How Morbid, the Metal Musician, got caught up in the tragic story of Elisa Lam

3 min readFeb 25, 2021

“I find beauty in darkness. It just resonates with my soul. The music that I do is called black metal. It’s perdition and doom. Morbid, is my stage name. It’s the physical representation of my dark subconscious. Everyone has a shadow self. Everyone has a secret self that they hide from others. I believe in embracing the monster in me…” — Pablo Vergara (Morbid), in his interview with Netflix’s Documentary Series, The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel.

The Vanishing at the Cecil Hotel hit Netflix this February and one thing that blew my mind and touched my heartstrings was the story of Morbid.

The story of Elisa Lam is something I've been following since the time Ryan from Buzzfeed had made a video on it back in 2016. The story is about this wonderful young woman from Canada who tragically died at the Cecil Hotel in Downtown LA during her visit to the United States.

If you're not familiar with the story, I highly recommend you read more about it or even watch the documentary series before further reading this article. Elisa was a young bright woman who went missing in January of 2013. Her body was found and recovered from a water tank on the roof of the hotel on February 19th, 2013, 19 days after she was reported missing. The coroner's office at Los Angeles listed her cause of death as accidental drowning.

My heart goes out to her and her family and friends.

Caught up in this already tragic story was a man named Pablo Vergara, with the stage name, Morbid. All of this stems from a small miscommunication between the Police and the media regarding the hatch of the tank being open or closed, which led to people trying to make a conclusion of her death being accidental or cold-blooded murder. During this time, multiple theories regarding her death were spreading across the internet and thus, across the world.

The 'internet people', or 'Web Sleuths' as the documentary series calls them, found a video of Pablo on his YouTube channel where he had stayed at the Cecil Hotel. As they started digging deep, they found videos and music videos that talked about violence and death. To be fair, I'd say the majority of black metal music does deal with some amount of violence and death, however "morally wrong or right" they might be. All of this was just a bunch of coincidences.

Now, as a person who loves metal, I totally understand if a person who is not accustomed to the art that metal music is, especially black metal, will feel a bit 'odd' watching videos and gore imagery of the same. However, the amount of cyberbullying he received because of his interests is extremely saddening. The result? It vastly affected his mental health.

Photo by Thibault Trillet from Pexels

To my surprise, Vergara wasn't even at the hotel during Elisa's case. He was in Mexico at the time, working on his music. He stayed at the hotel back in 2012, literally a year before Elisa had checked in.

Were the people who made this absurd connection between Elisa's passing and wrongfully accusing Morbid of allegedly murdering her trying to do good? Some might argue yes. Others might say no. It's all mostly gray according to my perception. This entire incident is a great example of to what a person says on the internet can drastically affect a human both mentally and physically.

I hope he finally gets the apology he deserves.

To anyone reading this article, who has been ridiculed for their taste in music, books, movies, and any other form it art? I hope you find peace and solace in yourself. As an avid metalhead myself who was looked down upon because of the same, I tell you, do what makes you happy.

In the words of Vergara himself:
It's just music.
It's art.
It doesn't make you a killer.




A conversationalist on concepts ranging from music, true crime to science. she/her