Starvation Heights

This is one of the most disturbing stories I’ve ever heard. Linda Burfield Hazzard was an osteopathic nurse on the Kitsap Peninsula who referred to herself as a doctor.
Despite not having a medical degree, she was licensed to practice medicine due to a loophole in a law that grandfathered in practitioners of alternative medicine. She was also able to convince many patients that starvation could cure almost any ailment they might be suffering. She even wrote a book called Fasting for the Cure of Disease.
Not surprisingly, most of her patients died. At least the ones with money did. Her “sanitarium” in Olalla was nicknamed Starvation Heights by the locals, who sometimes came across skeletal escapees staggering down the road begging for food. Linda’s husband, Sam was a West Point graduate who ruined his career by stealing money from the Army. He was also a drunk and a swindler. Linda put him in charge of stealing money from her patients. This whole operation started back in Minnesota, where Linda was born and raised. After leaving her first husband and two children to pursue her dreams in Minneapolis, she opened her first clinic there in 1902 and started killing people. Linda said disease could be cured by fasting and allowing the digestive system to “rest” and be “cleansed,” “removing impurities from the body.” Fasting, she said, could cure anything from a toothache to tuberculosis. The real source of all disease was “impure blood” brought on by “impaired digestion.” She was obviously crazy, and more than likely an undiagnosed serial killer. Her regime included daily enemas that went on for hours and involved up to twelve quarts of water. Patients were heard crying out in pain during the procedure. The third part of her therapy was a massage that consisted of her beating her fists against the patients’ foreheads and backs. One witness reported her doing this while shouting “Eliminate! Eliminate!” Her first patient died around the time her divorce became final. After the coroner determined that death was caused by starvation, he tried to get her prosecuted, but since she wasn’t licensed to practice medicine, she wasn’t held accountable. When investigators asked what happened to the victim’s valuables, Linda was evasive. She met and married Sam later that year but he hadn't bothered to divorce his second wife.

Northern Bank and Trust Bldg
He did two years in jail for that and after he got out in 1906, Linda suggested they move out west to start over. She set up shop at the Northern Bank and Trust Building at 1500 4th Avenue and commuted across the Sound to their home at 12541 Orchard Avenue in Olalla. She purchased 40 acres and before the locals gave it it's moniker, she called it Wilderness Heights.

Hazzard Home in Olalla
She had grand plans to build a large sanitarium on the property. Her first known Seattle victim was Daisey Haglund, a Norwegian whose immigrant parents owned the land which is now Alki Point. After a 50-day fast under Linda’s direction, she died on February 26, 1908, at the age of 38. She left behind a 3 year-old son named Ivar.
Alki Point
Yep, Ivar Haglund, the “Flounder” of Ivar’s Restaurant’s. (I recommend the Scallop’s ‘n Chips and the Red Clam Chowder) His mother left him a house at 3045 64th Avenue SW. It’s the oldest house in Seattle. Other victims soon followed; Ida Wilcox in 1908, Blanche Tindall and Viola Heaton in 1909, and Mrs. Maude Whitney in 1910.
Haglund's Historic House
When civil engineer Earl Erdman died in 1911, The Seattle Daily Times headline read “Woman M.D Kills Another Patient.” But patients kept on coming. Frank Southard, a law partner, and C.A. Harrison, publisher of Alaska-Yukon magazine, died under Linda’s care later that year, along with Ivan Flux, an Englishman who had come to America to buy a ranch and who had fasted for 53 days. During his fast, Linda gained control of some of his cash and property, and his family was told he died with only 70 dollars left to his name. Authorities tried to step in when Lewis Rader, a former legislator and publisher of a magazine called Sound Views, began wasting away. Linda treated him at the Outlook Hotel at Pike Place. (Now the LaSalle Hotel) 

