Recently, I looked up real-life traumas in the state of Washington and became unsettled when I came upon a spot titled, "Starvation Heights." Google it. I guarantee that you'll be intrigued, as I was.

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It's the true tale of a very misguided woman from Minnesota who managed to kill a few people in Olalla, Washington by starving them to death.

What? How? Why?

WA State Penitentiary-
WA State Penitentiary-

Lynda Laura Burfield was born in 1867 in Carver, MN. According to, she was Washington's first female serial killer. 

Dr. Linda Hazzard developed a fasting method to cure disease. While Hazzard didn't have a formal medical degree, she was licensed by the state as a fasting specialist.


According to Wikipedia:

Hazzard established a "sanitarium" called Wilderness Heights, located in Olalla, Washington, where inpatients fasted for days, weeks, or months on a diet consisting of small amounts of tomato, asparagus juice, and occasionally orange juice. While some patients survived and publicly endorsed Hazzard's methods, dozens died under her care. Hazzard claimed that the deceased had succumbed to undisclosed or hitherto undiagnosed illnesses such as cancer or cirrhosis of the liver. Her opponents claimed that they all died of starvation;[5] local residents in Olalla referred to the sanitarium as "Starvation Heights".

Hazzard was convicted of the death of Claire Williamson, who weighed less than 50 pounds at the time of her death. Hazzard was sentenced to 2-20 years in prison. After serving 2 years, Hazzard was released from the Washington State Penitentiary in Walla Walla in 1915. A year later, Governor Ernest Lister granted her a full pardon.

Watch more below. It's fascinating.

There's also a book available, Starvation Heights: A True Story of Murder and Malice in the Woods of the Pacific Northwest, by author Gregg Olsen.

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