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Elisa lam story

When year-old student Elisa Lam who also went by Lam Ho Yi traveled from Vancouver to California for a solo trip, she was ultimately found dead in a water tank on the rooftop of the infamous Cecil Hotel now rebranded as Stay on Main. That was on February 19,after she became a missing person January 31, In it, you see a young woman in an elevator, pressing all of the buttons, hiding from unseen thing or idea or feelingjumping in and out of the elevator, and gesturing with wild hand movements to the air.

According to her Tumblr, she seemed, to me, a curious, bright, deep thinker. She was a lover of beautiful words and photography. She was hungry for the world, and self-aware, and inspired. She had so much life before her.

How ‘The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel’ Misses the Real Story of Elisa Lam

In shot, she was more than her story, more than her mental health strugglesand more than any Internet sleuth could ever know.

She was a whole, dimensional person — not just some abstract material used for spooky conversation. What we see in that elevator is probably her dealing with a mental health episode while all alone in another country, in a hotel notorious for crime, without her normal support system.

I have family members with bipolar disorder and I myself live with chronic illness, anxiety, and PTSD. As a health journalist and chronic illness advocate, I know that changes in place and routine can be incredibly triggering. Tuberculosis experiments which can be explained? Elevators to different realms? The documentary takes its sweet time while making reductive, messy points, and menders salaciously before sort of making a point. It also explores that which lurks within the walls of the Cecil Hotel — and its surrounding LA neighborhood referred to as Skid Row.

This space has no doubt witnessed a lot of pain over the years. It clearly makes people very uncomfortable, pushing them to cling to anything that takes the focus off of human health and well-being. The web sleuths and Reddit conspiracy threads and theory round-ups all contribute to the denial of the main issue. The elevator footage and the picture of the water tank gave me the chills — because I know how scary, lonely, and confusing it is for people who are experiencing a mental health crisis.

By choosing to focus on evil entities in Los Angeles, we pivot from the heart of the matter. Are these theories our way of deflecting reality? We all love a spooky mystery. We all love sharing theories and diving into the dark web of research around elevator games and haunted hotels.

It's delicious. But please don't let yourself buy into sleuth theories. Instead, I ask that you spend your energy advocating for healthcare access and support for people with mental health struggles. If you or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Her work encounters self-care, trauma recovery, ritualized living and the arts.

Find her on Instagram for more. Sign in. Join YourTango Experts. Photo: Netflix. Lisa Marie Basile. Subscribe to our newsletter.

Join now for YourTango's trending articlestop expert advice and personal horoscopes delivered straight to your inbox each morning. Sign up now! Capitol Riots?Facebook Elisa Lam. To this day, nobody knows how exactly Elisa Lam died. We know that the year-old Canadian college student was last seen in the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles on January 31, But the infamously chilling hotel surveillance video that captured the bizarre final moments before her disappearance — let alone the other details that have emerged since — have only elicited more questions than answers.

Internet sleuths have come up with a myriad of theories about the tragedy, involving everything from murder conspiracies to evil spirits. But when it comes to the disturbing death of Elisa Lam, where does the truth lie? On Jan.

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The trip was supposed to be a getaway from her studies at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where she was originally from. Her family had been wary of her traveling by herself but the young student was determined to go at it alone. As a compromise, Lam made sure to check in with her parents every day of the trip to let them know that she was safe. Police soon released surveillance footage taken from the cameras at the Cecil Hotel on their website.

This is where things took a turn into the truly bizarre. The hotel video showed Elisa Lam in one of its elevators on the date of her disappearance acting rather strangely.

In the pixelated footage, Lam can be seen stepping into the elevator and pushing all the floor buttons. She peers out of the elevator another few times before stepping out of the elevator entirely. The last minutes of the video show Lam standing by the left side of the door, moving her hands in random gestures.

elisa lam story

Nobody else was captured on the video, except Lam. On Feb. Lopez made the discovery after responding to complaints from hotel patrons about low water pressure and a weird taste coming from the tap water. Hotel staff told authorities that Lam was always seen by herself around the hotel premises. But at least one person did see Lam soon before her death. Orphan remembered the college student buying books and music for her family back in Vancouver.

The toxicology report confirmed that Lam had consumed a number of medical drugs, likely to be medication for her bipolar disorder. But there were no indications of alcohol or illegal substances in her body.

