Memorate: Cecil Hotel


The Cecil Hotel is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the country. The hotel was opened in 1924 as a luxury hotel but quickly hit difficult times as the Great Depression took over Los Angeles and as the area surrounding the hotel transformed into Skid Row. Over the years, the hotel has been plagued with multiple suicides and an unsolved murder. Many believe that the hotel is now haunted by the spirits of those who passed within its walls.


Informant: “In 11th grade, my class took a trip from Irvine to Los Angeles for the weekend. When we were given some free time to explore the city, a couple friends and I decided to join a ghost tour. On one of our stops, we were taken to the Cecil Hotel. At this time, the hotel was closed for renovations, so it should have been completely dark and uninhabited when we visited.

Our tour guide stopped in front of the building for a few minutes and explained the hotel and its history. When we were done with our stop and had started walking away, one of my friends grabbed my hand and excitedly screamed, “Oh my god!”. A light had turned on on one of the top floors of the building that was definitely not on before. My friends and I just giggled at each other, but then we stopped giggling when the light turned back off, then back on again almost immediately, especially because our tour guide had just mentioned how construction had been paused for the last couple of weeks. We just kind of all looked at each other in fear and ran ahead to join our tour group.”


The Cecil Hotel is well known to LA natives and ghost story fans alike. The hotel has been plagued by so many rumors and crimes and speculations that no self-respecting individual would dare spend a night in the hotel. Many previous guests have reported eerie noises, unexplained disappearances of objects, and of course, lights and appliances turning on and off at will. My informant’s experience is a memorate that reinforces much of the lore surrounding the hotel; the unexplained, supernatural-esque experiences and the eerie feelings that people get when they even just walk by are simply spooky. Whether or not my informant’s experience was actually supernatural or just a construction worker testing out lighting will never be clear. However, given just how much crime and degenerate activity goes on in the hotel, it’s no surprise that the ghosts and spirits of the wronged or damned may still haunt the hotel.