The informant is a 20 year old female college student at USC. The performance took place in her dorm room.
Informant: About 10 years ago, there was a girl who died in a hotel right around here in downtown LA. The footage of her acting weirdly in the elevator was all over the Internet. Some people said that she was possessed by demon and other said that she’s crazy. Her body was later found in the water tank at the hotel couple months later. I don’t really know if they’ve figured out what happened to her, but people said that the hotel has been haunted ever since.
The death of Elisa Lam is one of the famous unsolved mystery that happened in Los Angeles. The legend of haunted places often occurred after peculiar death or suicide. Because of the Internet, the legend has spread worldwide. The building has been renovated into affordable housing complex to help the local unhoused population, though most of the rooms remain empty (https://www.latimes.com/california/cecil-hotel-housing-vouchers-latt-123). The history of the hotel is extremely bothering, see link https://thecrimewire.com/multifarious/Los-Angeles-Cecil-Hotel. The video mentioned by informant, see link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TjVBpyTeZM (trigger warning: unsettling scene)
“If you have been in Los Angeles for a little bit, eventually you notice the parrots. It’s weird because you wouldn’t think parrots live in Los Angeles but there are tons of these very loud and annoying green parrots. There are a couple different stories about why they are here, like, one of them is that these green parrots escaped from the LA Zoo and had no predators so now there are way too many. That’s the main one I heard. I think the other one I heard more recently is that they came from some guy who ordered these pet parrots and they got loose.”
Context: The informant grew up in Pasadena, California and was home from college at the University of Chicago. We were at her house and I prompted her with what reminds her of home.
Informant Analysis: “Honestly, I never thought about where the story came from, I just kind of assumed it was true. I guess, it’s like, you never really think about where the parrots came from unless they are being particularly loud.”
Collector Analysis: As the informant said, people tend to only be reminded of the legend is while they are currently being annoyed by the birds. The legend itself carries on because most people do not know the truth or falsity of the legend. Of course, it could be possible that these parrots are indigenous to this area, but most do not believe that such a tropical looking bird could be from here. I think there is actually an undertone of politics intermixed with this legend. The idea comes from the worry of invasive species and trade imports. Recently, there has been a lot of fear over Chinese imports bringing in beetles that destroy our pine trees. The parrot idea of importing this invasive species that are a nuisance may be a legend generated or propagated because of this similar fear.