Sunday, February 24, 2013

Did Elisa Lam have a Second Life AV?

(I swear this post will eventually get around to the topic of Second Life. Just bear with it.)

I've been haunted all weekend by the story of Elisa Lam.

You've probably heard this story – or at least part of it – by now.

In a nutshell: Elisa Lam, 21, of Vancouver, B.C., takes a solo trip to California. Her friends and family members say they're not quite sure why. A few friends say she told them she was going to take a job on a farm in Santa Cruz. Some of them find this reason strange and hard to believe – Who hears about a random job on a farm in California and travels from Canada to take it? Other friends say Elisa struggled with sometimes crippling depression – for a time she had dropped out of school because of it – and had wandered off the grid before. They assumed this trip was another depression-fueled wander.

Regardless of the reason behind it, Elisa mentions the trip on her tumblr. She lists the cities she plans to visit – San Diego, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, San Francisco, and possibly San Luis Obispo – and invites her tumblr followers to offer travel suggestions or plan a meet-up with her. Finally, she heads off to Cali on Jan. 26.

She starts in San Diego, kicks around for a couple of days and then takes a bus to Los Angeles. She checks in to the unbelievably seedy Cecil Hotel. It's a couple of streets away from Skid Row, where homeless people live in tents on the streets. It's filthy and dismal, with shared bathrooms and public showers. It has several floors of single occupancy residents. In fact, serial killer Richard Ramirez lived there for 14 months. Actually, I could devote a whole post to the hotel's dark past – so many murders there, so many suicides – but this post is about Elisa.

Many of us who are now borderline-obsessed with this case wonder why in the world she would choose such a nasty hotel, particularly since she was traveling alone. Some us think she was misled by the hotel's website, which shows marble floors and ornate decor. Some of us think someone may have suggested it to her. Some of us think she picked it because she was on a budget and it's only $65 a night to stay there and close to a hip, artsy section of downtown L.A.

Meanwhile, she checks in with her family every day of her trip. And then one day she stops checking in. Her family gets concerned. Days go by. Elisa misses her Feb. 1 check-out date. Her parents and sister fly from Vancouver to Los Angeles to hold a Feb. 6 press conference with the Los Angeles Police Department about Elisa's disappearance. More days go by.

And here's where it gets creepy and disturbing as hell.

On Feb. 14, in the hopes that someone will recognize her, police release this Jan. 31 surveillance video footage of Elisa in one of the hotel's elevators. It is, hands down, one of the most chilling things I've watched in a long time:

Is she hiding from someone? High? Hallucinating? In the midst of a mental break? Goofing around with someone? Possessed? Seeing the paranormal? I AM HAUNTED BY THIS VIDEO. I had horrible dreams about this video. I woke up thinking about this video. I will probably think about it every time I get in an elevator now.

On Feb. 19, in response to complaints of low water pressure from guests at the Cecil Hotel, a worker checks the hotel's water tanks on the roof and discovers the decomposing nude body of a woman floating in one of them. It is later identified "by body markings" as the missing Elisa Lam. Authorities later determined the body had been there for at least 19 days.

The subsequent news stories were unfortunately not so much about Elisa as they were about the fact that the Cecil Hotel's residents had been drinking, showering in and brushing their teeth with water in which a decomposing corpse had been floating for weeks. It explained why some guests had complained that their shower water was black and their drinking water had a "sweetly, disgusting" taste to it. . . .

OK, I have to break the serious tone of this post for a minute to say SHEEEEEEEEZUS that could be the grossest thing I've ever heard. I'm sorry, but WOW. I would probably puke for WEEKS if I was one of those people. "We're not well mentally," said British tourist and hotel guest Michael Baugh, 27. YOU THINK?

On Feb. 20, officials issue a "do not drink" order to guests and residents of the hotel. (Um, too late?)

An autopsy on Feb. 21 was frustratingly "inconclusive." Now those of us who are emotionally invested in this story are waiting six to eight weeks for toxicology reports. And wondering. Was she murdered? Was it a drug-induced accident? Was it suicide? Was she in L.A. to meet someone whom she met online – someone who turned out to be a sicko?

Anyway, so here's why I wanted to talk about Elisa and Second Life.

So many people out there on various forums are speculating about this young woman's life, trying to find out who she was and if she'd be prone to suicide, drugs or weird, crazy gestures in elevators.

As for me, one way I really got to know Elisa was by reading her blog Ether Fields. In it, she talks very openly about her struggles with depression and her frequent inability to leave the house or get out of bed. When she did, it was an accomplishment. I know how she feels. She also talks about connecting with people online. A pretentious guy on one conspiracy theory forum described her blog as "boring, not particularly interesting." I wanted to tell that guy that a-holes like him probably contributed a helluva lot to her often-bleak outlook on life.

Some excerpts:

"I spent about two days in bed hating myself.
Why don't I simply do the things that I know will make me feel better?
It isn't rocket science. It isn't that difficult. Get out of bed. Eat. See people. Talk to people. Exercise. Write. Read. "
"Things are going fairly well in that I am leaving the house and got myself a part time job. My room is still a mess. I haven't actually done any school work and I berate myself for being such a lazy person."
"I feel I am wasting my time compared to my fellow peers. I had a relapse at the start of the term and had to drop 2 of the 3 courses I was taking. Now I am down to one course and I have missed 3 weeks of classes since my sleeping pattern is completely reversed." 
"I haven't felt 'fine' in over 3 years. This relapse makes me feel as though I haven't made any progress at all." 
"I'm very disappointed in myself for breaking down during the term forcing me to withdraw from courses. I've been at university for 3 years and I've only managed to complete three courses. That means I've been a first year for three years and this September it will be for the fourth year because I require 30 credits in order for second year status."
"I just wish...someone around me could understand what it really means to be depressed." 
"Bless the internet. All those who wish to find a way to express their sadness can go there and feel less alone. So many of the tumblrs I follow seem to carry the same grief as me in some way or another.  . . . I simply have no motivation to do anything, let alone leave my bed. My computer and the internet is my one lifeline, one link to the world and reminder to look beyond my immediate situation because there is always more. Always. "
"On one hand this helps me deal with the sadness but on the other hand I basically become a potato. On the outside I look like a catatonic hobo on my bed in front of a glowing screen (no sleep schedule whatsoever but this appears to be a norm for the jobless and the people on the internet) and not eating/sleeping/functioning like any "normal" person. And I shout at anyone saying "Maybe.... you should try getting off the computer?" Leave me alone, I'm happy, this makes me feel better, I need this, this is the one thing that makes me sane, I can't deal with people, just leave me alone, this is something I can actually do, nobody is judging me, I feel less lonely because all these people think like me. "
". . . despite the overwhelming majority of tumblr-ers who seem to be your soulmate, the actuality is they are the minority of the world. And perhaps, they only exist on their computers and they are a muted version of their online selves in real life. And maybe I'm looking at them through the rose-coloured glasses (pixelated screens I think there's a funny analogy in there somewhere) and seeing the person they aspire to be."
Does any of this sound familiar? Doesn't it sound like so many of our blogs and conversations? I know it sounds like a lot of mine. Hell, I could have written these things – just substitute "jobs" for "courses" and change "not getting out of bed for days" to "years."

People might disagree with this opinion, but I think she fits the profile of so many people in Second Life: dealing with depression or isolation, connects better with people online than in RL, sees the Internet as somewhere to escape, recognizes the power of expression and reinvention that an online identity can give.

At one point in her blog, she talks about not wanting to blog under her real name:

Why am I writing about issues that I know people f*cking freak out about? What kind of a narcissistic twit am I anyway to think my little voice will add anything useful to the blogosphere? Why do I feel the need to do this at all? What have I already published that people could use against me? What if there are already crazies out there Googling me? 

Oof, if only she knew just how much some of us would be Googling her. :(

And her mysterious trip to California – well, it reminded me of so many of my SL friends who finally took that leap and traveled somewhere in RL to meet an SL friend or partner. You just can't tell most people in RL about a trip like that because many people wouldn't understand and many would think you had lost it.

I think Elisa Lam would have liked Second Life. She was passionate about fashion and loved to express herself visually as well as verbally. It just makes me wonder if she had an AV here. I remember the weird panicky feeling I got when one of my SL friends up and vanished a few years ago. I remember just feeling helpless because I really didn't know who she was in RL. I sat around wondering if she had been in an accident or if she had just decided to make a run for the border.

Do any of you have an SL friend who mentioned a trip to California and vanished? Do any of you know someone who recently went from being regularly active to suddenly gone (besides me, LOL)? If we give her name to Linden Lab, would they check? Probably not.

The problem with forming an online community is when you lose a member, sometimes you never find out why. And vice versa – when something horrible happens out there in the real world, sometimes you never know which, if any, of your virtual friends are affected by it. Sometimes people just disappear, and all the searching in the world never brings any clear answers.

Anyway, I can't get away from the word "haunt" here. Her story haunts me. I am haunted by the sickeningly ironic fact (sing: "Isn't It Ironic?") that when she finally managed to get out of bed and make an effort to get a fresh perspective on life, she came to a horrifying, gruesome end. I am heartbroken for her family – how horrible, not only to lose a daughter and a sister, but to lose her in such a macabre, public way. She's not Elisa anymore – she's a rotting corpse that contaminated a hotel water supply for days. She's a weird girl doing creepy things in an elevator. Depending who you ask, she's on drugs, insane, plain stupid or suicidal. Nobody's talking about the tragedy of a bright life that was suddenly taken. Nobody's talking the fact that she loved "The Great Gatsby" and Harry Potter, that she had a wonderful eye for fashion, that she was often bravely trying to find her way back from the brink and allowing so many people to share that journey, that she rejoiced in the feeling of being madly in love and loved back, that her Instagram album was pretty cool.

She has been reduced to a morbid mystery. :(

Elisa, I wish I would have found your blog while you were alive. I would have told you that so many people can relate to what you were going through. SO MANY. And if you didn't know about SL, maybe I would have told you about it. We take care of our own here. Or at least we try.

Rest in peace.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your post. Definitely a haunting story and so tragic. Your research has really provided a lot of insight into who she was and what motivated her, which was frustratingly missing from most of the news I've read.

Tashi Core said...

Your post makes me sad. I don't know Elisa or if she was ever in SL, but I can connect to her story on quite many levels. There is so much I want to say, but it's kind of pointless atm. I pray she goes to a better place.

Alexx Usbourne said...

Wow...just, wow. You've written such a wonderful piece about her. I hadn't been able to read up on her as much as you have. It's a shame that she and so many like her just haven't gotten the help to get out of the deep "rut" of depression.
Hopefully what you've written here will make us all stop to think about those around them in sl and in rl.

Anonymous said...

She sounds bipolar to me. I'm shocked that people who knew her didn't recognize that there was a problem and help her find help. Mental illness has so much stigma attached to it, those who suffer from it rarely want to seek out help or accept it when offered. That needs to change.

Thank, Em, for writing this post. Maybe it will help open the lines of communication about mental illness. *hugs*

Daila said...

Great, great, great post! I had followed the story a tiny bit in the news, but I enjoyed reading your take and comments on it!

Anonymous said...

What's even more creepy... the test for TB is called the LAM-ELISA test. There has been a recent outbreak of TB in that area where she died... WTF!!!

Jeff said...

.... she sounds .... just like me...

Elisa... had I only found you earlier. I know I could've helped you.

since the first time I saw the news about her, I was drawn to her, obsessed in finding out more about her. I didn't know why then.

the more i know of her, from her various online sites, the more this became eerie... as though i'm looking into a mirror.

the difference? i have been standing on my own two feet without medication my whole life. i still go through the manic depressive episodes every now and then. but i've learned not to fight the depression, but to embrace it.

if only.... if only.... we met earlier, Elisa.

I'm so sorry.

Anonymous said...

So sad :(

Something eerie though... For anyone who has checked out her Tumblr... there is a new post dated today, March 1st, at 3 am...

I am not too familiar with using Tumblr, but who would be posting?

Emerald Wynn said...

Hi everyone and thanks for the comments!

Anon, regarding her Tumblr, there are three theories floating around out there:

1) she has it set to auto-post certain items
2) the person who killed (??) her took her phone and is updating it (I'm not feeling this one)
3) Maybe that's actually not her tumblr (although it uses the same pic as her Twitter feed, and her blogspot blog links to it.)


Maybe her sister has taken over it?? (but wouldn't she post something to that effect?)

There's a forum called where they talk about this case extensively - I read someone's rather lengthy explanation over there of how they could tell her tumblr was set to auto-post.

But I have no idea. :\

Emerald Wynn said...

Attempting to post correct WebSleuths link:


Anonymous said...

One thing that puzzles me a little comes from this post:

She makes it sound as though she was either coming straight from another trip, or not living in Vancouver.

Emerald Wynn said...

That IS weird! And so is the TB thing!!

I found this on the WebSleuths forum - someone who was able to translate an article in Chinese posted it -

"THIS IS ALL MY OPINION: I'm an internet researcher and I found a website in Chinese where it looks as though they have pulled all of Elisa's photos and posts from her actual Facebook page and posted them on their site. I conclude this because the only things in English that I could read without a translation program were her posts from the last 5 months or so. If the posts were actually written by Elisa and I believe they are due to so many specific people and places she mentions and the tone of the posts.

"From what I read, (AND I AM PARAPHRASING) Elisa had been on another trip a month or 2 before this USA trip and her family was bugging her about packing and prepping for this CA. trip. (why all these trips and no school?) She mentioned days where she didn't feel so good ( mentally) and how she couldn't wait to fly out of there (home, I guess)."

So . . . she was still in the other (first) location and the person's translation was a little off or . . . ?????


Noreen said...

Thank you so much or writing such a great an insightful piece. I was so moved and feel deeply saddened for her family and friends. You're right, I hope people will remember Elisa for all the things she did, rather than how her life came to a tragic end. May her soul rest in peace.

Alexx Usbourne said...

Emerald - I was in a hotel over the weekend (thankfully, it was a nice one!) but every time I got in the elevator I thought about this.

Websleuths is a great forum. I've been over there since the Laci Peterson case. There are some really inquisitive people who put a lot of time and energy turning over every rock to sleuth things out.

Emerald Wynn said...

Yeah, people are REALLY passionate over there, especially in Missing Persons cases, God bless them. I have lost myself in those forums for hours at a time.

Anonymous said...

I too am haunted by this case. I scour the internet daily for more information. I am disturbed there is so little information in the media and suspicious as to why .
There seems to be a confluence of the macabre and the paranormal at work here.
I cannot rest until this mystery is solved.

Anonymous said...

as for her Tumblr if someone stole her phone can't it be traced ?

Anonymous said...

I hope that the person who stole her phone/found it at the speakeasy didn't look through her emails and find her itenerary. They could have even found information on her phone like check in info for what room she would be staying in and at what hotel. Easily she could have met an unsavory character at the speakeasy who stole her phone with full intentions on finding her trip info to stalk and also to have an excuse to meet up with her later to give her back her phone.

Emerald Wynn said...

ohhhh that's chilling, Anonymous. I saw an article over the weekend that speculated that she had met online and was there to hang out with that guy Morbid there - he had a small YouTube following, I think? :\

Sam said...

Excellent post, Emerald. I also believe that there's much to be learned about Elisa Lam's (EL) motivations and state of mind in her blogs (Tumblr, Blogger, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) In response to some of your points in your original post, the WWOOF (Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms) volunteer opportunities are popular with young people in Vancouver, Canada. EL also mentions in her Tumblr that she was thinking of taking an introductory computer science class at U.C. Santa Cruz extension (which she states is in Santa Clara.) Although EL was a bright and a good student in high school (she received an $800 Rotary Club scholarship for some form of environmental studies,) at some point in college it appears that she was going through some psychological issues, as she states early/mid 2012 that she was diagnosed with hypomania, bipolar disorder, ADHD. She's prescribed some medication as a result. The reason for no school is explained in her entry regarding after 3 years of college, she had only completed about 3 classes. I'm thinking the comp sci class at UCSC could have been an attempt to start anew in her academics.

BlackJena said...

It's comforting to read something with new, or insightful information regarding Elisa. I too am captivated by this tragedy, and am rather frustrated by the lack of information or press releases regarding progress in the case, (aside from the eagerly anticipated toxicology results). Why isn't this story getting better, and more responsible coverage? I am sick about the so-called professionals in American news media acting like this is something funny. It's incredible to me that people are entertained by this, rather than realizing a horrific crime was perpetratef against this woman. At least your blog talks about HER, and your commenters are the most intelligent and respectful I've seen so far. Let's hope level heads prevail and we remember a life has ended, and we MUST know why. Thanks for adding your thoughts and the links.

Anonymous said...

Don't elevators have emergency phones and a "door close" button? I think you can stop them between floors too.

Anonymous said...

While walking in street in downtown LA mid February, I was handed a flyer "have you seen ..." with a picture of Elisa on it. I still have the flyer.

I thought the elevator video curious, but I would not assign too much interpretation of nefarious nature to it.

Reason is reminds me of time I was staying somewhere with very slow elevator. When I walked in and pushed the button the doors would stay open a long time and apparently nothing happening. At the time, I thought someone else didn't see the open door and pushed the cue button, thus keeping my door open. After a while, I popped my head out the open door to look if someone was pushing button.

doors still open; i was getting impatient and walked out to push outside button to call other elevator.

Back in elevator and thinking the floor button i pushed defective, I tried other floors and tapped the 'close' button repeatedly.

I don't know if such simple explanation is what happened with this girl, but if there was video of me in that elevator would look odd i am sure.

Another thing: i cannot confirm directly, but an overseas friend of mine said they saw on their coverage interview with someone who lived in building across from this HOtel. Supposedly this person said that from time to time would see people on the roof hanging out or in some cases having a what they thought was secret 'tryst'.

Chaimae Dennis said...

Great post!! thanks for the links to her blog. I find myself quite intrigued by her mysterious death, not sure why. I know many people do. One thing that irritates me is the sudden stop of news in her regards from the beginning of March, I can't find any update about the investigation whatsoever! I hope we find out what really happened to her, because I am sure she didn't take her own life.

Emerald Wynn said...


I hope so too! I have a Google alert going so if anything pops up I'll get an email. Surely her toxicology reports will come back soon!!

Gav said...

Ah I got really sad when I started reading her blog. I am also a UBC student, and keep wishing that I had stumbled upon her blog - I would have definitely tried to contact her.
I've also found some interesting info regarding the video footage released of her:
Elisa Lam - What are they hiding?

Priscilla said...

On her tumblr blog that you linked us, apparently, there was a post on April 1st?

What in the world? Its a reblog of a video

Emerald Wynn said...

Gav - thank you for sharing that link! Very good stuff!

Priscilla - I KNOW, what???? I read in a couple of places that she set her Tumblr to auto-post while she was traveling and that's why random posts occasionally pop up. It's unsettling. :\

Anonymous said...

They were lovely things for you to say about her. I'm sure if she could see this, she would have felt blessed to see how many people cared about her enough to wonder what happened to her.

I've watched the footage, and have to say, it does look a lot like how people behave when they're hypnotized. I've seen shows where they get people out of the audience to do bizarre things and it is a little like that when you watch the footage - even when she looks dizzy for a moment. It would explain how she had no drugs in her system and no marks on her.

RIP Elisa Lam. You and your family deserved better than that. The only good thing that came from your passing is that we all can see how many people in the world, look for the truth. And truth will always prevail.

Anonymous said...

I saw an extensive discussion about this on PuffSky too. No one has any definitive answers though, expected for a case like this.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps she was somehow aware of her impending doom and was struggling against it.

Brian S. said...

Thanks for posting this information. I heard about the story months ago and just remembered it after reading a different woman's body was found in a water treatment plant near LA recently. I'm dismayed to just find out they don't have much information on Elisa's case.

I also find the Second Life world you describe to be interesting. It sucks that some people would just up and quit it. But to be honest that happens in real life too. Not completely the same I know, but it's just one of those things you have to come to terms with as you get older that some people will just up and leave without a proper goodbye.

It's the worst when people get married.

But thank goodness for online communities where people can help and support each other. Being Asian myself, I know firsthand that Asian families aren't the best with talking over feelings and problems. My friends become my therapists.

Anonymous said...

I don't know how I stumbled upon Elisa Lam. But my heart reaches out for her. The family never had closure on what happened. Such stories are really brain-numbing. Somewhere in the other end of the world, we all feel so perturbed and sad because of her story. I cannot even fathom what her family went through. I hope her soul rests in peace.

Jannie said...

I know I'm a little late to the party, but I just wanted to say that I heard about this just yesterday (I live in scandinavia and it didn't really get publicity here) and have been feeling like you ever since:
Googling, thinking, watching the video like 20 times completely freaked out, I even dreamt about it last night! And as soon as I woke up, I was back to the research.
This case is so wierd. I don't know what happened to her, but the video is so, so sad.
Maybe you're right about the SL-thing.

Anonymous said...

something had control over the elevator and mabey even her which is extreamly curious!

Anonymous said...

i found some things.

why is she active dec 2013?? (shown above)
here is the post;

Taz Dale said...

.........That's not her tumblr. She died January 31st, and the last post of that blog was a month ago. Great job.

Anonymous said...

Poor girl. My heart goes out to her family. I wanted to say that first off. I heard they were suing the hotel and rightfully so since someone wasn't doing their job. Unfortunately no amount of money will bring back their daughter, sister, family member, etc. I know how it feels to lose someone though not to these types of circumstances so I understand.

As for the person who wondered if she had bipolar, you're correct, she did indeed have bipolar disorder and this behavior is common for some cases with bipolar [not all cases but some]. I know, I actually have a friend who is bipolar and he has these episodes himself.

Again, my heart goes out to her family and friends. I can't imagine what they're feeling.

Emerald Wynn said...

Hey Taz -- Apparently she had several posts prepared in advance that were scheduled to post on certain dates, according to a friend of hers who contacted me here. I'm not that familiar with Tumblr, but I guess it's something you can make it do? Not sure.

