During the 2015 Televisions Critics Association summer press tour, “American Horror Story” co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk revealed some terrifying new details about Season 5 of the FX series. According to the showrunners, the upcoming installment, titled “Hotel,” was inspired by a true American horror story that involved the mysterious death of a young woman.
“There was a surveillance video that went around two years ago that showed a girl getting into an elevator in a hotel that was said to be haunted… and she was never seen again,” Murphy told the audience during the anticipated “AHS” panel. Although the mastermind behind the nail-biting drama never specified the exact event he was referring to, based on the chilling clues he gave the crowd it’s safe to assume he was talking about the horrific demise of Elisa Lam.
— AmericanHorrorStory (@AHSFX) August 7, 2015
Check out 7 chilling things you need to know about perplexing case of Lam’s death and how that incident connects the seasons of “American Horror Story” below:
- On Feb. 19, 2013, a maintenance worker from a downtown Los Angeles hotel, formally known as the Cecil Hotel, went to go examine the facility’s water tank after receiving complaints from guests. That’s when the worker uncovered the body of Lam, a 21-year-old Canadian tourist who was reported missing since Feb. 1 of that year.
- Guests of the hotel, which has since been re-branded into Stay on Main, were horrified when they learned they were ingesting the contaminated water Lam’s body was decyaing in for 19 days.
“The water did have a funny taste,” Sabrina Baugh, a tourist from Britain, told CNN following the horrendous event. “We never thought anything of it. We thought it was just the way it was here.” However, Baugh did notice something alarming during her showers. “The shower was awful. When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for the two seconds and then it was going back to normal,” she explained.
- But the story of Lam’s death only got more disturbing when police released footage from an elevator security camera of the hotel that showed Lam acting peculiar. The tape captured Lam looking paranoid as she suspiciously peered out the elevator door after pushing several different buttons. When the doors didn’t close, she stood outside the elevator, motioning with her hands, before walking away. That was the last time Lam was seen alive.
— American Horror Fans (@AHS_Fanatics) August 9, 2015
- On. Feb 21, 2013, the country corner’s officer reported that Lam’s death was an accidental drowning.
- The allegedly haunted Cecil Hotel has a dark past. "It's the place where serial killers stay," tour guide Richard Schave told CNN in Feb. 2013. Two of the hotel’s most notorious guests were Richard Ramirez, who was known as the “Nighstalker,” and Jack Unterweger, a journalist and killer who hanged himself in June 1994 after being convicted for several murders .
- So, how does Lam’s death help connect the several seasons of “American Horror Story”? Well, the hotel where Lam was found dead is also the same hotel Elizabeth Short (the Black Dahlia) was rumored to be last seen before the 22-year-old was found mutilated in Leimert Park in Los Angeles, Calif., on Jan. 15, 1947.
In Season 1 of “American Horror Story,” which was titled “Murder House,” Mena Suvari took on the role of the dark haired beauty, Elizabeth Short (later known as the Black Dahlia) – an aspiring actress with a rotten tooth. Elizabeth was new to L.A. and low on cash, which is when she explained to the dentist that her girlfriend had told her he’s known to make “special arrangements” with girls “who are a little short.”
The tooth doc agrees to fix Elizabeth’s smile – for a fee. But after the payment is made and the tooth was fixed, the doctor learned he ended up killing the wishful starlet with anesthesia. With the help of the home’s residential ghost, the dentist and his ghoulish housemate end up sawing the young girl in pieces before sprinkling her limbs and head, featuring a Glasgow smile, throughout Leimert Park.
- During the 2015 TCA panel, Murphy confirmed that former characters from the “AHS” series would return in the new season. And considering Season 5 was inspired by a rumored location where the Black Dahlia was last seen, is it possible that Suvari could be reprising her character?
"American Horror Story: Hotel" will premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 7, on FX.