Cecil Hotel is considered by many to be among the most haunted buildings in Los Angeles, if not the world. Now known as Stay on Main, the downtown lodgings reportedly served as a base of operations for serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger, and has been the site of multiple unsolved murders and numerous suicides. The hotel is even linked to the murder of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia. But a new Netflix documentary about the Cecil focuses on what might be the most famous—and chilling—incident of all, the disappearance of Elisa Lam.
Created by Joe Berlinger, the Emmy-winning director of The Ted Bundy Tapes and Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel lands on Netflix on February 10. The four-episode docuseries examines the eerie past of the property, before centering its attention on the events that lead to Lam’s body being discovered in a water tower on the building’s roof in early 2013.
Lam’s case became a global sensation due to disturbing surveillance video of her alone in one of the hotel’s elevators having some type of episode–one that has been explained as everything from a bipolar episode to demonic possession–shortly before she vanished.
“As a true crime documentarian, I was fascinated in 2013 when the elevator video of Elisa Lam went viral and legions of amateur detectives used the internet to try to solve the mystery of what happened to her, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist on her first trip to Los Angeles,” Berlinger told Variety. “My past projects have leaned into individual crimes and criminals, but I have never explored the role a particular location has played in creating an environment in which multiple crimes seemingly take place over and over again. The fact that Elisa disappeared in a location that has a multi-decade history of crimes is what made her case fascinating to me.”
Stay on top of the latest in L.A. food and culture. Sign up for our newsletters today.