October 12, 1962
Los Angeles, California
A woman jumps from a 9th floor window, landing on and killing a bystander in the process

At the time of the incident, Pauline Otton (27) and her husband Dewey (32) had been having marital issues. Pauline visited her estranged husband at his place of employment and asked to reconcile. Dewey agreed to meet with Pauline at the Hotel Cecil to discuss their marriage.

While Dewey was away from the room to eat dinner, Pauline wrote a suicide note and leapt from a window of the hotel’s ninth floor. She fell on top of George Gianinni (65) who happened to be walking by. Both died at the scene. Police initially believed the two had jumped together until it was discovered Gianinni had both hands in his pockets and his shoes on (had Gianinni jumped as well, his shoes would have been knocked off by the impact).

The deaths of Pauline Otton and George Gianinni are just two of a string of instances involving the Hotel Cecil. In 1944, Dorothy Jean Purcell gave birth to a baby whom she then threw out a window when she believed the infant was stillborn. Elisa Lam famously disappeared from — and was later found dead at — the hotel in 2013 after strange video footage was recorded. Elizabeth Short (aka the Black Dahlia) was said to have spent some time at the Cecil shortly before her murder in 1947. And serial killer Richard Ramírez is rumored to have called the Cecil his home during part of his serial killings and rapes.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, available 24 hours a day in the US, at 1-800-273-8255, text “Home” to 741741, or call your country’s emergency services number.

Los Angeles Times. October 13, 1962, via newspapers.com

“Leap Kills Two.” The Daily Inter Lake [Kalispell, Montana]. October 15, 1962
“Woman in Fatal Fall Kills Man on Sidewalk.” The Courier-News [Bridgewater, New Jersey]. October 13, 1962
“Woman’s Death Leap Kills Man on Street.” Los Angeles Times. October 13, 1962

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