Sprinkle, Ronald Leo (1930– )
R. Leo Sprinkle, psychologist and researcher of UFO contactee
experiences, was born on August 31, 1930, in Rocky
Ford, Colorado. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees
from the University of Colorado and in 1961 completed
his doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Missouri.
After three years in the administrative department at the
University of North Dakota, he moved to the University of Wyoming,
where he remained until his retirement in 1989.
Sprinkle has traced his interest in UFOs to a sighting he had
in 1949. He and his wife also had a sighting in 1956. During
the years immediately following the completion of his formal
Springheeled Jack Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
education, he conducted several studies, including an early survey
of the members of the National Investigations Committee
on Aerial Phenomena and an initial study of people who had
experienced extraterrestrial encounters, both contactees and
abductees. He served as a psychological consultant for the Condon
Report (1969) on UFOs, which led to further work on several
abduction cases through the 1970s.
Sprinkle is best known, however, for the annual conferences
he has organized for UFO contactees each summer since in
1980. For a number of years, Sprinkle had corresponded with
people who had claimed friendly contact with the entities who
drove the flying saucers. Unlike most ufologists, he had not dismissed
them; in contrast, he had responded to them sympathetically.
The conferences, sponsored by the Institute for UFO
Contactee Studies, brought contactees to the university and
provided an open forum for them to tell their stories in a nonjudgmental
environment. As the number of abduction reports
increased in the late 1980s, abductees were welcomed to the
summer conferences and it was in these conferences that the
sharp distinction between the two groups began to disappear.
Eventually, Sprinkle identified himself as a contactee. He
also concluded that UFO activity was part of a larger program
of what he termed ‘‘cosmic consciousness conditioning.’’ The
UFO entities, whether one thinks of them as being from outer
space or another dimension, are attempting to move humanity
into an understanding of themselves as cosmic citizens.
Clark, Jerome. ‘‘Psychologist-Researcher Dr. R. Leo Sprinkle;
Exclusive UFO Report Interview.’’ UFO Report 3, no.2
(June 1976) 30–32, 72–76, 78.
Parnell, June O., and R. Leo Sprinkle. ‘‘Personality Characteristics
of Persons Who Claim UFO Experiences.’’ Journal of
UFO Studies 2 [new series, 1990] 45–58.
Sprinkle, R. Leo. ‘‘The Significance of UFO Experiences.’’
In David Pursglove, ed. Zen in the Art of Close Encounter. Berkeley,
Calif. New Being Project, 1995.
———, ed. Proceedings of the Rocky Mountain Conference on
UFO Investigation. Laramie School of Extended Studies, 1980.