A Letter to My Dog, Half Pint

This last year may have been the worst one of my life, but at least I've got the world's two greatest dogs by my side to help me stagger into 2018. Today's post features a letter to Half Pint. Benjamin will be getting a letter later this week--he'd never let me hear the end of it, otherwise. Also, this posts features a lot of short video clips of Half Pint being silly. Since I apparently can't do anything right these days, they are exclusively shot in vertical mode. Please accept my apologies (and cut me some friggin' slack).

Freaky (Factual) Tale Friday: Controlling Candy Jones

(photo @ Wikipedia.com)

In 1972, popular radio personality Long John Nebel (born John Zimmerman) became involved in a whirlwind romance with his favorite pin up girl from the World War II era, Candy Jones. After one month, the two were married. Getting married after such a short courtship may seem like a bad decision to most people, but for these two, it was almost as if they were thrust together by virtue of both having bizarre personal histories.

Nebel had dropped at out school in 8th grade and was rumored to have run away from home with a circus. At the age of 19, he moved to New York and began a series of careers which included freelance photography and working as a sidewalk salesman. He later started a successful auction/consignment shop in New Jersey that became a popular destination due to Nebel's entertaining auction calls.

In 1954, he approached one of New York's leading radio stations (with whom he had bought advertising time for his business) and asked about doing an interview driven show that would center around the discussion of strange and mysterious topics. The idea didn't sound that great to the station managers, but they were getting desperate; the advent of television was obliterating their ratings.

The station gave him the 12:00-5:30 AM slot. To the their surprise, Nebel's show became a hit. The overnight block, which had previously been by far the least profitable time period for them, was now drawing in much bigger ratings than expected and made Long John's show a New York institution.

Unfortunately for Candy, her path in life wasn't just filled with zany tales and dreams becoming reality. Jones (who was born Jessica Arline Wilcox) was born into a family that was rich in money, but not in love and nurturing. She face repeated instances of physical and sexual abuse from her parents. After Jones' father left while she was still very young, Candy's mother often insisted upon keeping her locked in a dark room as punishment whenever she had done something wrong.

To help her cope with the daily horrors she faced, Candy came up with a group of imaginary friends. The one she became the most attached to was who looked a very much like her and was named Arlene.

After blossoming into 6'4" attractive blonde, Candy (who had changed her name by this point) successfully pursued a career in modeling. Pageant crowns, multiple magazine covers, and a desire to help her country during World War II also made her an excellent USO tour candidate.

Pictured: An instant morale booster

While on tour in the Philippines in 1945, Jones was given a quart of milk that had been flown in from Australia. This was considered a very special gift since there were no cows in the Philippines from which to extract and produce dairy products. Unfortunately, the Australian bovine that had produced the milk Candy ingested was sick.

The resulting toll on her immune system caused her to contract malaria as well as "jungle rot", a condition which made Jones' famous blonde locks begin to fall out in clumps. She was treated by an unnamed army physician that she would later refer to by the pseudonym "Gilbert Jensen."

After a few months of treatment, Jones was ready to return back to the States. Jensen gave her his address and asked her to write when she got back. Unfortunately for him, she met and married a man named Harry Conover.

Conover was a fashion czar and one of the first model agents. He was also totally into dudes, which strained things a bit in his and Jones' marriage. She also had not completely recovered from her trip to the South Pacific.

In 1946 before a guest spot on a radio show, Candy began to once again feel the effects from her bout with Malaria. She was told that a doctor would call soon to help her. The physician who ending up contacting her was also someone she would later refer to by a pseudonym: "Marshall Burger."

....who worked under the direct authority of Mayor McCheese

According to Jones, Burger was a well known psychiatrist with close ties to many big names in the entertainment industry as well as the U.S. government. He was also a pioneer in the field of hypnosis, which was the method he used to help relieve Jones pain and start to feel better.

In 1959, Conover sued Candy for divorce, leaving her with a mere $36 along with a mountain of debts. Now on her own financially, she opened a modeling school and continued making guest appearances on radio shows to help generate income.

In 1972, a now fully healthy and financially solvent Candy Jones began what seemed like a happy new stage in her life when she married Nebel. But during their first month of marriage, her husband noticed that something about Jones was very off. Despite her usually pleasant demeanor, Candy would sometimes shift into a persona Nebel called "The Voice."

This woman was angry, prone to violence, and did not act or sound at all like the woman he had married. But as quickly as these mood swings appeared, they would vanish without Jones remembering them at all.

Weird, but still not out of the ordinary.

Things got even stranger when Jones informed her husband that she occasionally did work for the US government and may have to leave town at a moment's notice. Nebel, who had experience with hypnosis, decided to try and help his wife make sense of her bizarre behavior (and probably wanted to see if those "government trips" were to see another guy on the side).

Jones agreed to the treatment and ending up being very susceptible to hypnosis. While she was under, Nebel uncovered a completely different personality; a woman with a completely different voice and demeanor.

A woman whose name was Arlene.

