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.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Patsy's Left Hand Sample Revisited

Ah the joys of cherry picking. The National Enquirer obviously wanted in on the Patsy Ramsey bandwagon (before they were threatened with a lawsuit, that is, after which they changed their tune completely). So they decided to publish a (partial) copy of the ransom note alongside a (partial) copy of Patsy's left-hand sample, with a headline blaring the dramatic news: Patsy's sample was "AN EXACT MATCH"!

Patsy's left-hand sample convinced a great many people she had to have written the note. Wasn't it obvious? For example, back in 2009, a thread appeared on the Topix website entitled: Patsy's Lefthanded Writing Sample -- Doubt Removed. In the initial post, someone with the nickname "Cyber" wrote as follows:
At the back of the paperback version of The Police Files, compiled by the Enquirer, are several of Patsy Ramsey's writing samples along with the Ransom Note.
After having contributed a few samples during 1997 Patsy was asked again to give a sample. She didn't know until she sat down that LE wanted this sample to be left-handed (her non-dominant hand). Take a look at this one in comparison to the Ransom Note. If this sample isn't a dead ringer for the Note I don't know what is.
Is it really such a dead ringer? Let's take a closer look. I've already provided an analysis, here, of the four words selected by the Enquirer as perfect examples of how Patsy's hand matches that of the note: "carefully," "that," "faction," and "letter" (see the inserted blow-ups above). Here's a sample of what I wrote:
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.
So. What, exactly is going on here? And why were these four words chosen over all the others? For a long time I wondered about those other words, but whenever I tried to compare them from the NE graphic, one word would blur into another and my mind would go numb. So, finally, today, I decided to roll up my sleeves and actually compare as many words as possible, side by side. This is what I came up with:

There it is, folks, for all the world to see, all the "obvious" similarities between Patsy's left-hand sample and the "ransom" note! (If you think I might be pulling the wool over your eyes, then by all means, check my exemplars with the NE graphic at the top of this page.) And sorry, but I see no resemblance whatsoever between any of these word pairs. They are in fact about as different as it's possible for them to be. (By the way, please forgive the printing inconsistencies in the right hand column. I started by copying from the tinted Enquirer graphic, but since the whole note wasn't included, I moved to a simple, black and white copy of the original.)

Now. Allow me to repeat myself: what is going on here? 

Well, for one thing, the Enquirer obviously chose the four words in the blowup because they were the only words in Patsy's sample that weren't obviously different from the same words in the note. They are certainly NOT an "exact match," or even close, but they are also not so obviously and completely different than all the others. This is what is called: cherry picking. I.e., you look ONLY for what suits your purpose and make sure to ignore everything else.

As for Patsy's sample as a whole, we have to remember that it was written with the left hand, which forced Patsy to struggle a bit to form each letter, making this particular document much more sloppy than what we are used to seeing when she writes with her right hand. And since the "ransom" note was probably also written with the left hand, and is certainly far more sloppy, almost to the point of illegibility at times, than Patsy's usual writings (typically "female" in their neatness and clarity) then, when we glance at the left-hand sample as a whole, without attempting to compare specific words, then you might see a sort of very general, impressionistic resemblance to the note, yes. And if you are already convinced that Pasty wrote the note, then that will just jump out at you. But when we zero in on the details, as I finally decided to do, the obvious discrepancies are immediately apparent.

Now, let's take yet another look at two more comparisons, made by me some years ago:


The first comparison speaks for itself. The second was compiled as a response to those who claim they can see no resemblance between John's hand and the note. So in this case I mixed them up, challenging the skeptics to sort them out. No one has ever been able to do so.

And yes, I know how it's become almost an article of faith for so many following this case that Patsy "obviously" wrote the ransom note. And when I point to the very clear shortcomings of the so-called "experts" who convinced themselves she wrote it, I'm told that doesn't matter, because it's so "obvious" to those who can see for themselves that Patsy's exemplars are so "exactly" like those from the note, why it simply hits you in the eye. Well, what hits me in the eye are the many resemblances with the document penned by John Ramsey. I see no convincing resemblances between Patsy's hand and the note.


