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The Cecil Hotel — Here Are 16 Scary Facts

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The Cecil Hotel was founded in 1924 in Downtown, Los Angeles. The 19-floor and 700-room hotel were originally built to be a destination for business travelers and tourists; but after the Great Depression, it became a budget hotel that attracted unseemly clientele.

Cecil hotel
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The Cecil Hotel, also known as the Stay on Main, is located on Skid Row, a part of Los Angeles that is home to over 10,000 people experiencing homelessness.

Amy Price, a former hotel manager at the Cecil, said that Skid Row, to her, was "the most dangerous place in Los Angeles."The hotel was the inspiration for American Horror Story: Hotel, due to all the mysterious deaths that have happened there.

After being bought in 2007, the Cecil/Stay on Main became half longtime stay for low-income/low-credit tenants and half hostel/budget lodging for tourists.



Cecil/Stay on Main
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Many of the tourists who came to visit the "Stay on Main" did not know that they were, in fact, staying at the Cecil Hotel.

5. The bottom two floors of the Cecil were for long-term residents, the Stay on Main/youth hostel was on floors 4–6, and floors 7 and above were Cecil hotel rooms.


The Cecil Hotel bottom two floors
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There was even a separate hotel entrance AND lobby for residents of the Stay on Main. According to Kenneth Givens, a former long-term resident of the Cecil, anything higher than the sixth floor was dangerous.

"It pretty much was lawless back in the '80s," Givens recounted. "Usually the higher floors at the Cecil [was where] people used to get killed."



Price said that there would be one to three 911 calls a DAY at the Cecil.

Price also said that during her decade-long tenure at the Cecil, there were thousands of 911 calls made. During her tenure, Price said there were about 80 deaths in the hotel.

One reporter called the Cecil Hotel "a hotbed for death."

One of the most famous cases that happened at the Cecil was the mysterious disappearance and death of Elisa Lam.


On Jan. 31, 2013, Elisa Lam went missing, and her last known location was the Cecil Hotel. On Feb. 19, Elisa was found in one of the water tanks on the roof of the Cecil. Even though her death has been ruled as an "accidental drowning with bipolar disorder as a significant factor," no one knows exactly why and how Elisa's body ended up in the water tank.


The reason why the police knew to look for Elisa in the water tanks was that some of the hotel tenants were complaining about the water from their sinks and showers.

The water pressure was low and the color of the water was grayish brown. Following the death of Elisa Lam, reservations and visits to the Cecil SKYROCKETED.

A lot of people wanted to see for themselves what Elisa saw in her last moments. Back in 1931, W.K. Norton overdosed on "poisonous capsules" in his hotel room. His death is "the earliest reported suicide."


In 1962, after a fight with her husband, Pauline Otton jumped from the window of a seventh-story hotel room and landed on a pedestrian below, killing them both.

Suicide kills Man - Cecil hotel



In 1964, "Pigeon Goldie" Osgood — nicknamed because she frequently fed the pigeons in Pershing Square — was found raped, beaten, and stabbed in her hotel room. The case remains unsolved.

Richard Ramirez, aka the Night Stalker — who tortured, raped, and murdered residents of Los Angeles — lived at the Cecil.

He paid $14 a night for his room, where he would "walk in his bloodstained underwear barefoot up to his floor and into his room."

Jack Unterweger, an international serial killer, lived and killed at the Cecil in the early '90s.

He served a prison sentence in Austria for murdering a young German woman. After his release, he came to America to write an article about the red light district, which turned into a spree killing of female sex workers.


Last, but not least, Elizabeth Short, aka the Black Dahlia, was rumored to be seen at the bar of the Cecil Hotel just days before her murder.

Her gruesome murder is still unsolved.


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