Newcomers to this blog are advised to begin with the first two posts, Just the Facts, Ma'am and Case Solved, which explain in very general terms why I believe I've solved this case. Some important questions are answered in the following post, Misunderstandings, Misconceptions, Misdirections. After that feel free to browse whatever topics might interest you (see blog archive).

NB: If anyone has trouble posting a comment, email it to doktorgosh (at), and I'll post it for you.

Notice to readers of my Kindle book: I recently noticed that, on certain devices (though not all), the Table of Contents begins with Chapter One and omits the Introduction and Preface. Since the Introduction is especially important, I urge everyone to make sure to begin reading at the very beginning of the book, not the first chapter in the Table of Contents. Thank you.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Who Wrote the "Ransom Note"

Did Patsy write it? Here's what settled the matter for most Patsy "fans," her sample written with the left hand -- as reproduced and "analyzed" in the ever reliable National Enquirer (right click and select "Open link in new tab" to enlarge):

And yes, superficially (the only way the Enquirer ever treated any topic), the two documents do look somewhat similar overall. But any two documents written in similar styles of "manuscript" printing are likely to contain points of resemblance. To make things easy, the Enquirer blew up comparisons they saw as "an exact match." Well, obviously they are not an exact match. Taking the first comparison, on the word "carefully," the "a"s are obviously very different, so are the "r"s. The "e"s are very different also. The top of the ransom note "f" is rounded while Patsy's is horizontal. Her "u" is a bit lumpy, while the "u" in the note is not. The "l"s in the note touch one another, but Patsy's are parallel. The angle of the lower part of the "y" is clearly very different in both.

Moving to "that," again we see striking differences in all four letters. The only clear similarities I see in any of these blown up comparisons are the "f"s and "i"s in "faction" and the "l" and the first "e" in "letter," though even in these there are very real differences. Nothing is an exact match, far from it. But this is how the editors of the Enquirer saw it, or wanted their readers to see it. And this is in fact what convinced a great many that Patsy must have written it.

With reference to the documents as a whole, one very distinctive feature of the ransom note is the way the words are laid out, with an unusual amount of space between them. Patsy's example is more closely spaced, as is the example we have from John's deposition. It looks to me as though the note might have been copied or even traced from a computer display, since the letters resemble a computer font. This might explain the odd spacing.

It seems clear, also, that Patsy is really struggling to write with her left hand and many letters are distorted or even illegible. I'm wondering whether John was ever asked to supply any left handed exemplars. Of course team Ramsey has been very careful not to release any samples whatever of John's handwriting, so, aside from the brief deposition we've seen, we have  no basis for comparison.

The deposition is useful, however, and, as I've been able to demonstrate in an  earlier post, there are some striking similarities, much closer imo than those in Patsy's example, above. Here once again is my comparison (right click and select "Open link in new tab" to enlarge -- click again to enlarge more):

As I wrote earlier, I do not believe it possible to determine the writer of a deliberately deceptive document by handwriting comparison alone. But for those who are convinced Patsy must have written the note, the above should make them think twice, I would hope. It doesn't prove John wrote the note. But it does demonstrate that Patsy's is not the only hand that resembles it, so it would be a huge mistake to jump to conclusions on that score.

As I see it, the most effective method for determining who wrote the note is not handwriting comparison, or even content analysis, but an analysis of its meaning -- why it was written and what the writer hoped to achieve in writing it. I'll cover this issue in the following post.


  1. She did better with her left hand than I could ever do, but I don't think PR harmed JB in any way, note or no note.

  2. The note writer wrote "If we catch you talking to a stray dog, she dies."

    Note how the bottom horizontal line of the I in If is detached from its downstroke and the note writer connects the downstroke of the d in dog to it, making no effort to separate the two. Patsy, in her left-handed sample in the National Enquirer book, also made a horizontal line above the d in dog.

    1. That's an interesting observation. But it's also a perfect example of "cherry picking." I suggest you read my series of posts titled "The Experts See Patsy," beginning here:

      This is the sort of thing they all did, i.e., look for anything they could find that resembled something in the note, count it as a point of similarity and then add them all up. For just about anyone using "manuscript" style printing, it's almost guaranteed that sooner or later you'll find similarities with something in that note -- if you are bound and determined to find them.

