15 Creepy And Mysterious Deaths That Happened At The Cecil Hotel

Posted by Editorial Staff in Geeks and Gaming On 10th March 2017

People will claim that ghosts aren’t real, just superstition and nonsense. However, there are certain spots that have a history that would make the most dubious person start to believe in the supernatural. One such place can be found at 640 S Main Street in Los Angeles. It’s called Stay on Main today but most in the city know it by another name: The Cecil Hotel. And it’s a name that in the world of ghost hunters has a lot of resonance. Its legacy was solidified when Ryan Murphy was inspired by stories to create the “Hotel” season of his hit American Horror Story. More than a few have joked that even that show couldn’t quite touch the bizarre history of this hotel and its strange legacy of deaths.

Built in 1924 when L.A. was a good rising city, the Cecil soon became center to the area that turned into Skid Row. With as many as 10,000 homeless people in the area, the place was soon home to more transients than paying guests and had to undergo some renovations. However, its legacy has been marked by a string of strange, mysterious and downright bizarre deaths. True, any hotel can be home to a murder or suicide. But since 1931, no less than fifteen people have been found dead by unnatural causes at the hotel. Indeed, the place was once home to not one but two serial killers: Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterwerger. There’s also claims one of the victims of the Black Dahlia was there before her murder. To look at its history is to see a truly scary showcase and here are 15 deaths at this place that make you believe in curses after all. Here are 15 deaths at the Cecil that will make the most dubious person want to avoid checking into the place.


#1 The Close Calls

To start with, even without all the odd deaths, the Cecil has been home to some truly strange happenings. In 1927, John Crouner was arrested for theft in his hotel room. In 1929, 33-year-old Dorothy Roberson spent three days wandering the hotel before people realized how strange it was and it turned out she had tried to poison herself following the death of her husband. Cecil resident George Ford, a successful morphine and opium dealer with a stash of $10,000 worth of opium, was arrested in a sting at the nearby Astor Hotel. An elderly man was found at the Cecil, barely alive, after he drank poisoned liquor, which had actually killed three other men. One resident tried to shoot himself in Westlake Park while a woman drowned herself in the ocean. A teenage stickup artist was arrested at the hotel while Dorothy January was choked and robbed. That one hotel could be home to so many people connected to strange deaths and outlandish crimes is enough to make the most rational person start to suspect something very dark and evil is going on at this place.


#2 The Mystery Men

Most of the Cecil’s deaths are on record and open to the public but in a few cases, the names remained withheld or have been lost to time. One case was in 1933 where a young truck driver was caught in between his truck and the hotel and crushed fatally against the Cecil’s wall. His name is now lost due to the poor record-keeping of the time and while such accidents may be common, crushed right against the hotel is something else. Most recently, in June of 2015, the body of a 28-year-old man was found lying outside the Cecil, which is now known as Stay on Main. It was suspected a suicide but no official word was made and police and the man’s family decided not to reveal his name. It seems they didn’t want the man tied in as yet another victim of the Cecil as no matter the name it has today or how it’s been renovated, the hotel’s dark and sinister legacy continues to this day.

#3 Erwin C. Neblett

Los Angeles spent the 1930s pulling itself out of the Depression. While the movie industry did majorly help boost the city’s coffers and increase tourism, much of the town remained in a bad way. The Skid Row area around the Cecil was one such place as the area was still mired in too much crime, corruption and hard-drinking homeless folks. With World War II building, there was an upbeat in the economy but also great worry of the future. In May 1939, Erwin C. Neblett, a 39 year-old sailor on the USS Wright died in his room after taking poison. It seemed Wright had been upset about being called to duty already and unable to handle the pressure of possibly going into combat with war looking inevitable. What makes it even more bizarre is that just a few months later, teacher Dorothy Sceiger also took poison and was near death before paramedics saved her. While not confirmed, the story has taken hold that Neblett and Scieger actually stayed in the same room. Which may sound crazy somewhere else but not the Cecil.

#4 Benjamin Dodich

By 1932, the area around the Cecil had turned from a somewhat upscale neighborhood to what is now famous as Skid Row. Its population of 10,000 was comprised of mostly homeless people and vagrants with business of saloons, social service stations and other low-rent places that catered to those with little money. The Cecil had gone from an upscale hotel to a run-down area catering to transients. Benjamin Dodich seemed to be one of them, checking into the hotel in 1932. He was found by maid Carrie Brown in his room having shot himself in the head. No suicide note was found and it was dealt with as a simple death. However, the mystery of why a healthy 25-year-old would kill himself like this hung around and was the second notably odd death on the hotel grounds. Little did anyone know it was only the start of its strange history.


#5 Louis D. Borden

While the Cecil had been built during the boom times of the Roaring Twenties as a fantasy palace, reality came crashing in hard in the 1930s. The Great Depression affected L.A. as much as the rest of the United States and the area around the Cecil soon fell into despair. The clientele became more transients and other oddballs as a few people seemed to gather in foul spirits. A case appeared to be Louis D. Borden, a 53-year-old former Army Medical Corps sergeant. Checking into the Cecil in July of 1934, Borden kept to himself before he was found in his room with his throat slashed. It was speculated murder briefly before it came out that Borden had left a note mentioning he was already quite ill and didn’t want to put off the inevitable. Slashing his own throat was a bit extreme and may indicate how something about the Hotel seemed to drive even suicides to take their ends to some major extremes.

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