  1. Good work

    1. Interesting website. I have to admit, I wasn't aware of it, so thanks for the link.

    2. If the contributor of the samples to be compared with the ransom note had not been identified, I'll bet many would have looked at it and thought the same person had created all the character examples, and instead of trying to pick out which letters were in the RN and which were JR's, probably would have exclaimed that ALL letters were written by the same person. MWMM

    3. Sorry, should have made it clear in my previous comment that I was referring to the comparison between the Ransom Note and John Ramsey's exemplar. MWMM

    4. Yes, MWMM, the mix of ransom note and JR exemplars looks pretty uniform, doesn't it? The only significant difference I can see is that the first three "y"s in the top row look different from the last four. But John's "y"s are mixed into BOTH groups.

      This sort of thing could have served as a healthy "scientific control" for Darnay Hoffmann's "experts," who fixated on Patsy and Patsy alone. But none bothered to check John's exemplars, accepting at face value the verdict of the "experts" who ruled John out. Which is very strange, considering that Darnay's people did NOT accept the verdict of these same experts, who deemed it "unlikely" that Patsy wrote it.

      Strange world we live in.

    5. Check this out - the FBI knows and so should you:
      The JonBenet Ramsey Ransom Note Analysis: "Pastor" Bob Enyart's ShadowGov = The "Small Foreign Faction" - w/ Notes by Dani Kekoa & Legend Detective Lou Smit

      "Few would disagree that the three-page ransom note is as important a piece of evidence as exists in this case. Anyone hoping to come up with a theory of who killed JonBenet Ramsey has to come to grips with the significance and meaning of this communication." -- FBI Criminal Profiler John Douglas, The Cases That Haunt Us

  2. Great work DocG
    I wonder what his handwriting is like nowadays?

  3. PR’s A and U are consistently different from the RN, but I’ve never seen a couple write so much alike; it’s as if he copied her style initially, and then she copied him with the left-handed sample.

    I think this is an important point; PR got mad and started throwing red herrings all over the crime scene. I’m pretty sure the pieces fell into place for her, she wasn’t stupid, but she wasn’t going to help the police at any cost.

    1. Can you be more specific, Darlene? Because I see no resemblance at all between Patsy's and John's writing style. And what red herrings are you referring to, exactly?

  4. My handwriting is wildly different from anyone I know. The same holds true for my husband, brother, and nearly anyone I can think of. Yet “carefully…that…faction…letter” (ransom note, probably John) and “carefully…that…faction…letter” (left-handed Patsy) look strikingly similar. Cherry-picked by the National Enquirer, yes, but I still see cross-pollination.

    After interest revived in the Jon Benet murder case, I started thinking about it for the first time in many years. I read for two days, and I’m still no expert. Maybe “throwing red herrings all over the crime scene” is too strident; however I do see PR throwing up smoke screens after she realized there was no intruder, but especially in anger over accusations.
    PR varied on whether JR told her to call 911 or if she did that spontaneously.
    The oversized Bloomies (panties) on the body; the only thing that makes sense is that the killer grabbed clean undies meant as a gift for a larger person after washing the body. PR acknowledged the oversized panties existed, and that they were indeed a gift for someone else, but then she used them on JBR when she messed herself?
    I don’t buy it. A healthy kid that went to school, that wore expensive costumes in pageants, and she messes her clothes? No, PR was throwing smoke there.
    The regressive bedwetting I totally believe. Especially if JBR was getting unwanted nocturnal visits, what better way to discourage that than urine soaked bedding?
    Bear in mind that I only have ideas, and that I sincerely hope the case is solved. Thank you for what you are doing.

    1. Well if you see those four words as strikingly similar, I guess I can't argue. People at the NE obviously felt the same way. Aside from the "c" in "carefully" and the "l" in "letter," I just don't see much resemblance at all, but I guess everyone sees things in their own way. My principal point, however, is that if you cherry pick, looking for similarities, sooner or later you are bound to find some -- but it's also necessary to take into account all the many differences.

