Linda Hazzard was not truly a doctor; she had very little formal training and no medical degree. While she practiced with no degree, she did receive a Washington state license to practice her particularly unorthodox style of health focused fasting. In her self-published 1908 book Fasting for the Cure of Disease, Hazzard wrote: “Appetite is Craving; Hunger is Desire. Craving is never satisfied; but Desire is relieved when Want is supplied”. Hazzard believed the only path to wellness was almost total starvation for multiple days or weeks.
Her patients would consume only tiny portions of vegetable broth. During the fasting period, the patients would routinely be “cleansed” with daily enemas, often to the point of exhaustion and subsequent fainting. Massages that were said to be more like beatings were given to help the cleansing process. Tired and literally starving, Hazzard’s patients became incapable of taking care of themselves or maintaining any life they had prior to visiting her.
As harsh and inconceivable as these methods were, Hazzard fared well and attracted many patients. Immigrants and Americans alike sought her out to cure anything from fatigue to reproductive problems. One notable patient was a Norwegian immigrant, Daisey Maud Haglund. Haglund died in 1908, leaving behind her three year old son, Ivar. Hazzard made Haglund fast for 50 consecutive days.
Perhaps the most famous of the Hazzard deaths were those of Claire and Dorothea, or Dora, Williamson. The Williamson’s were two British sisters, orphaned after the death of their wealthy English officer father. The sisters complained of swollen glands, a dropped uterus, and rheumatism. After reading an ad about Hazzard’s “most beautiful cure”, the sisters became determined to travel to Washington and be treated by Hazzard.
The Williamson sisters had a romanticized vision of both the facility and the treatment process. The longed for the greenery and countryside, a slower pace of living that would allow them to thoroughly heal their minds and bodies. Little did they know that no peace was to be found at Wilderness Heights. Only more sickness leading to their untimely and gruesome deaths.