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Secret Vows: Our Lives With Extraterestrials – Review

by: Twiggs, Denise Rieb & Bert

Publisher: Berkley Books

Copyright: 1992

Type: Paperback

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 5/5/1995

Summary: Not on the must-read list.

Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 5 – May 1995 – Copyright 1995.
“”Stunned’, I stared at her, “Tingling? The top of your head is tingling?'”
‘Yes,’ tracing an invisible path around her head with her hands. . . .’But that is what my head is doing! Is that psychic power?’ I asked excitedly”.

There are some secrets which should never be shared. There are some vows which should never be taken. SECRET VOWS: OUR LIVES WITH EXTRATERESTRIALS comes very close to what a doctoral thesis on a tooth extraction would be if written by an impartial observer.

Basically, SECRET VOWS is about the marriage of Denise and Bert Twiggs and their extraterrestrial spouses, Beck and Magna Solunjeno. Yes, the extraterrestrials spouses are from another planet-but then again, aren’t most spouses. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).
In the introduction, Denise says she has learned a lot since the couple’s interactions with the extraterrestrials began.

Nowhere in SECRET VOWS is there any evidence that anyone-human nor extraterrestrial-has learned anything. The reader is subjected to a repetitive cycle of Denise and Bert going to bed, Denise and Bert, or Denise or Bert are awaken by extraterrestrials, spirited away to a spacecraft where they are examined or something is explained to them or their reproductive organs fiddled with. They are invariably returned from the space craft to a different position in their beds. Occasionally the reader is teased with something like the tingling head conversation. More often the author takes us through body searches for scratches and bruises, indicating that, hey!, this really happened.
It would be grossly unfair for a reader to conclude that SECRET VOWS is pure fantasy. Throughout the incredible tedium of nocturnal visitations with aliens, the interracial breeding to produce hybrid offspring (improving the alien’s “genetic line” as Denise calls it), and the meeting of alien cultures-if you can step back far enough from the mediocrity, the blandness, you get a sense that, in the words of Dr. John E. Mack, something is going-on.
This reviewer suspects that for Denise and Bert Twiggs, the para-reality drama of being in two worlds is real. None of this makes the drama less “real” however. It does make it of limited usefulness. It’s like standing by a dentist’s chair and watching a tooth being extracted.

The first abduction experience the Twiggs describe in 1976 is a typical, classical abduction experience. They are parked on a deserted road at night, necking, when they are suddenly overcome by fear and the feeling that they are being watched. Recovering memories of what transpired on that night apparently unleashes other vague memories, feelings. The construction begins.

The mind and the brain (some believe they are the same-behaviorist Skinner, et. al.) have probably not changed much in the 200,000 years since we “appeared” on the planet. What has changed and continues to change is our perspective. It is perspective that accounts for our religions and our sciences.

It is extremely difficult for us today to relate to the extraordinary changes that have occurred in our collective perspectives on how our world functions. Consider for a moment how people once viewed contagious diseases. Today, we can make the analogy of “evil spirits” being germs and bacteria to account for the once widely held rationalization as to why people suddenly became sick. But to the average European of the 14th, 15th century, there was no such thing as a germ. Hence, no analogy. Their world perspective did not allow for anything so small that it could not be seen by the naked eye.

So, we read a work like SECRET VOWS and ask ourselves, what’s going on here? That we can not accept the facts as reported does not necessarily mean the facts are wrong, only that our perspective is out of kilter with what we are being told.




Abduction – Human Encounters with Aliens – Review

by: Mack, John E., M.D.

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Copyright: 1994

Type: Paperback

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 5/5/1995

Summary: Recommended. An intelligent discussion on the alien abduction experience which does not go far enough in making assumptions—but comes close.

Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 5 – May 1995 – Copyright 1995

Yeps! It’s happening to me.

I’m lying in bed, dozing off to sleep as is my wont from time to time when suddenly I hear movement just outside my bedroom door. The next thing I know, I’m paralyzed, unable to move and I feel the presence of sometimes one, other times as many as six entities around my bed. When this first started happening about twenty years ago I was overcome with fear. The fear was gradually replaced by anger. Finally, I sort of figured out what was going on–to my satisfaction at any rate. The fear and anger now co-exist with an incredible sense of wonder.

