Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel: Is Elisa Lam’s Tumblr still active?

Episode 3 of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021
Episode 3 of Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel. c. Courtesy of Netflix © 2021 /

I haven’t finished watching all of the recently released Netflix true crime docuseries Crime Scene: The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel yet. However, something that jumped out at me in the first episode was when one of the journalists they interviewed mentioned Elisa Lam’s Tumblr.

It was about a quarter of the way into episode 1. After the part, retired LAPD homicide detective Tim Marcia had explained how they went about trying to track her down by examining her last steps. That included speaking with the staff who worked the late shift the night she disappeared.

Which, side note, the last video of Elisa appears to be the chilling elevator footage that the LAPD released in an attempt to recruit help and tips from the public in determining her whereabouts. However, the last people it appears who saw Elisa were hotel employees. They said they saw her in a staff-only area and asked her to leave, which she did and walked to the elevators.

However, what caught my attention was when journalist Josh Dean explained it’s not typical for him to do a lot of missing person stories, but something about the Elisa Lam case felt different. Like a puzzle that maybe he could put together.

Is Elisa Lam’s Tumblr active?

He was also the one to explain that not much was known about Elisa Lam, except that she was a student at the University of British Columbia, her parents had immigrated from Hong Kong, and that Elisa and her sister were first-generation Canadians.

"“She was, like a lot of young people, all over social media. Tumblr was her platform of choice that she seemed to treat almost like a diary.”"

In fact, the first episode opens with Elisa’s own words. It didn’t click until Dean brought up her social media presence where they had come from, though. That’s when I wondered, “Is Elisa Lam’s Tumblr still active?”

A quick Google search revealed that, yes, her Tumblr, which is titled Nouvelle/Nouveauis still active.

And, it’s heartbreaking.

It wouldn’t be under normal circumstances, but considering what happened to Elisa, well, there really is no other word than “heartbreaking.”

Elisa Lam’s Tumblr posts reveal a portrait of a complicated, conflicted, yet poetic, intelligent, and insightful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her —until it was mysteriously and tragically cut short.

So why did director Joe Berlinger decide to include a voiceover reading actual entries from Elisa’s Tumblr during scenes that recreated her updating it?

As Bustle reported Berlinger said in an interview:

"“[Elisa’s] story is an integral part of the Cecil Hotel’s history. I didn’t want to invent dialogue or create speculative situations, so everything she says via voiceover in the show comes directly from her online posts.”"

Some may see it as a controversial move, but how often do you get to hear from a victim like this? Not often.

I personally appreciate it because I can relate to Elisa. My days of being a 20-something student with a writer’s heart who is suddenly finding herself thrust into the world expected to figure it all out and trying to reconcile all the angst and excitement of “growing up” are well behind me. But I remember the struggle.

Elisa’s words are honest. Her feelings are real. It gives us a chance to know the beautiful soul Elisa was and perhaps open up a dialogue about how we can be kinder and more understanding to one another.

Because at the end of the day, we’re all going through something. And at one time or another, we’re all lost souls in this world just looking for a little guidance or answers. Kindness can go a long way to helping us through this journey we call Life.

Next. 50 best Netflix shows to watch right now. dark