Thursday, March 5, 2020

HGB Ep. 330 - Starvation Heights

Moment in Oddity - Chainsaw Invented to Help With Childbirth
Suggested by: Lori Aceto Garcia

We all know what a chainsaw looks like and we all naturally assume that they are used for either cutting up wood or cutting off people's appendages in horror movies. Now while that last one may seem pretty far from the reason why the chainsaw was invented, it's actually closer than you think. The original chainsaw-like tool was designed in the late 18th century by Scottish doctors, John Aitken and James Jeffray. This chain hand saw appears in Aitken's Principles of Midwifery or Puerperal Medicine. A German orthopedist named Bernhard Heine invented another chainsaw in 1830 that had a chain link with small teeth guided by a sprocket wheel and was used to cut bone. But regardless of who got there first and who invented what, there was this early chain saw with a fine serrated link chain that was used in surgery. Specifically to cut out diseased joints. But it was also used in symphysiotomy, which was basically cutting away bone, tissue and cartilage from the birth canal, when a woman was having a difficult labor like breech or the baby became stuck and was suffocating. The chainsaw was far more effective in quickly handling the situation versus a knife. The idea that the chainsaw was actually invented to help with childbirth before it was used to fell trees, certainly is odd.

This Month in History - Milicent Patrick and the Creature From the Black Lagoon
Suggested by: Shadow Hunter on Instagram

In the month of March, on the 5th, in 1954, Universal International Pictures released the film "Creature from the Black Lagoon." This film introduced another classic Universal Monster known simply as the Gill Man. The film was shot in Florida and the basic premise is that a group of scientists go on an expedition to the Amazon where they find the Gill Man. This creature falls in love with a female team member and kidnaps her. Nearly all the listeners probably know what the creature looks like, but we imagine most don't know that the creature was created by a woman. And that's probably because most people don't know that, since the artist was not credited with this accomplishment for 50 years. Her name was Milicent Patrick and she began her career with Walt Disney Studios in their ink and paint department. She went on to become one of the first female animators at Disney. She created the animated creature Chernabog in Fantasia. She left Disney in 1941 and became a model for a time. Bud Westmore at Universal hired her and she became the first woman to work in a special effects makeup department. In 1953, she designed the Gill-man suit. She was sent on a promotional tour to talk about the creation and initially it was called "The Beauty Who Created the Beast" Westmore was beyond jealous of the attention and insisted that the name be changed to "The Beauty Who Lives With the Beast." He was given full credit for the creation and when Patrick got back from the tour Westmore got Universal to fire her. The 2019 book "The Lady From the Black Lagoon" written by Mallory O'Meara, definitively proved that Patrick was the designer of the monster. Patrick died in 1998 never getting that full credit and she would only do small acting gigs after that. But now you know that Anna Prado Frias' favorite monster, was created by a woman!

Starvation Heights (HTC 1)

The desire to be thin and healthy has been with us since the dawn of human existence. Many of us have tried some kind of diet fad at least once. Not many diets work because they require deprivation and humans have a hard time sticking with something that limits them. We crave freedom in all areas of our lives. But for most of us, keeping the pounds off, especially as we age, can be difficult. There seems to be only one sure fire way to lose weight and keep it off for good, but the risk outweighs the results, because the risk is death. The only sure thing for losing weight is starvation. And that is just what Dr. Linda Hazzard was offering the desperate people who came to see her. Imagine a serial killer who is paid to do their killing. Join us as we discuss the history and haunts of Starvation Heights.

She looks like the sweet neighbor next door. Her face a little hardened by age, revealed more fully because of the neat bun-style in which she keeps her hair. There's nothing fancy about her dress and she seems so concerned and helpful when it comes to health. How could she possibly be a serial killer? And how could a serial killer come from a nice little town across from Puget Sound known as Olalla? This was a place where farmers, fisherman and loggers made a living. Not many people had even heard of Olalla until it ended up in all the papers, with the town entering center stage as headlines splashed across newspapers read, "Officials Expect to Expose Starvation Atrocities: Dr. Hazzard Depicted as Fiend" and "Woman ‘M.D’ Kills Another Patient." So who exactly was this Dr. Hazzard?

