Serial Killer Richard Ramirez Once Stayed at the Chilling Cecil Hotel

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The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles has got a creepy past — and present. It’s been the hotbed for numerous murders and mysterious deaths including the 2013 mystery of Elisa Lam. It was the inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel. What’s more, at least two serial killers used to live there, including Richard Ramirez. Let’s take a look at the real-life hotel of horrors.

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The Cecil Hotel’s Modest Beginnings

The Cecil Hotel is in downtown Los Angeles, right next to the infamous Skid Row neighborhood. Located on Main Street, the immediate vibes of the place may not scream “murder hotspot,” due to its quaint 1920s Beaux Arts décor. First built in 1924 as a budget hotel, the Cecil was renamed to Stay on Main in 2011.

The Cecil has 14 floors and 700 rooms. Its low-budget offerings (and evolving sordid history) have kept the place a popular destination since its opening. But with the boom of Skid Row right around the corner — one of the largest homeless populations in the United States — what may have once been considered budget-glam has changed. Now, it’s more like a budget hotel for daredevils. And perhaps one could also say, a budget hotel for devils….

In 2007, the hotel allocated half of its rooms to long-term stays for low-income renters. It kept the other half open as a hostel for tourists and visitors.

At one point in time, notorious serial killer Richard Ramirez (The Night Stalker) stayed at the Cecil, paying $14/night. And international serial killer Jack Unterweger also used to stay there in the 90s. He killed people at the hotel while he lived there.

Getting More Than You Paid For — Paranormal Activity at The Hotel Cecil?

In a 4-part Netflix docu-series Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Hotel Cecil, former manager Amy Price said that upwards of three 911 calls a day were made from the hotel. And a former long-term tenant, Kenneth Givens, claimed that murders usually occurred from the 7th floor up.

“Usually, the higher floors at the Cecil [was where] people used to get killed,” he said, describing the locale as “lawless.”

It should be noted that the hotel rooms reserved for regular guests who weren’t staying in the youth hostel were on the 7th floor and up.

The first known death at the Cecil Hotel was a suicide in 1927 when 52-year-old Percy Ormond Cook shot himself in the head. In 1931, a guest named W. K. Norton took poison capsules in his hotel room, killing himself. According to RoomSpook, at least 13 suicides have occurred at the Cecil, which at one point was nicknamed “The Suicide.”

Serial Killers Inextricably Tied to Hotel Cecil

The infamous Black Dahlia, Elizabeth Short, who was found gruesomely murdered in Leimert Park in LA in 1947, was allegedly seen drinking at Hotel Cecil’s bar in her final days.

In 1962, a tenant named Pauline Otton wrote a suicide note before leaping out of her 7th-story window, landing on a pedestrian, and killing them both.

In 1964, a retired telemarketer named “Pigeon Goldie” Osgood was found dead in her hotel room and determined to have been raped, beaten, and stabbed. The killer’s identity was never discovered.

Richard Ramirez, who went on a killing spree in Los Angeles in the 80s, stayed at the Hotel Cecil. He allegedly killed most of his victims while staying there. He is rumored to have stripped out of his clothes outside of the hotel and walked up the stairs to his hotel room with his underwear covered in blood.

Jack Unterweger, an Austrian serial killer, stayed at the Cecil in 1991. Possibly with the intention of being a Night Stalker copycat, Unterweger strangled at least three prostitutes to death during his stay.

And Then There Was Elisa Lam…

Perhaps the most high-profile death that occurred at the Cecil was the unsolved mystery of Elisa Lam. The 21-year-old Chinese Canadian tourist and fashion blogger was last seen on a video surveillance camera on January 31, 2013. After a search failed to find her, she was finally discovered floating in one of the hotel’s water cisterns on the roof. A hotel maintenance worker discovered her body after reports of foul-tasting and black-colored water from hotel guests.

Elisa Lam’s death was never fully explained. The video footage shows her in an elevator and appearing to try to hide from someone. She can’t make the elevator doors close, so she eventually goes back into the same hall where she came from. That was the last time she was seen.

Some have speculated that, because Lam suffered from bipolar disorder, she somehow was responsible for her own death. However, nothing really lines up nor does it makes sense.

Lam was found naked in the cistern, with her clothing floating alongside her. Her clothes were covered in a “sand-like particulate.” No recreational drugs were found in her system and many have questioned how the minuscule amount of alcohol or her prescription drugs could have caused such a mental health episode that she might drown herself.

Lam’s Death Leaves Questions Unanswered

Further, there are many questions as to how Lam ended up in the cistern at all. To start, only hotel employees had access to the roof. The only other way to get to the roof without a skeleton key would be to take the fire escape.

To make the story even creepier, although her room key and watch were found with her, Lam’s phone was never recovered. It wasn’t with her or in her hotel room. And being that she is a blogger — her favored platform at the time of her death was Tumblr — questions have arisen as to why or how her blog continued to make posts after her disappearance.

At the top of her blog, called Nouvelle/Nouveau, is an ominous quote by Chuck Palaniuk: “You’re always haunted by the idea you’re wasting your life.”

Elisa Lam’s disappearance and death was the focus of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Hotel. Whether or not the world will ever find an answer is yet to be determined. There are rumors that perhaps the Cecil Hotel might be haunted. But of course, those are probably just rumors.

Read More: Original Jeffrey Dahmer Crime Reporter Weighs In On Accuracy Of Netflix Hit

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