Crime Scene: The 4 Strangest Coincidences at the Heart of the Elisa Lam Case

Feb 10 2021 - 11:35am

Elisa Lam's 2013 disappearance was strange, to say the very least. It unfolded at downtown Los Angeles' Cecil Hotel, a place marked by a history of death, suicide, and serial killers [1]. Days before a hotel worker discovered Lam's body in the main water tank, the LAPD released surveillance footage of Lam acting bizarrely [2] in an elevator. The oddities definitely didn't end after the video went viral in the online sleuth community, baffling even the most rigid skeptics.

Here's the thing: Lam's case was riddled with weird coincidences the deeper that you looked into it. And inevitably, many of these connections gave rise to far-out conspiracy theories. Revisiting Lam's disappearance, episodes three and four of Netflix's Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel [3] unpack a handful of weird parallels that line up with the case. On the miniseries, writer Josh Dean attribute these parallels to synchronicity, or simultaneous meaningful coincidences. From the similarities of Lam's story with the movie Dark Water to a tuberculosis test that shares her name, here are the creepiest coincidences in the Elisa Lam disappearance case.

Dark Water

Dark Water is a 2002 Japanese horror film [4] that was adapted into a 2005 American version starring Jennifer Connelly [5]. In both movies, a mother and daughter move into a new apartment where discolored water starts coming out of the faucets. The weird water and spooky elevator eventually lead them to discovering a dead body in the apartment's water supply. If you boil down the movie to its most basic elements, you get the story of Elisa Lam.

Lam was found in the Cecil Hotel's water tank about a week after the LAPD posted a video of her acting strangely in the elevator. Before her body was found, guests complained about the low water pressure and strange tasting and discolored water [6]. It was almost like life imitated art — people legitimately wondered if someone or some higher power was deliberately playing out the movie's plot.

Morbid the Death Metal Musician

Morbid, or Pablo Vergara, is a death metal musician who found himself in the middle of the Elisa Lam case after web sleuths looked into his videos. A year before Lam died, he posted a video about staying at the Cecil Hotel. People started digging up songs on his channel about someone drowning and young woman being chased and murdered. Web sleuths thought that he was leaving crumbs to flaunt the fact that he murdered Lam. But by his account in the docuseries, Vergara wasn't in the country when Lam died. However, people flagged his social media handles, and his YouTube, email, and Facebook accounts were eventually terminated.

LAM-ELISA Test For Tuberculosis

After Lam died, a tuberculosis outbreak [7] plagued Los Angeles, especially among the homeless community in Skid Row by the Cecil Hotel. The test for the tuberculosis was literally her name, but backwards: LAM-ELISA [8], which stood for Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA). Conspiracy theorists immediately speculated that Lam was effectively a biological weapon of sorts. They discovered that she was a student from the University of British Columbia, which has a reputable tuberculosis research center [9]. This particular theory has disturbing eugenic undertones that posits Lam was sent to control the homeless population. According to this theory, Lam died because she either knew too much or planned to expose whoever sent her. But according to her autopsy report [10], Lam did not exhibit any signs of tuberculosis.

The Last Bookstore

The last place where anyone saw Lam was, eerily enough, Los Angeles' The Last Bookstore. But this name wasn't the only strange coincidence. If you look up The Last Bookstore's domain [11], you'll find a postal code in its registration information: V5G 4S2. Online sleuths put the postal code into Google Maps [12] and found the pinpoint at Lam's burial spot [13], Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Canada.

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