Linda Burfield was born in Minnesota in 1867. Little is known about her childhood. She married for the first time when she was only 18 years old and had two children. The marriage did not last. She had big dreams and those did not include being a wife and mother and in 1898, she left that life behind. The divorce became final in 1902 and it was that same year that Linda killed her first victim. Linda was a big believer in the idea that too much food was the root of all disease and that fasting was the cure. Now, I think we can all get behind the idea that giving our digestive systems a little break from food and fasting for a time can be beneficial. Many people do periodic fasts that last a day or two or maybe a little longer. Even Jesus himself fasted for 40 days. Although that was pretty extreme. Linda had read some books, like "The Gospel of Health" by Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey, and devised a plan for a system incorporating extreme fasting. She just needed to test someone. She found a woman willing to give it a try. After several months, the woman died. The coroner ruled that the woman died from starvation and requested that Linda be arrested. There were a couple of problems though. The woman had volunteered to do the fast and Linda was not a licensed doctor in Minnesota, so there was nothing that could be done. The coroner also noticed another particular issue. The victim had no jewelry, so he asked Linda about that and she was evasive. She was able to go on with expanding her work with fasting unimpeded.

Linda met her match in Samuel Christman Hazzard, a drunkard who threw away his West Point military career with brawling and boozing. Sam was married to his second wife when he met Linda, but that didn't stop the couple from getting married. There was a trial for bigamy and Sam went to jail for two years. In 1906, the couple decided they needed to get out of town and start over somewhere new and they moved to Seattle, Washington. They set up their own health business focusing on fasting. The plan that they designed had a lot more than fasting involved and the ultimate goal was more than likely to swindle people and send them off into death. Linda had no medical training, but a loophole when it came to alternative therapies allowed her to get licensed to practice medicine in the state of Washington. As long as her therapies were drugless, she was fine. She wrote several books on the positive aspects of fasting, including  "Fasting for the Cure of Disease."In that book, she put forward her ideas that the best way to cure disease was to remove fat and impurities from the human body. She neglected to mention that incorporating torture helped too. At least in her sick mind.

Hazzard started insisting that people call her "Dr. Hazzard." If they referred to her as Mrs. Hazzard, she would say that that name was her mother-in-law's. She made some grandiose claims like many snake oil salesmen. People would be told that she could cure something as small as a toothache or something big like Tuberculosis. The Hazzards had bought a 40-acre plot of land in Olalla, Washington and named it Wilderness Heights. Linda planned to build a sanitarium there. Until that time, she took the ferry across the Sound to Seattle where she practiced among a community of free thinkers who liked her ideas. One of those people was a 38-year-old woman named Daisey Maud Haglund. In 1908, she decided to ask Hazzard to help her get healthier and she would become the second known victim. Haglund had a three-year-old named Ivar who would go on to become a Seattle entrepreneur and restaurateur behind Ivar's Fish and Chips. Linda put her on a strict 50 day fast.

The strict diet Hazzard designed consisted of an orange for breakfast and some kind of mashed or strained soup for lunch and dinner. Everyone was required to endure these horrendous enemas that were given daily and they would last for hours. Up to twelve quarts of water would be used on one person. People would cry out in pain. And then there were the massages. While massage should be a relaxing modality, Hazzard's brand of massage consisted of beating her patients. She would use her fists to beat people on the back and on their forehead and she would scream out "Eliminate" while she was beating them. This is what Daisey endured for 50 days. This only stopped when she died. Two more women would join that list of dead patients in 1908. They would be Ida Wilcox and Mrs. Elgin Cox. The next year, Blanche B. Tindall and Viola Heaton would die. Maude Whitney died in 1910 and Earl Edward Erdman died in 1911.