      Any isolated similarity means nothing unless you can demonstrate that it's unique, i.e., that no one else but Patsy writes that way. What's interesting is that the more samples you have of someone's writing, the easier it is to find such similarities -- and again, that would be the case for anyone, not just Patsy.

  3. The only letters which would be written with a horizontal top bar connected to a vertical downstroke are E, F, I, J, and T. Why, pray tell, would anyone make a horizontal top bar on top of the downstroke of a lowercase d, let alone any lowercase letter?

    1. You yourself spotted the capital I just above that letter d in the note. The d doesn't have a horizontal top bar. The lower horizontal of the capital I abuts the upper vertical of the d. It's just a coincidental juxtaposition. So what's your point?

  4. I wouldn't consider that to be a coincidence because why would someone intentionally connect the downstroke of the d to the detached bottom horizontal I bar? If anything, there should be a gap between the two. Patsy's left-handed writing sample also has a horizontal top bar on top of the d in dog. There isn't anywhere else in that sample in which this occurs. (It's the one in the National Enquirer book where she transcribed a story which contained the words in the three page note in random order.)

    1. It doesn't look intentional to me. Looks accidental. As does the short horizontal over the "d" in Patsy's document. Probably a slip of the pen.

  5. And of all the times for there to be an accidental slip of the pen, it just happens to occur on the d in dog making that letter echo the one in the three page note, right?

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  35. I'm open to considering that John Ramsey wrote the ransom note, and perhaps it is something investigators should take another look at. But I doubt they will.

    But as to the Ransom Note, I don't think it's just handwriting style that is significant. What analysts tend to look at is word choice, phrasing & diction to determine what it reveals about the writer. There also appear to be ways of determining gender by looking at the writing style and choice of words. I've read on other websites that linguistic analysis has tended to show that the writer was a woman.

    What are your thoughts on that?

    1. Imo when dealing with deliberate deception (as opposed to, say, forgery) it's really impossible to determine either through handwriting alone or content, who wrote such a note. For example, if the note shows signs of being written by a woman, that could mean it was written by a man trying to come across as a woman -- or vice versa. Imo the content is far more likely to reflect a male vocabulary and viewpoint than that of a woman. But since John had been "ruled out" then it was necessary to see a woman's touch and so be it, presto chango, certain sleuths decided it showed distinctly feminine traits. Where are they, because I can't find them. We see many instances of terms usually used by men with a technical background and also references to the sorts of movies usually favored by men and avoided by women. So where is the feminine touch? It warns John to be "rested" -- is that it? Sorry, but I'm not impressed.

    2. I agree that there can be deception involved to throw people off and make it appear to be a woman rather than a man. It's also true that some of the analysts may have originally wanted to find Pasty as the writer of the note once John had apparently been ruled out.

      But I wasn't referring just to the original handwriting analysis. I was referring to a linguistics program where the text of the note came back as being a female writer. If this is a computer program that does the analysis rather than a human with biases, it could be a more objective way of determining that it may have been a woman.

      What do you make of this? There is a program called "The Gender Genie", and it determined that the 'Female Score' for the note was 1077, and the 'Male Score' was 464.

      The program uses a version of the algorithm developed by Argamon & Koppel. It's a program which can determine the gender of anonymous authors with 80% accuracy. The program said the ransom note author was female. The score was 1077 (female) to 464 (male).

      Here is the link. If you scroll down, you can see the word analysis & gender breakdown of the computer program:

      Here's a direct link to the computer program's conclusion about the Ransom Note:

    3. You found that link on Cherokee's analysis site, of which I am well aware. Unfortunately the link is now defunct, I have no idea why. Judging from various commentaries I found online, many who've tried it were not impressed, as it provided the wrong answer.

      I do think this sort of computer-based analysis is interesting and has real promise, and the guys who developed it seem to be legitimate researchers with several papers to their credit. On the other hand, when we read words and phrases such as "foreign faction," "monitor," "immediate execution," "beheaded," "bank authorities," "electronic devices," "law enforcement countermeasures and tactics," "constant scrutiny," etc., then I'm sorry but the note certainly seems more masculine than feminine to me.

      On the other hand, it could be a woman trying to sound like a man.

      This sort of thing is interesting but it's based on a statistical technique and its value is essentially statistical in nature. So for example if you fed it 1,000 documents it might be able to sort the female from male content most of the time. But if you fed it only a single document I don't think the result would mean very much.

