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”?