The CIA’s Control of Candy Jones by Donald Bain

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book: The CIA’s Control of Candy Jones

Author: Donald Bain

Why I Consider This Book Odd:
The title sort of gives it away, and conspiracy theory always falls into the realm of odd for me.

Type of Work: Utter fiction masquerading as non-fiction.

This book cannot seem to stay in print. Initially published in the 1970s, this hot mess was reissued and has since been taken out of print again by that bastion of quality publishing, Barricade Books. I am not questioning Barricade’s publications choices – were it not for publishers like them, where would this site be, in certain respects. Rather, I am referring to the actual quality of the book itself. I suspect that given a ream of paper, a rusty razor and some Elmer’s glue, I could have created a less brittle, more even-paged, smoother-spined, perfect bound book than what I got in the mail. This book was new and looked like it had been mangled by a wolf in a sauna.

But really, it says something when Barricade Books still has the Turner Diaries on its back list, but drops this dog turd of a book like it’s inside a paper bag and set on fire. It says a lot. It says, “This book has less appeal than a crappily and awkwardly written book by a neo-Nazi about the impending race war.”

So given my overall snert at the quality of content as well as the quality of the book itself, I am not even linking to the vastly over-priced copies on Amazon. If, after reading this review, you still want to read this book, send me an e-mail at ireadoddbooks at gmail dot com. Talk to me real pretty and I’ll send you my copy. It’s called sharing the love. (Book has been claimed! YAY!)

One of the best things about conspiracy theory is that it is generally interesting. It may be crazy. It may make you doubt your own sanity as you read it (why yes, there IS something lizard-like about the British Royal family). But I defy you to read anything by David Icke, Jim Keith or Tex Marrs and not be entertained.

Never has conspiracy theory been more boring than it is in the hands of Donald Bain. He seems a competent enough writer, so the perhaps the problem lies not with his skill as a teller of odd or improbable tales, but rather the material he was given to work with. If conspiracy theory is to be offered with not even the slightest amount of “proof” other than the hypnotically induced memories of someone claiming CIA-connections, then it needs to have an element of the outrageous in it. Black helicopters. Lizard people. A vast international conspiracy of bankers and politicians who have sex orgies in between attempts to take over the world. Something. Anything more than a weird man who hypnotizes his equally weird wife and TA-DA! She was controlled by the CIA because, you know, she says she was.

Seriously. Aside from the fact that she told her lawyer some weird stuff, a picture of Candy Jones in a black wig (a former model in a wig – the hell you say!), and a handful of people who claim Jones acted weird in candlelight and around oriental music, there is no other proof that Jones was ever involved in the CIA. Her assertions that she carried messages all over the world for the CIA are all the reader has to go on in order to have even the tiniest sliver of belief that makes conspiracies so tantalizing. After reading this book, one gets the impression that Candy Jones, far from being a victim of the MK-ULTRA CIA program, was really a mentally fragile woman who either manipulated or was manipulated by her husband, the radio host “Long John” Nebel, who was either a whackaloon in his own right, or a complete dick. Since it feels sort of weird to speak ill of the dead, let’s go with the former.

Here’s the story in brief (or as brief as I can manage): Candy Jones (real name Jessica Arline), was born into an affluent family and had elaborate memories of really bad childhood abuse that left her subject to developing a split personality (I have no desire to debate whether or not MPD or DID exists). She became a model, did USO tours overseas in the Pacific front in WWII, developed a tropical disease, and was treated by a doctor who later recruited her to work for the CIA.

She was susceptible to the offer because a terrible first marriage left her deeply in debt with no way to pay for her aging mother’s medical bills and her sons’ private educations. Since she was traveling anyway for work, excessive travel would not raise an eyebrow. So she became a CIA mule, all payments were made directly to her debtors (thus eliminating a fabulous element of proof), and she was subjected to “vitamin” shots that clearly by her own descriptions were not vitamins.  Moreover, she was frequently hypnotized so her other personality, Arlene, could handle stuff when things got too much for Candy. According to her memories, Candy was starved, beaten, sexually abused and programmed to commit suicide all by CIA operatives.

All of this came to light because she exhibited a weird element to her personality after she married John Nebel, and had issues sleeping. Nebel, who was evidently Art Bell before there was an Art Bell, naturally took it upon himself to hypnotize his wife so she could sleep and all of this came to light. Nebel, who had an interest in the bizarre, off-beat and paranormal, evidently never once thought it odd that he, a psychiatric layman, would hypnotize his wife, and given his love of the conspiratorial, he never once questioned her stories.

But the stories are not that interesting. Never does the reader know what messages Candy delivered. The reader never sees Candy in action at all. We simply know of what she supposedly did through interminable hypnosis session after hypnosis session. No action, no sense of real belief in her recollections, so overall, this book was tiresome.

But even a boring book can be disturbing.  I was set on edge during the scenes where Nebel goaded his wife into giving him the responses he wanted. It was unnerving, and as someone who loathes descriptions of torture, these sections came dangerously close. Nebel, in the face of all compassion and reason, assumes the role of the men whom his wife thinks tortured her, drawing out information. The section where he forces Candy to reveal a sexual torture scene, forcing her to relive mentally what she thought happened, was a torture scene in its own right. That anyone then or now thinks this appropriate, or done in a spirit of mental health or greater justice, is insane.

