Much has been stated about the litany of truly bizarre coincidences related to the Cecil Hotel in DTLA… and I just found another one!
Perhaps the first one that came into the mainstream was the eerie series of connections between the film “Dark Water” and the tragic Elisa Lam drowning. Both film and real life feature a haunted and mighty sketchy building. In both cases, the tenants complain about the poor water pressure and the discolored & bad tasting water that finally does come out. Once the rooftop water tank is checked, the body of a deceased woman is discovered.
The POV use of an elevator security camera is prolific in the film and feels like an homage to the last known images of Elsa Lam (side-by-side featured below). This mysterious footage quickly went viral before her body was found in the rooftop water tank.
I mean, the main character’s daughter is even named Cecilia, an obvious homage to the Cecil Hotel, right? It would all check out as obvious inspiration until you learn that, while Elisa Lam died in 2013, while “Dark Water” was released in 2005 (adapted from a 2002 Japanese film).
One fact that I had to look into myself because it sounds too coincidental to be real is that while Elisa Lam was missing (she was missing for nearly 3 weeks), there was a tuberculosis outbreak among the homeless population in the area. That in and of itself isn’t the coincidence, but the fact that the test to determine whether or not you have TB is called the LAM-ELISA test, is unreal. The name comes from Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Crazy, huh?
While helping a fellow researcher look into the Richard Ramirez / Night Stalker case recently, I came across another fact that made me say to myself, “huh, that’s weird.” In the world of the paranormal, I feel that many times people find coincidences, now commonly called synchronicities (a Carl Jung concept that some coincidences are meaningful) and people use them as evidence that “there’s something funny going on here & this proves it!” I avoid that mentality at all costs, however, sometimes I do get to the point where I admit that there are too many strange coincides to ignore.
Once Richard Ramirez was apprehended and charges pressed, the six-month long process of jury selection began. Then, the trial was underway. About a year into the trial, there was a delay because one of the jurors, Phyllis Singletary, was murdered. Singletary died of multiple gunshot wounds in a case of domestic violence. Shortly thereafter, her boyfriend took his own life. The murderous boyfriend’s name? James Cecil Melton.
Now, am I claiming that this fact is tied to anything paranormal? Absolutely not. I find it amazing that, while people are connecting all sort of other odd synchronicities to the Cecil, this connection has been missed. I’m sure it won’t be long before people start wondering, “Did the Night Stalker, with all of his dark rituals, somehow compel James Cecil to kill his girlfriend, a juror on my trial?” His name being Cecil is as close as you can get to leaving a calling card!
The truth of the matter is that the Cecil Hotel has a dark, dark history, worse than just about any other hotel in the world. Part of this is a product of its time and location. Skid Row has been a source of shame for Los Angeles for a century and the hotel’s opening coinciding with the stock market crash jettisoned its ability to grow and instead took in whatever clientele they could find. If anything, it’s a triumph that the building stayed in business all these years in the face of adversity (yes, owners did come and go).
That said, bad, very very bad, things happened at this location, leaving it legitimately haunted (according to non-ghost hunter-friends who have had their own experiences here). So, in time, does that darkness end up attracting more darkness? My guess is that the answer is ‘Yes.’ However, a new makeover and new ownership may finally settle the case. Will the renovations and work to make this a fun destination be enough to overcome 96 years of darkness and tragedy? Only time will tell.