Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Dark Water in Downtown L.A.: Life Imitating Art?

*Spoiler alert: You may want to see Dark Water (the Japanese version is better) before reading this post.

Today there was a gruesome discovery at a hotel in downtown Los Angeles. A woman's naked body was found in a water tank on the rooftop of the Hotel Cecil on 6th & Main. Upon hearing the news story I immediately told my friend, "It's just like that movie Dark Water!" Yup. Life can certainly be stranger than fiction.

21-year-old Elisa Lam was a student from Canada on her way to Santa Cruz, California. Seems she decided to make a stop to see The City of Angels. Unfortunately, it would be the decision that would cost her her life.

She was staying at the Hotel Cecil, alone, until she vanished nearly three weeks ago. The police have released video footage from the hotel's elevator surveillance camera and I'm posting it here: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/02/14/elisa-lam-missing-video-la-vancouver_n_2688168.html

As you can see, Elisa acts in an extremely odd manner throughout the footage. Why was she pressing ALL of the elevator buttons? Who was she looking at/for? Why did she appear to be hiding at one point? If she was in danger, why didn't she run? And was she carrying on a conversation with someone who was off-camera or was she completely disoriented? The Hotel Cecil is said to be haunted and, knowing this, if you watch the video from the perspective that she may have witnessed something paranormal... Well, the video gets a little creepier.

The Hotel Cecil is one of the oldest continually-run hotels in the Los Angeles area. They recently went through a renovation hoping to capture some of the crowd now coming into downtown for sporting events, concerts, and an improving restaurant & bar scene. Still, the hotel is located in a seedy part of town - near Skid Row - which is overrun with homeless people and a high crime rate. The hotel itself has quite a macabre history. Aside from its ghost stories, it was where Richard Ramirez (aka The Night Stalker) stayed during his killing spree in the '80's. (A piece of trivia for all you numerology buffs: Ramirez killed 14 people, stayed on the 14th floor of the Hotel Cecil, and paid $14 per night for his room.) It was also where the Austrian journalist-turned-serial-killer, Jack Unterweger, lived. Stories go back further to Goldie Osgood being raped and strangled in the hotel, and Pauline Otten jumping out of a window in 1962 - not only killing herself, but a pedestrian who was walking on the sidewalk below.

Residents of the hotel recently complained about the low water pressure on the third and fourth floors, so a maintenance worker went up on the roof today to check the water tanks. Surprise, Mr. Maintenance Worker! You're now f***ed up for life!

One of the residents said he heard a loud bang from the fourth floor the night before Elisa went missing. He also told reporters that there was flooding on the fourth floor the day of Elisa's disappearance and mentioned that plumbers had determined there was "some kind of blockage in the pipes between the third and fourth floors." Ick. I'm telling you, this is Dark Water in real life!

Now, keep in mind, these water tanks hold the water supply for the hotel. Yes, people were DRINKING this water. Yes, people were brushing their teeth with this water. Yes, people were using this water to cook. Oh my God... Needless to say, residents are completely grossed out.

I'm giving this story four jumpers because it's just too damn creepy and almost unbelievable.

Until next time,