10 Incredible Things You Didn’t Know About Cecil Hotel

Netflix’s new docuseries focuses on the eerie happenings at the Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

Specifically, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel investigates the Elisa Lam case where a young Canadian woman goes missing during her trip to California. Strange, scary incidents have occurred at the famous hotel for many years. If you want to know more, check out these ten facts about the Cecil.

The Cecil Hotel Was Founded in 1927

cecil hotel
Photo by @jodiesweetin on Instagram

Since the hotel opened in 1927, initially intended for travelers in downtown L.A., it has turned into a huge location for crime. Many say this is in part due its position next to Skid Row, which is known for its large homeless population. Others have also gone missing in the area.

Many Deaths Have Occurred There

cecil hotel
Photo by @imaginedocs on Instagram

If you’ve seen the Netflix series, then you know that many people have died at the hotel. A few residents have taken their own lives whereas other cases were homicides. In some situations, the deaths remained a mystery, including the Elisa Lam case. Former hotel manager Amy Price said that there were about 80 deaths at the hotel during the ten years she worked at the Cecil.

The First Documented Suicide

It happened on January 22, 1927, when Percy Ormond Cook shot himself after falling out with his wife and child. He died that evening at The Receiving Hospital.

It Re-identified as “Stay on Main”

cecil hotel
Photo by @erica_ali_ on Instagram

Known for its horrible reputation, the Cecil Hotel divided itself into two parts, one half dedicated to its low-income housing tenants and the other half for tourists. The employees aimed to make “Stay on Main” a new option for young travelers. Those researching or staying at “Stay on Main” would not know that it was also the Cecil Hotel, but rather, thought it was completely different hotel except for the shared elevator.

The Interior Was Divided

Due to the hotel’s agreement with the city, Cecil was legally bound to devote most of its rooms to low income housing tenants. The hotel has 14 floors. The top and bottom floors were dedicated to tenants, while the Stay on Main rooms were specifically on floors 4 – 6 catering to modern travelers. Former resident Kenneth Givens spoke about this in the docuseries, that anything above the sixth floor of the Cecil Hotel was a dangerous place to be. 

Two Serial Killers Are Associated With The Hotel

Infamous killers Richard Ramirez (a.k.a. “The Night Stalker”) and Jack Unterweger were both tied to the hotel. Ramirez was responsible for numerous murders and sexual assaults in 1984-1985, and after committing these horrid crimes, he would return to the Cecil Hotel’s 14th floor. Unterweger was another serial killer who was already convicted in Austria but came to the Cecil Hotel and committed more murders of female sex workers.

Visitors Increased After Elisa Lam’s Death

Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel Netflix
FACEBOOK Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel Netflix

Elisa Lam’s case involved a 21-year-old Canadian who went missing after a video of a bizarre video footage that went viral. Afterwards, web sleuths grew curious about the case and the Cecil Hotel, which greatly increased visitors who wanted to investigate the crime scene for themselves.

The Hotel is Said to Be Haunted

cecil hotel
Photo by @ghostadventures on Instagram

It probably comes as no surprise that many believe the hotel to be haunted after decades of mysterious occurrences. An episode of the reality series which explores the paranormal, Ghost Adventures focused on the hotel and the Elisa Lam case.

American Horror Story Season Five Was Inspired by the Hotel

cecil hotel
Photo by @amandinerevolvr on Instagram

That’s right, a season of the popular horror anthology was based on the Cecil Hotel. In American Horror Story: Hotel, you can see similarities between the show’s creepy setting and ghostly resemblances. The show drew inspiration from the hotel because of the dark events that occurred there.

The Hotel is Trying to Reinvent Itself

This year, the hotel is attempting to renovate the entire building with plans to alter hundreds of rooms as well as the rooftop where Elisa Lam’s body was discovered. Many people stayed there after these mysterious cases, but the hotel is currently closed so no one can visit.


Avani Goswami

Social Media Associate

Avani is an avid reader and a lover of learning. She enjoys writing and seeks out new adventures everyday. Her passion is representation and equality for people all over the globe.

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