Jay L. Soon after the toxicology report came out, amateur sleuths began poring over any information they could find in hopes of solving the mystery behind the death of Elisa Lam. The breakdown pointed out three key observations: 1 Lam took at least one antidepressant that day; 2 Lam had taken her second antidepressant and mood stabilizer recently, but not that day; and 3 Lam had not taken her anti-psychotic recently. These conclusions suggested that Lam, who had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression, may have not been taking her medications properly.As the lore goesRichard Ramirez, subject of the Netflix series Night Stalkerresided there for weeks during his years committing serial murders in the L.

Through interviews with staff, guests, and law enforcement, the show puts central focus on the mysterious disappearance and death of year-old Canadian woman Elisa Lam. Though medical reports, her Tumblr posts, and clues from her life have provided a degree of context for what happened, the true story of Lam's death remains little more than a theory. Several floors of the Cecil had been reopened as a " boutique hotel " called Stay on Main in to attract young travelers, and both the area and the rundown Cecil Hotel itself offered Lam a seedy welcome when she arrived on a train from San Diego.

Fairly certain this is where Baz Lurhmann needs to film the Great Gatsby. As journalist Josh Dean noted in his coverage of her death, Lam attended the school on and off for three years amid issues with depression and bipolar disorder.

On the afternoon of her originally intended checkout, she visited The Last Bookstore nearby, where manager Katie Orphan remembered her as friendly and worried about fitting the items she'd bought in her luggage. Per Netflix, late-night hotel employees said they'd seen Lam in a restricted area of the hotel on the evening of July After that, no one saw Elisa Lam alive again.

In the viral surveillance footage of Elisa Lam in the Cecil Hotel elevator, Lam appears to think someone is following her.

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Wearing a red hooded sweatshirt, black shorts, and sandals, Lam boards the car and then crouches down to peer at the buttons notably, she's not wearing her glasses. After pressing one, she steps into the back right corner. Then the clip gets stranger. Lam steps out and slowly leans out the door, looking right to left, hopping out, shuffling back in, and then back out again. Entering the elevator again after about a minute and a half, Lam then presses a bunch of buttons.

The doors don't close. At around the 2-minute mark is the eeriest part; Lam steps outside the elevator again, and moves her arms and hands in a manner that looks almost like she's pretending to conduct music, or pawing at the air. She appears to think she is speaking to someone, but no one is visible in frame.

Then she shuffles out of frame completely, into the hallway. Maintenance worker Santiago Lopez found a body in one of the large water tanks on the roof of the Cecil Hotel.

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After weeks of helping the Los Angeles police with their massive search, which turned up no leads, Lopez had gone to investigate the tanks when guests complained that water pressure was low, and that it had a strange taste.

Lopez also said that the door's alarm appeared functional when he'd disabled it that day, and he hadn't heard the alarm sound at all during Lam's stay which suggests she didn't arrive through that door, if she went alone.

The Cecil's chief engineer, Pedro Tovar, said in court documents that the roof could be accessed four ways: three fire escapes accessible by interior doors, and the staircase from the 14th floor that would've tripped the alarm.

To access the tank, Tovar said, one would have to climb to the tanks' platform, squeeze between the tanks and other plumbing, and climb a ladder. But then getting inside the tank would require opening the tank's very heavy metal lid. In June ofthe L. County coroner's office ruled Lam's cause of death accidental due to drowning. Her bipolar disorder was listed as a significant factor. How Lam would manage to climb to the tank, lift the heavy lid off, and then drown herself remains a mystery.

After Lam's death, the story hotel and its Stay on Main hostel stayed operational—though a quick search reveals a long string of dissatisfied customers shocked to find the lodgings much worse than described online. It shuttered in and has been closed since then.

While it remains to be seen whether the Cecil Hotel's reincarnation will materialize in late as originally planned, the building became a landmark the same year it closed. For more stories like this, sign up for our newsletter. Your Best Life. Type keyword s to search. Lam was last seen alive in an eerie viral video that showed her acting bizarrely in a Cecil Hotel elevator. While Lam was found dead in a water tank atop the hotel, Netflix's series raises questions about her death.

The Cecil Hotel in You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.A maintenance worker discovered the body when investigating guest complaints of problems with the water supply and pressure. Her disappearance had been widely reported; interest had increased five days prior to the discovery of her body when the Los Angeles Police Department released a video of the last time she was known to have been seen, on the day of her disappearance, by an elevator security camera in the hotel.

In the footage, Lam is seen exiting and re-entering the elevator, talking and gesturing in the hallway outside, and sometimes seeming to hide within the elevator. The video went viral on the internet, with many viewers reporting that they found it unsettling. Explanations ranged from claims of paranormal involvement to bipolar disorderfor which Lam took medication.

