How I was restored from insanity to eccentricity

Due to a combination of ADD and what my neurologist termed a “massive traumatic brain injury in infancy,” in order to function “normally,” I require stimulants. lots of them.  I take enough stimulants by prescription to launch a space station — the older I get, the more I need  My doctor wanted to move me from my current stimulant to Methamphetamine (yes, it is a real legal medication)

I knew for years that stimulants focused me, slowed me down and increased my attention.  If I didn’t have them, I was scattered, erratic, and so depressed that, as one specialist told me, “a good mood to you would be suicidal depression to anyone else.”

I took stimulants from the street and they worked. When my family found out, they insisted that I stop.  I stopped and then I was told that they could tell I was on drugs because I was spacey, erratic, couldn’t focus etc.  So, I went back on them and was praised for doing so well.  It was crazy.

Two weeks before I entered Beit Teshuva, November 2004, I was living just off Crack Alley between Sherwood street and the Commercial Center, home of the Las Vegas Lounge, aka the transgendered center of Sin City.

I had been without my mental health medication since losing my insurance Oct 30th 2003, I was being evicted from my apartment for playing loud Mariachi music at 6 am every morning. (a false accusation, I assure you), my former roommate had stolen my identity and looted my bank accounts of every cent and committed bank fraud in my name. I was broke, mentally unstable, and had just walked downstairs to find my dog, Isis, performing oral sex on a girl named “Froggy” while a 19-year-old prostitute from Texas was shooting Heroin.

I didn’t invite any of these people over, and I had no idea they were in my home until I went downstairs

Not wanting to appear inhospitable, I nonetheless objected to this get-together. My appeals fell on heavily medicated ears.Due

“Don’t get uptight,” croaked Froggy, “We’ll hit the house. She pointed to her purse on the couch arm. “There’s a quarter ounce there. Take it. It’s yours.”

I took it, turned, and went back upstairs to hide under the covers

Within the next few days, my Mariachi motivated eviction on the horizon, I moved my remaining valuables into the closet of someone else’s apartment down the street, and then stood in front of Sunrise Hospital and prayed with total sincerity.

“God, unless you have a better idea by 7 pm tonight, I’m going to do whatever it takes to be admitted to the psych ward.”  I was serious. I had tried everything to get the medications required to keep me somewhat sane and neither suicidal nor dangerous to others.  Nevada mental health refused me because “If you don’t take them, you can sell them.”

“I don’t want to sell them, I want to take them. I need them.”

“Sorry, we are forbidden to give anyone those precise medications.”

Well, It was approaching 7 pm, and I was ready to start smashing windows and babbling like a crazy person. Hell, the cops won’t shoot me, I’m not Black.  At 6:45 pm my brother, Stan, called my cell phone. He’d been talking to my friend John Hill whose daughter recovered from her drug related problems at Beit T’shuva, a rather wacky odd-ball rehab run by a former felon turned Rabbi, his wife, and a crew of real life certified professionally trained counselors.  Would I go? Sure, but I have to talk to them first because there are two things I need assurances of, or I’m opting for the psych ward.

  • Don’t try to break my denial of my alcoholism, because I don’t drink, can’t stand the smell of alcohol, and I have a fear or drunks. from having been sexually abused by a guy with booze on his breath when I was 15. I went to a rehab in the 80’s where I was forced to lie and say I was an alcoholic. It was a dreadful experience, and I wouldn’t want to relive it.
  • Help me get my mental health medications from a real psychiatrist

Okay, I’m ready to go to L.A when my transgendered pal, Adele, asks if she can walk my dog. Sure. She walked the dog and came back without her.  Apparently, she left the dog as collateral for some meth she wanted on credit. She wouldn’t give me a straight answer on ISIS’s whereabouts, and I had to leave Las Vegas without her.