Erdman was a civil engineer from Seattle. He was a believer in this method and decided to keep a diary of his progress. Rather than serving as a record of his success, it helps reveal just how harsh Hazzard's fasting method was. It read: 
February 1- Saw Dr. Hazzard and began treatment this date. No breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper.
February 5 through 7- One orange breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper.
February 8- One orange breakfast. Mashed soup dinner. Mashed soup supper.
February 9 through 11- One orange breakfast. Strained soup dinner. Strained soup supper.
February 12- One orange breakfast. One orange dinner. One orange supper.
February 13- Two orange breakfast. No dinner. No supper.
February 14- One cup of strained tomato broth at 6 p.m.
February 15- One cup hot strained tomato soup night and morning.
February 16- One cup hot strained tomato soup a.m. and p.m. Slept better last night. Head quite dizzy. Eyes yellow streaked and red.
February 17- Ate three oranges today.
February 19- Called on Dr. (Dawson) today at his home. Slept well Saturday night.
February 20- Ate strained juice of two small oranges at 10 a.m. Dizzy all day. Ate strained juice of two small oranges at 5 p.m.
February 21- Ate one cup settled and strained tomato broth. Backache today just below ribs.
February 22- Ate juice of two small oranges at 10 a.m. Backache today in right side just below ribs.
February 23- Slept but little last night. Ate two small oranges at 9 a.m. Went after milk and felt very bad. Ate two small oranges 6 p.m.
February 24- Slept better Wednesday night. Kind of frontal headache in a.m. Ate two small oranges 10 a.m. Ate on and a half cups hot tomato soup at 6 p.m. Heart hit up to ninety-five minute and sweat considerable.
February 25- Slept pretty well Thursday night. Ate one and a half cups tomato broth 11 a.m. Ate one and a half cups tomato broth 6 p.m. Pain in right below ribs.
February 26- Did not sleep so very well Friday night. Pain in right side just below ribs in back. Pain quit in night. Ate 1 and a half cups tomato broth at 10:45 a.m. Ate two and a half pump small oranges at 4:30 p.m. Felt better afternoon than for the last week…
The authorities started to take notice that bodies were piling up under the care of Linda Hazzard, as did the press. Newspapers started reporting on the deaths, but patients just kept coming to Hazzard looking for her miracle cure. We have to believe that there had to have been some people that had success and didn't die to get other people interested. Perhaps people who didn't have much to steal were just put on the regiment for a month and since killing them was not a financial pull, they were sent out of the program as testimonials. That's all conjecture, but seems logical. Whispers began to spread that Hazzard was practicing some kind of black magic and mind control. Health authorities claimed that their hands were tied when it came to Hazzard because she was licensed and patients were voluntarily coming to her for treatment. She started performing her own autopsies as well, so that she could list the cause of death as anything but starvation. We're not sure how a naturopath or someone licensed as a drugless medical provider got away with doing autopsies, but it apparently happened. Neighbors started contacting police about seeing these skeletal patients wandering around the property, some of whom would beg for food.

There was one victim who had not died from starvation at this time. Eugene Stanley Wakelin had a bullet in his head. He was the son of an English lord, but had no money to his name. It is believed that the Hazzard's shot him in frustration because he had no money. They claimed it was suicide. So perhaps our theory on people without wealth getting out of this program alive is not correct. The end would come for Hazzard when Dorothea and Claire Williamson came to what locals started calling Starvation Heights. The sisters were hypochondriacs and filthy rich. They were perfect marks for the Hazzards. It was 1911 and Hazzard told the sisters that the sanitarium was not ready yet, but that she could treat them in Seattle. They rented two rooms at the Buena Vista Apartments. The doctor offered to keep the women's valuables at her office to make sure they were safe. She then started them on the diet of vegetable broth. They also were given the standard enemas and massage. Within a month, the sisters were emaciated. Obviously, a starved brain is not a reasoning brain. Hazzard had the sisters transferred to the sanitarium in Olalla and obtained Claire's signature on a document giving money to Hazzard if Claire should die. The contract also directed Hazzard to cremate the body. At this point, Claire was delirious.

Somehow, the sisters got a message to their childhood nanny named Margaret, begging her to visit. When she got to Seattle, Hazzard met her at her office and told Margaret that Claire had died from cirrhosis. Maragaret wanted to see the body, so Linda showed her Claire's body at the mortuary. Margaret didn't recognize Claire, clearly because she was so emaciated. It was then that she knew that Claire had starved to death, She demanded to see Dorothea and Hazzard agreed, but she warned her that Dorothea was insane. Margaret couldn't believe how thin Dorothea had become. She was going to take her away, but Dorothea insisted that the treatment was doing her a world of good even though she was skeletal. Margaret had no legal right to take Dorothea and one can only imagine how frustrating that would be. She stayed and tried to sneak flour and rice into the tomato broth soup fed to Dorothea. We're amazed that Linda let her stick around, but she probably feared if she was not hospitable that Margaret would run to the cops. Margaret would visit other patients at the sanitarium and see how they were doing. Two of those patients begged her to help them escape. They said they were prisoners. And Margaret found out Dorothea was a prisoner too.

When Margaret informed Hazzard that she was leaving and taking Dorothea, Hazzard produced a document giving her and her husband legal guardianship of Dorothea. They claimed she would be staying with them forever. Margaret also discovered that the Hazzards had been helping themselves to the Williamson sisters' funds. Margaret came up with a plan that included the women's uncle and he sent a letter demanding that Dorothea be released from the sanitarium. Hazzard gave them a bill for $2000. At this point, Dorothea weighed sixty pounds. The uncle paid what equated to a small ransom and got Dorothea out of there. Dorothea managed to get her faculties back and helped to pay for the prosecution of Linda Hazzard because the state said they did not have the funds to go after the doctor. Upon her arrest, Hazzard claimed she was being persecuted. Evidence was provided revealing forged documents and diary entries and there was no doubt that many people starved to death under the care of Dr. Hazzard. Hazzard was convicted of manslaughter. But even after all these deaths, she only served two years at the Walla Walla Pentitentiary.

