Virtual Proof “Ruffles” is Trig: Time to Put the Ruffles Theory to Bed

By Brad Scharlott, PhD

For over one and a half years, a theory has been around that says the baby pictured at the Kristan Cole party for Sarah and Trig in early May 2008 is not really Trig. The evidence for this is mainly an enlargement of a party picture showing the baby had a deformed ear, and that by fall Trig’s ears looked normal. So the logical is that the ears could not have been changed that much in that amount of time, especially in a child that young.

I think the time has come to toss that theory out. Here’s the party picture generally used to show the ruffled ears of the baby:

Now here is a picture from Frank Bailey’s book showing Trig later that same month, May 2008:

And finally here is Trig on Oct. 22, 2010:

Now let’s take the ears from those three photos, rotate them all to be in the same upright position, plus flip the October photo:

Those three pictures show ears from the same child. (His left and right ears at the later date are bilateral, meaning virtually identical). The first shot seemingly came before the reconstructive work was started. The second picture is obviously the same ear. If you doubt it, look at the top of the ear in those first two pictures: there is a very unusual but virtually identical shape consisting of four planes surrounding the top half of the ear, with the same double-notch near the back. Also look at the “batwing” shape in all three: a clear progression as the ear became “unfurled” in treatment.

The only thing that is tricky to match up is the rectangular shape that is in the first and third pictures but looks somewhat like a heart shape in the middle picture. The reason for that, I believe, is that as the ear was being unfurled, the connective tissue at the top of the rectangular shape was forced together is such a way as to form a double-arch. I believe that double-arch was turned upward and became a protrusion sticking out from the ear, as shown in the third picture.

Let me also direct your attention to the very bottom of the ear in each photo. In the first photo you can just make out a piece of skin curling over the edge of the blanket, but it looks floppy and elongated. In the second picture, you can see how the skin has been shaped to look almost normal, although it comes to a point. By the third picture, it has been shaped into a nice curve.

The progression from the first picture to the second picture probably happened within two weeks. If begun early in infancy, good results in reconstructing malformed ears can be achieved in less than a month. And in fact, infancy is absolutely the best time to do it.

One of the leading technologies being used for ear reconstruction, the Earwell Infant Ear Correction System, is described here, in case you’d like to read about it:

Good results have also been achieved with Ear Buddies splints:

There are plastic surgeons in the United States who advertise that they will use these products in reconstructing the ears of neonates.

I was fooled along with many others into believing “Ruffles” was a different baby from Trig. I even put the Two Trig’s Theory in my rewrite of my spiral of silence paper that I posted at Scribd. (I recently deleted that section.) Thankfully, I did not include that theory in the version of the paper that was published last month at

So is there a lesson here? Yes. Do your homework before you spread ideas that can make many people look foolish. And when new evidence or interpretations come along, be open to them; if you accuse people of “just making shit up,” you make yourself look bad. And keeping from your readers the existence of competing ideas, by deleting comments that include links to such ideas, makes you seem more concerned with your reputation than with finding the truth.

Update by Brad :

Since the third ear above in the composite is the left and the other two show the right ear, then please consider the ear from this picture:

I don’t have the date, but the ear is fully “fixed.”

Now here’s the ear from that photo as the fourth in the lineup:

As you can see, the third and the fourth ears are bilateral – virtual identical but from different sides of the head. Indeed, the fourth makes the argument even better than the third, because the congruence between first, second and fourth is even closer.


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