4 theories: What was Elisa Lam doing just before she died in this video?

Last seen on a hotel lift security camera acting in a very odd, scared manner; Elisa was later found dead, inside the hotel’s rooftop water tank.

Elisa Lam final video

A clip from her last known final moments

In 2013, 21 year old Canadian Elisa Lam was found dead in L.A’.s Cecil Hotel’s rooftop water tank. Her death had gone unnoticed for weeks, during which time hotel guests had bathed in, brushed their teeth with, and drank from the water tank which held her decomposing body. The water “tasted horrible,” one guest remarked. “It had a very funny, sweet, disgusting taste. It’s a very strange taste. I can barely describe it.” Officially, her death was ruled to be an accident as a result of her bipolar disorder – which she was very open about on various social media accounts. However, there are a number of reasons why a lot of people do not believe this to be the case.


The primary being the CCTV footage of Elisa acting very strangely in the hotel lift before she went missing, hiding and then pressing all the buttons before peering out strangely. Popular opinion is that Elisa is gesturing to someone – or something – outside the doors. This person however cannot be seen, leading to speculation that it is a malevolent spirit. Other people think that the true cause of her death is murder and this has been covered up – mainly because  there is a full minute of CCTV footage missing and no one seems to know why.

Take a look at the footage yourself and see what you think:

There are four main explanations on the internet that try to explain the gruesome and mysterious death of Elisa Lam:

1) Elisa was murdered

Nobody has found conclusive evidence that she wasn’t a victim of murder. Elisa could have been murdered by a hotel worker or another guest: the footage of her at the lift could be a game of hide and seek she is playing – playing hide and seek with a killer. Some people think this is plausible and it would make the most sense – how else did she get through the alarmed door, up the three-metre ladder and into the water tank? All four tanks are 4-by-8-foot (1.2 by 2.4 m) cylinders propped up on concrete blocks; there is no fixed access to them and hotel workers had to use a ladder to look at the water. They are protected by heavy lids that would be difficult to replace from within. Police dogs that searched through the hotel for Lam, even on the roof, shortly after her disappearance was noted did not find any trace of her, it was recalled (although they had not searched the area near the water tanks).

Elisa’s Tumblr blog also mentioned she was having trouble with ‘creepers’ in the hotel, suggesting someone may have been following her. Bizzarely, her blog was also updated several times after her death, attracting hundreds of thousands of shares by readers. Most think this was because of the site’s queue option, which allows posts to automatically publish when the user is away, but since her mobile phone was never found, others suspect the thief — or the killer — was posting for her.

The biggest signpost to her murderer being a hotel worker is this: doors and stairs that access the hotel’s roof are locked, with only staff having the passcodes and keys, and any attempt to force them would have, in theory, triggered an alarm.

2) Elisa was assassinated

Okay, so this one may seem a little extreme but some people actually think Elisa may have been assassinated – with a bizarre link to cloaking devices. Use Google maps to take a look at the hotel (which is now rebranded as ‘Stay on Main’) and you will see something called the ‘Invisible Light Agency’ which is based inside the hotel.

invisible light agency

Could the ‘invisible light agency’ have anything to do with her death?

Perhaps some cheap company that was based there once? Who knows but there is no further information to be found explaining this. Some people have suggested that Elisa had links with, and conversations with military members and had posted articles about cloaking technology in the military (which have since been deleted) on facebook and twitter. These comments occurred before her trip to LA: perhaps this ‘Invisible Light Agency’ is known for working with visual effects? Then perhaps her actions in the lift are an attempt on her part to lose her invisible assailant. This would account for her seemingly frustrated and anxious looks at some moments while playful and confused at others, and account for her feeling around and trying to tuck back into the corner to try to eliminate possibilities of where the person were. It might have been extrememly psychologically distressing running from an invisible person. When the video first starts Elisa is seen  pressing the lfit buttons very deliberately, and some even believe she may have been following instructions. Additionally if someone was testing invisible technology, what better location that one where there is a history of paranormal claims, where no one will believe tenants for their reputation of poverty and craziness, which bring us onto the next explanation…


3) The paranormal

This theory is largely tied up in the history of the hotel itself: since the Cecil Hotel’s  grand opening in the 1920’s, it has been the site of numerous unresolved murders and suicides –  in the 1980s, the hotel served as the home of famed serial killer Richard Ramirez. The hotel has a seedy reputation, with the Cesil hotel being found in downtown LA near skid row. This explanation suggests then that when Elisa is pressing buttons at random in the lift she is possessed by a paranormal spirit causing her to commit suicide. The hotel is rumored to be haunted: several people claim to have been choked by thin air, and a woman mysteriously died via choking but her assailant was never found. The hotel itself is said to carry terribly dark energy that causes some pretty fucked up things to occur.

Another paranormal explanation of her death has been that Elisa was playing. ‘the elevator game’. A Korean game that involves using an elevator travel travel to another dimension:

the elevator game

The instructions on how to play the elevator game

Proponents of the elevator game theory suggest that it is normal when returning to your own dimension that you are disorientated and confused and that Elisa, in this confused state, climbed into a water tank herself.

Indeed, giving more credit to paranormal explanations of Elisa’s death, are its eery similarities to the horror film Dark Water, in which the residents of a tower block, complaining about black water leaking into their flat eventually discover a body in the water tank at the top of their building.

4) Elisa killed herself

This explanation ties in most closely with official reports given about her death: most people think that Elisa drowned accidentally – perhaps Elisa was experiencing a psychotic episode and her behaviour in the lift is symptomatic of visual hallucinations. Perhaps, some suggest, the elevator is in service mode and you need to keep the close button down until the door fully closes, however Elisa thinks that someone is pressing the button to keep the door open from the outside, hence the peeking out, she returns presses the button again.

suicide in water tank elisa

Could Elisa have climbed into the water tanks herself?

Whatever you think is behind her death, one last chilling piece interesting information surrounding Elisa Lam’s mysterious death is this –  after the discovery of Elisa Lam’s body, a deadly outbreak of tuberculosis occurred in Skid Row, near Cecil Hotel. The name of the test kit used in these kinds of situations? LAM-ELISA….

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