Aliens & Objectivity..

John E. Mack is a psychiatrist who devotes an entire book to reports of thirteen people who say they have been abducted by aliens. Those making the reports all speak of the paralysis, the inhibition of control over physical movement. They also speak of humanoid creatures whom they assume to be space aliens. Mack relays these accounts in summary fashion. He also raises a few tantalizing ideas of his own. ABDUCTION is an exacting, scientifically oriented work examining the phenomena of alien abduction from an objective viewpoint.

On page 28, the author lists five phenomena which must be explained in order to account for abduction stories. The rest of the chapter (chapter 2) is devoted to explaining exactly what the abduction phenomena is. If you have read anything on the subject (with the possible exception of SECRET VOWS by Denise Rieb Twiggs and Bert Twiggs–reviewed in this issue), you will appreciate Mack’s objectivity. He is not out to prove the existence of aliens, nor that the stories related in the book actually happened the way the tellers say they happened. He simply states the obvious: there is something going-on within the fabric of everyday reality that our science can not explain. It is a discomforting message for those sleep-walking through life under the blanket of western rationalism.

Real versus “Real”

Dr. Mack has worked with seventy-six abductees and bases his conclusions on all seventy-six cases. The thirteen related in the book range from strange to very, very strange. But the collection serves the doctor’s purpose rather well. If you gloss over the “Discussion” section following each of the thirteen cases, you might come away with a distorted view of the book. Focusing solely on the abduction experiences and the information about aliens is not the best strategy for digesting what the good Dr. Mack is trying to get across.

The abduction experience begins, Mack says on page 390, “with a shift in consciousness on the part of the abductee”. After that shift, our conventional way of looking at time and space may not apply. What happens to the abductees is more than a mental state. Under hypnosis, in reliving an abduction experience, an abductee displays all the physical and emotional–especially emotional–signatures of a “real” event as opposed to a make-believe episode.

For Mack and other examiners of para-reality, the most convincing evidence supporting the validity of alien abductions is the consistency of what the abductees describe.

The abductees are almost unanimous in their belief that humans are being cross-breed with another race of beings. This is the purpose of the abductions. Opinions differ however on why this cross-breeding is taking place. There is almost universal (abductee) agreement that the cross-breeding is being done for the benefit of humans. A minority take the view that the cross-breeding is being done for the benefit of the aliens. The aliens themselves seem to be more advanced than humans, having the ability to control human perceptions, thoughts and actions. They can not however control human emotion.

The Thread of Understanding

Stepping back from the subject, we see that there are indeed consistencies in what the abductees describe. We also see a suggestive thread indicating where all this stuff is coming from.

Dr. Mack observes that many of the abductees who endure the full trauma of the abduction experience “appear to undergo profound personal growth and transformation”. It is a curious observation given the fear that these people relive under hypnosis.

There is also the curious observations made by at least two of the abduction experiencers themselves that they arrived at some plateau in relationship to the abduction experiences after accepting or overcoming their fear.

Before reading ABDUCTION, this reviewer was willing to concede the possibility that aliens were traveling from distant planets to abduct humans. After reading the book, the abduction scenario of us-against-them just does not hold up. But as Dr. Mack points out, there is something going-on and that something may be more extraordinary than mere visitors from another planet.




Congo – Review

by: Crichton, Michael

Publisher: Ballantine Books

Copyright: 1980

Type: Paperback

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes 5/5/1995

Summary: Highly recommended. Much better than movie.

Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 5 – May 1995 – Copyright 1995.

First there was STARGATE. Lousy movie, lousy book. Then there was FOREST GUMP. Great movie, lousy book. Now there is CONGO. Lousy movie, incredibly good book.

Under the pounding fingers of anyone else, Michael Crichton’s CONGO would be a run-of-the-mill, trite, formula following story like-well, like the movie. But Crichton brings to his work two of the most elusive of ingredients of a good novelist–immediacy and believability.

