The Ouija Broads Guide to Weird Seattle

The Emerald City is full of enchantment, adventure... and strangeness. Here are a selection of Seattle-related topics that we've covered on the show. 


The Starvationist

Before she moved her operation across the Sound to Olalla, quack "doctor" Linda Hazzard prescribed her "fasting cure" from the heart of downtown Seattle. For any ailment, Hazzard prescribed a very slimming diet of perhaps a cup of vegetable broth or an orange per day. Many of her clients weighed well under 100 pounds before they starved to death (and left their fortunes to her). Hazzard was responsible for at least a dozen deaths in Washington, including that of Daisey Maud Haglund, whose son Ivar would found the famous chowder restaurant. (Episode 51 and Episode 52, Linda Hazzard and Starvation Heights Parts 1 and 2.) 


The Brides

Long ago in Seattle, almost every pioneer was a married man, or a man who wanted to be married. The shortage of eligible brides led a young Asa Mercer, founder of the University of Washington, to undertake an expedition back east to bring a shipload of bachelorettes to the Emerald City. The expedition was so successful that he repeated it again, and the Mercer girls became important and influential women in early Seattle days. (Episode 65, Mercer's Belles.)


The Spirits

Almost every bar in Seattle has a ghostly tale, but the two we featured in this early episode have special claims to haunted fame. Kells Irish Pub, known as the most haunted pub in America, sits in the original Butterworth Building - the mortuary center of 19th century Seattle. The bar itself is in the cellar, a.k.a. the former embalming room. The Butterworths expanded their business to Melrose Street in 1923, and the building they inhabited was a successful funeral home for many years. Perhaps its most famous client was Seattleite Bruce Lee, in 1973. Now it is the home of the Pine Box Bar... and many ghosts. (Episode 11, Second Lives of Seattle Mortuaries.)

The Soft Drinks

Who put it there? Who stocks it? What will you get when you push one of its many mystery buttons? You will leave with your thirst quenched, but not your curiosity. (Episode 57, Eat Weird, Washington! Part Two.) 

The Curiosity Shops

Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on Pier 54 in Seattle may be the oldest and best known place for strange souvenirs in Washington, but it ain’t the only game in town. “Daddy” Standley set the standard (which is still maintained by his family 5 generations later), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t tell you about other wonderfully weird shops stocked with Washington art, fossils, Bigfoot merch, and even mummies. You’ll also find Archie McPhee in Seattle, but you can go farther afield to Marsh’s Free Museum in Long Beach and Wonders of the World in Spokane. (Episode 90, Curiosity Shops of the Northwest.)