      For my take on Cherokee's analysis generally, see and

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  37. During the time of the investigation the police lied about the information that was given to and said to the media. Police said that there was significant amount of snow, but no footprints in the snow to prove of a brake in to the basement window. When reviewing the evidence investigators came a cross a picture that proved there was hardly any snow in the area, with what little snow that was a footprint in the snow out side of the basement window. This footprint belonged to a very high tec. type of boot at the time. When investigators asked the Ramseys about the why the window was cracked open they said the window had been cracked open earlier that year and they were unable to reclose the window before summer started. There was snow inside the basement to prove they were telling the truth.
    The Ramseys were dragged through investigation and investigation and investigation, first with John being accused of sexual assault on his daughter. Then his wife Patty was accused of abuse. Though when looking at the medical records or evidence of child abuse. When looking at the sample taken from JonBenet’s body when she was killed and comparing it to the semen from that of her brother and her father there was not a match.(Real crime) The police were right that the list would narrow but not down to the parents with the parents in the focus of the media where were the police when the evidence was being examined? Why would they focus in on the parents of a young murder victim? The police had a very swayed opinion on the parents. A late night murder, parents asleep, ransom note left for the exact amount of Mr. Ramsey bonus who wouldn’t suspect the parents? They wanted an open and closed case. Which led to the fact that they did not solve the case. With high media tension there had to been information floating around people moving out of town.
    While looking upon the evidence the investigator found that right after the media showed the police investigator talking about finding a particular person and the information narrowing down to one person they came to find that there was a suicide that was very strange. There was a young man who the police said killed himself with a gun but the problem was that the information the police used was not accurate. When investigators looked in to the case in the future they came to find that the young man who was righ handed but tried to kill himself with his left hand. They found a pillow had been used as a silencer but the young man lived in a very remote area that was quiet and not a lot of neibhors in the area. He had a tazer and the high tec boots that left the same foot print as the snow print found in the basement of the Ramsey house. There were fibers that the police had kept that match the same as Holdgoths. They were from a rare species of dog. In the JonBenet Ramsey case there is tought to be a minamum of two killers. The police now belive that Holdgoth was one of them, but they belive that the tension pressed on the killers and one would not let his accomplise in crime tell on him. They tested Holdgoths sperm to see if it was a match it was not but they belive that he was a part of the crime.(Law and Ordance)
    Holdgoth had been stalking his co-workes. He had used the same black clothing that had been discribed and phycologist had read in to his activites and look through a large amount of his papers and personal items. According to investigators there were many cluse that led to him being a possible accomplise although he had all the correct material and the right set of mind. Holdgoths partner is suspected to be the young man who suddenly moved after the suicide of his friend who just happen to take care of the same dogs as mention above. The name will not be releace to the public until he is formaly charged or dead. (Real Crime)

  38. John Mark Karr admitted to the killing of JonBenet Ramsey but did not know half the deatells according to atopsy and toTrue Crime there are several deatells that have been misconstured such at he said that he gave her medication to sedate her and keep her quiet but there is no record of this in the autopsy. The autopsy show that she was killed of a blow to the head and that killed her she was strangled and tazed. (KFDX ) To John Mark Karr he says he picked her up from school but we know the last time that JonBenet was seen alive was by her dad at 10pm and the kids were out of school for winter/christmas break.( Law and Ordance) The evedince provided by John Mark Karr was taken in to custody but he has not been proscocuted and it has almost been 4 years. There is a lot of informaiton out there on the JonBenet case John Mark Karr could have looked up theroies and tried to say it was him. During the time of the crime there is no data to show that he was ever in the area. He said that he was working on getting his teacher degree but there is no evedence to show that he was in the state of Colorado at the time, however he has a time stamp of being there in 2001. He left the country due to being procucuted with child pornogphy and was ban from being a teacher in all fify stated of the united states.(A candy rose)
    If John Mark Karr really did kill Little miss Sunshine then why hasn’t there been any formal paperwork filed or information released saying the case is closed. Could this be the police are not prefoming to exspectiaions again or is he lying to the police. How can we tell if this case is really solved or if the informaition is inaccruate (KFDX). John Mark Karr may or may not be the killer. There are many problems with what is going on with this case where is the proper infomaiton when we ask. There is still a killer at large and this is because people want to blame some people just because they belive in beauty pagents and if you belive in beauty pagents you can do any thing. (A candy rose)
    With the police narrow tunnle vision and the things that were mentioned to the media very early in the case and the police not properly watching for unusial behavior led to this case being unsolved. The police make mistakes and have tunnle vission just as other people in this world they are human but because of the high tension media and the police misrepresenting media there are many suspects and deatells that went over their head. With the unlikely hood of this case being solved we may never know what went worng and happened that 25 of December in 1996 to the young beauty pagent queen who was burtaly murderd. We can only hope that one day the rumors may be put to rest on John and Pastsy Ramsey.

