A viral TikTok is resurfacing the mysterious death of Elisa Lam, whose body was found in a hotel water tank


elisa lam elevator footage
Footage of Elisa Lam in an elevator has been a key part of the mystery surrounding her 2013 death. CBS News/YouTube
  • A viral TikTok video with over 1 million likes has resurfaced the story of Elisa Lam’s mysterious 2013 death.

  • Lam, 21 at the time of her death, was found dead in a water tank on top of the Cecil Hotel, which is now known as the Stay at Home hotel. 

  • Her death has been a cultural fixation since 2013, due in part to viral footage of Lam in an elevator in the hotel as well as the fact that the case remains unsolved.

  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A TikTok with nearly 6 million views has resurfaced the questions around Canadian student Elisa Lam’s still-mysterious 2013 death at Los Angeles’ Cecil Hotel (now known as the Stay on Main hotel), and Google trends data appears to show that interest in the case has risen amid other references of the case in pop culture.

Video of Lam in an elevator prior to her presumed death as well as the mysterious circumstances in which her body was discovered have drawn many to the story, making it one of the most viral true crime stories of the past decade.

Elisa Lam was found dead in a water tank on top of the hotel formerly known as the Cecil in Los Angeles

Elisa Lam, 21 at the time of her death, was staying at the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles, checking in on January 26, 2013. She was last spotted on January 31, 2013. Lam’s parents reported her missing in early February, CNN reported, and her body was found inside a water tank on the hotel’s roof on February 19 after a maintenance man investigated it following complaints of low water pressure.

Medical examiners concluded later that year that Lam was the victim of an accidental drowning; Los Angeles robbery-homicide detectives originally treated the case as a suspicious death, CNN reported, given that the water tank was covered and the door to the roof locked. 

A video of Lam in an elevator on the last day she was seen came under significant scrutiny. In it, Lam pushes multiple buttons upon entry, scans the area outside the elevator, and steps in and out of it, at one point appearing to hide in the corner. Towards the end of the footage, she steps outside the elevator, gesticulates for a brief period of time, and appears to walk away.

A viral TikTok reexamined her death

The video, from user @saraa.aa_, has amassed over 6 million views and approximately 1.1 million likes in the two days since it was posted, and begins with the caption, “A death that still doesn’t sit right with me.” Set to a slowed- and pitched-down version of Gotye’s 2011 single “Somebody That I Used To Know,” @saraa.aa_ then proceeds to show the hotel water tanks in which Lam’s body was found as well as the famous elevator footage associated with her death.

Comments on the video reveal others’ similar reservations regarding the circumstances surrounding Lam’s death. 

“I REFUSE to believe she got in those tanks by herself. There’s NO way. She def saw something she wasn’t supposed to. It looked like she was hiding,” one comment with over 90,000 likes reads.

Other recent TikTok videos have examined Lam’s death. One from @davedisci, posted four days ago, has amassed approximately 44,600 likes. Another from December 3, posted by @qtchalamet, has amassed over 2,500 likes. Other videos, some which date to more than a year ago, also speak about Lam’s death. 

Lam’s death has been a cultural fixation since 2013

Given the elevator footage and the fact that the medical examiners officially ruled her the victim of an accidental drowning, many have taken it upon themselves to consider the circumstances of her death. As Vice reported in 2015, the unsolved nature of the case has drawn internet sleuths who have pored over Lam’s Tumblr blog (on which she posted about art and fashion as well as mental health). 

Lam’s death also appears to have been an inspiration for 2015’s “American Horror Story: Hotel,” per comments showrunner Ryan Murphy made to EW ahead of the season’s premiere. BuzzFeed Unsolved did an episode on Lam’s death in 2016, prodding at the reputation the hotel – at that point called the Stay at Home hotel – had for being haunted.

The fixation continues in 2020. A book titled “Gone at Midnight: The Tragic True Story Being The Unsolved Internet Sensation,” written by Jake Anderson, was released in February and explored various possibilities surrounding Lam’s death. Now, a new season of “Ghost Adventures” on Discovery+ (a streaming service set to launch in January) will investigate the Cecil Hotel.

Google Trends data appears to show an uptick of interest in the term “Elisa Lam” in recent days.

Whether that’s due to @saraa.aa_’s viral TikTok, the upcoming “Ghost Adventures” season, or other internet ephemera, it’s clear that there’s still interest in the circumstances surrounding Lam’s death.

Read the original article on Insider



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