elevator as if she is hiding from someone. The released video reached over three million views in only ten days quickly turning it into a viral internet obsession of many who wanted to know what caused this girl to act so bizarrely. To see the infamous footage, click here. The video was not the only thing which captured the interest of the internet. Strangely enough, Elisa’s Tumblr blog was updated several times after her disappearance making this case even more suspicious.


As the interest in the case was rapidly rising, back at the Cecil Hotel guests started complaining about the dark sour-tasting water out of the hotel’s taps. In order to investigate the situation, a hotel maintenance man went on the roof to inspect the water tank. What he discovered was shocking at least. He found the dead body inside of the water tank.  The police confirmed that it was the body of the missing girl, Elisa Lam. Although the girl’s body was found, the case was not closed instead it sparked even questions which are yet to be answered. It is unknown how the girl managed to get to the roof top since it is protected by alarmed door. Furthermore, in order for her to get into the water tank she would have to climb up three-meter ladder and open the large water tank, get in and close it behind her. It is still not completely known how she managed to get into the water tank. Eventually, Elisa Lam’s death was ruled as accidental leaving most of the mysteries unresolved.


However, the internet communities were not satisfied with the resolution and did not rest on this case till this day due to the bizarre coincidences surrounding this case. Firstly, at the time of Elisa Lam’s death, the Centers for Disease Control dispatched a team to stem the largest outbreak of tuberculosis in a decade on Skid Row. It only happens that the Cecil Hotel where Elisa was staying was on the Skid Row, LA. The name for the test used to identify the potential victims was LAM-ELISA. Some believed this was way too crazy to be a coincidence.

Another really strange detail involves the 2005 movie “Dark Water” whose plot is strangely similar to Elisa Lam’s case. In the movie guests in a hotel start noticing a strange taste of the tap water only to find out the reason for it is the girl’s dead body in hotel’s water tank.

Furthermore, internet quickly picked up on the Cecil Hotel’s dark history and, apparently, Elisa Lam was not the only victim there. Trough the times there have been numerous suicides, murders and disappearances as well as serial killers staying at the mentioned hotel. Needless to say that many people viewed this as not yet another bizarre coincidence. As far as this case goes, there are just too many strange details for all of them to be coincidences.


As expected numerous different theories were spewed out about what could have happened to Elisa Lam. One of the first was the one stating Elisa might have been on drugs. That might explain her erratic behavior but it does not explain how she managed to get through the alarmed door and into the water tank. Moreover, during further analysis and autopsy, it was confirmed that drugs were not found in her body.

Many taught this was obvious murder claiming that she was hiding from the attacker in the elevator and was eventually murdered in the water tank. However, autopsy showed no signs of trauma or struggle leaving us back at the dead end.

Next theory suggests she might have suffered psychotic episode. Allegedly, Elisa has been suffering from depression and bipolar disorder which would explain her paranoid behavior in the elevator. It was reported she was taking medication for the mentioned disorders. However, it arises the same question of how did she get through the alarmed door and into the water tank? Many say simplest explanation might be the most valid one. Therefore, there is a possibility that some of the staff members accidentally left the door open as well as the water tank. Some claim Cecil Hotel kept quiet about this to avoid the blame. However since there seemed to be a lot of other really strange coincidences, some people simply were not satisfied with this explanation. As if there needed to be something more.

This is where the internet theories took place claiming various different possibilities of Elisa Lam’s case. Some say she was murdered by the government because she either knew something she was not supposed to know or she was a secret guinea pig for the new anti-tuberculosis drug. Others claim she was involved in a ritualistic play of fanatics who were recreating the previously mentioned movie Dark Waters. The third claim the girl was possessed by either a spirit of the hotel or something even darker. There have been several psychics trying to figure out what happened to Elisa and all seemed to have suffered extreme nausea and negativity while trying to connect to her final days. Majority of them claim she had been surrounded by negative entities during that time.

With so many people intrigued and interested in her case, it is not a surprise so many theories already exist. The truth is no one can surely say what happened in those final days of Elisa Lam’s life and it will probably stay a mystery forever. However, Elisa Lam surely became famous and more importantly she made us think and question our reality which can change and switch in a second. 

Thanks for a read!



  1. One of the most bizarre coincidences in the case is this -


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