It has also been argued that the video was altered prior to release.

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The circumstances of Lam's death, once she was found, also raised questions, especially in light of the hotel's history in relation to other notable deaths and murders. Her body was naked [4] with most of her clothes and personal effects floating in the water near her. Some of the early Internet interest noted what were considered to be unusual similarities between Lam's death and the horror film Dark Water.

Lam, the daughter of immigrants from Hong Kong[6] [7] was a student at the University of British Columbia [2] although she was not registered at the beginning of For her trip to CaliforniaLam traveled alone on Amtrak and intercity buses.

After two days, she checked into the Cecil Hotel[10] near downtown 's Skid Row. Built as a business hotel in the s, the Cecil had significant financial difficulties during the Great Depression of the s and never recaptured its original market as downtown decayed around it in the late 20th century.

Several of Los Angeles' more notable murders have happened at or have connections to the hotel: inGoldie Osgood, the "Pigeon Lady of Pershing Square ," was raped and murdered in her room at the Cecil, a crime that has never been solved.

Lam had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. According to her family, who supposedly kept her history of mental illness a secret, [3] Lam had no history of suicidal ideations or attempts, [16] although one report claimed she had previously gone missing for a brief period. In mid, [18] Lam began a blog named Ether Fields on Blogspot.

In a January blog post, Lam lamented that a " relapse " at the start of the current school term had forced her to drop several classes, leaving her feeling "so utterly directionless and lost. She used that quote as an epigraph for her blog.

Lam worried that her transcript would look suspicious with so many withdrawals and that it would result in her being unable to continue her studies and attend graduate school. A little over two years after Lam had started blogging, she announced she would be abandoning her blog for another she had started on Tumblr"Nouvelle-Nouveau". The same Palahniuk quotation was used as an epigraph.Inthe last known footage of Elisa Lam came from grainy elevator security camera footage from the Cecil Hotel.

The year-old appears frantic and paranoid in the four minutes of footage—pressing multiple buttons, peeking nervously out of the doors, and hiding against the wall of the unmoving elevator from what appears to be an unseen person. Scores of internet sleuths jumped on the case of the missing young woman, and theories of paranormal activity, a threatening off-camera figure, and video manipulation quickly began to spread online. The Cecil Hotel, located in downtown L. More than a dozen murders and suicides have taken place in and around the Cecil Hotel since its opening.

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Elizabeth Short, the Black Dahlia, was said to have been seen at the Cecil days before her murder, and the hotel served as a temporary residence to serial murderers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger at times. The Vancouver student, who had long been planning a solo trip up the coast of California, opted to stay at the Stay on Main, a downtown budget hostel, for the Los Angeles leg of her trip.

While the two properties had different lobbies and entrances, the Cecil Hotel and Stay on Main had shared elevators. Which is, among other reasons, why the elevator video of Lam on the last day she is seen alive was so frightening to so many people online. Lam was reported missing soon after she failed to check out of her room on February 1, The docuseries recounts several notable occurrences before she disappeared—the hotel had moved Lam from a shared room to a private one as she had been disturbing her fellow guests.

But they discovered nothing.

Reasonable Doubt: How awful for Elisa Lam—but what about Morbid?

And so, with no leads, they chose to release the four minutes of jarring elevator footage of Lam to the public on February 14, causing a frenzy online and in the media. On February 19,twenty days after Lam was last seen, a hotel staffer was sent up to the roof of the hotel to check on the water tanks after several guest complaints about low pressure and murky water coming out of the taps.

According to the coroner featured in the docuseries, her autopsy revealed that she had not been taking the full dosage of her medication around the time of her death. But the startling behavior of Lam in the elevator and the enduring mystery of how she got up onto the locked roof and into the tank in the first place kept a community of YouTubers, Redditors, and internet sleuths suspicious about the circumstances and hunting for clues.

The documentary does its best to fact check a number of the most prominent conspiracy theories about the Lam case. For example, one theory claimed that the vocalist of a German metal band killed Lamhowever Crime Scene notes that the musician was in Mexico at the time of the death.

Without necessarily presenting new evidence, the documentary largely de-shrouds the mystery surrounding the case by featuring the firsthand testimony of the coroner, investigators, and staff from the Cecil Hotel who had previously not spoken publicly on the matter. By the end of the four episodes, although the mystery of how Lam ended up in the water tank remains, the case is understood to be a tragedy related to a young woman's mental health, and not a paranormal horror story.

