Tag Archives: haunted hotels

The Cecil Hotel back in the news

UPDATE: News sources are reporting that the death of Elisa Lam has been ruled accidental with bipolar disease being a “significant condition.” This ruling still does not answer the main question on most people’s minds, which is how Elisa Lam ended up on the roof of the hotel (a reportedly secure area only accessible to staff) and how she ended up in the water tank where it has been ruled she accidentally drowned. If no foul play was involved, was there negligence in security by the hotel? Did Elisa Lam have a mental health crisis? So far the police haven’t indicated that the hotel has done anything wrong. It appears we may never really know what caused Elisa Lam to end up on the roof where she tragically died.

My previous post about my father’s encounter with a ghost at the Cecil Hotel started receiving a lot of hits this past week. I soon realized there was a news report of a missing college student named Elisa Lam from Canada and her last known whereabouts were at the Cecil Hotel (also referred to as Hotel Cecil). Furthermore, there is video of her acting strangely in the elevator of the hotel.

Photo: Crow's Nest postcards, ebay.com

A retro image of the Cecil Hotel. Photo: Crow’s Nest postcards, ebay.com

I hoped, along with everyone else, that there would be a happy ending to this story. But whether it is curse or merely coincidence, the Cecil Hotel is now the scene of another tragic death. Over the coming days, perhaps we will learn more about how Elisa Lam, 21, ended up dead in one of the hotel’s water tanks located on the roof. My condolences go out to her family and friends.

Right or wrong, the Cecil Hotel has earned quite the garish reputation over the years. The hotel has seen strange deaths over the years and served as a temporary home to serial killer Richard Ramirez. My father’s frightening experience in a room at the Cecil Hotel shook him up every time he retold the story. Of course, there have been thousands of uneventful stays at this hotel as well. I’m an open-minded skeptic when it comes to buildings with bad atmospheres.

I know Dad would have followed this case closely and would have been very saddened by the unfortunate outcome.

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Dad’s stay at the haunted Cecil Hotel

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UPDATE 10.26.17: I see that once again the Cecil Hotel is a trending topic, thanks to Investigation Discovery’s show, Horror at the Cecil Hotel. A Discovery Channel producer actually contacted me after seeing this blog post. My dad would agree with the word “horror” when it comes to describing the Cecil. He stayed there during the 1960s, and had a chilling experience. Read below for the details.

If you have had any paranormal experiences at the Cecil, I’d love to hear about them.

Previously, I wrote about finding my dad’s naturalization record on Ancestry.com. Out of curiosity, I Googled the address listed as my dad’s residential address on the form. Results for the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles popped up. As I delved deeper, I discovered what a bizarre history this place has, and it also made me remember dad’s haunted hotel story.

Dad was proud to be a U.S. citizen, but was always proud to be Irish as well.

Dad was proud to be a U.S. citizen, but was always proud to be Irish as well.

In more modern times, the Cecil became home to serial killers, such as the “Night Stalker” Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger. Now the hotel is trying to reinvent itself by promoting its central location and affordable rates. You really should check out the reviews and photos online. Talk about bait-and-switch. The lobby is absolutely grand, pristine with gorgeous architectural details. But once you leave the lobby, things get grim (and grimy) in a hurry.

If you enjoy reading hotel horror stories, just Google it. Some politely refer to it as a “transient hotel” and others call it an outright dump. This gentleman has an excellent description of his stay there, entitled “A Dump with a Future.”

The Cecil Hotel also served as inspiration for the “Hotel” installment of American Horror Story.

In a nutshell, the Cecil Hotel has never had a sterling reputation, even when it was known as the Hotel Cecil during my dad’s tenure there in the mid-1960’s. In 1962, a woman committed suicide by jumping from a room at the Cecil, also killing a pedestrian that she landed on below. Goldie Osgood, known as the “pigeon lady of Pershing Square” was choked to death in a room there in 1964. The case was never solved.

Which leads right into my dad’s haunted hotel experience. Every time he told the story, I could feel the fear come off of him in waves, even after so much time had passed. He claims he went to sleep that night in his room at the Cecil, only to awaken to the feeling that he was being choked. He was bathed in a cold sweat and couldn’t move or call for help. He felt hands around his throat, but could not see anyone. He literally thought he was going to die in that room. Finally, the feeling left him. He bolted out of the room and ran downstairs to the front desk. After he gasped for breath, he told the hotel clerk what had happened. The clerk said that someone had been murdered in that room. Dad was able to get his room changed, as he made it clear he would never sleep another moment in that room.

Did Dad have a supernatural experience in that room? Was it the room the pigeon lady was murdered in just the year before? I’ll never know, but it does make for one hell of a story.

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