After reading this book, I was torn as to what it was I had really read. Had Jones and Nebel concocted the story as a book idea – both were writers before they married. Had Jones hoodwinked Nebel? Had Nebel manipulated a mentally ill woman into creating a conspiracy fantasy, something his life work makes it clear he would have found fascinating and enjoyable?

Ultimately, I don’t think either Jones or Nebel had ill-will or created anything from whole cloth. I think a fragile woman prone to nervous fantasies married a man who had little sense and a desire to uncover uncommon truths.  Together they created this really bad attempt to tie Candy to the MK-ULTRA project, not out of a desire to deceive, but rather it sprung from their respective weaknesses.

Regardless, it was a horrible book. YMMV, but far better, more intriguing, and frankly, believable conspiracy theory exists. Give this one a miss.

The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Analysis by Ian Brady

This post originally appeared on I Read Odd Books

Book Title:  The Gates of Janus: Serial Killing and its Anaylsis

Author:  Ian Brady, with forewords by Colin Wilson and Dr. Alan Keightley, afterword by Peter Sotos

Why I Consider This Book Odd:
  It was written by Ian Brady, who, along with his girlfriend Myra Hindley, kidnapped, sexually assaulted, and murdered children in England from 1963-1965.

Type of Work:  Philosophical treatise, armchair psychology

Availability:  This book is still in print, published by Feral House in 2001.

Comments:  Had this book been a person and it approached me outside of the supermarket, I would have crossed the street.  This book is the crazy man who thinks he is sane and intelligent, raving on the traffic islands about whatever topic is in his head.  It is hard to pay such people much attention and therefore, it was difficult to care about large chunks of this book.

Peter Sotos is the only person in this book who did not come off like a rube or a complete lunatic.  If you are at all familiar with Sotos’s body of work, consider my statement and what it really means.  He is the only one who seemed to understand that in addition to being a violent sexual predator, Ian Brady is also a master manipulator whose word on any topic should likely be taken with a grain of salt, if not completely disregarded.

I wanted to read this book because, in my typical fashion of wanting a book based on just small snippets of information, I thought in some sense that this book would be an explanation of what it was that made Ian Brady become a killer, of what it was about his personality that could have mesmerized Myra Hindley, an otherwise unremarkable woman, into a folie a deux murder streak that set the serial killing stage for similar fiends like Fred and Rosemary West and Karla Homolka and Paul Bernardo.  I had long heard that this book was illuminating, a rare look into the mind of a serial killer, and while it is, it also isn’t.

All I learned reading this book is that I still have a sound psychopathometer (though Brady fancies himself a psychotic rather than a psychopath because the former are interesting to him) and that the only real insight anyone would ever have into Ian Brady’s mind is that he is a liar and a manipulator.  He certainly conned Colin Wilson, who seems to think that the information that Brady provides about himself and fellow psychopathic killers, somehow gives Brady cosmic brownie points.

Wilson, with a level of naivety that he should not possess given his age and the range of his career, says:

In a letter of a few days ago, he wrote to me bitterly, “My life is over so I can afford honesty of expression; those with a future cannot.  If I had my time over again, I’d get a government job and live off the state… a pillar of society.  As it is I am eager to die. I chose the wrong path and am finished.”

As this book shows, that, at all events, is untrue.

If you feel that sort of rush of saliva that makes you think you may puke, be aware you will feel it again and again as you read this book.  Part One consists of seven interminable chapters wherein Brady discusses psychopathy, psychotics, and a really inappropriate interpretation of what boils down to Nietzchean superman theories as they apply to killers. But in doing this, he uses dense, at times overly intellectual yet specious language to give himself some sort of authority on his topic.  He creates what he thinks are trenchant observations about the way the media and society handle crimes like the Moor Murders, hilariously implying that we, the law-abiding people of the world, are really to blame for being interested and appalled when such crimes occur.  At no time does Brady truly apply all his analysis to himself, but doesn’t hesitate to share the love in Part Two, where he analyzes the true natures of other serial killers.  Worse, what little that Brady gives away about himself is contradictory, often without, in my opinion, the man even understanding he has done so.

Before I explain why this book was a sickening, masturbatory excursion into manipulative madness, let me share the sobering, sane words of Peter Sotos.  His epilogue should have been a preface, because it could have saved many a reader from entering into this exercise of the damned thinking they would, in fact, be reading honest words.

Here’s a large chunk of what Sotos had to say, and in saying it, he revealed the only truth of the book:

First off, you don’t ask a child molester to write a book on serial killing.  A child rapist.  A child pornographer.  A child murderer.

Colin Wilson, from his introduction:

“Therefore I advised him to do the thing I would have done: to think about writing a book.  Since he obviously knew about serial murder ‘from the inside’, thus this suggested itself as the obvious subject.”

You don’t ask him to do the obvious.  You especially don’t ask him to do what you would do.

Because the child rapist and murderer and pornographer will obviously lie.  And, because he wants to believe you need to hear more, he’ll even start to enjoy telling you he’s lying.  Because it’s the easiest thing to do.  It is the obvious choice.  He can adopt the dime-a-dozen serial killer front of puffed up superiority, all from his tiny cell and serve the typical cold dish of chest beating mental clarity over mental introspection…

Sotos is right, and the reader should know it before they even try to read this miasma of philosophical nothings.  If you want to know the impulse of true deviance, read Sotos or de Sade.  If you want to read the words of a man who has plenty of clarity but absolutely no desire to apply it to his own motivations, who is, in fact, probably lying to you, read The Gates of Janus.

Rest of my analysis under the cut.