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Linda Hazzard's Sanatarium
Linda Hazzard after her arrest
Credit: Washington State Archives
Dorothea Williamson just prior to her rescue.
Credit: Gregg Olsen
Killer(s): Linda Hazzard,
Victim(s): Daisey Maud Haglund, Ida Wilcox, Blanche B. Tindall, Viola Heaton, Maude Whitney, Earl Edward Erdman, Frank Southard, C. A. Harrison, Ivan Flux, Eugene Stanley Wakelin, Claire Williamson, and possibly many others ,
Written by: Jewls Krueger
Linda Hazzard was a medical practitioner originally from Minnesota who established a practice in Olalla, Washington around 1906. She was the first known practitioner to administer a "starvation" cleanse to patients in Washington, and she claimed that a strict diet of nothing but vegetable broth for upwards of 40 days could heal any natural ailment of the body.
She and her ex-convict husband, Samuel Christman Hazzard, acquired several acres of land across the Puget Sound from Seattle, in Olalla. It was on this land that they planned on building a state of the art sanitarium for Linda to practice her cleanse on dozens of patients at a time. While the sanitarium was under construction, her patients were housed in shanty cabins while undergoing her "treatment" regimen. Although she claimed that her treatment healed, in reality she was starving people to the point where they were mentally and physically weak, then having them sign over power of attorney to her.
Two such patients, Claire and Dorothea Williamson, were wealthy British sisters who had a history of feigning illnesses. After seeing an article about Linda Hazzards fasting "cure", they decided to contact her and go through with the treatment without telling any of their family members for fear of judgement from them. For weeks, no one heard from the sisters while they were being starved by Linda Hazzard. The sisters, in an extremely weak state, signed over power of attorney to Linda Hazzard, rendering them incapable of leaving the facility on their own free will. Finally, their childhood nanny who was living in Australia got a letter from Claire that she needed to come to the sanitarium immediately. The nanny, named Margaret Conway, boarded the next steamer ship to Washington and made her way to Seattle. Upon getting there, she was told that Claire had died due to treatment, though Dorothea was still alive and still receiving treatment.
After joining Dorothea at Starvation Heights in the role of a nurse-maid, Margaret was finally able to leave with Dorothea and help her begin to recover and regain weight. The pair was able to contact the assistant British consul in Tacoma who took a personal interest in the case. He pressured the Kitsap county prosecutors to press charges against Linda Hazzard, and she was eventually arrested on August 5, 1911. She was charged with murder in the death of Claire Williamson and the trial garnered international attention. After several months, Linda Hazzard was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter, but was able to be released on bail while she awaited her appeals. Along with the guilty verdict, the medical board in Washington revoked her license rendering her unable to provide medical care from that point forward. Undeterred, Linda Hazzard continuted to treat patients while out on bail. During this time, several other of her patients passed away in a similar way as Claire and the others before her - by starving to death.
Linda Hazzard's case made it up to the Washington Supreme Court where they upheld the previous ruling of guilty. She eventually served only 2 years in prison for the death of Claire Williamson. After her release, her and Sam Hazzard lived in New Zealand for a short time then returned to Olalla. They had been successful in New Zealand, and finally had the money they needed to finish building the Sanitarium in Ollala, which she called a "school of health" since she was no longer licensed to practice as a doctor. In 1935 a fire engulfed the sanitarium and the Hazzards never rebuilt. Linda Hazzard died in 1938 after attempting to go on an extended fast after feeling unwell for some time.
Although most of the buildings were burned down in 1935, Linda Hazzard's personal residence is still standing as of April 2021, although the current owners of the property have plans to tear it down. The Sanitarium, which was built after the Williamson sisters were in the care of Linda Hazzard, was located just north of the residence. The Hazzard residence is not visible from the street and trespassing onto private property without the owners consent is illegal. Stay on public roads at all times and do not bother the current owners, residents, or neighbors.
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