Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Mystery of Elisa Lam

by Chris Chaos

Born: April 30, 1991
Disappeared: January 31, 2013
Died:February 1, 2013 (aged 21)
Body Found: February 19th, 2013

A quote that Elisa seemed to favor and placed on her various social media profiles:
“You’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life.” — Chuck Palahniuk

The unexplained death of Elisa Lam has fascinated the American public and the world in general because of its bizarre circumstances. On January 31st, 2013, a 21-year-old Canadian student named Elisa Lam was reported missing. She was staying in the Los Angeles hotel, The Cecil Hotel, which is known to have a notorious past. Two weeks later hotel guests complained about the water tasting funny and coming out of the facets black (just like in the movie DARK WATER 2005 (1) ), a maintenance worker was inspecting the rooftop water tanks on top of the Cecil Hotel and discovered her body.

Dark Water the movie 2005

Elisa Lam full video 4 min (Courtesy of Dennis Romero, posted 2-13-13)
 Surveillance footage from the hotel's elevator which is the last known whereabouts of Elisa

Upon watching the video several times, Elisa does exhibit strange behavior. She enters the elevator, acts suspicious, keeps peeking out of the doors and hides in the corner as if she is hiding from someone. When the elevator door starts to shut, she presses the door open button. For a brief moment she steps out of the elevator and appears to be hesitant to get back in. When she does get back into the elevator she appears to press all the buttons. Some say she was trying to either trick someone that might be following her or she was playing the elevator game (2). There appears to be about 1 minute edited out of the video prior to being released to the police and then to the public.

Others state that she either had mental issues or was under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She did suffer from documented bipolar disorder and the results of her toxiology report are to follow.

Click to view report

Full report

Official cause of death: accidental drowning

Lam had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and depression. She had been prescribed four drugs—Wellbutrin, Lamictal, Seroquel and Effexor to deal with the condition. According to her family, she had no history of suicidal idealizations or attempts, although one report claims she had, in fact, briefly gone missing at some earlier time as well.

After Lam was removed from the tank, her body was taken to the county coroner's office to be autopsied. Two pathologists, Jason Tovar and Yulai Wang, spent four hours that afternoon dissecting her body and examining her internal organs. On February 21, the coroner's office reported that they had found her death to be an accidental drowning.

Four months later, in June, their full report was released after being postponed several times. They reported that her body had been found naked in the tank, about three-quarters full of water, with the clothes she appeared to have been wearing in the elevator video floating in the water alongside her, coated with a "sand-like particulate".

According to her autopsy report, the following items were found in the water tank with her:
1) red hooded sweatshirt; front zippering; American Apparel brand' size sx
2) green shirt;  a t-shirt, light green, short sleeved, with crew neck JJM brand, size l/g
3) black shorts; Saxon brand authentic game wear, men's size m/m
4) black panties; black lace trim; Calvin Klein brand, size s/p
5) pair sandals; Birkenstocks brand, with three black fabric straps having small white dot pattern overall and two buckles; labeled with numerals that may indicate code for European sizing: 39, 55, 250, l8, m6
6) watch
7) hotel room key

The elevator in question is on the left

Lam's body was moderately decomposed, bloated and mostly greenish, with some marbling evident on the abdomen and skin separation evident. Her body was not clothed when it was found and that could lead to the speculation of sexual assault. Tovar and Wang had a rape and fingernail kit done and reported that they found no evidence of physical trauma or sexual assault.They also stated that they found no evidence to suggest that Lam had committed suicide.

Toxicology tests were done on her blood where a sufficient quantity was available. Some metabolites and traces of her prescription medication were found, consistent with blister packs and loose pills of those drugs found among her belongings, along with some nonprescription drugs such as Sinutab and ibuprofen.  She had venlafaxine and metabolized buproprion in her system and both can cause halluinacions in bipolar patients.

No alcohol or recreational drugs were found in her system. Details regarding this can be found here:
Click to read autopsy report

Interestingly enough, some of the kits used bore the name ELISA KITS (3 )

Obviously with any "mysterious" murder or missing persons case there is a great amount of speculation associated with it. Some think that she may have been killed by a hotel guest or an employee. While watching the video clip it appears that Elisa was playing some sort of hide and seek game with someone not visible in the video. This could either be a willing game or maybe she was in danger and trying to hide from someone.

Others interject that she may have committed suicide based on her writings on her online blog and diaries. But skeptics state that the water tower lid may have been too heavy for a slight girl to lift, climb in and then close it behind her.

