Gregg Olsen
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Read the preface to
the book that started it all.


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Dr. Hazzard lost at least 40 patients throughout her controversial career. This is one who survived a 50-day fast.



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About the Author

In addition to seven nonfiction books and the thriller, A Wicked Snow, Gregg Olsen is the author of the upcoming novel, A Cold Dark Place. He lives in Olalla, Washington, the town featured in Starvation Heights.

Gregg Olsen

For more information on Gregg, visit the following sites:

Linda Hazzard
Dr. Linda Hazzard
In 1911 two wealthy British heiresses came to a sanitarium near Seattle to undergo the revolutionary fasting treatment of Linda Burfield Hazzard. It was supposed to be a holiday for the two sisters. But within a month of arriving at what the locals in Olalla, Wash., called "Starvation Heights," the women were emaciated shadows of their former selves, groaning in pain, waiting for death.

Dora and Claire Williamson had fallen into the hands of Dr. Hazzard, a woman of extraordinary evil and greed who would stop at nothing to achieve her ambitions.

This is her story.

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Sanitarium
The only remaining photograph of Hazzard's
grand sanitarium.
Some saw Linda Hazzard as a woman ahead of her time. She stood up for her gender, challenged the medical establishment and became a leading advocate for natural ways of healing. Drugs and surgery, she said, were not the best cures. Some called her a brilliant and gifted healer; some were certain she was a fiend. The method of the murder was unheard of in the annals of crime. The ambitious doctor was alleged to have starved Claire Williamson to death to gain control of her family's considerable fortune.

 

Sam Hazzard
The doctor's husband, Sam
Hazzard, served prison time
for bigamy.
At her death, Claire Williamson weighed less than 50 pounds, less than half her weight before the fasting cure. Still, the doctor insisted her patient's weight had nothing to do with her demise. Her autopsy noted cirrhosis of the liver as the cause of death. After the autopsy, Claire's diamond rings were slipped from her emaciated fingers and put into Linda Hazzard's jewelry box. Her gowns found their way into the doctor's wardrobe. The victim's gold fillings and crowns were pulled from her teeth and sold to a local dentist.

 


Ad
An early advertisement
for the sanitarium.
The doctor told Claire's sister, Dora, that it was her dead sister's last wish that she spend the rest of her days at the sanitarium. Dora resisted, but was told she was so unbalanced that she couldn't possibly care for herself. Within days of Claire's death, Dr. Hazzard met with county officials seeking guardianship for Dora. The doctor's scheme, the prosecution would later insist, was to prove Dora insane and force her to remain in Olalla permanently. Once accomplished, Linda Hazzard would control the entire Williamson estate.

 

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Lucien Agassiz
C.E. Lucien Agassize came to
the rescue from Tacoma.
Drop Capt was British Vice Consul C.E. Lucien Agassiz's outrage that sparked an investigation into the sanitarium. The Williamson sisters had been tricked and manipulated by the American doctor who wanted their money to complete her ambitious plan for a world class sanitarium. And it hadn't been the first time. Consul Agassiz put together a long list of patients who had died while under Dr. Hazzard's fasting cure. Death certificates of sanitarium patients issued by doctors other than Linda Hazzard usually noted starvation as the cause of death. Those made out by Dr. Hazzard, however, offered various ailments as a cover.

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