First, let’s dispense with Amy. The talking gorilla, Amy. The talking gorilla with a human IQ of 92. Not central to the story but an integral part of it. Amy has learned to use American Sign Language (ASL). (For those who want to know, there is also a British Sign Language, a Japanese Sign Language, and others). Gorillas, we learn, are a great deal more “intelligent” than chimpanzees and more “civilized”. They don’t steal and eat human babies for instance. Chimpanzees do. Gorillas are also an endangered species. So too are human children who die at a rate of 40,000 a day from starvation. But of course, it’s crass to mention the two at the same time.

CONGO is about science application–new and ancient.

The story is crafted to read like a true event-from introduction to footnotes to a bibliography. The bibliography is real, the introduction is half fact, half prelude.

The author prefaces events by saying that the story is about exploration on the African continent. Even today, after more than sixty million years, the primeval one-and-a-half million square miles of equatorial rain forest romantically referred to as the Congo is peripherally populated by only half a million people. There are thousands of square miles of the Congo Basin still unexplored. The Congo Basin exploration of 1979, the author goes on to say, shows how the job of exploring has changed from the times of the great explorers to modern day mega-corporations such as Earth Resources Technology Services (ERTS) based in Houston.

It is when one of ERTS’s exploration teams gets lost in the unexplored Congo, amid what seems a perpetual civil war, that the rapid paced action of CONGO begins.

We get a glimpse of the sophisticated satellite technology that makes the world a truly small place. Communication, even from the remotest regions of the world, is almost instantaneous. Locations are determined with pinpoint accuracy. Computers can be used to analyze and determine what the human eye thinks it sees; sounds can be analyzed to determine patterns. Even events projected into the future can be analyzed for probability of occurrence, allowing minute adjustments in the course of current activities. And of course, there are weapons. The LATRAP, a system of laser-tracking projectile, pretty much does away with the need for rifle marksmen.

What makes CONGO so enjoyable is that we are introduced to all this technology, this sophisticated application of human-mind power manipulating and controlling our environs, and still, after all else, we are at the mercy of controlling out egos to make things go right. Of course, the fact that we can’t control our egos, our avarice, our greed, is what makes the technology so dangerous.

Definitely read CONGO. You’ll find an educational tour-de-force on our current computer-age technology. If you are unlucky enough to see the movie before you read the book, try to forget the movie.




Evil Money – Book Review

by: Ehrenfeld, Rachel

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers

Copyright: 1992

Type: Hardcover

reviewed by: Lynard Barnes, 5/2/1995

Summary: Dismantlement of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) and the shenanigans of money and politics. Highly Recommended.

Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 2 – February 1995 – Copyright 1995.

What exactly is evil money?

Let’s say you receive $100 a week pay from your employer. On the side, you receive another $5 in payment from some illicit activity you would like to keep secret. You obviously have a problem.

If you deposit $105 into your bank account each week someone might ask about that $5. If you earn $100 a week, how can you possibly deposit $105 a week into your bank account?

Having a money laundering mindset, you decide the best tactic in this situation is to set up a company with a bank account to deposit the extra $5. You can then have that company, which we’ll call the X company, pay you $5. You now have a legitimate source for that extra $5 you deposit into your bank account. But suppose someone asks about this X company that is paying you $5. Where does this X company get its $5 to pay you and why is it paying you? Well, you decide, just to be safe, to set-up another company, Y, to pay the X company $5. The Y company pays X company and the X company then pays you $5.

As you can see, the strategy of money laundering is to keep the source of money secret. Your illicit $5 goes from company Y to company X into your bank account. The people who asks questions, like the Internal Revenue Service, have no reason to question your extra $5. It’s payment for some product or service you render to company X. Trouble might start however when someone asks questions about company X. Well, company X gets its $5 from company Y. But where does company Y get the $5 to pay company X?