When she was released, she and Sam moved to New Zealand where she continued to practice her brand of fasting for health. She became very wealthy. She returned to Olalla in 1920 and finished construction on her sanitarium. She again started starving people to death. The sanitarium burned down in 1935 and Hazzard starved herself to death three years later. Apparently, she was a true believer in her own cure. Which then makes one wonder if she was a killer due to neglect and some kind of mental illness or if she was a methodical serial killer. In total, there were more than two dozen victims and possibly more. We've heard there could possibly have been 40 victims. No one knows for sure how many people the Hazzards killed, but they rank up there with the most prolific serial killers.

The house and sanitarium at Starvation Heights no longer stand today, but when they did, there were reports of haunting activity. Opal and Chuck Abundis owned the Hazzard house in the 1990s and after Gregg Olsen's book "Starvation Heights" came out, they started offering tours of the place. People claimed to see strange symbols on the fireplace that indicated that it was the seventh gate of Hell. Opal's mother lived next door at the time and she claimed to hear disembodied footsteps on her porch nearly every day. When she would go to check the porch, nobody would be there. Chuck said, "You hear footsteps on the stairs. It sounds like people are walking around upstairs. One time I was in the bathroom, and there is no draft down there and it was a warm day, and I got the coldest feeling. It felt like they touched me on the back of my right arm and it was cold. A week ago I was wiping off the counter by the toaster and the electrical cord came out by itself and dropped onto the floor." One of the more haunted areas was a small closet in the basement with a small hole cut out in the middle of the door just big enough to slip food through. Many wonder if this was like a solitary confinement for unruly patients.

A family of four would later move into the home where the Hazzards had lived in Olalla. They claimed to have experienced unexplained activity and ghostly phenomena over the years. The family claimed that they saw apparitions, felt cold spots and doors opened and closed on their own. The mother was cooking dinner in the kitchen one evening with the stove in front of her and the bathroom door behind her. She turned around while cooking and was shocked to see that every chair from the kitchen had been piled up against the bathroom door. She was the only person in the house at the time and was really freaked out.

The attic seemed to have activity as well. Several low ledges were used for storage and a psychic who was visiting the house claimed that several of Hazzard's victims were sitting quietly on the ledges. As though they were scared to move. The psychic also claimed that the house was saturated with anguish. Washington State Paranormal Investigations and Research (WSPIR) visited Starvation Heights three times during 2005-2006. On their first visit the group divided into three teams. Each team had a psychic. The owners of the house had been instructed to hide anything that might inform the psychics of what they were investigating. The book Fasting for the Cure of Disease was clearly visible when the first psychic entered. The owners claimed that they had not left the book out and they had no idea how it got where it was found. The group picked up an EVP that said, “Help me!”
The second team caught EVPs, also. One EVP stated, “Are you talking about me now?” Another EVP said either, “Take us up” or “Dig us up.”

Dead Files did an episode featuring this location. The family used some of the wood from the previous house to build the new house and had been experiencing activity. It turned out that Steve found out while interrogating the son named Logan that he had conducted at least 17 seances in the house. Logan claimed to see the ghosts of a little boy and a little girl and that he tried to communicate with them. Amy also picked up on little kids running around the old house. Amy described seeing some kind of monster on the property that was almost smothering these children ghosts. Cannon was the name of another son on the property and he saw a male ghost wearing a cowboy hat sitting out by the wood pile. He could see through him which is how he knew it was a ghost. He also saw that male ghost in the cottage. Amy picked up on this spirit and that he ran the show there. He bragged about that. She also picked up that a woman had been raped there, probably by him.

She also saw a woman she described with a broken face that was trying to harm a living woman. This was really weird. It was like they figured out that Claire had been thrown down some stairs and that Hazzard was in the house and trying to throw someone else down the stairs since it had worked before, but when Amy had the spirit sketched, it looked like Hazzard rather than Claire. But Hazzard had starved to death. Is it possible that throwing down the stairs was a fill-in for starvation since Claire starved and Linda starved? Was Hazzard trying to kill the living woman at the house? So we don't know what was causing this activity. Were the ghosts already here? Did the seances bring spirits?

So as is probably clear, the cottage that was the sanitarium was eventually torn down and a new home was built. This was after the family had lived in a place where so many died and even used the original bathtub where bodies were dismembered. We have not heard of any hauntings taking place in the new home. Was Starvation Heights haunted? That is for you to decide!

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