A death at the Cecil hotel two years ago ending with a body in the hotel’s water tank has elevated the deceased, Elisa Lam into an internet phenomenon becoming an inspiration for a TV series. The hype could be because of the Cecil Hotel’s already dark past which includes murders and two serial killers, or in the urban myth quality of how her decaying body mixed with the water supply. However Elisa Lam’s has become a macabre celebrity because her death is a mystery that hasn’t been solved.
Mysteries have always been appealing, take the Sherlock Holmes mysteries which follow a highly consistent plot. Sherlock Holmes encounters a mystery, Sherlock Holmes solves this mystery the end. For any story to have a proper “The End” there must be a resolution. Mysteries that haven’t been solved is like a story that hasn’t ended yet. The mystery is waiting to be solved.
An unsolved mystery has the appeal of a cliffhanger. Cliffhangers are popular for many serials for creative mediums such as television shows between seasons because it keeps fans hyped up and excited to watch the next episode. One of the earliest and still greatest examples of the cliffhanger was an early 20th-century movie serial called the Perils of Pauline, an old-timey tv series where an episode always ends with the heroine Pauline in a dangerous situation and people would have to watch the next episode in order to find out how she escaped.
Unsolved mysteries have always been a magnet for creepy urban myths and conspiracy theorists. From aliens to the JFK assassination, the appeal has always been the unknownness, of the different possibilities or explanations to offer a resolution. But once we have it then the mystery is solved and we move on.
There are many possible reasons for Elisa Lam’s death. The simplest one to believe is that someone wanting to kill/rob/rape caught her, killed her and then dumped her in the water tank to hide his/her crime. We could believe that and move on, but unless there is definitive proof of what exactly happened to Elisa Lam, then her story will not be over and our continued fascination with her.
Note: I will be participating in NanoWrimo and will not be posting any articles for the month of November. See you in December!