My first day at Beit T’shuvah could have been a disaster. I desperately wanted to do everything right, pay attention, and be the exemplary “student” or whatever I was supposed to be.  I’m sitting in some group and someone is talking and I’m trying to pay attention when I get the first warning signs of a seizure – not a grand mal, but the little ones that don’t last long, but knock me out cold.  They are going to think I’m nodding off from drugs, or that I’m not paying attention. I left the group and went up to my bunk and lied on my bed. When a counselor, Adam Mindel, came up to ask me why I left the group, I told him tearfully that I didn’t want to be humiliated by having s seizure.  I was braced for insults and berating…but he said, “Oh, Okay. I understand. You just rest till you feel better.”

Wow.  That was cool.  Then they assigned me, my own professional counselor.  This was an answered prayer. I feared some bombastic judgmental ex-drunk drill Sargent out to bust my denial and all that crap. Nope. I got Leonard Lee Buschel. Thank you, God!

Leonard was exactly what I needed. Someone who listened, rather than waiting for the opening to inject aphorisms and rehearsed catechisms from the Oxford Group via Bill W.  We had a conversation, like two guys with similar interests and backgrounds will do when they meet.

We also were among the few adult males in the building who didn’t utilize “Fucking” as the English language’s universal modifier. In fact, while working in the kitchen I replied to a question from a “senior resident“ in a most polite and courteous manner. “Don’t fucking talk to me like that,” objected the equivalent of an upper classman, “I’m not some fucking intellectual like fucking Leonard Buschel.”

“I fucking concur with your fucking self-appraisal,” said I, mustering all my fucking sincerity.

I got my psychiatric meds, a custom crafted program of exactly what I needed emotionally, and best of all I got Leonard Buschel as my counselor.  I never felt like he was trying to “fix me” or “change me” from whom I was prior to showing up there.

In the years prior to my Las Vegas meltdown, precipitated by a surprize divorce from my wife of 29 years, I established a firm and unassailable reputation for integrity as one of America’s premier investigative journalists. I entered the rarified ranks of such luminaries as Agatha Christie, Mickey Spillane, Quentin Tarantino and Jack Olsen when I won the prestigious Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America and was nominated twice for the Anthony Award at the World Mystery Convention. In both my private and personal life, I am, in the words of Secret Service Special Agent Lyle Workman, “A man worthy of trust.”

Of the many joys of having Leonard as my counselor, the most encouraging one was that he trusted me. This is very significant because many people, even counselors, can fall victim to assuming that everyone in a rehab is a liar and a thief.

One night, after Leonard’s shift, and before my bed time, we were going to go down the street to the Jazz Bakery.  At the last minute, Leonard had to cancel and said that I had permission to go without him. “If anyone questions you, have them call me for confirmation.”

Sure enough, I was stopped at the door leading out to Venice Blvd.by the new female counselor who asked me “where do you think you are going at this hour?”

“Jazz Bakery,” I said.   “Leonard has given me permission.”

The female counselor shrugged her shoulders with familiar minimum wage incredulity before calling Leonard for confirmation, and then saying, “Well Leonard has a reputation for doing strange things, and I guess he’s done it again. Ok. Go. Have fun.”  The jazz band, by the way, was most enjoyable. Honestly.

After I was at Beit T’shuvah for maybe two weeks,  Leonard gave me a pass to go back to Las Vegas to look for my dog.  The rest of Beit Teshuvah’s counseling staff was drop jawed by this most peculiar deviation from established norms – I was too new to return to Sin City because the Temptations would lead me to a ball of confusion, and I would never return, no never return, and my fate would be unlearned.

Before I left, Leonard gave me his personal Sobriety Pin and asked me to bring it back to him and not lose it.  I promised him I would and as I was getting my meds, it was easy to promise to stay off street drugs, too.

Leonard demonstrated the value of trust and reinforced integrity. I promised to return on the following Monday and test clean when I did. People were stunned that I kept my word — I am a man of my word, dammit.