If you’re a money launder schemer, your ultimate goal is to stop the questions. One possible way is to make the amounts so small that pursuit of the question Where does the money come from? becomes not worth the effort. (Instead of one company paying you $5, you have five companies paying you $1). Another approach is to have your $5 returned to you from a source which can not be questioned. You might set-up a company Z with a bank account in a country with bank secrecy laws–someplace like Switzerland or The Bahamas or Panama. Company Z pays company Y which pays company X which pays you. Anyone questioning your $5 payment is eventually lead to company Z where all questions stop.

If you appreciate the intricacies of hiding sources of money, you’ll appreciate, though not necessaries like, EVIL MONEY.

The sub-title of EVIL MONEY is “Encounters Along the Money Trail”. There are five chapters examining the schemes, rationale and consequences of money laundering in the international marketplace. Little new is revealed though there is a tremendous amount of detail–perhaps too much detail to sustain general reader interest. If you read a weekly news magazine or watch nightly news programs you are probably familiar with some of the material covered. What you are familiar with is probably only the bud of a very corrupting weed.

Starting with the gross payment of bribes to officials in the Bahamas, Ehrenfeld traces the increasing sophistication of money laundering schemes. Its focus is money derived from the illicit drug trade.

Suppose for instance that the $5 you were so earnestly attempting to hide was instead fifty thousand dollars derived from the brisk sale of cocaine in California. Fifty-thousand dollars is a bit much to add to a weekly pay check. A new stratagem might be to create three companies processing and trading gold. Company Z based in South America could sell gold to Company Y in California which in turn could sell the processed gold to Company X in New York. This is the gist of a money laundering scheme uncovered in the mid-1980s in California. Ehrenfeld does a good job of explaining the details of the operation which the participants labeled La Mina (“the mine”). It came to an end almost by accident.

The author also devotes 70 pages to the Bank of Credit and Commerce International, or BCCI as it is best know. This is the most interesting chapter in the book. When BCCI was shut down in July 1991, it had 430 branches in 73 countries. From the news headlines, you might have gotten the impression that BCCI was a recent manifestation of greed. Actually, the bank had been around, in various incarnations, since 1947. In 1972 it branched out beyond Pakistan into Europe and the world. The people running BCCI knew how to use money. No question. But was there an ulterior motive behind the greed, as Ehrenfeld implies? You can read the chapter yourself and make a determination. My inclination is to avoid conspiracy theories.

Ehrenfeld correctly points out that BCCI was shut down only after the Gulf War, though the U. S. and British governments knew of the bank’s corrupt practices long before. In other words, BCCI was shut-down not because it was violating laws but because it was in the strategic political interests of the U. S. and Britain to remove the bank’s influence in Third World countries and in the West. It is an interesting supposition on Ehrenfeld’s part.

But is it true?

In the final chapter of Evil Money, titled “The Colombianization of the United States”, Ehrenfeld makes a pretty strong case that America, with the quiet and sometimes active complicity of bankers, accountants and lawyers, is being transformed from a “land of opportunity” to a “thoroughly corruptible third-class nation”. Everyone is willing to shout about the evils of drugs because the evils are so easily perceived. But the money, flowing into the pockets of the already well heeled, flows quietly, without raising a ripple of protest or indignation. As with the BCCI incident, laws are enforced, wrong-doers brought to justice only when it is politically expedient to do so. What then does this make of laws?

In passing, the author relates the 1982 incident in which William von Raab, U. S. Commissioner of Customs, attended a conference in Miami on banking. Rather point blank, he told the assembly that “you and your banks are engaging in sleaze.” Despite subsequent attempts to get him fired, von Raab continued an almost zealous direction of his agency in anti-money laundering enforcement. Such leadership is rare. But it is this type of leadership that will keep America from becoming a “thoroughly corruptible third-class nation”. The only question is whether it will be too little too late.



Wildest Hearts – Book Review

WildestHeartsBy: Jayne Ann Krentz

Publisher: Pocket Books

Copyright: 1993, ISBN: [0671728571]

Type: Paperback

Reviewed by: Leslie Yau, May 1, 1995


Summary: Love and romance contemporary style with corporate business as the backdrop.

