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.
Availability: 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!)
Comments: 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.
6 thoughts on “The CIA’s Control of Candy Jones by Donald Bain”
Hi, I was doing some personal research on the topic, wondering if you can lend me a hand and send me a copy. Thanks for your time and help!
I’m so sorry, Alex, but I gave my copy away already! However, even though it’s out of print (again!), there are some reasonably cheap copies over on Amazon. Good luck finding a copy and sorry I was of no help.
If you think the CIA is not capable of such
things you have not read much on this Rogue agency. MKULTRA, Operation Mockingbird and the list goes on. Read Ronald Kessler’s book Inside the CIA. Very well written.
Hey Art, thanks for commenting. Nowhere in this book discussion did I state or even imply that the CIA is incapable of engaging in atrocious programs. My reaction to this specific book as it relates to Candy and John Nebel is that Candy has zero proof any of her claims happened to her and she seemed to be married to a man who delighted in poking around with her already questionable psyche. This book discussion is not a discussion of what the government is capable of doing – it’s a look at Bain’s book on Candy and how little of what is said about her experiences has the ring of truth to it.
Did Candy have a son named Chris? if so i went to camp with him i think-i’ll name the camp if he contacts me. anyone know?
Lee, Candy did have a son named Christian, from her marriage with Harry Conover. Unfortunately, Christian suffered an accident of some sort and died at age 16. Hard to know if he’s the Chris you know, but Candy indeed had a son named Chris.