Leonard’s best advice to me at Beit T’shuvah came at about three months into my four months stay:  “Burl, you thrive around creative productive people, using or not. Illness is more contagious than health. I think this place has too much toxicity for you. I suggest we get you the hell of out here,”

I went from that conversation with Leonard to a meeting with SONY, and came back with a contract for a “tie in novel” to an upcoming motion picture.  Yes, I delivered the novel on time and it did very well.  Leonard and I remain friends, and I’m honored to work with him on the advisory board of Writers in Treatment, producers of the Reel Recovery Film Festivals, and publishers of the highly successful Addiction/Recovery E-Bulletin on which I serve as a truth seeking investigating journalist and occasional contributing editor.

I was blessed, honestly, to have Leonard as my counselor at Beit Teshuva. He rightly perceived that I was neither afflicted with alcoholism or the disease of addiction, and my drug problem was primarily a lack of the appropriate ones rather than overuse of inappropriate ones. – and instead of lecturing me on what to do or not do in my life, he, as a loyal friend encouraged me to successfully make decisions in my own best interest, and in the best interests of those whom I love.  Nobody is perfect.  Perfectionists seldom accomplish anything because nothing is perfect.  Striving for excellence is successful because excellence Is attainable. If excellence were Leonard Buschel’s goal, he certainly attained it.

Copyright 2017 Burl Barer. All rights reserved.

 

Letters such as this make it all worthwhile. A TASTE FOR MURDER

When  Frank Girardot and I wrote “A Taste for Murder,” we knew we were taking several risks. We agreed to write it in a conversational style as we believed doing so would engage the reader more easily.

We also agreed to end the book with our personal commentary based on significant research and our own experiences investigating similar true crime cases where incest and other forms of inappropriate or unlawful sexual conduct played a key role.  We knew this last part was exceptionally risky as truth does not always fit comfortably with people’s preconceptions and we wanted neither to upset nor offend but to enlighten.

Today, Frank and I received the following letter from Carolyne Williams via our publisher, Wild Blue press. 

This book brought the effects of sexual abuse into a scope beyond my previous knowledge. I already knew there were pain and shame connected to the abuse, but not because the victim “enjoyed” anything. That they also experience shame for that is not something I knew about and it breaks my heart. It is truly a “soul murdering” crime.

The Author’s Comments should be a “must read” for everyone. You went beyond “telling the story”. Hopefully, many people have been helped, are being helped, or will be helped because this book was written.

I will highly recommend the book. It shows the remarkable damage done to the personality of the victim.

WOW.  A letter such as this makes all the hard work worthwhile. Thank you,  Carolyne Williams, for taking the time to read, appreciate and share with us,

On behalf of Frank, and everyone at Wild Blue Press who helped put the book together, I express gratitude from the bottom of my heart

Frank Girardot and Burl Barer

The First Panther — Pavle “Punch” Stanimirovic

I am on my way to Florida where gem heist mastermind, Pavle “Punch” Stanimirovic is about to open the vault and reveal a treasure trove of true crime, true romance, and the true history of home-grown American crime that gave birth to, among others, the notorious Pink Panthers.

“I made a big mistake,” confesses Punch, “when I taught others how to do what I did so well.  It turns out that some of them don’t have the ethical altruism of benevolent outlawry, or what one could call the ‘Simon Templar ethos’. These thieves know all the moves, but they don’t hear the music.  If their driving force is selfishness and greed, they are fruitless trees fit for the fire.”

“In 1994 the Panthers went into the Carlton Hotel in Cannes,” explains  Punch. “Three masked men took $60 million in diamonds and precious gems. When they came into the hotel, they scared the hell out of everyone by shooting up the place with high-powered fully automatic weapons…or so it seemed.  After the heist was over, police noted that there was not one bullet hole to be found. It was. all a show. The number one rule upon which I always insisted was, no one gets hurt.”

“I pulled my heists brandishing a .357 Magnum. It looked scary enough to get everyone to follow instructions, but no one was ever in danger of being shot because the gun had no bullets – only blanks.  It’s showbiz. It’s a performance. It is a well-produced melodrama, and the actors rehearse every aspect of it for three solid weeks before going in front of a live surprised audience.”

“Some of the actors only do one show, get their share of the loot, and invest that money in a legitimate enterprise such as real estate. Take a look at the New York skyline.  I can look up at those Manhattan skyscrapers and recall the heist that got the real estate company off the ground. We built the New York skyline by stealing Manhattan.”

