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Taking Control of Candy Jones

Article #148 • Written by Jason Bellows

Jessica Wilcox was born into a humble family on New Year’s Eve of 1925. Her father left them when she was three; her mother was critical and cold to her. The young girl was often left alone for hours in a dark room, and hence, as children are wont to do, she created an imaginary friends with whom to pass the time. With these imaginary friends, Jessica forged strong friendships, chief among them was one named Arlene, who hung around for many years and grew up with Jessica despite being an almost polar opposite of her: Jessica was open and articulate, Arlene was cynical and contemptuous like her mother. Other imaginary friends faded, but Jessica never grew out of Arlene–rather Arlene grew into Jessica, and became a separate personality.

Jessica was 16 when she entered the Miss Atlantic City contest, which led to a job at the Miss America Contest, which in turn was her platform to fame and a new name: Candy Jones.

During World War II, Candy was one of the world’s most popular pin-up girls. She toured with the USO through the South Pacific in 1944 and 45, and in the 60’s she may have unwittingly become a secret agent for the CIA, but Candy didn’t know anything about it. The agent was actually her alter ego, Arlene.

While out with the USO in April of 1945, Candy became very ill, and was taken to a hospital in the Philippines. While there she became friends with a medic whose name has been obscured over time, but is known by the pseudonym of “Gilbert Jensen.”

After the war Candy went home and married, then divorced, opened a modeling school and was getting by pretty well when she was approached by an FBI agent who asked her for her help. It seemed a benign request, and it was only patriotic to help out, and she allowed him to use her office as a secretive government mail drop.

And that was the entire story until 1972 when Candy married John Nebel. The pair had a true whirlwind romance, having known each other only a month before they wed. Despite being a generally congenial disposition, after they married Nebel started noticing Candy displaying huge, sudden mood-swings, the worst of which was when she’d slip into what he described as “the Voice”; in his own words: “The Voice ... a look, a few moments of bitchiness.” A few weeks into the marriage Candy told her new groom that she sometimes worked for the FBI, and that she would be prone to vanishing for days on end without notice. Slowly it came out that Candy was also suffering insomnia, and in (what I can only imagine as a desperate) gambit to improve her moods, he offered to hypnotize to in order to help her sleep.

Nebel hadn’t hypnotized anyone before, and Candy was resolute that it couldn’t be done, so of course she went right under. She slept better than she had in years, and they decided to continue the sessions. As the hypnosis continued, Nebel learned that Candy became unusually susceptible to suggestion while under, and more disturbingly, she would spontaneously age-regress, and speak in a child-like voice. Sometimes her own, and sometimes Arlene Grant’s. It was the latter that spooked Nebel into tape-recording the sessions.

He uncovered a plot that had roots in 1945 Philippine hospital, and began in earnest when the FBI had asked for her help. Candy had only a few memories of the things she was asked to do, but Arlene had a grasp of all of them. While her modeling school was doubling as a government mail-drop she was asked to drop off a letter in Oakland, and since she was going there anyhow, why refuse? When she arrived the recipient was the doctor Gilbert Jensen that had befriended her when ill. He offered her a tidy sum of money to allow him to hypnotize her, and she accepted since she was divorced and strapped for dough. He told her the hypnosis didn’t work, but in sessions where the Arlene personality spoke, she said it had.

Jensen asked Candy to be a messenger for the CIA, and that her post was to be so secret that not even headquarters would know about her. In order to serve she needed to be in top health, and thus submitted to regular injections of vitamins. These were, of course, not vitamins, but a chemical agent designed to bring out the Arlene persona. When she assumed the Arlene identity she would alter her dress, her walk, her tone, and even took to wearing a dark wig. Arlene was supposedly sent to training camps where she was trained to kill with her bare hands, or, if handy, a hat pin. She was trained with poison lipstick, hiding code numbers under the paint of her fingernails, and other things that would make Mr Bond’s nipples hard. She would be asked to run government drops on her normal business trips, and it would be an ideal situation for the government if Candy had no recollection of performing these tasks.

And of course, the CIA knows nothing of it because they’re an intelligence agency.

But was any of it real, or was it False Memory Syndrome brought about by a truly disturbed woman and an inept therapist? There are some hints that point to the credibility of her story.

In the 60’s Candy told her editors that she sometimes worked for the FBI. Candy wrote a letter to her attorney instructing him that if she were to die or vanish that he wasn’t at liberty to reveal the details of the event to anyone. In 1974 the Rockefeller Commission exposed CIA’s MKULTRA Program–a mind-control program that was going on in the 1950’s. There were several absences from her school, or business trips where there was no business to do. And when Donald Bain was talking to her about publishing a book on the story of her life she produced a passport she’d found in the name of Arlene Grant bearing a photo of her in a dark wig.

On 3 July 1973 the answering machine at Arlene’s house received a message that said: “This is Japan Airlines calling on oh-three July at 4.10 p.m. ... Please have Miss Grant call 759-9100 ... she is holding a reservation on Japan Airlines Flight 5, for the sixth of July, Kennedy to Tokyo, with an option on to Taipai. This is per Cynthia that we are calling.” Upon a callback to Japan Airlines, there was no Cynthia working there.

None of it is proof. Nor is the fact in July 1980 Candy was nearly killed in an explosion. Just hints, innuendo, ticklers of possibility.

On the other hand, is even the CIA dumb enough to try to make a 6'4" supermodel of the era into a secret agent? And worse, if they figured out a way to rewire the brains of pretty girls, don’t you think that Washington DC would be the global hotbed of sexy women?

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 27 March 2006. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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39 Comments
Arcangel
Posted 27 March 2006 at 11:34 pm

This sure has the makings of a good suspense movie but is it really true? I don't think we will ever know for sure since she died 16 years ago. You would think that she would have been a person of interest but I had never heard of her before, not that I am the all knowing. Once again damn interesting article.


xircso
Posted 28 March 2006 at 12:10 am

"...and other things that would make Mr Bond’s nipples hard"

hahaha, i wonder what ian fleming would say to that.


Iscariot
Posted 28 March 2006 at 02:46 am

This NEEDS to be made into a movie (by me) for GREAT FORTUNE.


Furnace
Posted 28 March 2006 at 04:55 am

This is strange enough to be completely true, although some of the details could be a little twisted the way stories tend to evolve. Lord only knows what types of events have happened (and are happening) that are just as odd, but we'll never know about. (Ironically, in combination with the last story, there's a comic called "Planetary" that deals with similar, secret events of the world that surrounds extremely advanced technology developed and discovered by the government in the 1930's.)


another viewpoint
Posted 28 March 2006 at 05:49 am

...in most cases, we're probably better off NOT knowing. Then again, CNN is a great source of info for all the terrorists and insurgents in the world. All the news, all day long.


Chanticrow
Posted 28 March 2006 at 06:58 am

In searching for more information on Candy Jones I found a band, Holy Ghost, produced an album called The Mind Control of Candy Jones. The album has songs named "Dr. Strangelove" and "Manchurian Candidate".


indra c
Posted 28 March 2006 at 08:49 am

I can't help but think about the movie "A Beautiful Mind"


Tirebiter
Posted 28 March 2006 at 10:34 am

It reminds me of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002) , as interesting as it seems implausible. Good fodder for an Urban Legend.


white_matter
Posted 28 March 2006 at 03:47 pm

Chick secret agents scare me. I mean your average woman is deceptive and emotionally unstable enough as it is without being trained in how to kill me with a popcicle or knowing the proper interigation techniques to get me to tell her why I forgot her birthday...

6'4'' on the other hand, that is pretty hot.


Orphea
Posted 29 March 2006 at 07:55 pm

indra c said: "I can't help but think about the movie "A Beautiful Mind""

You too? I kept thinking about it..


another viewpoint
Posted 30 March 2006 at 04:55 pm

Cookies may be fine, but candy is dandy!


paradox
Posted 30 March 2006 at 08:36 pm

Orphea said: "You too? I kept thinking about it.."

Me too, I personally loved that movie .

Anywhoo this sounds too hollywood for me, but you never know what the goverment is capable off, even if its something that sounds as outlandish as this. I will read up more about it.


earthjazz
Posted 19 April 2006 at 12:15 pm

Someone made a short film of it: http://www.girl-a.com/hardcandy.html


frenchsnake
Posted 16 July 2006 at 05:29 pm

I am personally very puzzled by these injections that could supposedly bring out the alternate personality. If such a thing existed, would it not be used to *cure* people with multiple personalities by, say, suppressing all but the dominant one? I have multiple personalities myself, and let me tell you, a bit of artificial control would be a welcome relief.

p.s. I also found A Beautiful Mind fascinating.


Ozgeo
Posted 16 July 2006 at 05:36 pm

In response to your comment white_matter, she doesn't scare me at all. If a 6'4" supermodel/spy killed me then I'll know I'd have died happy - what a way to go! But what a story. Whether it is ever discovered to be true or not I don't think really matters, either way it is an amazing story.


menopsycho
Posted 16 July 2006 at 08:36 pm

True or not, I enjoyed the read. I don't watch much movies or television, so I have never seen the movie of which many have mentioned, "A dangerous mind" but I may have a look. Thanks for another great article.


Drakvil
Posted 16 July 2006 at 08:47 pm

Rather than "A Beautiful Mind", this makes me think of the Bond villainess "Xenia Onatop". Now that's a way to go!

As for injections that cure or bring out particular personalities, I'm very doubtful. I think that receiving an injection would be much more of a trigger for that than the actions of any substance that the injection would contain. From what I've read there is only one specific cause of Multiple Personality Disorder, and that is being abused as a child. I won't delve too deeply into it, but a harshly critical mother that neglects her and keeps her locked up in dark rooms certainly fits the bill for abuse - but I think what the books were getting at was physical abuse, and from the description I think her mother was certainly capable of it.

I've found MPD to be of great interest after I read Walter Jon William's book "Aristoi", where the majority of human society does their utmost to intentionally become multiple personality, and via computer interface all personalities can operate at the same time on different tasks while only one (at a time) controls the body with the dominant original personality's permission.


dday
Posted 17 July 2006 at 06:11 am

Anagram of "Gilbert Jensen" ..... "jeer bits glenn "

coincedence??!?!? I think not. Be warned! :)

Smile & enjoy the day! mike


truebedoo
Posted 17 July 2006 at 11:17 am

Drakvil said: "I read Walter Jon William's book "Aristoi", where the majority of human society does their utmost to intentionally become multiple personality, and via computer interface all personalities can operate at the same time on different tasks while only one (at a time) controls the body with the dominant original personality's permission."

Ouch! Brain freeze!


Rav`N
Posted 17 July 2006 at 05:36 pm

Found my way here via a link at Bloggity-Blog-Blog-Blog. Your articles really are damn interesting. I'll be coming back often.


MontyClift
Posted 17 July 2006 at 05:48 pm

This is a story that is hard to believe. Spy agencies don't recruit 6'4" agents. Part of being a spy is to be unconspicuous. 6'4" would stick out like a sore thumb, especially in the 1940s when most people were not anywhere near that height.


frenchsnake
Posted 17 July 2006 at 08:59 pm

Especially a woman of that height. And wouldn't she be too recognizable if she was a poster girl?


ozone
Posted 18 July 2006 at 06:19 am

Did we have answering machines in the early 70s?


ke4roh
Posted 18 July 2006 at 09:06 am

ozone said: "Did we have answering machines in the early 70s?"

It might have been a PhoneMate 400, a reel-to-reel model. I recall machines from circa 1979 with dual cassettes, one loop for the greeting (of fixed length), and another regular tape for capturing messages.

See also http://inventors.about.com/od/astartinventions/a/Answering.htm


noway
Posted 18 July 2006 at 10:17 am

I call BS


Drakvil
Posted 18 July 2006 at 11:54 am

noway said: "I call BS"

Just which part(s) of the story are you calling BS on, and which sources cited are you denying? Just because the idea can't fit in _your_ mind doesn't mean it's fake.

If you were a spy agency, you would recruit whoever had a believable cover. She'd make an excellent operative because just on the basis of her height she has been completely written off as a possible agent. And her modelling career gives her a completely valid reason to be travelling all over doing whatever she needs to. Spys don't need to be completely nondescript to be effective, they have to be difficult to be suspect.


just_dave
Posted 19 July 2006 at 05:05 am

Manchurian candidates lurking in every modeling agency... sounds like a James Bond dream come true.

I'm going to have to rent "A Beautiful Mind" this weekend; haven't watched it, and all this has piqued my curiosity.


craig552uk
Posted 06 June 2007 at 08:02 am

Zoolander?


tarteauxpommes
Posted 21 June 2007 at 02:31 pm

I have a friend going into eighth grade at my school (go Mara E.!) who is a huge Bond fan and actually watches the movies for the action instead of the hot men. She would love this story.


wasnr
Posted 23 August 2007 at 01:48 pm

I loved Fight Club!


BenKinsey
Posted 15 September 2008 at 12:52 pm

I saw on the history channel about the CIA giving people LSD in order to attempt mind controll so how is this article too perposterous to believe!? Nice article.


dakotadesert
Posted 15 January 2009 at 08:30 pm

I was named after this woman, I was very young when my mother told me about her, how beautiful she was, and she had said that the goverment planted things in her brain
as she travled back and forth to Russia, and she said it drove her mad.


dakotadesert
Posted 15 January 2009 at 08:38 pm

I don't think she was trying to hide as a spy, but rather her travels involved her modeling and she was able to go places easily, i was born in 1956 and I think I was about 6 years old when my mother told me about her and that I was her name sake. Women were submissive then and that made her an easy mark, but my mom did say with out a doubt that she had gone mad.


sid
Posted 16 January 2009 at 11:49 am

DI. I think NBC stole a bit of the story for a recent show with Christian Slater. Never watched it, but from the commercials, it seems he played a guy with a split personality. One was a mild-mannered family man, and the other a government agent/spy/assassin. I think the show bombed, though, so I'm not sure if it's still on. I think it came out late last year.


sid
Posted 16 January 2009 at 11:56 am

As for answering machines, they've been around, in various forms, since 1898, apparently. The first was just a recorder, though, so I'm not sure it would qualify as an "answering machine." 1935 saw the first automatic one, which becam popular with Orthodox Jews who couldn't answer the phone on the Sabbath, and the first sold in the USA was in 1960. According to About.com, at least.


OmegaMan
Posted 02 February 2009 at 01:36 pm

My Aunt had similar events in her early life. Due to alcoholism, prescription drug abuse and non-prescription drug use, she to imagined many of the things described in this story. We (family members) really do not know if she was self destructive because of the drugs, or if she used the drugs because she was self destructive. Her life span was 1929 through 1980. Everything was between her ears.
Is hypnosis even real?


heroan
Posted 12 July 2009 at 11:49 pm

i have red about THE CONTROL OF CANDY JONES and it is really great!!!!!!!!i cant believe she survived on those tortures..........shes so amazing........and great!!!!!!!!!!


PTDonny
Posted 04 December 2013 at 11:38 pm

Candy was my cousin, I never knew any of this.


lee shafer
Posted 12 October 2014 at 11:33 am

i think i went to summer camp with her son chris. i'd like to contact him. anyone know him now? shaferlee@aol.com lee


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