My Celebrity Life

The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel: Theories unpick what happened to Elisa Lam in the lift

Netflix’s brand new series Crime Scene: The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel revisits the mysterious disappearance of Elisa Lam.

Elisa vanished in February 2013 with her body being found in a water tank just a few weeks later at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles – where she had been staying.

Her case has plagued true crime communities ever since video footage of her behaving strangely in an elevator went viral. The CCTV is the last time she was known to have been seen.

Since then, internet sleuths have been hard at work trying to establish what happened to Elisa and what were the reasons behind her behaviour in the lift. has delved deep into the theories that have been circulating on the world wide web.

Elisa was goofing around

One Reddit user is confident that Elisa was messing about in the lift and had pressed a bunch of buttons for fun – not realising she had also clicked the ‘hold door’ button.

They reckon that prior to entering the lift, Elisa had checked out the rooftop to take pictures of the view as her Instagram page suggested she liked skyline aesthetics.

My Celebrity Life –
Elisa’s body was found in a water tank at the Cecil Hotel in 2013 (Picture: PA)

‘She didn’t seem frantic, scared or manic, she actually seemed in a good mood, pressing all the buttons,’ they wrote. ‘She unknowingly pressed the “Hold Door” button on the Cecil Hotel elevator panel as it was in line with all the various floor buttons she had pressed down the centre column.

‘Hotel staff say the button holds the door open for quite a while and is designed for people moving furniture/garbage so the door doesn’t shut on them. She becomes confused when the elevator doors do not shut. It’s not until she seems to realise the door doesn’t shut that she becomes concerned.’

Explaining Elisa’s shifty behaviour, they added: ‘From this point in the video all of her movements seem to focus around the doorway of the elevator or to hide from it.

‘She jumps around the doorway of the elevator, waves her hands between the doors all in an attempt to hopefully trigger it to close. Confused, she again presses the “Hold Door” button a second time. This time however she seems to examine the buttons more closely. She realises what she’s done now. It becomes a waiting game.’

Concluding their theory, the user suggested: ‘Now she might be thinking she’s trapped on the floor for a while. Luckily she remembers the fire escape she had just seen while taking photos/exploring.

‘She heads back to the window to re-examine the fire escape to the roof, and realises that the roof is just one floor above.’

Elisa was mentally unwell

Many believe that Elisa’s behaviour in the lift was due to her mental health. Elisa had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and some think she was having a psychotic episode.

‘She gets into the elevator and shes just pressing all those buttons because shes all out of it,’ wrote one Reddit user. ‘The elevator isn’t moving and she starts to get panicked.

My Celebrity Life –
Elisa was 21 when she died (Picture: AP)

‘When it seems that she’s seeing something or talking to someone I think shes probably hallucinating.’

They continued: ‘It’s pretty common to hallucinate when you’re bipolar and you’re having a really hard time mentally. If she possibly found out about the history of the hotel I’m sure it would make her hallucinations worse.’

Elisa didn’t have her glasses with her

Other Reddit users have suggested that Elisa was exploring the hotel without her glasses, which would explain her actions in the elevator.

‘If you remember in the footage she leans in very closely to the panel to push the buttons, an action that makes sense when you realise she’s not wearing her glasses,’ wrote one.

‘Then, when the elevator appears stuck open, she leans in again to peer closely at the buttons before pressing them again. Unfortunately, it appears that she might also have pressed the “Hold Door” button a second time.’

Another reckoned that Elisa not having her glasses with her would explain her not noticing the risk of the water tank.

‘The buttons on the elevator panel were not in the order you’d expect and she was pressing the button to hold the door open, but didn’t see that, and was wondering why the door was open,’ they added.

‘She also had bipolar and possibly off medication, could have felt she was being chased by someone. Without glasses on she couldn’t see water in the tank or the depth of it and may have thought it was a safer place to be than with whomever she thought was following her.’

However, the theory isn’t convincing everyone.

‘Why would she go out without her glasses though, if her vision was so poor without them?’ asked one.

The Vanishing At The Cecil Hotel is available to stream on Netflix.

Credit: Original article published here.

Related posts

Man behind Blinking White Guy meme on ‘scary’ side of viral fame

John Turner

Disney delays Indiana Jones 5, Black Panther sequel and more Marvel movies

John Turner

Love Island’s Maura Higgins ‘splits from Strictly Come Dancing professional Giovanni Pernice’ after four month romance

John Turner
%d bloggers like this: