If you live in Los Angeles, you may be familiar with some of the old murder mysteries that lend noir appeal to the City of Angels - Thelma Todd, for example, or the Perelson murders back in the '60s. There's a much more modern story, however, complete with video footage, that shook downtown Los Angeles and caused a drafty old hotel to change its name.
Welcome to the Hotel Cecil.
Last spring, a Canadian tourist came to Los Angeles and took a room in this already ill-reputed hotel, which was surrounded by transients and dazzling old restaurants. A few days after arriving, the tourist was found dead in a water tower on the hotel roof. There wasn't any evidence of foul play, except for this bizarre bit of video footage which showed the girl acting strangely in the elevator, moments before her death.
The murder remains unsolved, more than a year later, but the scandal caused the hotel to undergo a massive transformation. There are still vestiges of hotel's sordid history, however, including the old sign, which was never taken down. Although the hotel lobby has undergone a sparkling renovation, as soon as you ascend the elevator, you see that the dimly yawning hallways stretching into darkness, and the flickering lights encourage you to find a room somewhere else.
After visiting the Hotel Cecil, we paid a visit to Angel's Flight, which is in a much sunnier and more welcoming section of Los Angeles. I still want to visit the abandoned hospital in Boyle Heights...any takers?