      I don't know about smoke screens, but I do think Patsy must have felt pretty desperate at times, while attempting to answer all those questions, so it wouldn't surprise me if she weren't always as helpful as she could have been. She certainly made an effort to support John's version of what happened, but as I've argued on this blog, it seems clear to me that he was manipulating her, and that she never seriously suspected him -- mainly because of the "ruled out" verdict.

      As far as the "Bloomies" are concerned, the questioning on that topic seems to have flustered Patsy, especially because the interrogators were acting as though it was her responsibility to explain that discrepancy. So she tried as best she could. However, there is no way Patsy would have redressed JonBenet in panties that were so obviously the wrong size. That's something ONLY John would have done. And as far as I'm concerned, those "Bloomies" on the victim are a key piece of evidence linking John to the crime. No intruder would have had any reason to redress his victim.

      If JonBenet were being sexually abused, that would certainly explain the bedwetting, yes. But in itself it means nothing, because many children that age wet their bed pretty regularly.

  5. Patsy didn't write the letter with her left hand. She wrote it with her right FIST with the pen perpendicular to the paper.

    This is why the ransom note looks sloppier than Patsy's writings. But which lowercase letters in the ransom note don't match the manuscript alphabet, disregarding sloppiness.

    I'll save you the trouble. It's the "a" and the "q". Both mismatches agree to Patsy not John. John's irregular letter is "n", which does not match the ransom note.

    1. That's the strangest approach to handwriting comparison I've ever seen, Clint. Sorry, but I'm not impressed. First of all, how do you know the note was written with the right fist? Might have been, but is there some actual research behind this assertion? Or is this just your opinion -- based on what?

      And even if you can explain the many differences between the ransom note and Patsy's hand on the basis of deception, you could certainly do the same for anyone else as well, so what's the point?

      And sure, anyone can find isolated similarities between individual letters when comparing almost anyone's writing with the note, assuming they are using the "manuscript" style. Sure, once upon a time she penned a letter "q" that looks like the "q" in the note -- and someone found it. So what? Look at all the very striking similarities with John's writing -- to me that looks FAR more convincing. But if you simply must have Patsy with a noose around her neck, then what the Hell . . . anything goes.

    2. You don't think it's odd that Patsy never checked the entire house for J.B.? The note was found around 5:00a.m., yet J.B.'s body wasn't found until 1:00 p.m. What mother in the world would not tear that house apart looking for their daughter? I know Patsy was sick, but if there's a breath left in my body, I'm gonna find that child if she's in that house. A mother's love and protection for her daughter shouldn't be underestimated. This has always bothered me, and makes me highly skeptical of Patsy. Patsy also claimed that she never read the rest of the ransom note before calling 911. Very odd.

  6. When I first saw the ransom note, I immediately posted my thoughts regarding the handwriting on some investigation site. (Sorry can't remember which) I stated that I eat & write with my left hand, but use my right hand for everything else. If I write with my right hand, it looks similar to the note's letters. I was convinced that the person writing this note, switched hands! The misspellings are common mistakes, no matter how smart you are.
    My feeling was that her (jealous) brother accidentally killed her & the parents covered it up. They had enough time to have placed a stranger's semen and/or DNA at the scene. Everything points to them. Why, in the world, would a parent not thoroughly search the basement?

  7. I don't see who'd be that dumb, ignorant, and arrogant to write a ransom note in their own house, use their own stationary and pen, use their own handwriting, and then call the police and show it to them. That's just asking to get caught! I don't think Patsy or ANYONE in the Ramsay family wrote the letter or had anything to do with the crime.
    Who would be that dense and not think that the ransom note they're writing is surrounded with bills, grocery lists, letters, documents, checks, and other papers with their same handwriting on it? Out in the open for police to examine. That's something to consider.

    I think someone who knew the Ramsays were secretly watching them over time, studied Patsy's handwriting, and memorized it and tried framing her. If I looked at someone else's handwriting long enough I could forge it as well. Remember, dozens of people had keys and access to the family's home, so it could've been anyone. Plus there were 38 registered sex offenders within two miles of their home! The Ramsays didn't do it. That's my view. Someone who was a master manipulator and sociopath pulled this off...