As many of you know, I have been involved for years in an attempt to decipher the Ramey Memo. Many consider this the “smoking gun” which will prove that aliens have been visiting Earth. The problem is that the Memo is just beyond the range of our ability to read most of it. There have been various interpretations about what it says but there isn’t much in the way of consensus.
|Me on the left and Josh Gates on the right. All photos on the|
blog are copyright by Kevin Randle.
Last spring, I was contacted by the producers of Expedition Unknown starring Josh Gates. I have, over the last several years turned down opportunities to appear on various television shows, but this one had Josh Gates. I had been watching him since he had been doing Destination Truth on the Sci Fi Channel, now called Syfy for some reason that I don’t understand. (Well, maybe it was to move them from Science Fiction into some other realm so they could air programming that isn’t really Science Fiction.)
Expedition Unknown was going to do a segment on the Ramey Memo and asked for my help. My first thought was to tell them to call David Rudiak. I mentioned that David had spent years in his analysis of the Memo and would have some interesting insights into it. I told them that he had been to Fort Worth, to the Special Collections at the University of Texas at Arlington Library, in his attempts to read the Memo.
|Josh Gates and Brenda McClurkin in the cold vault|
reviewing the filing system for the negatives
I don’t know if they contacted him or not, but they did say they would like me to help them. I told them that Brenda McClurkin, at the library was the person they needed to contact. I think they might have already chatted with her about getting into see the original negative of General Ramey holding the Memo. I also mentioned that here was a document with a provenance that could be clearly established. I mean, Ramey is holding it in his hand and we have a documented date for the photograph.
The producers arranged for me to meet Josh Gates at UTA to review the Ramey Memo scenario. On the morning that we were to go to the Special Collections, I was in the lobby waiting for a ride and began talking with Michael Primeau, who had been hired for the forensic analysis of the Memo. He had used the latest of the scans, supplied by UTA, but that had been created by David Rudiak and another team as part of another attempt to clarify the message on the Memo. That had taken place about two years earlier.
|Josh Gates and Michael Primeau in the Library at the University of Texas, Arlington.|
While we chatted, Michael mentioned that he didn’t know anything about the context of the Memo, only that he was asked to determine what he could see. The thinking had been to avoid bias. Yes, context is important when attempting to validate a document, and certainly context can help provide clues about what a document said if the lettering was obscured in a fashion similar to that on the Memo. We had learned years ago that priming, that is, giving people a little information about the Memo did influence their interpretation of it. That influence wasn’t universal, but it was a factor.
|Cold Storage filing system in the basement of the library.|
We did tour the cold vault where the negative is kept. It is filed with somewhere between 4 and 5 million negatives, some of them going back to the beginnings of photography in the late 19th century. The cold is said to help preserve the negatives, especially those that are so old. People at the library had noticed that some of the older negatives were beginning to deteriorate, so the facility was created that should kept them in good shape for the next several centuries.
But, of course, the real interest was in what the negative had revealed on those earlier scans that had been made with Brenda and David contributing to the process. It had taken several days to get
those necessary scans in that earlier attempt,
and then Michael had subjected those scans to forensic analysis using his
equipment. I want to make it clear that this is what he does for a living and
has testified in various courts about his work and how his analyses had been
made and his professional interpretation of the results. He is one of those
expert witnesses that you often hear about.
|Entrance to the Special Collections at UTA.|
The critical word or phrase, the one that had been identified by many of those who have looked at the Memo, is “victims of the wreck.” Others, in the last few years have suggested the critical word, “victims,” is actually, “viewing.” The difference in the two is important because one implies a flight crew who would be the victims and the other suggests that officers at the scene had merely viewed the wreckage. You can read about this in earlier postings at:
(The problem is that this actually brings up several different articles about the Memo. To get to the specific article, just type “viewing the wreck,” into the search engine on the blog and that should narrow it down to the main article.)
This question, was it victims or viewing, was the one that interested me the most. True, Michael had clarified, to his satisfaction, other aspects of the Memo, much of it merely the mundane language you would expect in a military teletype message. But he was convinced that “viewing” was the correct word.
I add parenthetically, that I found the lack of military jargon in the Memo a little disturbing. I mean, I have seen documents so filled with jargon that they were nearly incomprehensible and others that contained little or no real jargon. I just mention this because it is one of many considerations.
While we were there in the Special Collections area of the library, sitting behind Michael’s computer and watching as he changed filters and manipulated the Memo with contrast and the like, I saw the word “viewing” clearly, but as he changed things, I could also see the word “victims.” Not overly helpful from my point of view and certainly not answering the question.
That seems to be where we are on this. I give the nod to “viewing,” simply because it seemed to be clearer on some of the filtered images. “Victims,” was often less clear, but then, there are those who believe they can make a case for it. It was interesting to watch as Michael took us through his analysis, it was interesting to see the cold vault where the negative is stored and it was nice to meet, in person, some of the people I had talked with and emailed over the years but in the end, we only moved a little closer to an answer about the content of the Memo which had been the point. Unfortunately, there just wasn’t a consensus on some of the critical words and we are left with the hope that at some near future date the technology will improve to the point where we can see, clearly, what the Memo says.