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Hotel Horror: Guests Drink Water Tainted by Dead Body

When you're vacationing in Los Angeles, you shouldn't have to think twice about drinking water from the tap, right? Not so for guests at the Cecil Hotel. People staying at the hotel complained about low water pressure and a funny taste from the tap, never imagining the horror that was causing it.

When a maintenance worker went up to the hotel's rooftop water tank to investigate, he was horrified to find a dead body inside. For more than two weeks, that corpse-ridden water had been used by guests for drinking, bathing, and brushing their teeth; and by food services in the hotel for cooking.

After finding out what had been the sinister cause of the water problems, guests were disgusted. One British guest, who had used the water for eight days, told CNN, "The water did have a funny taste. We never thought anything of it—we thought it was just the way it was here ... The shower was awful. When you turned the tap on, the water was coming black first for two seconds and then it was going back to normal."

CNN also reports that tests on the water were being done by the Los Angeles Public Health Department, but it was not yet clear if it posed health risks to those that drank it. (According to CBS News, a representative from the department said, "Our biggest concern is going to be fecal contamination because of the body in the water.")

The body found in the water tank was identified as Elisa Lam, a 21-year old from Canada. CBS News reports that Lam's death is being investigated. How the solo traveler ended up in the water tank is a mystery as of now—the water tanks are only accessible through a locked staircase (with an emergency alarm), and that a ladder was needed to get in to the tanks, which are on a platform at least 10 feet above the roof. Hotel surveillance cameras show Lam on video inside an elevator, sticking her head out the doors, and looking in both directions down the hallway before she died.

Not deterred by a strange death and black water? The $65 a night hotel is still open for business, and guests are being provided with bottled water.

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(Photo: Woman Drinking Water via Shutterstock)

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