Stealing Manhattan? Hmmm. Not a bad title for the book.  I fly out of LAX Monday night on the red-eye, and back Friday night in time to do my show, TRUE CRIME UNCENSORED, on Saturday 2pm pt on outlawradiolive.com.  You can call Pavle “Paul”  He used the alias Paul Montana when he married swimsuit model Ashley Richardson, and when he ran those hot night spots in Miami.   This should be a fun trip!

SIR ROGER MOORE — A SAINT FOREVER

Roger Moore, one of my all time favorites, has passed, He and I have been linked together, of course, ever since my books, THE SAINT: A COMPLETE HISTORY…and MAVERICK.  A wonderful and gracious man.

INGRID MOUTH — AN ADVENTUROUS ARTISTIC MEGA-DOSE OF TALENT.

When tests of masculinity and femininity are given to young people, over and over one finds that creative and talented girls are more dominant and tough than other girls, and creative boys are more sensitive and less aggressive than their male peers.

Ingrid Mouth, artist, entrepreneur  and a most resilient woman, joined me for lunch and conversation last week, and at one point in our conversation I suddenly recalled how completely comfortable and “at home” I was with my  psychedelic experiences  in the 1960’s. She told me of having the same “I know this place” reaction to her equivalent experiences in the 2000’s.   I felt remarkably comfortable with Ingrid, although I am wise enough to know that the comfort of one is not the comfort of all.

Ingrid is an artist. She creates art, teaches art, and manifests art. She embraces diverse forms and a variety of expressions., including film/video. It it is no secret that many brilliant directors begin their careers with low budget independent films in either the porn or horror genres.

Make your best mistakes early. You can’t have a big failure with a small budget. Show off what you can do with a shoestring budget and a g-string costume.

Ingrid and her visual playmates in the realm of personal empowerment and self direction are blending the two low-budget genres of horror /porn with great success because, I believe, they do not patronize nor mock those who appreciate their efforts in mastering a collaborative craft that can, in its elevated moments, approach art.

 

There is no way of knowing what efforts of low budget exploitation will capture a nation’s imagination or reflect a decade specific preoccupation or sociological manifestation — Night of the Living Dead, for example, or Deep Throat.

The language of cinema was invented at the turn of the last century by pioneers who were free to experiment but today you can’t dare to experiment. People who control the motion pictures want to make (profitable films). Now we’re at a turning point: As artists we can change the world but to do that we need to be free to experiment. — Francis Ford Coppola. 2015

Lord only knows what gifts the tenacity and talent of Ingrid Mouth will bring to her chosen arts. what contributions she will make towards the eradication of discrimination and making some people “the other” but I had the distinct feeling that this person — a person familiar with pain in all forms from hurtful to healing – is poised to, in the decades to come, transcend efforts to master a craft or instigate a niche genre-bending web presence and be remembered long after both of us are gone for doing something truly wondrous and artistically inspirational.

Warning: Ingrid’s on screen performances are not for the faint of heart nor the sexually conservative.  There is a tasteless old joke that goes : 9 out of 10 participants enjoy a gang-bang.  One (or more) of her films posts the disclaimer: “No Models were Harmed in the Making of this motion picture. All acts were consensual”

 

FLASHBACK — The Strange Case of Leslie Wilfred, The Munchausen Mom

On the morning of November 10, 2008, Leslie, the mother of five and expectant mother of twins, called her husband and other family members from the local hospital with devastating news.  She reported that she had just given birth to the twins, whom she had already named Ethan and Emily, and—at only five months of gestation—they had each taken an agonal breath before dying.  The hospital had already cremated them and she sought to go home to grieve.  The family picked her up and worked with her to plan a funeral service, which was conducted at the church they attended regularly.

