The Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles is one of those iconic places that has become as famous for what happens behind its closed doors as it is for its impressive Beaux Arts architecture. Built in 1927, the Cecil opened as a luxury hotel, but became a victim of the Great Depression a few years later. In nearly a century since then, the Cecil has been made famous by the infamous residents who have reportedly called it home (including more than one serial killer) and the number of deaths that have occurred within its walls.
Even before Hotel Cecil was appointed A Historic-Cultural Monument by the city of Los Angeles in 2017, it had undergone several rebranding in an attempt to restore its original reputation. Although it is currently closed, could be changing in the near future. Meanwhile, the property is the subject of a new true crime documentary series, Crime Scene: The Disappearance at Hotel Cecil, which premieres on Netflix on February 10. Here are some facts about the Hotel Cecil and its libertine history.
1. Elizabeth Short, also known as the Black Dahlia, was seen at the Cecil Hotel a few days before her death.
Short elizabeth, the aspiring actress who, in death, would be known as the black dahlia, it was supposedly stained in the bar of the Hotel Cecil, a few days before his murder in 1947. Short’s mutilated body, which had been cut in two, was found about 7 miles from the hotel. The Short case remains one of the most famous unsolved murders in American history.
2. At least two serial killers called Hotel Cecil home.
Lending to its legend, for years the Hotel Cecil has operated in part as a low-income residential facility and was reportedly called home by at least two infamous serial killers: Richard Ramirez, aka “The Night Stalker.” (which is the subject of another new Netflix documentary series) and Johann “Jack” Unterweger, an Austrian man who, upon being released from prison after being convicted of the murder of a woman in 1974, became something of a minor celebrity … then started killing more women.
3. There have been several strange deaths at the Hotel Cecil.
In the 1960s, the Hotel Cecil had has been nicknamed The “suicide” of many of its former residents due to the series of deaths that occurred at the hotel in its early years. In 1931, 46-year-old guest WK Norton became the hotel’s first documented suicide death. Even those who were not staying at the hotel seemed to be in danger from its seemingly sinister aura; In 1933, a 25-year-old truck driver was killed when a large truck entered the hotel and pinned the man against him.
4. The Cecil Hotel is rumored to be haunted.
The many strange deaths that have occurred at the Hotel Cecil have not gone unnoticed and have led some to wonder if the building is haunted. Horror podcast episodes Do not sleep and the paranormal reality Ghost adventures they were filmed there. The two-hour quota of Ghost adventures, which aired on discovery + in early January, investigated the 2013 death of Elisa Lam, a Canadian student who disappeared while she was a guest at the hotel and was found dead in one of her rooftop water tanks.
5. The Cecil Hotel inspired a season of American horror story.
Perhaps the strongest argument for Hotel Cecil being haunted is that it inspired season 5 of American horror story, also know as American Horror Story: HotelIt was set in a hotel similar to Cecil. The anthology series starring Lady Gaga as a vampire who owns the fictional Hotel Cortez. The season also featured Finn Wittrock, Lily Rabe, John Carroll Lynch, and Zach Villa, playing versions of Hollywood icon Rudolph Valentino, and serial killers Aileen Wuornos, John Wayne Gacy, and Richard Ramirez, who hunt down the Cortez, respectively.
6. Elisa Lam’s mysterious death in 2013 rekindled interest in the Hotel Cecil and its haunted history.
With American horror story, people today are probably more familiar with the Cecil due to Elisa Lam’s disappearance in 2013. Interest in the case increased when the Los Angeles Police Department released images of Lam behaving erratically in the hotel elevator earlier of his death; Lam’s body was found in the hotel’s rooftop water tank five days after the images were posted, and guests reported problems with the hotel’s water supply and pressure.
The results of Lam’s autopsy, released four months later, were inconclusive as to how he died and how he got into the water tank. The case captivated Los Angeles and the world, and is the main focus of the first season of the new Netflix series. Crime Scene: The Disappearance at Hotel Cecil.
7. The Cecil Hotel is closed, but could reopen soon.
Although the Cecil has undergone many iterations in its nearly 100-year history, today it exists as a low-cost residential building that straddles both the fashion district, downtown Los Angeles, and the Skid homeless community. Row in Los Angeles. In 2019, the property owners were planning a new renovation of the hotel that will convert it into a mixed-use space. the draft it could be complete later this year. Still, Hotel Cecil’s history and location will always serve as a reminder that lurking alongside the glitz and glamor of Hollywood is a seedy belly with a morbidly fascinating past.