United States. Type keyword s to search. Today's Top Stories. Join Esquire Select. The Real Genius of 'WandaVision'. This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site. The rebranded Cecil Hotel, where Elisa Lam stayed. Lauren Kranc Lauren Kranc is an editorial assistant at Esquire, where she covers pop culture and television, with entirely too narrow of an expertise on Netflix dating shows.

Elisa Lam's Confusing Death: What Happened at the Cecil Hotel?

This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano. Advertisement - Continue Reading Below. More From TV.If you watch enough true crime documentaries on streaming platforms, you start to notice a template emerging.

And there are the red herrings, the tantalizing alternative theories or explanations of the case spliced into the narrative to build suspense and justify the fact that the story is told in multiple installments, rather than just the hour-and-a-half of a standard documentary.

elisa lam story

For those unacquainted with the facts of the case, Lam disappeared in while traveling through L. Police eventually found her decomposing body in a water tank on the roof, and while it is still unclear how she got to the roof or ended up in the tank, an autopsy determined her cause of death was accidental drowning, finding no evidence of physical or sexual assault.

The fact that Lam suffered from bipolar disorder — and that a toxicology report revealed only traces of pharmaceuticals in her system at the time of her death, indicating that she may not have been taking her medication — further contributed to the theory that she may have had a psychotic episode, causing her to climb the roof and end up in the tank.

Was Lam on powerful hallucinogenic drugs, possibly procured in Skid Row, the downtown L. Was she murdered by a hotel employee who was protected by a subsequent cover-up? Or was she killed by a struggling black metal musician named Morbid?

Despite the flimsiness of these theories, however, the filmmakers take their sweet time examining the merits of each one. All of these theories are introduced throughout the series, usually by people with no tangible connection to either the case or Lam herself. And the aim of this storytelling tactic is clear: to regenerate interest in a now eight-year-old case, one that predated the explosion of the true crime genre and a cottage industry of podcasts and Facebook groups of obsessives mulling over potential theories about grisly murder cases.

To do so would be to acknowledge the reality: that most violent or unusual deaths are tragic, yet sadly explicable.

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Those individuals deserve a better space than the one we created for them. This type of self-reflection is jarring to see in the context of the true crime genre, which is not exactly known for either its self-awareness or its propensity for discussing social issues. But it is necessary. Elisa Lam was much more than the horrific way she died, or the sketchy hotel where she spent her last days.

elisa lam story

And by entertaining these red-herring theories, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel ignores the reality of mental illness, and the threat it can pose. Newswire Powered by. Close the menu. Rolling Stone. Log In. To help keep your account secure, please log-in again.

What Happened to Elisa Lam of Netflix's Crime Scene: Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel?

You are no longer onsite at your organization. Please log in.Fans of true crime and unsolved mysteries may recognize the name Elisa Lam. Elisa was a UBC student who disappeared while staying in an L.

The police released the last-known footage of Elisa to the media in a Hail Mary move to get leads from the public. The footage is creepy. It shows Elisa acting erratically and it fuelled wild speculation about paranormal activity and conspiracy theories. The video quickly became viral. One interesting tangent in the show were the Internet sleuths. Strangers came across the viral video of Elisa and became obsessed with solving the mystery themselves.

Some turned their suspicions to Morbid. Morbid is the stage name of a death-metal musician. Unfortunately, Internet mobs accused Morbid of killing Elisa. He became the target of relentless online hostility and harassment.

In the show, Morbid discusses his unfair treatment, mental-health struggles, and his eventual retreat from public life. Still, I was left asking myself at the end of the Netflix series, "What about Morbid? What happens when cyberbullies and Internet trolls turn on you?

Last month, the Ontario courts heard an extreme case and created a new way to hold people accountable on the Internet. For years, the defendant wrote thousands of posts about people she held grievances against. She targeted former employers, former coworkers, and lawyers involved in mortgage proceedings taken against her.

Her accusations ran the gamut from professional misconduct to sexual crimes and pedophilia. The judge needed to consider what was justified in these extreme circumstances. The judge found the defendant destitute, living in shelters, and an undischarged bankrupt.

As a result, the judge felt that ordering such an impoverished defendant to pay damages would not have any impact and that the online postings would only continue.

The judge also considered how she had already refused to obey temporary orders to stop Internet postings—suggesting that she would not comply in the future with any permanent order. The defendant was also found in contempt of court for defying procedural rules and was sent to jail as a result. Ultimately, the judge found defamation law inadequate to address this case. Rather, the judge found the postings were meant to harass them.


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