Republished from Crushies Book Reviews – Volume II Issue No. 1


Oliver Rain has the reputation of being a dangerous, lone wolf. Things either get done his way or not done at all. He owns a successful business in the Pacific Northwest, gets around in a luxury limousine, lives in an elegant penthouse on the twenty-sixth floor. If that’s not enough, he also has a bodyguard, Bolt, who appears to be a combination of butler and chauffeur, and a good cook too. Rain is an interesting character with many talents.


The spunky, impulsive, soft-hearted yet strong-willed Annie Lyncroft runs a collectables store named Wildest Dream. She loves animals and especially likes to rescue the wounded ones.


Yes, you’ve guessed right. One contemporary romance coming right up….


When her brother Daniel is missing after a mysterious plane crash, Annie had to come up with a fast plan to protect the family-owned business, Lyncroft Unlimited, from being taken over by other competitors. Because she was Daniel’s only family and the sole inheritor of the business, Annie must do anything in her power to save the company. Anything. She decided to get help.


Since he was Daniel’s longtime friend and a major investor in Lyncroft Unlimited, Annie decided Oliver Rain was the man to help her keep the business running. But how can she get him to become a family member? Annie proposed a marriage of convenience. Oliver accepted it. But he had a plan of his own….one that would capture Annie’s heart. They agreed to a pretended marriage for six months and hoped for Daniel’s return soon. Annie never believed Daniel was dead. She just had to buy some time to allow her to find a way to investigate his sudden disappearance. There had to be something she could do to find him.


It may be a temporary marriage, but Annie has secretly hoped she could change the cold, calculating business man Oliver Rain into a warm, sensitive husband. It was definitely a challenge to teach Oliver a few lessons on improving relationships. But common sense told her that since the marriage was in name only and she expected it to end any day, it would be foolish to think about remolding Oliver Rain. She already anticipated a domestic war.


“……Oliver, I’ve been thinking about your basic problem in life.”

“I wasn’t aware I had one.”

“Well, you do. Your problem is that you can’t be bothered with explaining yourself. Also you’re a trifle insensitive. And you lack interpersonal communication skills. The end result is that you’ve acquired a reputation for being devious and mysterious and rather arrogant.”

“Is that a problem?”

“Yes, it is. Especially when you apply that approach to family matters.”


We have learned from experience never to underestimate a woman’s power. Even if she is your fake wife. Oliver was furious at the fact that Annie was invading every corner of his life. She was taking over, interfering in his personal matters, involving herself in matters that didn’t concern her, causing him to change his life style upside down. If Annie were not around, he would have never allowed his sister, Valerie, to marry his enemy’s son nor would he want to end the old grudge he had with his enemy, Paul Shore, Valerie’s soon to be father-in-law. He wondered depressingly how a woman like Annie could have such a powerful impact on a man like him. He found it much simpler to deal with a multimillion business contract than to deal with his pretended wife.


What do you think of the story so far? Pretty predictable, isn’t it? What I found interesting about WILDEST HEARTS is that the two strong-headed opposites were almost like strangers at the beginning, had arguments on issues big and small, accepted each other at the end. They both wanted the marriage to become real. The story supported my view that the survival of a marriage is almost equal among individuals who have known each other for a long time and those who were brought together by fate and circumstance. What makes a marriage work is not so much how much time you spend cultivating the relationship before the marriage but rather how much devotion and sincerity you are willing to put into the marriage after it becomes a marriage.


Jayne Ann Krentz’s writing style is somewhat soft and mild, clear and very easy to follow. Most of her novels are about strong romantic conflicts in love-hate relationships along with some adventures here and there. I suspect her reading audiences are mostly women. What I don’t understand is why her characters are usually so incredibly rich. Not only that, the problems faced by her characters and the adverse situations they face are presented almost exclusively from the viewpoint of those of the upper class. You would think people of different social levels have the same problems when it comes to relationships. If you have nothing to do on a lazy day, reading WILDEST HEARS can be enjoyable. You can imagine yourself being the richest man in town, the most desirable woman in a man’s fantasy or. . . whatever you dreamed to be.


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