    1. I appreciate your obviously deep interest in this case. However, both of your comments contain a great many errors and misconceptions. For example, according to the police who first came on the scene, there were no footprints not only in the snow, but also in the layer of frost that pervaded the lawn. The frost would not have shown up in a photo -- but it was reported by a policeman who had no motive to lie. Also an undisturbed spider web was found on the grate just over the window well. Additionally, no semen was found at the scene, so obviously there would be no semen match. They did find DNA from members of the family on the body, but that could be explained since she was in contact with them the previous day and evening. And also John picked up the body and carried it upstairs,so we can assume his DNA would have been on the body or at least her clothing. That's why it wasn't reported in the media, because it wasn't considered relevant. As for Helgoth, his possible involvement was thoroughly investigated and it came up empty. And by the way, the HiTec print was found in the basement, not on the lawn. No prints were found on the lawn or any other sign of disturbance.

      To learn more about this case I suggest you read further in this blog. There is a search mechanism on the upper right that you can use to help you find more information on any questions you might have.

  39. Don't you have a post with a whole letter written by who you thought was John, but then found out later it was someone else?

  40. Yes. For the embarrassing details, see the following blog posts:

  41. Is there a possibility that Patsy wrote the note but not because she had anything to do with the murder, but because she thought it might make the police take the case more seriously? If she was scared the police would approach her missing daughter as a runaway and not a victim, maybe she thought creating a fake note would mobilize the effort to get her back. That's why there are no fingerprints - they were trying to hide they wrote the note. The note never fit - a true kidnapper would have the note before coming in the house, not sit in the house and write a three page ransom note with a pen and pad they found in the house.

    1. You make three different points. My response:

      1. No, I don't see that as a possibility. The note was clearly written by someone staging a kidnapping. And imo it was not Patsy.

      2. There were no fingerprints because in most cases fingerprints don't show up. She obviously handled the note when she read it, no?

      3. Yes, I agree.

  42. Here are the things I have an issue with the note:
    1. Assuming that at the time the note was written - JBR was dead - why go through the effort.
    2. At night the house would be pitch black, you risk turning on a light to find a pen and the paper to write a note that has no intrinsic value if you had no intention to collect a ransom.
    3. You just killed the child and instead of getting the hell out of there, you hang around in the lobby of the house writing this note.

    Other things that bother me:

    1. Patsy says when she came down stairs JBR's bedroom door is closed.....if a person has his hands full with the child, why make the effort to close the door behind you.
    2. The perp made their way to her bedroom and down to the basement in the pitch black - without a strong knowledge of the house how do you do this.
    3. Why do the murder in the house - why not grab the kid and leave the house - taking the time to kill her in the house is highly risky.

    1. You make some excellent points. I agree.

    2. My thoughts exactly. More than likely if it was an intruder they would have finished her off right there in her room. Intruders don't usually walk through the house they broke in to carrying the victims body, while the entire family is home. Lets just say it was a kidnapping gone bad. what intruder leave a note at the bottom of the stairs. The note would have most likely been left on JB bed or the kitchen table.

  43. Whatever happened it was definitely a family affair.

    Possible Burke by accident, he was know to be jealous. had hit her in head with golf club before and defecated in a box of he chocolates. and then patsy and john covered it up...

    or john was sexually abusing jon benet and then killed her bc she was going to tell or he got too rough idk... then patsy covered... bc she surely wrote the note no matter how u cut it...

    or patsy did this alone with her evil self... she went cray when jon benet wet the bed and hit her toon hard then staged everthing...

  44. Has anyone worked out what the initials are supposed to stand for? I thought the B looked like a P covered up and the others might have been just to distract from this, say if Patsy went to sign the letter and then styled it out. The B also differs from the B in FBI which I find interesting, it looks carefully drawn, unlike the rest of the letter that is either done with a shaking hand or a persons opposite handed hand. Personal opinion is Burke did it and mum and dad covered it up, patsy wrote the note.