With little medical training and no scientific basis for her treatments, Dr. Linda Hazzard was able to attract many wealthy clients to her Institute of Natural Therapeutics in Olalla, Washington. Dorothea and Claire Williamson, wealthy sisters from England, read Dr. Hazzard’s book “Fasting for the Cure of Disease” and believed it was their path to true health.
Two months after starting treatment, Dorothea and Claire each weighed about 70 pounds. By the time family members were summoned to the institute, Claire was dead and Dorothea weighed 50 pounds. She was unable to care for herself as she endured starvation, daily enemas and beatings. In addition, Dr. Hazzard had been appointed the executor of Claire’s estate and the legal guardian of Dorothea. Investigations revealed that Dr. Hazzard was responsible for the deaths of many of her patients.
Join us at the quiet end for a story of greed and sadism in a time when pseudoscience and questionable medical practices thrived. In today’s episode, Hunger, we will try to understand the mentality that led otherwise sensible people to believe in Dr. Hazzard, even as she slowly killed them.
Get Members-Only Ad-free episodes
Read Starvation Heights by Gregg Olsen
I am a big believer in fasting, but this woman, Linda Hazzard, was not healing by fasting. She had found the perfect murder weapon, and was with it able to pull of the perfect murder, again and again and again. Linda killed by starving; it’s only a fast up to a point, then it becomes entirely something else. This was extortion and murder cloaked in the respectability of the medical profession.