In The Early 1900s, A “Fasting Specialist” Was Licensed, Despite Not Holding A Medical Degree, And Killed A Dozen Patients By Starving Them To Death

KION - - illustrative purposes only

During the early 20th century, in the small town of Olalla, Washington, a so-called doctor killed a dozen of her patients by starving them to death. And, the strangest part is that these patients willingly paid for such treatment.

Linda Hazzard was licensed by the state of Washington as a “fasting specialist,” even though she had little formal training and did not possess a medical degree. Still, she attracted a decent number of patients. Her methods of treating illnesses involved fasting for days or more.

During the fasting periods, patients were only allowed to consume small servings of vegetable broth. Daily enemas were performed to “flush out the system,” in addition to intense massages that seemed more like beatings.

Hazzard believed that all illnesses were related to impaired digestion after eating too much food. Supposedly, fasting lets the digestive system rest. Her cure was detailed in a self-published book from 1908 titled Fasting for the Cure of Disease.

One of Hazzard’s patients was a Norwegian immigrant named Daisey Maud Haglund. She died in 1908 after fasting for 50 days, leaving behind a three-year-old son.

But perhaps her best-remembered pair of patients were British sisters named Claire and Dorothea Williamson. They were orphaned daughters of an English army officer.

The sisters saw an ad for Hazzard’s book in a newspaper while staying at a fancy hotel. They weren’t seriously sick but felt that they were suffering from some minor issues.

So, they signed up for treatment in 1911. Hazzard fed them each a cup of broth made from canned tomatoes twice a day. They were also given enemas in the bathtub that would last for hours.

Two months later, the sisters each weighed about 70 pounds. Nobody knew anything was amiss with the girls until their childhood nurse, Margaret Conway, received a concerning telegram from them. The nurse decided to travel to Washington to check up on them. On her way there, she found out that Claire was dead.

KION – – illustrative purposes only

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