The service took place on November 13th and was a moving experience for the attendees, especially the four of the five siblings who participated (10-year-old stepson N., the “black sheep,” was absent).  Leslie had presented the pastor with a letter to be read during the funeral, one she had written from the perspective of the deceased twins, entitled, “A Letter to Our Daddy.”  In it, the twins told each of the family members (except N.) that they would be in Heaven, patiently waiting for them.  The children and others cried, their gazes lingering on the framed ultrasound photos of two well-defined fetuses and a “Huggable Teddy Bear Urn” containing their ashes.

Though the pastor and most others never doubted the sincerity of the sorrow, everything that had unfolded had been a lie.  Leslie had not been pregnant; indeed, her tubes had been tied before she ever married her second and current husband, Chris.  Statements that the fetuses in the photos already “looked like Chris” were misguided.  In fact, they had been appropriated from websites.  There were no records at the hospital of the births or deaths of the twins.

Except for an occasional “quirk,” Leslie was viewed in the community as a fine parent who participated regularly in school and church events with her children.  She was viewed as a mother who was busy caring for her children while nearing the end of her training to become a registered nurse..

As these facts unfolded, the Sheriff’s Department conducted an investigation to determine if any criminal laws had been violated in regard to the fake funeral.  The investigation was revelatory, and a search warrant was approved for execution at the W. family’s residence.  A partially-completed pregnancy calendar was uncovered, and the dining room had been converted into a nursery for the twins, replete with baby furniture, clothing, and accessories—all intended to maintain the facade.

A subsequent forensic search of the home computers revealed even more.  Leslie had visited websites dealing with Munchausen syndrome and Munchausen by proxy; had downloaded ultrasound images; and had searched using terms such as “grieving after loss” and “fetal demise.”  There were even online inquiries concerning urns and grave markers for babies a full five days prior to Leslie’s feigning the births, deaths, and cremations of the illusory twins.  One of the most interesting items discovered in the home was a small wooden box that had been secured to the walls and floor of the linen closet in the master bathroom.

This box was later determined to have been constructed in place to warehouse N. each night, with plastic bands strapped to him to reduce the chance of noisy disruption or escape.  Leslie initially claimed that the box housed animals, but eventually admitted that they regularly confined N. Though Leslie and Chris said that  the confinement was necessitated by his violent rages, a psychological exam performed later confirmed that Noah’s only diagnosis was PTSD related to his family’s mistreatment.

On November 21st, Leslie and Chris were arrested and eventually charged with several counts of cruelty to children and theft by deception.

Investigators pressed on and discovered that, based on Leslie’s falsehoods to her, the 9-year-old daughter, T., believed that she was dying of cancer.  Chris, T.’s grandparents, her teachers, her friends, and her church family had been similarly misled—as had those who dropped coins into canisters Leslie had placed at stores.  Leslie had even taken T. to two different hospitals where T. thought she was being attended by medical personnel and receiving chemotherapy, while telling her teacher that she didn’t want to die.  At the same time, Leslie’s 13-year-old son believed he needed a liver transplant, again because Leslie convinced him that this was so.  Chris was prepared to donate part of his own liver for this transplant.  As a small child, the boy had already had his normal gallbladder removed, partly due to regular vomiting for unclear reasons, but mostly at Leslie’s instigation.  Leslie’s 11-year-old daughter was a mixed race child whom Leslie said was the result of a rape by a former co-worker, but she had never reported a rape to law enforcement and the claim was viewed by the family as suspect:  certain family members said that Leslie conceived this child after observing how much attention another family member had received after having given birth to a mixed race child.

The children carried other medical and psychological diagnoses that were based mostly on Leslie’s exaggerated or fraudulent claims.  They have been scarred, but are relieved to know that they are not going to die from the diseases they thought they had.  For the most part, they are doing much better in foster care.  Following two-and-a-half years of incarceration, Leslie pleaded guilty in Superior Court and was sentenced to eight years in the state prison system, along with 30 years of probation and an order not to contact the children without explicit permission from the court and other designated agencies.  She was also ordered to make financial restitution to the victims who had donated money for the cancer treatments for her daughter, T.