LaSalle Hotel at Pike Place
Health inspectors tried to convince him to leave but he refused. Linda hid him away in a secret location where the 5-foot, 11-inch tall man died weighing less than a hundred pounds. The health director of Seattle said he couldn’t intervene, since “Dr.” Hazzard was licensed and the patients were willing participants in her deadly therapy. But he did keep an eye on her in case she treated any children, at which point he said he’d step in. When 26-year old Eugene Wakelin’s decomposing body was found on the Hazzard’s property with a bullet in his head, many speculated he'd been shot by the Hazzards, who were frustrated to learn that despite his aristocratic family, he wasn’t rich. Well, Dorothea and Claire Williamson, two British sisters in their early 30s, were rich. While visiting Victoria BC, they read an advertisement for Linda’s book in a Seattle newspaper. Although there was no indication that either of them was sick, they decided to go and take the fasting cure. In February of 1911, they visited Linda at her office and were told that the sanitarium wasn’t ready yet, but that she would treat them in Seattle. The sisters were put up at the Buena Vista Apartments at 1633 Boylston on Capitol Hill.
Buena Vista Apartments
They survived mostly on a thin vegetable broth. Linda would show up regularly to provide the enemas and massages. She also began to make inquiries about the sisters’ business affairs, and offered to store the women’s diamond rings and real estate deeds in her office safe. (How nice) By April, the sisters were near death and delirious. They were transferred to Olalla by twin ambulances and a private ferry launch. Just before the ambulance set out for the dock, Linda’s attorney obtained a shaky signature from Claire leaving a monthly stipend of 25 pounds sterling per year to the Hazzard’s “Institute.” On April 30, the sisters’ childhood nanny, Margaret Conway, received a telegram, summoning her to visit them in Olalla. She arrived from Sydney a week later. Sam Hazzard met and took Margaret to Linda’s office. There, she was told that Claire was dead and Dorothea was insane. Then, she was taken to Olalla for a reunion with Dorothea who was by now a human skeleton living alone in a cabin no better than a shack. Dorothea immediately begged to be taken away, but the next day she changed her mind and insisted that the cure was doing her a world of good. (Curing what?) Margaret stayed there hoping to convince her to leave. At a Fourth of July celebration, two patients approached Margaret and begged her to get them out the place, saying they were prisoners. When she announced that she would be leaving and taking Dorothea with her, Linda said Dorothea wasn’t free to leave. The Hazzards had obtained legal guardianship of her. They said she would be spending the rest of her life with them. Margaret sneaked off the property to contact the sisters’ uncle in Portland, and he came to the rescue. Dorothea now weighed 60 pounds. The Hazzards presented her with a bill for $2,000 and said they wouldn’t allow her to leave without some cash. Her uncle negotiated a smaller ransom. The British vice-consul in Tacoma put pressure on Kitsap County to prosecute Hazzard. When they said they couldn’t afford it, Dorothea Williamson offered to pay for everything. In August of 1911, Linda Hazzard was arrested. The Tacoma Daily News headline read: “Officials Expect to Expose Starvation Atrocities: Dr. Hazzard Depicted as Fiend.” Linda said she was being persecuted because she was a successful woman, and that traditional doctors resented her success and opposed natural cures. She told reporters “I intend to get on the stand and show up that bunch. They’ve been playing checkers but it’s my move. I’ll show them a thing or two when I get on the stand.” Her lawyer kept her off the stand, and the judge scolded her for signaling to witnesses. On top of damning medical testimony, a complete paper trail, including a forged diary entry saying Claire wanted Linda to have her diamonds, made it clear the Hazzards were crooks. The jury came back with a verdict of manslaughter. Linda managed to kill two more patients while awaiting sentencing. She got  two years and did her time at Walla Walla. She and Sam then moved to New Zealand, where she operated under the titles of physician, dietitian, and osteopath. She also published another book, and made a lot of money.
Only Known Picture of the Sanitarium
By 1920, she had enough money to come back to Olalla and build her dream sanitarium at Starvation Heights. Since the state of Washington had pulled her medical license, she called it “a school of health.” The lavish building included a basement autopsy room and an incinerator. Although she didn't have the amount of patients she had anticipated, people still checked in to be starved. The sanitarium burned down in 1935, and three years later, Linda died. She hadn’t been feeling well and embarked on a fasting cure. (Poetic Justice) The total number of her victims is unknown, but she can safely be said to have starved at least a dozen people. RIP