The body of Elisa Lam, a 21 year-old Canadian tourist from Vancouver, was recently discovered in a water tank on the roof of the Cecil Hotel in Los Angeles. It was in there for up to 19 days. The video above shows Ms. Lam in an elevator at the hotel. What follows is a body language analysis of this video. A summary appears at the end.
When Ms. Lam initially enters the elevator she is not in fear. Her wide arm swing (left) and relaxed and fluid gate (her walk, see video) indicate she is relaxed and thus not feeling urgency.
After pushing multiple buttons (which she performs in two sessions), Elisa Lam moves to the back left corner of the elevator. Her arms (at her sides) and feet positions are neutral, relaxed and does NOT indicate fear.
Shortly thereafter she looks quickly out the elevator door.
She then retreats to the left wall of the elevator and then moves to the left front corner. Her hands adopt the "Fig Leaf" configuration and her feet are close together. This is consistent with anxiety, a lower confidence, beta emotional tone. This body language does not, by itself, indicate fear.
Here Ms. Lam jumps out of the elevator. It is quick two-step maneuver and has a playful quality to it.
For a second or two, Ms. Lams feet splay wide. While her hands are still in the fig leaf nonverbal (or close to it), this wide stance signifies greater confidence and is not consistent with fear. Thus the simultaneity of these two nonverbal signals convey a level of emotional dissonance.
This is the most important image of the series. For about 16 seconds Ms. Lam displays a "Elbows Out Laterally with Armpit Exposed & Behind the Head Hair Preening Display". This was, at least for some time, performed bilaterally (see below). The movement, as she reaches up to begin this extended preen - was fluid, slow and deliberate - which is very important. This display cluster context is a strong and highly reliable indicator of sexual interest. The person of her interest is either present outside the elevator - or she is actively thinking about this person.
Her we can see both hands & Arms retracting from her extended preening-sexual display as Ms. Lam turns to go back into the elevator.
Ms. Lam steadies herself as she walks back in the elevator. This, coupled with her slow gate suggests either light-headed symptoms, vertigo or a relative emotional extreme (see above).
This elbow forward, bilateral Hair Adjust Behind the Ears, is a nonverbal sign of Ms. Lam "dialing up her alpha". This MAP (Manipulator, Adaptor, Pacifier) indicates she is trying to be more assertive or courageous. This is in distinction to the sexual display noted above. Notice her elbows are not pointed out laterally but held closer to her body.
Although the resolution is low, we can see that Ms. Lam is "smiling". Although it may not be a true, sincere smile - it is at least a fair social smile.
Her right hand gestures in an illustrator with a finger tip only touching of her right chest. This hand illustrator suggests a lower sincerity and or a higher level of anxiety in this moment.
A series of fairly dramatic nonverbal illustrators (left) and MAPs (the next image, below) takes place later in the video. This may be part of the body language of a conversation taking place with someone who is out of our view or it may be a sort of a rehearsal for an anticipated upcoming conversation/interaction - or, as many have speculated, is possibly due to narcotics. Although our view and resolution is limited this does not have the nonverbal signature of fear.
This MAP almost looks as if she is playing a game of charades.
In this image, Ms. Lam's right foot goes up on her toes. She does this several times. This body language pattern indicates a significant level of excitement and optimism. It is also common with joy.
At the very end of this video, Ms. Lam's elbow briefly elevates up and out laterally again in a shorter repeat of the sexual interest preening nonverbal discussed above.
Ms. Elisa Lam is playing a game of hide and seek (or something similar) in this video. And although at times she displays some anxiety, there is no indication of fear. There is definitely an element of play present here. It is of course also possible that narcotics are influencing her behavior. Of particular importance is she is putting herself on sexual display. While what is seen here may have no connection with her demise - if the events in this video occurred just before her disappearance, it strongly suggests that the person to whom she is attracted may have knowledge of, contributed to, or be responsible for her death.
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