Saturday, August 8, 2015



Temecula, CA – I credit Occupy Los Angeles as a major influence to my book Memoirs of Mr. Pete & Mary Jane Green, but I never thought it would provide me with this insight concerning FX's American Horror Story's fifth season which was hinted at on Friday,

"American Horror Story: Hotel" co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk revealed new details about the upcoming season during the Television Critics Association summer press tour. We learned who all the main characters are, the name of the titular hotel and that the season was inspired by a real-life event. Murphy didn't reveal the exact horror story that gave him the idea for Season 5, but based on his description and some clues, we have a pretty good idea.

During the panel, Murphy told the TCA audience that the creators were inspired by a real-life surveillance video. "A girl got in an elevator in a downtown hotel," he said. "She was never seen again." So what incident happened two years ago in a downtown hotel? The Elisa Lam mystery.'

Here's where it gets interesting. While at OLA those two months, I had the opportunity to look around the country's second largest city. Knowing how to find a deal anywhere [see page196, Memoirs], I chanced upon what seemed a good deal if I ever needed a place to stay, as in a hotel. When my book editor moved to Florida, I looked the hotel up and checked in.

The first time I stayed at the hotel, I was like any tourist in a new place. The hotel wasn't my destination but just the lodging so most of my time was spent just passing through. The decor and the history of the classic building was palatable so that soaked in. I made a mental note to inquire more on my next visit since I first stay was pleasurable and accommodating.

It was perhaps the very next visit for a weekend event that I heard the story of Elisa Lam, from a hotel guest while in the elevator.

'In 2013, Lam, a 21-year-old Vancouver woman, was found dead on the rooftop of the former Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles (now known as Stay on Main). The woman was last seen in the lobby of the hotel on Jan. 31 and presumed missing until police found her body in one of the water supply tanks on the hotel's rooftop on Feb. 19. During the investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department released a surveillance video of Lam acting strange in the hotel elevator, which showed her pressing multiple buttons, flailing her arms around and standing in the corner as if she was hiding from something. The LA County Coroner later ruled Lam's death accidental.

Watching the video from the elevator can lead you to wonder if there was an assailant if you have never been to the actual hotel and seen the layout. The hotel is a boutique hotel, not some New York grand lobby giant. It is clean but not massive and the two elevator lobby entrance is mirrored, so there is a first time 'funhouse' effect. The re-branded hotel also maintains a security staff and the elevator entrance is visible to the front desk as well.

Though not mentioned in the story is this independent investigation by a citizen detective.

Based on above research, we find that Ms. Lam was Bi-Polar and was found to have meds in her system. From my opinion, it would seem that the young woman had decided to end her depression. Being anxious to follow through, stalling the elevator accidentally leads to the manic attitude. Leaving out of camera, Ms. Lam probably settled on climbing out and up the fire escape to the roof. Once the roof hatch was open, it was simple to climb back down, disrobe, gather your belongings, climb back up, toss everything in, and then follow.

The people who come up with ideas for shows have to show some inspiration and if you have never known a bi-polar person, together with all the mainstream 'thug' stories, it isn't much of a reach to maybe take something like this and put a horror spin on it for TV.
Tumblr user FriendlyWafer photo credit
However, this is LA so anyone who has ever read anything about the city's buildings knows many have strange histories. The Cecil Hotel is no different. You have a feeling of being on a ship once you enter its doors, and the rules are there to be followed for the respect of all. It has a 'big hotel' feel and right downtown if you ever want to 'see LA' by foot, public trans, and of course by car, though auto parking is an additional expense/bother. This is a hotel for the hip tourist with just enough of a checkered past to be big city interesting. The place has character and a free waffle breakfast. I love LA.

(Story source - Maureen Ryan, Erin Whitney)

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