While Candy had just a few conscious details of her alleged work for the United States government, Arlene knew everything about it. According to her, Candy had been approached by a retired general whom she was acquainted with from her time with the USO. He asked if he could use Arlene's modeling school as a mail drop for government materials that were still being sent to him. Due to her sense of patriotism, she said yes.

Later, Candy was asked if she could deliver a letter for the general during a trip she was taking to California. When she arrived in San Francisco, Jones discovered that the man she was delivering the letter to was Gilbert Jensen, her doctor from the Phillipines. It would also later be revealed that he was working very closely with one Marshall Burger.

Jensen proceeded to inform her that he now worked for the CIA...and asked if she would be willing to do some work for them. All she would have to do was deliver messages for Jensen, most of which could be done on trips that she was already planning to take for her modeling career.

This would normally be the point when most of us would run away or look for Ashton Kutcher and lots of hidden cameras, but Jensen was also offering a large sum of money just to occasionally do an innocuous sounding delivery while she was already traveling. The cash strapped mother of three agreed and signed on as a part time CIA employee.

Before she left, Jensen asked Jones to come up with a false identification that could be used to create a forged passport in case she ever needed to conceal her identity. Candy chose her imaginary childhood friend, Arlene. He also informed Candy would need an injection of vitamins to help keep her health and strength up. Once again, she agreed.

It's a good thing that she never saw one of these as a child.

This was allegedly when her first hypnosis session took place. As you might have already deduced, the "vitamins" were actually a sedative that was given to her through an IV. This was so that Jensen could more easily put Jones under his influence. 

While under hypnosis, Jensen began to cultivate the Arlene persona into much more than a simple courier. Aside from her entire demeanor and speech patterns changing, she was also trained in hand to hand combat and various forms of espionage. She was even purposefully tortured in horrific ways to test and enhance her ability to withstand interrogation.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, the Arlene persona considered Candy to to be weak. Candy, on the other hand, knew next to nothing about Arlene, her training, or her opinion of her.

At this point, Nebel was understandably pissed. He threatened to kill Jensen, which Jones was somehow able to talk him out of. Instead, they continued their sessions and dug deeper into her memories of being a CIA created Manchurian Candidate. In 1976,  their claims were published in a book by Donald Bain entitled 'The Control of Candy Jones.'

Okay...this might be a decent movie set up, but it can't actually be true....right?

That was the reaction that many in the media and most of the general public had to Jones' story. It didn't help things that Nebel was a notorious prankster and that he had a radio show about paranormal and weird subjects....and just happened to marry a woman with this sort of alleged history.

About a year after the book was published, however, Jones' claims gained a heaping helping of plausibility when it was discovered that the CIA had been running extensive mind control tests and experiments under a program named Project MKUltra. The use of amnesiac couriers for covert operations is was also something that the program was allegedly successful at creating.

Jones had also instructed her lawyer that if she ever died unexpectedly, her activities and/or whereabouts at the time of her death may have to remain secret. Students and staff at her modeling school said that Jones would often disappear without any explanation and would return with little to no details of why she was gone.
Her husband also claimed that they had found a passport in her belongings created for her Arlene alter-ego.

And along with his death threat towards his wife's purported handler/controller, Nebel never backed off his belief in what Candy/Arlene said happened to her until his death in 1978. Candy carried on his radio show and also continued to claim that what her husband had recorded her alter ego say while she was under hypnosis was genuine. She stuck by this belief until her death in 1990.

But there are some very compelling (and obvious) reasons to question Candy Jones' and John Nevel's claims.

Besides the fact that the whole story sounds a lot like the terrible third season of Alias

For starters, if you're attempting to develop an asset to covertly deliver top secret information, it might not be the best idea for your subject be a 6'4" super model. Even with a wig and make up, she would still be likely to stand out and draw attention.

The response to this may be found in the fact that "Arlene" didn't really have many details to give with regards to dangerous or exciting missions. Instead, most of her stories revolved around being trained and shown off to other CIA head honchos like some sort of sexy science fair project. The unnerving allegation that some of her alleged test torture was sexual in nature may point to Candy/Arlene being more of a "proof of concept" vehicle along with a sick fantasy for the main doctor involved (if any of it is true).

There's also the fact that Jones childhood trauma would have made her a prime candidate to suffer from dissociative personality disorder...or Nebel may have been manipulating the "Arlene" persona himself...or the entire story could just be a load of crap that both of them invented for the sake of publicity to bolster their respective careers.

Some families like to do that sort of thing.

But history has shown us that the dark corners of the military industrial complex is capable of some mind blowing stuff that sounds like it should only be possible in the the pages of a science fiction tale. With advances in technology and medical science along with the already well-established practice of hypnosis, it would seem that the potential for our government to create a Manchurian candidate is very real.

It would also be an incredibly good option for an organization that needed untraceable covert operations to be carried out. Your subject would obey commands to the letter, presumably have a "kill switch" in case they were caught, and wouldn't remember any classified details afterwards. 

What's even more frightening is that if it could happen to a well-known and glamorous cover girl, than it could happen to any of us.

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