Los Angeles, CA

The Mysterious Death of a Canadian Student at the Cecil Hotel Fueled Rumors of a Ritual Game That Originated in Korea

Yana Bostongirl

21-year-old Ellie Lam was a Canadian student whose body was discovered in a rooftop water tank of the Cecil Hotel in 2013. To this date, it is not clear how or why it happened. Nevertheless, the events surrounding her death have led to widespread speculation such as the involvement of evil spirits.

Ellie Lam was traveling alone in the west coast area and had a room at the Cecil Hotel located in Los Angeles when the tragedy occurred. On the night of her death, surveillance cameras revealed an agitated Lam entering the elevator and randomly punching all the floor numbers and making erratic hand gestures as this excerpt explains: "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 steps in and out of the elevator, poking her head out sideways toward the hotel’s hallways in between. She peers out of the elevator another few times before stepping out of the elevator entirely."

One theory suggests she may have been playing the Korean elevator game where punching elevator buttons in a particular order are thought to open a portal to another dimension.

When her family in Canada failed to hear from her, they contacted the local police but it would take two weeks, and complaints from hotel patrons regarding low water pressure and a weird taste before a maintenance worker was sent to check out the water tanks. Lam's disrobed body was discovered floating in one of the rooftop tanks.

According to reports, the tank had to be drained and a cut was made on the side of the tank in order for the body to be extracted. Nobody is sure how she made it to the rooftop without triggering any alarms as this excerpt explains: "The hotel’s Chief Engineer Pedro Tovar also made it clear that it would be difficult for anyone to access the rooftop, where the hotel water tanks were located, without triggering the alarms. Only hotel employees would be able to deactivate the alarm properly. If it was triggered, the sound of the alarm would reach the front desk as well as the entire top two floors of the hotel."

Following the discovery of the body, it has been reported that Lam had underlying mental issues and was on medication which may have been the reason for her odd behavior. However, it does not explain why she took the elevator to the 15th floor, bypassed the alarms, and ended up in the water tank.

The Cecil Hotel is no stranger to mysterious deaths since it opened its doors in 1927 as this excerpt explains: "From the time the Cecil Hotel opened its doors, it has been in the news for all the wrong reasons such as murders, suicides, and macabre happenings. At one time, this hotel also had its guests two serial killers who had been terrorizing the city."

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