BETRAYAL IN BLUE — RAVE REVIEWS! BUY IT

It was a thrill to write, and the rave reviews make all three of your dedicated co-authors delighted. Now, all we need is for YOU, dear reader, to buy the damn thing!

Lucky for you, it is available as an ebook for Kindle, in paperback or as an excellent audio book narrated by Kevin Pierce.  If you have seen the documentary, The Seven-Five, this is the book that tells you what you DIDN’T see in the documentary, and clears up some false ideas about Ken Eurell.  Order the book from Amazon or directly from WildbluePress.com

HAVE A CRIMINAL NEW YEAR!

What could be more fun in 2017 than a cavalcade of true crime non-fiction thrillers and even a private eye novel!

Obviously you begin with mine, and those written by all my friends!bibfinalMurderInTheFamily_KindleCover_6-3-2016_v2 TASTEforMURDER_concept1_var1_12-28-2015 HEADLOCK_concept2_Revised1_Kindle MAN OVERBOARD Saint-3D

Heck, you are even encouraged to buy books  that aren’t by me!

hos brad and todgangsterland (1)savage highwaybook_breaking151yK8TXUBJL._SL160_circlercTHERE ARE SO MANY GREAT BOOKS!

THE STRAIGHT DOPE ON CROOKED DRUG COPS! BETRAYAL IN BLUE

NOW AVAILABLE IN KINDLE, PAPERBACK, AND AUDIO BOOK — THE SHOCKING TRUE STORY OF MICHAEL DOWD AND KEN EURELL — THE TWO DIRTIEST COPS IN THE NYPD…..

BETRAYAL IN BLUE

In the late 1980s NYPD officers Ken Eurell and Mike Dowd partnered up in Brooklyn’s Seven Five Precinct. NY put them on the streets to fight crime. But, Ken and Mike had a different mission.

From their squad car, Dowd and Eurell provided uniformed protection for La Compania and Dominican drug kingpin, bibfinalAdam Diaz as he moved keys of top shelf Columbian coke to addicts

In the late 1980s NYPD officers Ken Eurell and Mike Dowd partnered up in Brooklyn’s Seven Five Precinct. NY put them on the streets to fight crime. But, Ken and Mike had a different mission.

From their squad car, Dowd and Eurell provided uniformed protection for La Compania and Dominican drug kingpin, Adam Diaz as he moved keys of top shelf Columbian coke to addicts from Washington Heights to Coney Island.

They didn’t make much as cops, but Dowd and Eurell earned $8,000 a week as Diaz’s muscle.

“Betrayal in Blue”, available on Tuesday in print or for your Kindle, is Kenny’s memoir of those days.co-authored by Burl Barer, Frank Girardot, Jr, and Ken Eurell .   It’s a story that contains a narrative with an eerie similarity to the film “Goodfellas”. Like “Goodfellas,” Kenny’s tale begins in Queens, moves through Brooklyn’s 77th, 75th and 88th precincts before ending on a tree-lined street in Suffolk County, Long Island.

It is a tale littered with crooked cops, kidnappings, and 99.9 percent pure cocaine. But it is also the story of Ken’s loving wife Dori and her perseverance through times that would end most marriages.

Ultimately Eurell, Dowd and a crew of brother officers, who missed their casting call for the Island of Misfit Toys, ruled the cocaine trade in East New York in the late 1980s.

They might have gotten away with it. After all, Mike and Ken weren’t the first New York cops to break bad – they were only the most brazen.

The book hits shelves on Tuesday, but you can preorder it today!

Betrayal in Blue: Bad Cop Worse Cop. One lies, the other swears it’s true.

If one cop lies, the cop’s partner will also lie.  If one cop steals dken 4am the 75 1985ope from a dope dealer, the partner helps sell it or use it.   No matter if you’re the bad cop or the worse cop, you don’t rat on another cop. So, riddle me this:  If you don’t rat on your partner, your partner will either get killed or get 25 to  life in prison. If you do rat on your partner, you’ll bibfinalsave his life, but you will be called a rat and a snitch forever. It’s Sophie’s Choice in a squad car. It is BETRAYAL IN BLUE

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