Saturday 20 March 2021

Elisa Lam Netflix Docu

I don't pay for Netflix, and never will since doing this interview with Rin Michaelis: However, I live with somebody who has an account on our television; therefore I was able to watch Crime Scene- The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. This is a four-part documentary about the disappearance and death of Elisa Lam. I have covered this subject myself, see the background links below. The programme goes through the enigmatic and tragic story in detail including interviews with many of the people involved; the hotel manageress, the maintenance man who discovered the body, the detectives involved in the investigation, local historians and several other people. I looked at the situation very briefly after it had ended, but while it was going on a huge number of amateur sleuths got involved. Apparently there is an entire culture, mostly online, of real life Poirots and Miss Marples who try to solve genuine ongoing crimes. They have made a significant contribution in some instances; however, the professionals have mixed feelings about them. Sometimes they can more of a hindrance than a help. For example, in the middle of trying to get to the bottom of Elisa's disappearance and death the police also had a call from a frightened young man in Mexico who had been receiving death threats and abusive accusations from some of these Inspector Morse wannabes. Pablo Vergara is an actor and musician who specializes in black metal. He performs under the stage name "Morbid". This kind of music includes harsh sounds and disturbing videos depicting violence. Just like Elisa, he stayed at the Cecil Hotel once and also wrote song lyrics with the word "China". Elisa's ethnicity was Chinese; her parents were both immigrants to Canada from Hong Kong. Nothing more was needed to stir up an internet hate mob; and that doesn't surprise me because I've experienced some myself, for example see: However, Mr Vergara was never arrested or even questioned by the police. He was simply not a suspect. Yes, he had been at the Cecil Hotel, just like Elisa; but he had stayed there in March 2012, a whole year earlier. He had gone there because of the hotel's reputation. Like many people who enjoy black metal, he is interested in the occult and demonology. Some of the hotel's current guests are attracted out of curiosity. Some are ghost hunters, others true crime aficionadoes.
In Crime Scene- The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel, the history of this strange hotel is explored. There is absolutely no doubt there is something seriously wrong with the place. It has been the scene of murders, suicides, assaults and other crimes of every description, and they are so numerous that the idea that there is some kind of malevolent supernatural force at work in the hotel is completely plausible. Two serial killers, Richard Ramierez and Jack Unterweger, used it frequently. The hotel has now been rebranded "Stay on Main", but if you search for "Cecil Hotel" online you can still find it under that name. According to the final coroner's verdict, Elisa Lam died as a result of an accident. She had not been taking her psychiatric medication and as a result suffered a nervous breakdown. She climbed onto the roof of the hotel, jumped into the water tank and drowned. However some of the amateur sleuths are not convinced. Why did the police sniffer dogs not detect a single whiff of her on the roof when they had traced her all over the fourteenth floor? There's also some ambiguity over whether the hatch over the water tank was open or shut. The original report has said it was shut, making it impossible for Elisa to have acted alone because it can't be shut from the inside by somebody floating in the water. However, we now hear that it was open and there had been a "misunderstanding". Had it really been open all those weeks Elisa had been missing? Open, even though the hatch was on the top of the tank and it would have been clearly visible from the air when helicopters were overhead assisting with the dog teams on the roof? What about the smell she would have made? In my view there are still vital questions about Elisa's Lam's death that have not been answered. It may well be connected to the evil energy infecting the hotel. The programme focuses of Elisa as a person and emphasizes the tragedy of a young woman dying aged just twenty-one. She left behind a prolific blog on Tumblr and has gained many new readers since her demise, see: Who knows what she might have gone on to achieve had she lived on. Her parents sued the hotel for wrongful death, claiming that the management were liable for dereliction of their duty of care to their guests. The hotel fought the case and it was dismissed. There is a Facebook memorial page for Elisa Lam here:
See here for background:


Kemlynn said...

Elisa Lam's blogs and social media sites are listed here -

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks, Kemlynn.

GlowTone said...

Thanks for posting this, Ben...I had just watched the documentary a day earlier and was happy to see your post about it!

I've been following this case for some time and it was interesting to see what the official outcome was and how the evidence was gathered to make a conclusion. Interesting that the edits to the elevator footage and scrambled time display of the video, seemed to be left unanswered!

Another case which raises more questions than answers, is that of Kris Kremers and Lisanne Froon, two young Dutch women who went on a holiday / work experience trip to Panama in 2014, but went missing during a hike. Some remains and a backpack were found a few months later, but this just seemed to be the start of the mystery.

There have been reports of a cover-up and a mis-handling of evidence, etc. The case is probably well known due to a series of mysterious photos taken during the night found on their camera in the backpack - supposedly after Kris and Lisanne had died.

There are many YoutTube channels, blogs, etc which make reports about this case, but most of them seem to be sensationalising on the darker aspects of the mystery and not looking at the available evidence in a clear way, forensic way.

There is a very good Reddit page and a site called Imperfect Plan which not only have exclusive details about the case featuring new evidence not available elsewhere, but also report on it in a more professional way.

I hope it's okay to post the links of the sites which might be of interest:



Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi GlowTone.
You're welcome :-)
Thanks for the information on those other cases. Sadly people go missing regularly and some are never seen again.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

Hi Ben, is it not possible that the story about this missing woman was a staged/hoaxed story?. Just a thought.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Hi Anon. I suppose so, but why?