April 18, 2024 | Sarah Ng

7 Unsolved Hotel Mysteries

Hotels Have Dark Histories

Unfortunately, hotels have often been sites of tragedy and mystery—and these real-life horror stories are proof.


Elisa Lam

Located in Los Angeles, California, the Cecil Hotel has experienced its fair of darkness. However, the most memorable mystery has to be the disappearance of Elisa Lam.

Cecil HotelJim Winstead, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

A Devastating Ending

Elisa Lam was a 21-year-old college student from Canada. In 2013, she vanished... only to be found three weeks later.

Memorial To Elisa Lamwaltarrrrr, Flickr

Found In A Unbelievable Place

Sadly, hotel employees discovered Lam's body in a shocking place—the water tank on the roof. Authorities stated that her drowning was an accident—but not everyone believes this story.

Cecil Hotelunder_volcano, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Strange CCTV Footage

The CCTV footage of Elisa Lam is undoubtedly suspect. She can be seen in the hotel elevator, exhibiting odd behavior. But that wasn't even the strangest part.

Cecil Hotel in Los Angelesalejandro jofré, Flickr

She Didn't Have A Key

You see, the water tank could only be accessed by someone who had the key to the roof. Only hotel employees had this key. So had did Elisa Lam get access to the water tank that ended her life?

Hotel Cecilvagueonthehow, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

Madeleine McCann

The McCann family was enjoying a vacation in Portugal when tragedy struck. On May 3, 2006, three-year-old Madeline McCann vanished from her hotel room at the Luz Ocean Club resort.

The cliffs of Praia da LuzBengt Nyman, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Disappeared From Her Hotel Room

On that fateful night, Madeleine and her two siblings remained in the hotel room while her parents went out for dinner with their friends. Throughout the evening, her parents checked in on them regularly—but at one point, Madeleine's mother made a chilling discovery. Madeleine was gone.

Madeleine McCannMyAngelG, Flickr

A Long Nightmare

Madeleine's disappearance stretched into a long nightmare. For the next 11 years, all manner of authorities became involved in her strange case: private detectives, the Portuguese authorities, and Scotland Yard.

Madeleine McCannGideon, Flickr

Her Case Inspired A Documentary Series

Madeleine McCann's case even inspired the Netflix documentary series, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Though there have been a few fresh leads, her disappearance is still a mystery.

The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann documentaryNetflix, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (2019)

Rose Burkert And Roger Atkison

The sad ends of Rose Burket and Roger Atkinson date back to September, 1980. Due to a last-minute cancellation, they couple managed to snag the very last room the hotel had to offer. But this was no stroke of luck.

Amana Ia - PanoramioChanilim714, CC BY-SA 3.0 , Wikimedia Commons

The Housekeeper Found Them

Burket and Atkinson were at the Amana Holiday Inn, close to Williamsburg, Iowa. But the morning after booking their room, the housekeeper stumbled upon a grisly sight.

Portrait of a shocked young housemaidDean Drobot, Shutterstock

They Met Mysterious Ends

The housekeeper found the bodies of Burket and Atkinson. Someone had clearly taken their lives. And the details surrounding this devastating scene sparked a mystery.

Police car outside at night.cottonbro studio, Pexels

They Left Behind A Message

For one, whoever responsible for this atrocity wrote a word on the bathroom mirror with a bar of sap: "this." They also placed the victims' feet on top of a desk.

silhouette of person in windowzef art, Shutterstock

A Strange Coincidence

In an unnerving coincidence, there was also a mortician convention happening, so many visitors were actually staying at the same Inn.

mortician conventionOfficial GDC, Flickr

The Case Ran Cold

Following the loss of Rose Burket and Roger Atkinson, the rumor mill began working overtime. One theory is that Atkinson's uncle was the guilty party, as he had recently escaped a mental health center in Nebraska. 