John Johnson said...

Very sad story indeed. Especially when you read how hard she was on herself for not advancing in life as her high school friends. I plan to do a short tribute to her on Youtube and post it on her birthday 4/30/15, but that seem a bit creepy so maybe just I'll pass.

RIP Elisa. :(

Emerald Wynn said...

Do it, John! If so, please post the link here.

Anonymous said...

Ok then.

I will upload it on her birthday (lord willing) and hope you enjoy it. I created a new account and it will appear here:


ChelseaRawr said...

A silly boy at school showed me the video in the morning and at first I thought it was a gag, a creepy one. But for about 4 days I've been searching and searching. I followed her IG and Tumblr. I feel creeped out and sad and inspired looking at the little bits of what her life was. This reminds me of the case of Mitrice Richardson.

People with mental illness don't get the respect and help they deserve and in turn they can be taken advantage of and or find themselves in a difficult situation. It deeply bothers me to the core of my being that we will most likely never know in this life what happened to her really. I have sort of gotten past thinking this is a murder case; perhaps accidental. I hope it was an accident. But the thing I don't understand is her getting into the tank. That is never really explained and is the key to figuring this out. Its like they said fuck it. The truth about that should have been pushed by someone. (if I had the means, I would) This case just brings more doubt and disappointment into the justice system. If only it were as good like the shows like CSI and Criminal minds.

The truth is that the justice system is like tossing a coin and ofc I feel like LAPD is full of shit. They didn't do what was needed. I hope this wasn't a murder because that's the worst possible outcome.

You wrote this beautifully. I'm really and truly grateful for it :(

John Johnson said...

Finally finished the memorial to Elisa Lam here's the link

Hope you like it.

Emerald Wynn said...

John, damn, that is beautiful and it made me teary. Thank you for making it.

jadon said...

for some reason I just resumed my interest in this case... it is still so sad and hard to understand. Just thought I'd mention a couple of things that were "odd" seeing how I have never even heard of SL, but on FB if you go to "SL Photography and Makeup" (there is a picture of a blonde I believe kind of looks like a wedding type pic), anyway, on the left hand column you will find many entries by a Sarah Lam clicking her fb page, you will find she is from Vancouver... odd right? Kind of stranger even was a post on the SL page about a booking at a Decline Green someplace in February 2013 during the time Eli a was missing. Also, I couldn't find ANY type of comments for her sister at all. Maybe it is just coincidence? IDK... just wanted to share... also the video was a 3 minute video stretched out to cover 4 minute feed, which is A) EXTREMELY odd and B) changes EVERYTHING as far as how one would view her so-called "odd" behavior. When brought up to the actual speed, movement is very fluid and much more normal in comparison, which may help many who I can empathize with at how disturbed I once WAS... but now I believe it was made to creep us out... youtube and search for the corrected speed version - I TRULY believe it will help many of you in a multifaceted way. Thanks for taking my comment.

Emerald Wynn said...

Ah, that is an awesome observation, jadon, and the first time I've heard of the video thing. This is the one I just watched after reading your comment – – and now I see there are a few more I want to watch. You're right - the normal speed isn't as creepy. It kind of looks like she's just telling someone she pushed all the buttons and nothing got the elevator to work, so then she wandered off to find some other way to get to another floor.

Some time ago, I got an email from a guy claiming to be her former bf (I didn't save his email address – so many people ask me for it now) who read this post and wanted to tell me that she didn't have an avatar in Second Life, but she was making a detour in CA to meet some friends she met online. Then again, a lot of people don't tell other people they hang out in SL, as it's not for everyone and/or difficult to explain to diehard realists. :)

Despite what all the experts say now, I still have a hard time believing she got herself in the water tank and got the lid closed on her own. It seems impossible. I will always suspect foul play. The whole story is tragic. It will probably always haunt me.

Emerald Wynn said...

This video makes some good points:

Emerald Wynn said...

I haven't thought about this case for a while. I see now from the autopsy report ( that she was taking (generic) Seroquel. Oddly, my doctor once prescribed Seroquel to me for insomnia. After I took it for the first time, yes, it knocked me out, but I woke up in the middle of the night standing in my hallway on the second floor of my house, just about to STEP OFF the flight of stairs leading downstairs. It scared the BEEJEEZUS out of me. I flushed them all down the toilet the next day.

