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Elisa Lam’s terrifying story: the mystery of the elevator video comes to Netflix

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Jiya Saini
Jiya Saini is a Journalist and Writer at Revyuh.com. She has been working with us since January 2018. After studying at Jamia Millia University, she is fascinated by smart lifestyle and smart living. She covers technology, games, sports and smart living, as well as good experience in press relations. She is also a freelance trainer for macOS and iOS, and In the past, she has worked with various online news magazines in India and Singapore. Email: jiya (at) revyuh (dot) com

In 2013, guests at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles complained guest complaints of problems with the water supply and pressure. It was the beginning of an investigation without clarification

If there is a hotel in Los Angeles that is better not to step on, it is the old Cecil Hotel. Dubbed the most haunted place in town, it has a long history of suicides, murders, disappearances, and reports of paranormal activity. A place not to sleep, literally. Built-in 1927, it is said to have served as the inspiration for one of the seasons of the ‘American Horror Story’ series. It has 600 rooms and some of its guests are infamous, such as Elizabeth Short, nicknamed The Black Dahlia, who was last seen in its vicinity before being horribly dismembered in 1947, serial killers Jack Unterweger and Richard Ramírez ‘night stalker’, and Elisa Lam.

The story of Canadian Elisa Lam is further proof of how the internet has become democratized. The terrifying video that shows her last hours has gone around the world. Born in Vancouver in 1991 , Lam was the daughter of Hong Kong emigrants and studied at the University of British Columbia. In January 2013, however, she did not register for university and decided to go on a solo trip to the United States, as she was excited to visit the West Coast and especially Los Angeles. Upon arriving in the city of stars, on January 26, she stayed at the Cecil hotel, with the idea of ​​heading to Santa Cruz on the 31st.. At first, she was assigned a shared room on the fifth floor, but her classmates complained about her strange behavior and ended up moving her to a room of her own.

Lam had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression and had been prescribed four medications (Wellbutrin, Lamotrigine, Quetiapine, and Venlafaxine). Every day since her journey began, she called her parents to explain her next plans, until suddenly she stopped. Alarmed that they had no news of their daughter, they decided to contact the police. An investigation was soon opened and a search for the girl began in Los Angeles, as she seemed to have literally vanished from Earth. It was the hotel staff who decided to investigate the recording cameras, when they came across something disturbing.

The footage, which has traveled the world, showed Elisa entering the hotel elevator scared and trying to hide, as if someone was chasing her. In the same way, she appeared to interact with something or someone that the viewer cannot see. The strangest thing about the video, however, is that she is seen frantically pressing the elevator buttons, over and over again, without the doors closing or the device reacting in any way. The moment she leaves and disappears down the hall, that’s when lift doors finally close. Those are the last surviving images of the young woman.

It was the hotel guests themselves who managed to find her whereabouts. Within days of Elisa’s disappearance, they began to complain that the hotel’s water system seemed to have pressure problems, bad taste, and was cloudy. When the tank was searched, on the roof, they found Elisa’s body floating in it, naked and in a state of decomposition. The autopsy revealed that the body had not suffered any damage or trauma and that she had not ingested any psychotropic substances. It appeared to have been an accidental death, by drowning, although they did not rule out a possible homicide.

However, the appearance of the corpse brought with it more questions than answers. There were no security cameras on the roof, but their access was restricted and there was an alarm that someone, in case of murdering Elisa, should have avoided or turned off, in addition to having to climb up to the tank using a ladder of more than three meters with the corpse in tow. It seemed unlikely. The option that it was Elisa herself who had thrown herself inside was also complicated, since the lid of the tank was too heavy and the firefighters had to make a hole to extract the body, how, then, had she entered by her own foot in a tank of which she had not even known anything?

Firefighters try to extract the corpse from the water tank. (Reuters)

Of course, as the girl’s death went viral, a lot of conspiracy theories emerged. While the police investigation did not find any evidence of a criminal act, Internet users discovered a great similarity between Elisa’s death and the story of the film ‘Dark Water’, a Japanese horror film by 2002, which had its Hollywood remake in 2005, starring Jennifer Connelly and which tells the story of an apartment in which ghosts appear in the elevator and in the form of cloudy water that drips from the taps and on the ceiling. In the film, the body of a murdered girl is also found in the water tank on the roof of the building. A crazy network theory ensures that the first number that Elisa pressed in the elevator was four (unlucky number in some Asian countries), the way in which a ritual originating in South Korea begins to move to another dimension.

Eight years later, still no one knows what really happened to the young woman. The investigation could never explain how she was able to enter the tank and, although the accidental death response is not entirely satisfactory, journalist Josh Dean points out that she probably suffered some psychotic episode during her stay at the hotel, which would explain her strange behavior in the video, which led her to climb to the roof, climb to the tank and get inside, fleeing a nonexistent threat. Maybe once inside she tried to get out, but got trapped and ended up drowning. “It’s the only answer that makes sense, even if it doesn’t make much sense,” Dean said.

On February 10, Netflix premieres a documentary about this mysterious disappearance. Let’s see if it brings a bit of clarity on one of the most mysterious events of the 21st century.

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