“This case haunts me,” Lucas Klaukien, a 33-year-old Canadian blogger who wrote extensively about the mystery, told me. “Elisa Lam is like the little sister of a close friend. She’s from my town and from a culture I recognize and am closely familiar with… this death hits close to home. I want to know what happened. I want to solve it.”
American Horror Story: The Cecil Hotel
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I expected Klaukien’s two-part study on a blog called “You May Be Dead and Dreaming (dedicated to horror movies, comics, and “doom mental”) to be just another voyeuristic trip through the case details, with an emphasis on the more prurient ones, but in fact it turned out to be a fairly careful dissection that, especially in its second part, shifts from facts to psychology.

Klaukien, wrote that, “this case haunts me,” and proceeded to explain why he had spent to much time obsessing over it. “Elisa Lam is like the little sister of a close friend,” he wrote. “She’s from my town and from a culture I recognize and am closely familiar with.” His parents, he says, “used to eat at her parents’ restaurant” and Lam is now buried at the same cemetery as his young uncle — the man who first introduced him to heavy metal. “I never knew her and would never have in life, but this death hits close to home. I want to know what happened. I want to solve it.”

Klaukien, 33, is personally drawn to intimations of the occult — “Like Mulder, I want to believe,” he says — and that’s what initially attracted him to Lam’s case. But the more he read about this particular death, the more he recognized it as a tragedy and not a ghost story. “This really happened to somebody.”

Which doesn’t mean that Klaukien can’t let his mind wander a little. The lack of facts practically demands it and he has many important questions still. “Did the LAPD release the video without editing? Was that the way the hotel gave it to them? What’s the deal with the time stamp?” For Klaukien, not knowing those answers has allowed enough of an opening to consider other possibilities. He wonders, sometimes, if maybe the video wasn’t actually from January 31. “Maybe it was from a few days before and wasn’t related to her disappearance,” he said. “Why else would you obscure the time stamp?” He also wonders about the missing section of footage. Quite possibly, he says, it was done to edit out the appearance of an innocent person, who was cleared. “If so, I don’t know why you wouldn’t just say that.’”

I would include Klaukien in a category of interested parties who are suspicious but reasonable. These questions raise doubts, but he’s willing to dismiss them. Meanwhile, others use those same questions to run wild. “That’s how you get the government conspiracy theory people coming out of the woodwork. You keep hearing noise about the case and people who still want answers.”

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