The Dark History of Cecil Hotel

Dark history of Cecil hotel is the world’s most haunted place in Los Angeles? One of them anyway, according to the troubled history of the Cecil Hotel. Murders, suicides, and other strange events took place within the four walls of this establishment, which still struggles to forget its past.

The Cecil Hotel renamed Stay on Main since 2013, has for decades been the scene of events more gruesome than the last. Indeed, for nearly 90 years, the Cecil Hotel has had the most disturbing notoriety: suicides, murders, serial killers, etc. The Cecil Hotel’s morbid reputation has spanned the years, and today it is considered one of Los Angeles’s most haunted places.


Into the true story

The Cecil Hotel was built by William Banks Hanner in 1924 with the idea of creating an art deco setting that would welcome tourists and businessmen. 

100 million dollars are invested in this hotel of 700 rooms, all in stained glass and marble. But the good times did not last long: with the economic crisis of 1929, the district of Skid Row found itself invaded by homeless people, while the establishment became a crossroads for passing customers, prostitutes, and other junkies. 

A wave of suicide began: WK Norton was poisoned in 1931, Benjamin Dodich shot himself in the head in 1932, Sergeant Louis D. Borden slit his throat in 1934, then Grace E. Magro (1937) and Roy Thompson (1938) defenestrated. Julia Moore, Helen Gurnee, or Pauline Otton will die in the same way. In 1944, Dorothy Jean Purcell gave birth in one of the hotel’s rooms, then threw her newborn baby out the window.

In addition to these tragedies, the place has hosted, over the years, infamous clients. In the 1980s, serial killer Richard Ramirez stayed there for several weeks, at the height of his murderous madness. With 13 assassinations to his name, the Night Stalker – as we end up nicknamed him – terrorized Los Angeles from 1984 to 1985, entering the homes of his victims in the middle of the night, to rape or kill them. 

Each decade has its criminal: in the 90s, it was the Austrian Jack Unterweger who lived there, officially to write a book, unofficially to attack the prostitutes in the area.

After undergoing a renovation in 2011, given a new name – Stay On Main Hotel, the place continues to be overtaken by its curse. In 2013, Elisa Lam’s body was discovered on the roof of the facility, in one of the water tanks. Customers had complained that the liquid from the tap was darker than usual, that it tasted strange. 

Days earlier, police released a video of the 21-year-old stepping out and entering an elevator for several minutes as if being chased, though it was later revealed that the young woman was suffering from a bipolar disorder, this information did not stop the fantasy machine from racing. 

It was these images that inspired Ryan Murphy, creator of American Horror Story, for a fifth season set in a hotel. It is therefore difficult for the new owner, Richard Born, who acquired the place in 2014 for 30 million dollars, to erase this heavy past. To see if time will favor oblivion.


Suspicious deaths

There too, unless you live cut off from the world and without the internet, you must have heard about the disappearance and mysterious death of Elisa Lam. 

This young Canadian student decided to leave for a trip of a few months. In January, she begins her journey with a stopover in San Diego and then leaves for the Cecil Hotel on January 28, 2013. 

First, in a shared room, she is then moved because her roommate finds her behavior “strange”. A few days later, Elisa’s parents are worried because they have not heard from their daughter again. 

A video of her then appears in the hotel elevator. In this video which has been around the world, we can see her panicked, pressing lots of buttons, trying to hide, doing weird gestures. 

These are the last images of Elisa. Three weeks later, customers are complaining that the water has a strange color. Going up to the roof to check the water cistern, the guard then discovers Elisa’s naked and decaying body. 

Classified as dead by drowning, the story of Elisa Lam is still very suspicious … How did she end up in the cistern that was high up? How could she have opened the lid of the cistern which was too heavy for the same person? The mystery remains intact …


A hotel that fascinates

With all these weird stories the Cecil Hotel, now renamed the, Stay On Main fascinates. A lot of curious people flock there to investigate, to see if they feel things. Besides, season 5 of American Horror Story is set in this hotel and you can find it in many reports.