Olalla, Washington's Infamous Starvation Doctor
The practices of fasting and cleanses have been diet and health methods for centuries.
In the early 1900s, Linda Burfield Hazzard, a.k.a. Dr. Hazzard, took these practices to an extreme in Washington state. She was basically convinced that every ailment, from baldness to cancer, could be cured through extreme fasting.
Her patients would fast for as many as 50 days, consuming nothing but a couple of cups of broth each day. In the most extreme cases, her patients weighed as little as 50 pounds, and it is assumed between 20 and 50 people died from her treatment.
It was also no coincidence that most of her patients were also very wealthy. When they became too weak and delirious to think clearly, she would manipulate them into signing over their property and handing over most of their wealth to her.
Sound Effect host Gabriel Spitzer traveled to Olalla, Washington where Dr. Hazzard's house — the same house she practiced her "medicine" in — still stands. He got the whole story from Gregg Olsen, author of "Starvation Heights," a book that chronicles the story of two wealthy sisters who were victims of Hazzard's scheme.