I see she was also taking Effexor and Wellbutrin (generics). Woo, that is a hardcore cocktail of three drugs that really alter brain chemistry. I wrote this EPIC BLOG POST when I was cranked on high doses of Wellbutrin. (Man, I kind of miss those days of manic productivity.) I take nothing now except L-dopa and theanine supplements. I got tired of feeling like a narcotic puppet.

Ugh, I don't know. I go back and forth on what could have happened here. Maybe she did experience some kind of mental break. That hotel is sleazy enough -- with a ton of bad energy -- to certainly push a depressed person over the edge. Just looking at the photos and reading about the history makes me feel ill.

Regardless, I wish peace for her soul and her family. I read that someone's making a movie based on this case. I think that's pretty horrific – just continued hell for her family and friends. :(

jadon said...

thanks for replying to my comment and checking the camera speed out... also, I noticed for some reason my message about SL FB Page came out with a wrong word... the word Decline for some reason was there but I have no idea how spell check got that from what I typed... there is a post during her time of still being missing for a CECILE. It is public and it is the only way you can get to sarah lam's profile. Just wanted to clear that up. It was really odd to me; too that she wore the same outfit as the little girl named Cecil e in the American version of the movie "Dark Waters."

Anonymous said...

Nobody really knows about what happened to her phone... She was a target the moment she arrived in LA because they specifically took advantage of her bipolar disorder to erase the tracks? Either she had a stalker or was communicating with a stranger that knew about her disorder but I think she talked about having relapse on her tumblr? So her personal health issue is accessible to the public. She seems like a smart girl though, picking Cecil has to be motivated by someone she was communicating with. I definitely believe the premeditated theory.

John Johnson said...

Hi there, posted a new Elisa Lam video "Elisa Lam - Blue Child Odyssey (2Q13)".

I hope you enjoy it.

Hunter Thompson

Hard candy said...

Wow, Ive been haunted as well by her story. I just thought reading myself when you said that you were going to think about her creepy video when taking an elevator. Me, thinking always about this taking it at job or at home, looking at the cold buttons and searching for something else inside the mirror.

However what gives me more troubles to sleep is her las pic with that dark outfit, her left hand hanging at side in a strange pposición... We never know what she was thinking that day. Before reading your entry I had already thought about her meeting someone... I know many ppl traveling alone but in her case... Having boyfriend, friends... Why going alone? Maybe she planned everything from the start. Going to a gloomy place like that hotel...

jeff campbell said...

hard candy ..exactly...i thought,,its gotta be a bit planned......

Darkworldchaos said...

Planned. It does seem planned to me. Like a low budget "found footage" or independent horror film. When I see this it feels like she is acting. Deep down I believe that someone convinced her to help them make a little horror film. What better reason to go to the Cecil? What a clever way to hid a murder? Cover it up with strange coincidence and odd victim behavior. Make the crime so bizarre, so out there, that it becomes the stuff of legend. So much false evidence and wrong leads will pop up that the authorities will merely give up.

John Johnson said...

Please take a few moments today to commemorate the death of Elisa Lam early this morning three years ago.

May she rest in peace! :(

rebecca jelena wang said...

A Hoax....???

John Johnson said...

"On 2/19/2013 at 1000 hours, the decedent was found in a rooftop water tank by a maintenance worker for the hotel....911 was called and Los Angeles Fire Department #9 responded to determine death at 1022 hours"

"On 2/19/2013 at 1249 hours, Officer Sanchez reported this death to our office"

Please observe a moment of prayer for the soul of Elisa Lam - our thoughts are with her family and friends in on this 3rd year anniversary.

Eleni Kamisakis said...

I am trying to find her Facebook page and can't seem to find it. In addition can someone send me the link to all of her social media accounts? I only found her tumblr and I could not seem to find posts about her "West Coast Tour" album that is mentioned all over google. I have been following this story for quite some time - it is fascinating and disturbing. I really want to find out more answers and learn more about Elisa Lam - the human being not the media persona.

James said...


Thought I would try one more time... couldn't tell if the post went thru or not...

I find her case haunting too; very. I had forgotten all about it, I think I came across on the site ‘well of high strangeness’ like easily over a year ago, well a reference to it, but it was some time ago now and I had looked at it remembering it as a disappearance. Just a couple of days ago I looked at it again, it was stuck in my mind, and I found myself going down a rabbit hole.

Now having looked at many bits and pieces I find her case makes me think of 911, a miniature version of 911. There are so many weird details that don’t seem to lead to anything and yet they do lead somewhere. Of course there is so much junk on the internet about the case it is hard to separate fact and fiction unless you take some time.