Still, the case has since run cold.

investigating murderFer Gregory, Shutterstock

Claudia Kirschhoch

A 29-year-old journalist named Claudia Kirschhoch was supposed to go to Havana, Cuba for a business trip—but when it was cancelled, she ended up staying in Negril, Jamaica at the Sandals Beaches Resort.

Negril,  Sandals Beaches ResortGail Frederick, Flickr

Just The Clothes On Her Back

During her stay at the resort, Kirschhoch sadly disappeared. There was nothing missing from her hotel room—only the clothes she'd been wearing. However there was some suspicious evidence surrounding her case.

Negril,  Sandals Beaches ResortGail Frederick, Flickr

She Made A Friend

You see, Kirschhoch had become close to one of the bartenders—Anthony Grant. Four days after she went missing, Grant took a sick day. What's more?

Sandals Beaches Resort NegrilGail Frederick, Flickr

She Left Traces Behind

During the investigation, traces of Kirschhoch were actually discovered in Grant's car. However, the authorities didn't apprehend him as a suspect.

Her case was never solved.

Fred Kirschhoch, his wife Mary Ann parents of Claudia Kirschhoch missing womanShawn Thew, Getty Images

Jessica Kinsey

In 1995, Jessica Kinsey went missing from a Dollar Inn, located in Cloverdale, Indiana. She was only 14 years old.

Cloverdale, IndianaChris Flook, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia Commons

She Left With Two Men

Kinsey had gone to visit a friend, but ended up leaving the state with two men: Jimmy Hopkins and his friend Mark Henderson.

car road lightJohn Sullivan, Pexels

She Stayed One Night

Henderson drove to the Inn and booked two rooms: one for himself and one for Kinsey and Hopkins. During the night, Henderson heard disruptive noises coming from Kinsey and Hopkins' room and reportedly checked on them. 

However, the next morning, both Hopkins and Kinsey left the Inn.

Two doors in the corridorLocomotive74, Shutterstock

He Returned Without Her

Apparently, Hopkins drove away with Kinsey. He ended up in California and Tennesee, and eventually made his way back to Missouri—which was where Kinsey originally came from. However, when he returned, he returned alone.

Jefferson City, Missouri and the Missouri RiverSarah Minor, Wikimedia Commons

His Story Didn't Make Sense

Jimmy Hopkins shared different information about Jessica Kinsey to her family and the authorities. According to him, Kinsey had run off with a man named Capone. He also provided an address for a hotel that wasn't even real.

Though Hopkins may seem like a suspicious character in this mystery, he was never charged.

Person Wearing White and Black Striped Sweater SittingThe masked Guy, Pexels

Room 871

Reportedly, the 2008 scandal involving the New York Governor Eliot Spitzer took place at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C.—or more specifically—in Room 871.

Eliot Spitzer in suitTimothy Krause, CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia Commons

A Missing Number

This mystery has nothing to do with the scandal—and everything to do with room number. You see, the number itself mysteriously disappeared.

Mayflower Hotel in Washington D.C.Almonroth, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons

The Culprit Roams Free

After this confusing incident, hotel employees had no choice but to nail the a new suite number in place. The identity of the culprit who snatched the room number was never discovered.

Mayflower Hotel, Washington D.C.Joseph Sohm, Shutterstock

Danny Casolaro

Danny Casolaro was an investigative journalist, whose work may have gotten him into some serious trouble.

Danny CasolaroNetflix, American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders (2024)

The Octopus

You see, Casolaro had been working on a story that he code-named "the Octopus"—and it's sensitive information would expose some very powerful government officials. He may have paid the ultimate price for his journalism.

Danny Casolaro reenactment Netflix, American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders (2024)

A Mysterious Demise

In West Virginia, the body of Danny Casolaro was found in a hotel room. He had been planning on meeting a source. 

Though the authorities believed Danny Casolaro took his own life, his family suspected it was foul play. 

the hotel where Danny Casolaro was found Netflix, American Conspiracy: The Octopus Murders (2024)


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