Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest #gregolsen #broadwayheights @absltmom

“Claire and Dorothea are ill because they can afford to be ill.”


Imagine someone who believed that a starvation diet was the cure to anything that ailed you? That was the motto or philosophy of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, an osteopath who practiced her form of medicine, in the state of Washington. Attracted by Dr Hazzard’s approach, two sisters, Claire and Dora Williamson, decided to follow the good doctor and go for the “cure.” The two wealthy sisters were proponents of natural medicine, and Dr Hazzard seem to offer that to them.

The “good” doctor took the sisters into her home,promising that a sanatorium was being built that would house them as the path to a cure would be followed. Dr Hazzard, her husband, Sam Hazzard, (another evil natured man, a swindler, forger, scandalous bigamist, and more death!)
and staff put these women on a diet that would actually cause people to starve to death which is exactly what happened to Claire and other patients of the doctor.

Many prominent people flocked to her, however, between 1907 to 1913, fourteen patients perished. These patients withered away, and perhaps quite interestingly were people who had money and possessions, which supposedly they had turned over to the doctor. Hazzard labeled herself the “Fasting Specialist”, but many of these patients died alone under her care.

Suits were brought against Hazzard through Dora Williamson, who herself nearly died until her trusted nurse arrived. However, Hazzard had her followers and it was as if the believers formed a type of cult. Hazzard maintained her innocence with both a sense of entitlement, filled with a sense of inflated self and denial, that was repugnant to many.

She was convicted of the murder of Claire, but only served two years, was released, went to another country where she and her husband amassed money enough to build her dream sanitarium back home. In a twist of righteous fate of greed once again, the place burned down and years later Hazzard died while supposedly practicing her cure. Her husband had already become and alcoholic and a womanizer.

These two despicable people seemed to be able to escape the full hammer of justice they deserved and I found it hard to believe that Hazzard convinced many of the benefit of fasting for forty days and beyond with just a bit a broth and perhaps sips of orange juice, and of course the daily enemas.

This was a well researched story that was fascinating in its detail (although a bit long) It was truly amazing that there were a bevy of people who defended Hazzard’s behavior. Greed, avarice, and a god like temperament followed Hazzard all of her days.
The deceased under Hazzard’s care
1907 Lenora J. Wilcox
1908 Daisy Maud Haglund (The mother of Ivar’s Restaurants founder, Ivar Haglund. Ivar was taken to Hazzard for treatments, even after Daisy’s death.)
1909 Blanche B. Tindall
1909 Viola Heaton
1909 Eugene Stanley Wakelin (Did not die of starvation, but was found dead of a bullet wound on Hazzard’s property. Linda Hazzard had power of attorney over his estate.)
1910 Lydia Maude Whitney
1910 Earl Edward Erdman
1911 Frank Stuart Southard (Prominent attorney with the firm of Morris, Southard and Shipley. His law partner publically defended Linda Hazzard.)
1911 Edward S. Harrison (Publisher of Alaska-Yukon Magazine and Hazzard’s book, Fasting for the Cure of Disease.)
1911 John Ivan Flux
1911 Lewis Ellsworth Rader (Washington Legislator, 1895. Rader granted Wilderness Heights to Linda Hazzard.)
1911 Claire Williamson
1913 Ida Julia Anderson
1913 Mary T. Bailey
1925 Leonard Ritter

Thank you to Gregg Olsen, Thread Books, and NetGalley for a copy of this amazing story.

2 thoughts on “Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest #gregolsen #broadwayheights @absltmom

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