Renamed in 2011 as the “Stay on main hotel”, the Cecil hotel is a mythical and mystical place because of its gloomy history but also because of the famous criminals who lived in the hotel during their crimes. The hotel inspired the American Horror Story anthology series for season 5: Hotel.
(Credit : ZheringZhou)
Built in 1924 in Los Angeles, the hotel welcomed business and visiting guests during the prohibition era. Rumours have it that secret passages were created by mafia members to facilitate transfers related to their criminal activities, as was the case in other hotels at the time. In addition, the building has often been renovated and walls were even demolished to extend the standing of the rooms.
Following the economic crisis of 1929, the hotel became a brothel for prostitutes until the 1960s. There were many murders and unsolved crimes related to the hotel and those for years. In addition, mysterious homicides and suicides are still on the news and still linked to the hotel.
Elizabeth Short was a young aspiring actress dreaming of fame, which she obtained on January 15, 1947, when her body was discovered cut in half on a field. Its history is known as the Black Dahlia case. The crime was never solved despite the list of suspects and testimonies. In addition, it should be noted that his companion at the time was a serial killer known as the Cleveland butcher who killed 14 other people. However, the crime has recently been informally attributed to his former companion by the FBI. Elizabeth Short spent her last days at the Cecil Hotel before she disappeared forever.
Another scandalous crime is that of Goldie Osgood in 1964, who was raped and murdered in her hotel room located… at the Cecil Hotel. Goldie was a permanent resident of the hotel but also an employee of the hotel, her crime was never solved.
A new mysterious crime is added to the hotel, the Elisa Lam case, which is also unsolved. The 21-year-old girl mysteriously disappeared in February 2013 within the hotel itself. Elisa Lam disappeared just as she was leaving the hotel to go to Santa Cruz to join her family on January 21, 2013.
It was this one, who after a few days, without any news of their daughter, contacted the authorities because Elisa did not spend a day without calling her parents. The police found no trace of the girl but continued the investigation suspecting a runaway knowing Elisa was reported to have psychotic disorders including schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
On February 13, 2013, the hotel guests complained about the disgusting taste of the water in their rooms but also about the drop in water pressure. The employees then went to the roof to inspect the water tanks, which is when they discovered Elisa’s body in one of the tanks. His body was naked and his belongings were found in the same place.
The investigation remains unsolved to this day, but the interest of this case made a big noise when the police shared the young woman’s last moments in the hotel where she seemed panicked and hiding from something in the elevator. It didn’t take long for ghost rumors to appear. The crime is considered by the authorities to be a drowning even on the video it seems to want to escape something or someone.
Here is the last video of the young woman on the day of her disappearance: (source LAPD, Los Angeles Police Department)
But the sordid aspect of the hotel does not owe its myths of paranormal phenomena to its murders, there have been many other murders and suicides since its construction. More than twenty suicides were recorded by the police but also by the newspapers of the time.
(Credit : Karen Vicchio)
In these dark stories, some of them are scary:
- 1934 a young woman named Grace committed suicide by throwing herself out of her bedroom window after mysteriously tying herself with telephone wire cables, her partner reported sleeping during the suicide.
- 1944 Dorothy Jean Purcell murdered his newborn child by throwing him out the window and into his room. She was tried but found not guilty for insanity. His companion was sleeping in their room.
- In 1934 Louis B. Borden, an army sergeant, slits his throat in his room leaving suicide messages because of his health concerns.
- 1962 Pauline Otton committed suicide and accidentally killed a pedestrian named George Giannini.
In addition, some people residing in the hotel were killed outside it. There have been murders and drownings. But also a young delivery boy who was accidentally killed by his truck just outside the hotel. But it is above all two hotel residents who make the legend this one: two famous serial killers who committed their crimes while they were living in the hotel.
(Credit : Los Angeles Police Department)
Richard Ramirez was nicknamed the Night Stalker. He murdered 14 people and committed 11 rapes. He was sentenced to death but died of lymphoma at the Marin General Hospital in California in 2013.
Ramirez presented himself as a Satanist with the right to life and death over his victims and felt misunderstood by those around him. He committed some of the crimes in Los Angeles and lived at the Cecil Hotel for $14 a night.
The stalker would break into his victims’ homes, rape them, murder them and then steal their property. When the city was on alert for his crimes, he left Los Angeles for San Francisco before being arrested by the police.
(Crédit : Gorg Sciberras)
Jack Unterwegger had previously been convicted in the past of murdering a young girl because she reminded him of his mother, whose sadistic relationship he had maintained and who was on the verge of incest. Her mother was a former prostitute and alternatively a bartender.
Jack had had a teenage delinquent life while stealing, robbing or raping in Austria. When he extradited to the United States after his long prison sentence for the murder of the young girl named Margaret. In prison his sentence allowed him to write his autobiography on his life in prison and the redemption following his crimes. He became a journalist and his release for good conduct helped him to get out of it.
He resided at the Cecil Hotel for some time and four months after his release. He would go out and kill prostitutes by strangling them with a knot that would be his signature. He killed 12 of them. He first made himself look like a scapegoat thanks to his fame, but when he understood that his evidence would be his tomb, he committed suicide in a cell by hanging himself with exactly the same knot he used on his victims.
It is because of its many, dark and icy stories that the hotel changed its name in 2011 but enthusiasts will always consider it to be the Cecil hotel.
Highlighted image source:
- Lisa Doxey