The Cecil Hotel is a well known seedy place full of bad stories and a shady past. The location was the last place the Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, was seen before her death back in 1947. The serial killer Ricahrd "Night Stalker" Ramirez also called the hotel home for a time period. Here is a brief piece concerning the hotel:

Elizabeth Short

Of course the conspiracy theories do not stop there, they further spiral into tale of the Illuminati. A quick check of of Google Maps does show that The Invisible Light Agency does reside in the building and that Anthony V, produces weapons. Their company logo is also made up of triangles as does the Illuminati's.

The Invisible Light Agency on Google Maps
The Invisible Light Agency's logo

Julie Ann Paige had this to say, "Around the time of the Elisa Lam disappearance I lived at The Alexandria Hotel, another sketchy nefarious place. I remember seeing Elisa walking up 7th crossing Spring going up towards Main. She seemed strange and out of place and caught my eye for some reason. I wondered if she was on drugs. I was shocked to later see her on the news reported as missing. I remember hearing all the sirens that Feb morning and could tell it was around the Cecil. I had this sense of dread I just knew they found her there dead."

Revisiting the suicide theory, lets take a look at some of her writings; Elisa Lam recorded some of her depression in her blog:

this is a lazy post
Things are going fairly well in that I am leaving the house and got myself a part time job. My room is still a mess. I haven't actually done any school work and I berate myself for being such a lazy person. Ah yes laziness.

If I weren't so lazy I would exercise.

I believe the biggest reason why I got depressed was because I stopped running in my last year of high school. Up until that point I was on the cross country and track and field team. Mind you I wasn't very good runner, but I did it. I lacked the discipline to actually train. And now I am still lacking the discipline to run or do any sport of sort.

I make up excuses. Right now the excuse is "It's too cold outside." Fair enough, I could however go to a gym. Then the excuse is "I'm self-concious and I have no idea how to weight lift."

I am not terribly self conscious of my body. I've accepted it's simply the way I am. However I am terribly self conscious of my legs. I find them disproportional to the rest of my body making me look chunkier than I am. And no matter how much I exercised, they never became any leaner. If I am not too careful, I fall into the trap of cankles.

I'm sick of the cold weather and wish for warmer weather. Warmer weather meaning dresses. Oh wait, no I don't like dresses because that means exposing my legs.


But this cold in mid March makes me eat so horribly. I have been living off of junk food and if I weren't so lazy I would actually go try to learn how to feed myself.

And if I weren't so lazy I would go learn how to do coding or whatnot. I'm falling into a pattern of going on tumblr and it's not giving me any joy actually. It's just something to do. Idling by."

One of the Illuminati connected theories was that she was investigating an invisibility cloak, as seen on her blog post from 1-12-13, and they had her killed. Do not that The Invisible Light Agency does reside within the building.

Some say that the below post to her blog is a clear indicator of her suicide intentions:
expexto patronum (4)
Depression sucks.
I have no control over my emotions. I will be angry for two minutes and then sad again. I will be happy for half an hour and then emotional again.
So far all I've done is lay on my bed and watch episodes of Chopped.
Im just waiting for it to pass."

An excerpt from her blog with a heading from a spell in the Harry Potter film

I do find it interesting that for a person that liked to write, read and blog...that if she did commit suicide, she did not leave a note.

So still to this day there is no definitive answer as to who or what may have killed Elisa. Speculation builds and grows and no light has shined down on this girl who lost her life back on that cold January day.

Here are some links to her personal social media sites:





linked in

Elisa's RIP page:

Elisa's Memorial

(2) The Elevator game explained
(3) Elisa Kit Ray Biotech
Elisa Kit My Biosource
(4) expexto patronum: Meaning

(Chris Chaos is a long time resident of South Jersey who once again resides in and writes from Gloucester City, New Jersey. He is a filmmaker, a business owner, writer, urban explorer and investigator of the odd and weird, a proud parent, happily taken and a connoisseur of hot wings. Chris can be reached at


  1. Elisa's now defunct Formspring page has been archived -

  2. Evidence could point to psychosis caused by the four prescription drugs she was taking, all of which carry suicide and akathisia warnings.

  3. ELISA LAM TUMBLR: HER BLOG IS STILL ONLINE TODAY AND THIS IS WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE. Netflix has simply launched a four-element proper crime documentary referred to as Crime Scene: The Vanishing on the Cecil Hotel. The collection appears on the mysterious demise of a 21-year-vintage scholar who changed into discovered at the roof the hotel. Within the primary mins of the display, we’re proven recreations of Elisa Lam logging directly to Tumblr, in which she documented her travels and live on the hotel.