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The 'American Horror Story' hotel is based on a real-life haunted location in Downtown LA

Seth Kelley

Tonight’s premiere of "American Horror Story: Hotel" is set in Hotel Cortez, a building with a mysterious past including possibly being linked to a chain of gruesome murders. But while the anthology show, now in its fifth season, was filmed on a set in the Fox lot, it is based on a real place: the Stay on Main Hotel, located in Downtown Los Angeles, which shares a similar real-life haunted history.

TMZ reported today that “hordes” of fans are “swarming” the Downtown hotel, trying to stay in the room of Elisa Lam, who mysteriously died during her stay in the Cecil Hotel (Stay on Main’s former name) back in 2013. The show’s creator Ryan Murphy said during the Television Critic’s Association summer press tour that this season of “Horror Story” would be based on her death.

The story goes like this: 21-year-old Lam was reported missing, causing the LAPD to release security footage from the hotel’s elevator. In the video, Lam pushed on several buttons, but the elevator wouldn’t move. Lam started acting scared, perhaps paranoid, before the elevator started moving, and she exited, never to be seen alive again. Later, her body was found in the hotel’s water tank after guests complained about the taste and color of the water. In addition to Lam’s death, the hotel has also been linked to serial killers Richard Ramirez and Jack Unterweger.

If fans are really “swarming” the Downtown hotel and trying to stay in Lam’s room, they’re out of luck. The hotel isn’t giving up the keys and is stacking up security as they anticipate plenty of obsessive paranormal fanatics.

If you’re hooked on the mystery, “American Horror Story: Hotel” starts tonight on Fox at 10pm ET/PT. It'll at least be worth watching to see how they portray the city.

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