Here is a connection that seems totally off the wall but yet seems strange enough to include. You may know of it. Aleister Crowley, the English occultist, had a stay in the Hotel Cecil. Not this one in LA but the one in London the Cecil Hotel may have taken its name from… while he was there he wrote Jephthah:

Jephthah in the Old Testament was a judge known for defeating the Ammonites and after his victory he sacrificed his daughter as a burnt offering. You can find her name in the Pseudo Philo… it was Seila. Well if you rearrange the letters it is Elisa.

More here…

It is a peculiar coincidence.


James said...

I had tried to add an additional comment but it didn’t make it so I thought I would try again… I still think this is like a miniature version of 911. I could draw a few parallels. Though we saw the towers go down in front of our eyes and have videos of it… we still aren’t certain about how and why they went down just as they did.

Same here. We know Elisa drowned but how and why she got in the tank is a mystery. There are many strange ‘coincidences’ connected with the 911 tragedy. Same here … the weirdest is probably the TB test kit having the same name as the deceased. But the Dark Water thing is pretty spooky too… and just like the video in 911 we have a video here… it is a strange video. I could go on but will leave it at that for now.

Now this to me is some really creepy stuff. Actually 911 is pretty creepy too. But the real ‘problem’ I have with this is outside the event itself. Reading between the lines so to speak. This to me looks like it was planned… again like 911. But who did the planning … and what is really behind all this. There are questions that are behind this that in their import are pretty frightening …

Your post is long and thoughtful… there are so many questions raised by her case it is pathetic how few answers… did anybody check on her cell phone? Did they get stats from her provider? What about the video… it really seems to have been edited. And is that really her..? And Imbolc… St. Brigid’s Day… its February 1st… the date of the video and may have been the date of the murder…

You left this out from Ether Fields: “It is a weariness that keeps me at a standstill.” It is a fantastic line. She was very far from stupid, and though she may have been bi-polar, she was very sane too. I don’t think this was suicide. It was something … different.

I begin to see this horror as a sort of constellation. It has various ‘focal’ points. Her blog is one … One of them is the Cecil, but the Cecil harbors several such nexus points- the elevator, the water tank, her room(s) seem to be invisible focal points to most of us- another invisible focal point would be the club she visited. I read somewhere that when she arrived at the Cecil she walked in with two men, and they were carrying some sort of box. Hmmm.

Another such point is the TB scare. This outbreak has more than one component and probably has more to say to us than we think. Of course it is a fact that UBC- her University- was heavy into TB research. Just curious.

Now from another site that has some details about TB:

“The best way to incubate pathogens is providing the perfect environment such as water tanks that are not irradiated by the sunlight. Elisa Lam was missing for nearly three weeks which are the perfect period to incubate Mycobacterium tuberculosis and transmit the disease through the water tank. An infection can cause bloated tummy and internal bleeding which can be misunderstood as a sexual assault....Was Elisa Lam infected by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which LAM-ELISA target? Was Elisa Lam a victim of the LAM-ELISA experiment to examine pathogenic behavior in human brains? Is Elisa Lam's death a result of bioterrorism?”

I think this is extreme but it is another point of view. And of course another focal point would be the movie Dark Water… if this didn’t harbor the spooky parallels it does it could easily be dismissed.

I liked your post. You took this quite personally. So to speak. Particularly the following… “OK, I have to break the serious tone of this post for a minute to say SHEEEEEEEEZUS that could be the grossest thing I've ever heard. I'm sorry, but WOW. I would probably puke for WEEKS if I was one of those people. "We're not well mentally," said British tourist and hotel guest Michael Baugh, 27. YOU THINK?

On Feb. 20, officials issue a "do not drink" order to guests and residents of the hotel. (Um, too late?)”

Like for real. Though I am not SL it was a good point… RL is often not that fun is it?


Anonymous said...

Someone has compiled all the personal posts from her Tumblr here-
Also a mixture of postings from her Instagram/Tumblr/Blogger here-

Emerald Wynn said...

Hey everyone,

I wrote this blog post so long ago and people still swing by to comment here, which is cool. As evident from the ongoing conversation, this is a case that still haunts many of us, including popular podcasters like Generation Why and several others.

Due to the length of time since the publication of this post, Blogger won't instantly publish your comments without my approval now. Although I'm not as active in Second Life anymore, I do still check the Emerald Wynn email address a few times a month and that's when I see your comments pop up there for approval. If you don't see your comment posted right away, I promise it'll get here eventually. :)

Thank you as always for reading. Peace and love to Elisa and her family. ♥ – E.