The Cecil Hotel
The Cecil is not the only old hotel in downtown Los Angeles to harbor a ghost story, but it’s definitely the creepiest among them. It's had so many tragedies, there’s a whole Wikipedia page for "list of deaths and violence at the Cecil Hotel."
Like most of its contemporaries, the Cecil was a nice hotel when it opened in the ’20s, but then fell into disrepair in the wake of the Great Depression. Its earliest issue was the oddly high number of suicides that occurred on the property: so many, in fact, that people began to refer to it as The Suicide. The first is believed to have occurred in 1931, when a traveler from Chicago checked in under a fake name and took poison in his room.
In 1962, Pauline Otton, 27, leapt from the ninth story after getting into an argument with her estranged husband. She landed on top of a passing pedestrian, 65-year-old George Gianinni, and killed them both. In 1964, Goldie Osgood was found murdered in her room at the Cecil. She was known as “Pigeon,” as she frequently fed the birds gathered in Pershing Square, just a short walk from the hotel. Though it was determined that Osgood had been beaten to death, her assailant was never caught.
In 2013, 21-year-old Canadian tourist Elisa Lam went missing shortly after checking in to the Cecil. She was found dead several days later in one of the hotel's rooftop water tanks; guests, who had been bathing with and drinking the tainted water, had begun to complain about low water pressure, leading a maintenance man to the horrifying discovery. The shocking case received considerable media attention, in part due to surveillance footage of Lam behaving bizarrely in an elevator; police had released the footage while Lam was still missing, hoping it would lead them to her safe return.
The hotel’s got some history with serial killers as well: Los Angeles serial killer Richard “The Night Stalker” Ramirez stayed here in the mid-’80s, and Austrian serial killer Jack Unterweger spent time here in 1991 while he worked as a journalist covering crime in LA (and subsequently murdered three women during his stay).
With so many horrific and tragic events occurring in a single hotel -- and the above are just a handful of them -- it's no wonder that the superstitious believe some sort of dark presence has taken hold.