The Horrors Of Dr. Hazzard

Dr. Linda Hazzard

Dr. Linda Hazzard

I have this morbid fascination with serial killers. I don’t idolize them or anything, I just find their behavior interesting. More of a “what makes them tick?” fascination than a “Wow, this guy killed the most!” if you know what I mean.

Last night while watching “Deadly Women” on Investigation Discovery channel, I learned of a doctor who was a serial killer and happened to be a woman. We rarely hear about women serial killers. I think the most talked about female killer is Aileen Wuornos. Rarely do I hear people talk about, much less know the horrific history of Elizabeth Bathory, the Hungarian Countess who is said to have butchered more than 600 young girls and bathed in their blood. Aileen Wuornos was brought onto the public’s attention due to the books and movie that was released in the last few years.

Anyway. The show “Deadly Women” did a piece on Elizabeth Bathory and a lesser known serial killer named Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard. Dr. Hazzard was known as a “fasting specialist”. Meaning she believed that with fasting, one could cure themselves of all diseases. Starving the body is used in many religious ceremonies as well as meditative practices. Clear the body, clear the mind.

Dr. Hazzard was labeled as a sadistic killer, because she derived pleasure from her macabre methods. Dr. Hazzard would convince her patients that with her methods, they would be cured completely of their ailment within months. The doctor created a “sanitarium” which she named “Wilderness Heights”. The treatment was basic and evil. She would feed them 8 ounces of a watered-down tomato soup or asparagus soup and some orange juice once a day during their stay and convince them that through this new method, they would be able to go home cured in no time. When the patients complained of starvation, she would convince them just to hold off a bit longer because they were “almost done with the treatment”. Needless to say, many of them suffered a horrible death.

Neighbors from around town dubbed Dr. Hazzard’s place “Starvation Heights” since it was not uncommon for them to run across patients who tried to escape. Looking like living skeletons, many of the doctor’s neighbors would take it upon themselves to feed these patients. One eyewitness described how her parents found a patient of Dr. Hazzard crawling on the road. She described them looking like holocaust victims. The eyewitness told of how her parents took the person home and fed them.

While her patients were moribund, laying in what essentially became their death beds, The doctor and her husband would take their time and steal everything they could from the patients. Going through their belongings, stealing cash and valuables as well as forging documents for monetary gains.

Dora Williamson. Rescued by family member

Dora Williamson

Around 1912 Dr. Hazzard was convicted for the death of a wealthy Australian woman Claire Williamson, who at the time of her death weighed  less than 50 lbs. The only reason why Dr. Hazzard was caught was because Claire Willimason’s sister (Dora) was also in treatment and had managed to get a hold of a family member to come to her rescue. They both testified against the doctor, who was found guilty and sent to Walla Walla prison in Washington state. After serving only 2 years, she was pardoned by the governor and the doctor and her husband fled to New Zealand.

Years later (1920) she had returned to Washington state and opened a new sanitarium called “School of Health”. Not having a medical license anymore, she continued starving her patients under her new sanitarium. 15 years later a fire broke out and burned the place to the ground. Never to be built again.

Dr. Hazzard, now elderly, fell ill one day and like most delusional killers, she knew that her treatment was the only thing that could save her. Dr. Hazzard died in 1938 after months of fasting. Dying by her own hands, the same way many of her victims had perished before.

It’s only a shame that justice did not prevail in this story. Serving 2 years of a 20 year sentence for murdering countless victims speaks volumes of the jaded justice system of the olden days.

Dr. Hazzard’s story does not end there. The story does have it’s paranormal side as you can imagine.

The show interviewed and the current residents of the actual place which was once known as “Starvation Heights”. The old sanitarium, now turned into a home, still stands in good conditions. Many of the old original fixtures like the kitchen sink, bathtub and even window panes still exist. The show “Deadly Women” went and interviewed the people that currently inhabit this building. They are well aware of it’s macabre history and find it fascinating to be living in a place with such gruesome history. The current resident showed the original bathtub in which Dr. Hazzard would dismember her victims. The bathtub is still in use by the husband, wife and kids. The kitchen sink which was once used to prepare the watery tomato soup to starving victims is now being used by the family in a normal day to day lifestyle.

You would assume that with such a tragic history, the building would be torn down à la Jeffrey Dahmer style. Apparently some people are not bothered by such things that happened in the past. The current residents did mentioned some paranormal activity that happens around in their home. Feeling of being watched all the time is not uncommon. As if there was always someone in the house with them. They talked about faint apparition of faces that were seen through the time-stained window panes. Victims of Dr. Hazzard maybe?