Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle, known in the UFO community as a hardworking psychologist interested in UFOs, particularly alien abduction and who organized contactee conferences each year since 1980, has died at 91.
He was born on August 31, 1930, in Rocky Ford, Colorado. He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Colorado and completed his doctorate at the University of Missouri. He then spent three years at the University of North Dakota before moving onto the University of Wyoming, where he stayed until he retired.
Sprinkle’s original interest in UFOs was sparked by his sighting of an unknown object in 1949. He, along with his wife, had sighting in 1956. His first scientific paper on the subject was based on a survey of members of NICAP conducted in 1961 and 1962. His paper was published in 1969. His real area of interest ran between abductees and contactees.
In 1968, he served as the psychological consultant to the University of Colorado, Air force sponsored investigation into UFOs, known as the Condon Committee. He conducted the hypnotic regression on former Ashland, Nebraska, police officer Herbert Schirmer when missing time was discovered in his police log.
In 1980, after years of correspondence with many people who believed they had been contacted by benevolent alien beings, he, along with the Institute for UFO Contactee Studies, began hosting the Rocky Mountain Conference on UFO Investigation. Contactees from around the world met at the University of Wyoming campus to share their experiences with other like-minded people.
He had an interest in the New Age studies, believed in reincarnation, and eventually identified himself as a contactee. In 1999, he published Soul Samples: Personal Exploration in Reincarnation and UFO Experiences. He encouraged his colleagues to study the psychological makeup of the contactees. This resulted in June Parnell’s research of the Rocky Mountain conference participants, which culminated in her Ph.D. dissertation in 1986.
I will note here that I met Leo on a couple of occasions. We chatted briefly and I found him to be a nice, warm individual, with a great sense of humor, who was interested in what others had to say. We disagreed on the contactee end of the spectrum, but I think we agreed on the cattle mutilations. He seemed to think that some, if not many of those experiences, might have a more terrestrial nature and might possibly have psychological roots. He had said that it really wasn’t an area that he had explored in depth.
He believed that the UFO activity was the result of an educational program that he thought of as “cosmic consciousness conditioning.” He said that the program was conducted by representatives of the extraterrestrial or ultraterrestrial beings to alert the human race about the reality of alien visitation.
Sprinkle published a number of scientific papers in science journals related to the UFO field, some relating to hypnosis and contact with alien beings.
Leo Sprinkle will be long remembered as an advocate for those whose experiences and beliefs are outside the mainstream. He died on November 15, 2021.