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Lunch » Tags » Book » Reviews » Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest » User review

A mind-blowing true story of a delusional, serial killing quack doctor.

  • May 7, 2013
  • by
Rating:
+5
During the turn-of-the-century there were many fads that were in vogue. And while most of them were just harmless egressions from the monotony of day-to-day life, some crazes proved to be lethal. Gregg Olsen's documented crime history of "Dr." Linda Burfield Hazzard is just one fascinating case-in-point. In a time when women were not pursuing careers at the rate they are today, Linda Hazzard was an anomaly for her times; she was aggressive, outspoken, driven, feministic, literate, scientific and hungry. She wanted money, fame, respect and a following. Conversely, she too was cold-hearted, manipulative, money-hungry and sadistic, so much so that her murderous actions gave new meaning to the words cruel and unusual. People of all sexes and ages either became puppets or victims of Dr. Hazzard; innocent, mailable people temporarily sustained her unquenchable devious pleasures. Such was the case for two unfortunate yet very wealthy victims: Claire and Dora Williamson of England. While hopping from country to country-as their finances allowed-in search of perfect health via organic, holistic principles, they came across a book by Dr. Hazzard titled: Fasting for the Cure of Disease, a kind of how-to book on the benefits of streamlining food intake. Dieting is always a good thing, but Linda Hazzard took it to the diabolical extreme. And Claire and Dora Williamson-among others-were the unfortunate lab rats of a very twisted mind. Upon their first meeting in Washington State, there was a formal yet uppity civility that Dr. Hazzard had for these two faddists. Their health was irrelevant, but it was important to put up a front, for it would bring her closer to their material belongings, cash, land deeds, jewelry, you name it. Under the guise of paying off bills for rendered medical services, the sisters, and others like them, were slowly being drained of their finances. While that was happening, they were slowly being drained of their lives, food straightforwardly denied them with the sole exception of strained tomato and asparagus broth which came from a can. As an indulgence a teaspoon of juice was allowed. Compounded with the rigorous denial of food, exercise was mandatory, and the sisters followed the advise of their doctor to the hilt, for her words and advise was as sacred as the words of God. When the indoctrination took full effect, patients literally did not want to eat, for the idea of it also made them sick to their stomachs. Food, according to Dr. Hazzard, contained nothing but deadly impurities that in fact only expedited a patient's journey to the grave. With implicit trust, despite the fact that they were suffering from hunger, one-by-one, they slowly began to die away. Isolated and alone in the woodsy abyss of the Hazzard Institute of Natural Therapeutics in Olalla, Washington, nobody could hear or see their moans and skeletal diminishment. During that time of torturous suffering, Linda Hazzard and her husband, Sam, would get the victims (who were in a poor mental state due to food deprivation) to sign over the financial livelihood or ask them to become their legal guardians, which they acquiesced to, provided they were allowed full dominion over every minute tidbit of their patient's lives. If anything, it was only fleeting, for they would kill them off and somehow profit from the murder. Desperately trying to survive the murderous fasting treatment, Claire Williamson tried to make a break for it, but it was to no avail. It was Dora who ultimately got out and was able to tell all of global society the horrors of Starvation Heights. Gregg Olsen's book is a great historical true-crime book, because through his words he paints a vivid portrait of a bygone era of lumber mills, mud soaked roads and forested patches of land that hide something far more evil than any reader could suspect or any writer could possibly concoct. This book is brimming with heros and villains, legit medicine vs. quack science, political and legal figures of the day and true-to-life eyewitness accounts of those who saw, heard and felt the numerous murders on Starvation Heights; it is a small portrait that paints Washington State's dark yet b
A mind-blowing true story of a delusional, serial killing quack doctor.

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More Starvation Heights: A True Sto... reviews
review by . January 28, 2010
During the turn-of-the-century there were many fads that were in vogue. And while most of them were just harmless egressions from the monotony of day-to-day life, some crazes proved to be lethal. Gregg Olsen's documented crime history of "Dr." Linda Burfield Hazzard is just one fascinating case-in-point. In a time when women were not pursuing careers at the rate they are today, Linda Hazzard was an anomaly for her times; she was aggressive, outspoken, driven, feministic, literate, scientific and …
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The setting is a forested wilderness in the Northwest, circa 1911. The villain is a tall, egotistical woman doctor with an imposing jawline and a fierce will to dominate others. The victims are two wealthy English sisters, gullible health faddists after the fashion of those who flocked to Dr. Kellogg's sanitarium in Battle Creek, Michigan. But unlike Dr. Kellogg's comparatively gentle method of diet plus enemas, Dr. Hazzard's method was to literally starve her patients to death--and then defraud them of their valuables. Acclaimed true-crime writer Jack Olsen calls this book, "a literary and journalistic achievement of the highest order," and says, "Gregg Olsen reinforces his standing as one of America's greatest crime reporters, evoking the early twentieth century with a master's touch. No reader will ever forget Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard and her sadistic technique of mass murder by starvation."--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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ISBN-10: 1400097460
ISBN-13: 978-1400097463
Author: Gregg Olsen
Publisher: Three Rivers Press

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