Some of these facts wouldn’t add much to the story, but they are interesting to know nonetheless. Others are pivotal to the case and could change viewers’ perceptions of a lot of things about the hotel, the case, and the people involved with it.
In any case, it’s always interesting to learn more about the people and places that were discussed in a thrilling series like this one.
10 Who Owns/Owned The Cecil Hotel
While the docuseries explained that a New York City-based hotelier purchased the Cecil Hotel in 2014, and noted their plans for it, the show did not disclose who the new owner was. The person is Richard Born, while New York-based Simon Baron Development has a ground lease on the property.
Born is known as a boutique hotelier. He owns 28 properties in Manhattan and Brooklyn under the company name BD Hotels. Also based in New York, Simon Baron Development currently has more than $12 billion worth of projects in active development, the venue formerly known as Cecil Hotel being one of them.
9 Her Blog Ether Fields
In addition to the Tumblr blog Nouvelle-Nouveau, which receives a lot of attention in the true crime docuseries, Lam also had a blog on Blogspot called Ether Fields, which she started in 2010. The blog is still accessible today, with the last post-dated 27-7-12 noting that she is much more active on Tumblr.
Other posts show troubling thoughts, including the quote from novelist Chuck Palahniuk, “you’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life,” which she also used as an epigraph for the blog. Mostly, however, she posted images from fashion magazines.
8 Police Did Not Search Every Room
While police did a fairly thorough search of the hotel after Elisa Lam was declared missing, including going on the rooftop, they did not actually search every room. This is because they did not have “probable cause” that a crime had been committed and thus legally could not do so, according to Sergeant Rudy Lopez.
It’s unclear if doing so would have made a difference anyway, since the belief at the end is that there was no foul play in her death.
7 Toxicology Tests Were Incomplete
While the coroner was able to deliver toxicology results, they were actually incomplete since not enough of Lam’s blood was preserved after being submerged in water for 19 days. What blood was still there, however, showed traces of the prescription medication she was taking along with non-prescription drugs, including Sinutab and ibuprofen.
According to the toxicology report, there was also a small level of alcohol detected, but only about 0.02%.
6 Her Phone Was Never Found
Strangely, among all the belongings that Lam left in her hotel room, her phone was reportedly never found. It is assumed that it was stolen before her death. What makes this even stranger is that her Tumblr posts continued to be updated.
Tumblr has a Queue feature that will auto-publish posts if the author is away. It’s also possible that a hacker managed to take over the account and write posts. The blog continued to be updated in March, April, and June 2013, long after Lam’s death, though it’s mainly fashion-related images with no text.
5 TV Series Episodes Have Been Based On The Case
The true crime docuseries notes the eerie similarities between the Lam case and the 2005 movie Dark Water. It’s not uncommon for movies and TV shows to take inspiration from real-life events (though Dark Water came out long before Elisa Lam’s death). Shows like Criminal Minds base episodes on real cases all the time. Indeed, many TV series have used the tragic event at Cecil Hotel as inspiration for their episodes.
In the 2013 season finale of Castle called “Watershed,” a woman is found dead in the rooftop water tank of the fictional Cedric Hotel. And the first mystery in How to Get Away with Murder is solved when it’s discovered that the body of a missing college girl is found in the rooftop water tank.
4 Songs And Music Videos Have Been Made About Her
Lam’s story has also inspired musicians who were fascinated with the case. Vancouver pop duo The Zolas created a music video for their song “Ancient Mars” in 2014 that is set up to look like the last day of Lam’s life, humanizing her as a regular young woman versus just someone suffering from mental illness.
That same year, Hail the Sun, a post-hardcore band, wrote a song called “Disappearing Syndrome,” which was inspired by her story as well.
3 It’s Not Confirmed That The Night Stalker Stayed There
While the docuseries points to the many sinister things that happened at the Cecil Hotel over the decades, from suicides to murders, drug use, prostitution, and domestic disturbances, one thing presented as fact hasn’t exactly been corroborated.
The docuseries named Richard Ramirez, known as The Night Stalker (also the subject of one of Netflix’s latest true crime docuseries) as one of the notorious serial killers who had stayed at the Cecil Hotel before. However, it seems his patronage there is based on a story from one night clerk. It’s definitely possible that it’s true since the night clerk, who reported that Ramirez smoked marijuana in his room and played rock ‘n’ roll music, would have no reason to lie. But there’s no documentation or visual evidence to confirm, nor did he kill any victims there, as tall tales might suggest.
2 There Was A Ghost Sighting At The Hotel
The Cecil Hotel can add ghost sighting to its list of curious happenings. Less than a year after Lam died at the hotel, an 11-year-old captured a photo that looks like a person hanging outside the window on the fourth floor.
This further solidified for some people the stories over the decades that the hotel is actually haunted by spirits.
1 Pablo Vergara (Morbid) Is An Award-Winning Filmmaker
While the docuseries initially paints Pablo Vergara, who goes by the stage name Morbid, as a terrifyingly dark musician who Internet sleuths believed was responsible for Lam’s death because of his penchant for death metal and graphically violent art, it didn’t delve into his many other accomplishments.
Vergara, whose life was forever changed following the unfounded accusations, actually won a scholarship from the New York Film Academy for directing. He made a short in 2018 called Necromurder that is based on the killing of Oysten Arseth (Euronymous) from Mayhem, and that is set to be made into a feature-length movie.
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