The Unexplainable Death

By: Ryan Song


After reading about Lucy’s mysterious disappearance in our assigned reading “Death by Landscape,” I was reminded of a death at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, a creepy unexplained case that police ended up ruling as an accidental drowning (I actually referenced this case for the Halloween extra credit assignment and explained that our class monster was the cause of the victim’s demise). This was a story that terrorized me for weeks after I first heard about it, and even today as I write about it, it still gives me the chills.

In February 2013, people staying at the Cecil Hotel (a hotel that has housed several notorious murderers and been the location of numerous suicides) complained about low water pressure. “The water system was all plugged up” recounted a resident that was interviewed the following day. A maintenance worker was dispatched to investigate the cause and eventually traced the source to the water tanks on the roof of the building. Upon opening the hatch to one of the water tanks, the worker was encountered with a shocking sight … the body of a 21 year old female student who had been missing for weeks.

Several suspicious facts obscure the case and distance it from physical reason and understanding. By far, the creepiest aspect about the student’s death is the elevator surveillance video footage of her which is believed to have recorded the last moments of her life. In this strange video dated several weeks before her body was found, the young woman is seen jumping in and out of the elevator, hiding in the corner of the elevator, waving her hands erratically and peeking outside the doors. It is almost as if she was talking or hiding from some entity that does not register on film. The elevator itself also behaves weirdly, refusing to close its doors for extended periods of time. People have speculated that the video has been doctored or slowed down to hide something, but there is no evidence of this.

As if the video alone was not unnerving enough, several other facts about her death are incredibly unsettling. First of all, the roof is accessible only via a fire escape that triggers an alarm system. However, no alarm was heard on the night of the girl’s death, so how did she end up on the roof? Secondly, to reach the top of the water tank that the body was found in, one would have to climb up a narrow ladder. This would be impossible for the student to accomplish if she were under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or if she were carried up by her murderer. Thirdly, if her death WAS an accidental drowning or suicide, why was the lid of the tank closed when the maintenance worker found her body? It would be impossible for the young woman to reach the roof from inside the water tank, let alone replace the hatch.

So what happened to the girl? Why was she behaving so strangely in the elevator? And how do we explain these suspicious facts that surrounds her death? As you may have noticed from my blog comments, I am a very logical kind of guy, and I try to explain every weird phenomenon using physical explanations. But this is one case where I am at my wit’s end, trying to reason out what happened. Almost all signs point to some supernatural occurrence … could the woman have fallen prey to the ghost of one of the murderers who used to live there? Or is this a situation that you just cannot explain using physical principles, like in “Death by Landscape”?


7 thoughts on “The Unexplainable Death

  1. I am completely shocked. The story is even more intriguing because I have never heard it before nor have I heard anyone ever talk about it. Perhaps her death wasn’t outwardly publicized because people are extremely uncomfortable with the unknown. Her death seems to be unexplainable which could explain why fewer people talked about it. It is almost as if talking about it makes her death more concrete than it already is. Talking about it encourages people to face the unexplainable facts with immense fear and disbelief. Your analysis has shown us that all possible answers have been exhausted and still no one has any clue what happened to her. It is interesting that they ruled her death an accidental drowning when they don’t even have strong evidence to support that claim! Like I was saying, the faster you move on from a mystery of this magnitude that faster you can forget.

  2. These are the kinds of stories that really grab my attention and make me think as well. Especially when I was younger, I was fascinated by dark and twisted real life tales of disappearance, murder and crime. I never think to use the supernatural as an explanation, however. It is interesting to think that all of our discussion and reading in this class may now cause us all to rely on alternate unearthly explanations for these mysterious events.

  3. This post makes me want to go research this case and find out more about this girl’s death. I think people are too quick to say mistakes are because of alcohol and drugs and that’s why dumb decisions are made. However, there is much more to this story than mistakes. The hotel could have gone through the surveillance cameras and edited out the parts with another person in the elevator because they tried to cover for that person or that person threatened them. It could also very well be a supernatural being because this hotel is known for murders, suicides and other strange happenings. This story leaves me feeling uneasy!

  4. I am also extremely shocked and uneasy after reading this post because I had not heard about this story in the news and now I’m not too sure I wanted to hear about it at all. I am a logical person as well so situations like these leave me anxious because I’m left looking for a reasonable explanation where there is none. I had disliked “Death by Landscape” for this exact reason because it did not give us any answers, only more and more questions.

  5. I also have never heard of this story in the news, and I’m not sure why it wasn’t reported more. If people want to try to prove a logical explanation, I would assume the story would be spread to have more people’s opinions on it shared to come to a logical conclusion. However, with all the mystery surrounding it, a supernatural explanation seems to be the best explanation so far. I’m curious to learn more about the hotel’s history and see if there could be any connection with previous guests and her disappearance and death.

  6. Wow, like many stated above, I haven’t heard of this story either and its so trippy. Like what happened? I just want to know what happened to the girl because nothing adds up. The story adds in to the genre we discussed in class about “The Fantastic”. There’s no evidence indicating it is supernatural, yet a lot of things do not make sense. Like the elevator scene just doesn’t sounds sane. I just wish there was more information.

  7. I remember watching this video a while ago and I am so glad I haven’t thought of it again until now. In fact I didn’t even watch it again because I’m prone to nightmares and it’s honestly just terrifying to me. Like you I am also very logical, always looking for reasonable explanations. Because I can find no such thing with this story, it probably haunts me more than any horror story or serial killer ever could. This story is an excellent reminder how horrible messed up things happen uncontrollably and no one is safe. These are the stories we need to repress deep inside our brains so we can go about our daily lives in peace.

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