The Biltmore Hotel

Main Piece: It’s the most haunted building in all of L.A. There have been so many deaths, serial killers, and plain weird stuff in there. Where do I begin? Well, first of all, that place was the last sighting of Elizabeth Short, better known as Black Dahlia. The next day, she was found cut in half in a neighborhood lawn with a smile carved into her face by cutting her cheeks open. It remains one of the biggest unsolved murder cases in L.A. The hotel was later used as the residence of serial killers like Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacey, and they killed lots of people while they were staying there. The freakiest one is from last year, where a student named Elisa Lam was found drowned naked inside of one of the hotel’s water tanks. They found out of this because the residents complained that the water was black and had a funny smell. There was no way she could have crawled in there by herself. Those lids are heavy as hell. Someone had to put her in there, but no one knows how. There even a video of her on Youtube in the elevator where it looks like she’s talking to someone, but no one’s there, and then she starts convulsing. Some say that she was being possessed by one of the hotel ghosts. This could be Black Dahlia or one of the serial killers, which would explain why these spirits murdered her. Some even say that they have seen a woman with a wound on her stomach walking around the halls and disappearing into the walls, which we could assume to be black dahlia. I would never stay in that hotel. Bad stuff just seems to happen there.

Background information about the piece by the informant: Melissa is an enthusiast for local ghost stories, serial killers and unsolved mysteries. She knows about all of this because she is n avid reader and investigator on the subject. She claims that the Biltmore in Downtown L.A. is like the Mecca of people fascinated with these subjects. It still operates today and people still claim it to be haunted.

Context on the piece: Melissa brought this up in a group dinner conversation where we were all telling ghosts anecdotes to scare each other. According to her, that was the perfect setting to tell these kinds of urban legends. They are classically told around a campfire in the dark to enhance the performance atmosphere.

Thoughts o the piece: In American tradition, ghosts seem to always inhabit really old hotels or houses. The setting of a ghost story is rarely set in a high tech modernist building. This could be due to the fact that America is a future-centric society, and it might be manifesting guilt of letting go of the past through these legends. Perhaps that is why there is a prevailing theme of unsolved mysteries that haunt the hotel, as the truth behind the cases has been let go of to look to the future which brings guilt and fascination to the problem. It’s also interesting that the de-facto explanation to the odd occurrences in these mysteries is an intervention from the other world. It goes to show that it is a society with great interest on life after death.