The ‘Suicide Hotel’ — Extended Stay for Serial Killers

The Cecil Hotel, now known as Stay on Main, has a sordid past of suicide and murder.

Tara Rose

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Robyn Beck/Getty Images

Chances are you’ve heard of this hotel. Ever watched season five of American Horror Story, aptly named ‘Hotel’? Well, this is it, THE hotel where the season took place. Strange occurrences, suicide, murder…the hotel has seen more than a dozen suicides and has been home to TWO serial killers during their respective killing sprees — Richard Ramierz, ‘The Night Stalker,’ and Jack Unterweger, ‘The Austrian Ghoul’; and not to mention one of the most bizarre incidents to occur in recent history — the disappearance and death of Elisa Lam. The surveillance video of Elisa’s last moments in the Cecil Hotel elevator went viral after its release in 2013 with over 70,000 organic Google searches. Although the hotel has a brand new name, Stay On Main, the building cannot escape its past and its location just blocks from Skid Row in downtown Los Angeles.

Believe it or not, the Cecil is considered to be one of the most haunted places on Earth — not America…but Earth! The hotel is a regular stop on the paranormal tourism circuit with many drawn to its doors by its gruesome past. The Cecil was built in 1924 by W.B. Hanner who built the hotel in homage to the Hotel Cecil in London featuring 600 rooms awaiting new arrivals. 1920's Los Angeles was a growing metropolis drawing people to the West Coast. Hanner believed people would be drawn to stay or reside at the Cecil Hotel with its “ornate marble lobby, stained-glass skylight windows, potted palms, alabaster statuary, brass, gold-tone and marble particulate.” From the beginning, the idea was to have a mix of vacation guests and long-term tenants residing in the upper floors of the hotel — an idea that has endured to this day. Hanner spared no expense on specially made everything — this hotel was going to be the jewel of the Wall Street of the West. But then, the bottom fell out and the Great Depression hit.

The first suicide took place on November 19th, 1931, when 46-year-old W.K. Norton arrived under an assumed name and killed himself with a heavy dose of poison. Each year seemed to leave its own tragic mark on the Cecil as the suicides and unexplained deaths continued. In March of 1937, Grace Maguro spent the…

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Tara Rose

Life-long learner, reader of all things. Writing about what interests me and sharing it with you. https://taramrose.medium.com/subscribe