JOURNAL OF POSSIBLE PARADIGMS
Issue 2, Fall '94
TAKEN INTO THE FRINGE
RESEARCHER FOCUS: Dr. Karla Turner
by SMiles Lewis
My first exposure to abduction researcher/ experiencer Dr. Karla Turner was on September 26, 1992. She was speaking to an audience of approximately 200 people in Austin, Texas. The mini-conference also featured Ed Conroy and George Wingfield, and was organized by the local Austin MUFON chapter. I have seen very little from abduction researchers that I qualified as being of any significance, so Dr. Turner was a particularly unexpected surprise.
She comes across as very strong willed, a trait she may already have had, but which could have been tempered by her interactions with this phenomena. She admits to not knowing the origin of UFOs or their occupants. She simply reports the data that she gathers and experiences herself (about three hundred cases at that time). Some have been critical of her calling attention to "negative" cases. She admits to reporting on those aspects, but is quick to point out that, a) these reports exist, and other researchers are sweeping them under the rug, and b) there are already a number of sources for cases showing "positive" interactions with supposed benevolent entities. Part of her focus seems to be an attempt to strike a balance. How can we gain an objective perspective if we are not hearing all the data?
This mini-conference coincided with the release of her first book on the subject, Into The Fringe . Shortly after her tall< I bought the book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It details the emergance of the UFO and abduction phenomena into her family's life and their struggle with the ongoing experiences. It is a very personal account which begins in 1987-1988.
Karla earned her B.A. from California State University, her M.A. from the University of Nottingham in England, and her Ph.D. in Old English Studies from the University of North Texas. She is a skeptic in the best sense of the word, but she does believe that something extraordinary is going on.
Her 1992 Austin speech was less about her own experiences, and more about the overall points of interest that she noticed in her research (300 cases she investigated with the help of Barbara Bartholic and others-Barbara had worked with Jacques Vallee on the mysterious cattle mutilations sometimes associated with UFOs). In her speech Karla made twenty specific points regarding trends noticed in the data. These trends are not specifically found in her book "Fringe," although they are there thematically. The trends reflect darker sides of hidden memory and sexual encounters, which seem to be power plays to dominate the abductee, rather than simple hybridization studies.
These trends continue to be seen in the eight case studies in her most recent book, Taken - Inside The Alien / Human Abduction Agenda . In the book, and during her speech at the July 1994 Annual International MUFON Symposium in Austin, Texas, she made some very important assertions regarding the UFO and abduction phenomena:
- "The abductee also learns from experience that the aliens induce an altered perceptive state in humans during every encounter. Employed for control, it can be used to prevent any undesired responses from the abductee. And the altered state also prevents any objective assessment of the situation by the witness. This means that the witness can only report what was seen, felt, and heard, which is not necessarily a reflection of what actually occurred. By inducing and manipulating altered consciousness in the abductee, the aliens assume full control of the situation and thus exert control over the data reported by the witness.
Abductees report alien-controlled information. This is a fact abduction researchers must face. ..... Until the day we can unmask the alien illusions, however, we can at least study the entire body of reported data, controlled though it may be, trying to learn more about why certain images and events are employed and what they can tell us about the covert directors of these scenarios."
This statement and her coining of the term Virtual Reality Scenario to describe these altered perceptions are the best recent developments within the abduction research field. They enable us to discuss these experiences as REAL, but with the added potential inherent in describing some encounters as non-physical while there are still other more physical encounters.
Another positive aspect of Taken (in my estimation) is the inclusion of much testimony described as "UFO dreams." Once again we see the flowing together of dream experiences" with "real" experiences and hypnotically retrieved "memories." The results are fascinating! Though much of the abductee narratives could be seen as particularly negative, the overwhelming feeling that I came away with after reading the book, and which the abductees themselves seem to have come away with, is a deep sense of ambiguity and indeterminacy. Even if this seems daunting in the search for truth it could just be the ultimate result of our encounters with the unknown. Perhaps we can take some solace in Dr. Turner's belief that these intelligences are truly "physical, finite and fallible." If this is so, and they are not some aspect of ourselves or God then we may indeed be able to develop defenses against their intrusions into our reality.
For information about ordering her research, write to:
PO Box 32
Roland, Arkansas 72135