'American Horror Story: Hotel' Might Be Inspired By This Real-Life Mystery

Remember Elisa Lam?

On Friday, "American Horror Story: Hotel" co-creators Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk revealed new details about the upcoming season during the Television Critics Association summer press tour. We learned who all the main characters are, the name of the titular hotel and that the season was inspired by a real-life event. Murphy didn't reveal the exact horror story that gave him the idea for Season 5, but based on his description and some clues, we have a pretty good idea.

During the panel, Murphy told the TCA audience that the creators were inspired by a real-life surveillance video. "A girl got in an elevator in a downtown hotel," he said. "She was never seen again." So what incident happened two years ago in a downtown hotel? The Elisa Lam mystery.

In 2013, Lam, a 21-year-old Vancouver woman, was found dead on the rooftop of the former Cecil Hotel in downtown Los Angeles (now known as Stay on Main). The woman was last seen in the lobby of the hotel on Jan. 31 and presumed missing until police found her body in one of the water supply tanks on the hotel's rooftop on Feb. 19. During the investigation, the Los Angeles Police Department released a surveillance video of Lam acting strange in the hotel elevator, which showed her pressing multiple buttons, flailing her arms around and standing in the corner as if she was hiding from something. The LA County Coroner later ruled Lam's death accidental. Could this be the video Murphy and Falchuk were inspired by?

If so, one "AHS" fan already guessed it back in July. Tumblr user FriendlyWafer posted a photo of a director's chair from "AHS" (allegedly posted on Instagram by Murphy's assistant) along with a photo of Lam. FriendlyWafer speculated that the season could be about Lam's death since the initials CH were inscribed on the chair. Could Hotel Cortez be a reference to the Cecil Hotel?

The Huffington Post could not immediately reach an FX rep for comment on the theory, but we have a burning suspicion that "AHS" will have a spooky elevator scene this season.

"American Horror Story: Hotel" will premiere on Oct. 7 on FX.

Maureen Ryan contributed reporting.

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