Sunday, October 29, 2017

Josh Gates, the Ramey Memo and Me

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
kept there.
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
Entrance to the Special Collections at UTA.
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.

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. 


Lance said...

Very interesting Kevin. You mention other text that was apparently recovered but don't detail that. Did any of it match David's nonsensical plain text.

David should be left out of any scientific look into the memo as he has already stridently voiced his false conclusion that he has PROVEN the text of the memo. That kind of poor scholarship is part of what makes the UFO narrative (as presented by the buffs) laughable.


Tim Printy said...

Will there be a listing of how the entire memo reads anytime soon? I, for one, would be interested in what this independent expert has determined.

couldbebetter said...

Tim, May I suggest that you do a Google image search for : Ramey Roswell Memo, and read it for yourself. Regardless of how you read certain words either you believe that it could refer to an alien craft or it doesn't. That part is up to the reader.

Tim Printy said...

Kevin indicated he had read some, most, or all of the memo. I was curious as to how his readings compared to the others (which I am quite familiar with).

KRandle said...

Tim -

There were areas of agreement, especially with the words that are easily identified. The key phrase, that is, "victims of the wreck" was not established by Michael. He was convinced that it was "viewing," which, of course does change some of the context. In his reading of the Memo there was no smoking gun... it was all, fairly mundane.

Nick Redfern said...

The one thing that intrigues me about all this is actually not the word "victims" or "viewing," but the word "wreck."

To me, at least, it seems strange that such a word would have been used to describe what the military was assuring the media was just a flimsy weather-balloon.

It’s equally odd terminology to use for a Mogul balloon array – the theory the Air Force came up with in 1994. Because it was just balloon materials.

For me, “Wreck” implies something pretty physically substantial that has been significantly damaged, rather than the torn and scattered remains of a balloon, whether large or small.

Of course, others may interpret "wreck" as anything that is damaged.

Don Maor said...

"The viewing of the wreck" has no sense at all.

cda said...

Look at it another way. Those hardline ETHers who insist the memo proves an ET visit will, presumably, claim that this memo has been preserved along with the myriad of other documents that must have ensued (i.e. reports of the military and of scientists, of the analysis of wreckage & bodies, plus of umpteen secret committees, etc.) on the affair.

Therefore, is it not obvious that there is a library somewhere containing all this top secret stuff, including the Ramey memo that started it all?

Hence if the ETHers are right, the memo is a highly important source document and ought to still be around, somewhere. But where? Library of Congress maybe? Or is it STILL classified?!

KRandle said...

Don -

"Viewing the wreck," does make sense as in "The officers viewing the wreck determined..."
Besides, in this latest analysis, the phrase was not "viewing the wreck." The third word (wreck) wasn't seen and the first letter of that word might have been a "G" or a "C." The point, however, is that there is not a consensus opinion about the words in that first line.

Lance said...

"The viewing of the wreck" has no sense at all."

As usual, just assertions made solely due to belief.

I wonder if "viewing of the wreck" made sense to the folks who wrote these completely unrelated usages of the phrase:

"We were treated to a rare viewing of the wreck of a wooden boat that was supposedly sunk in 1861"

"This afternoon members of the media had their first official viewing of the wreck since it broke into two pieces two weeks ago."

"platform has been built to allow the safe viewing of the wreck"

UFO buffs do themselves no favors by blurting out assertions that are so easily shown to be spurious. But when the facts aren't on your side AND you have a deep religious belief that needs to be assuaged, I guess you go with what you have.


Count Otto Black said...

Of course, none of this endless flogging of a horse so dead it's practically an eohippus matters in the slightest. For starters, nobody will ever really know what that memo says because there's a finite amount of information in a photographic negative, and no degree of computer enhancement can ever magically create more content than already exists. Maybe the disputed phrase is actually "victims of the warlock" and there's a black magic subplot we never suspected?

Hey, at the end of that movie, the Wizard of Oz was last seen leaving for the USA in a balloon - maybe that's what crashed at Roswell, and the diminutive bodies were oompa-loompas! Why not? If after 70 years the nearest anyone can get to a "smoking gun" is a blurred photo of a few ambiguous words nobody can quite make out and probably never will, it's as plausible an explanation as space aliens. It's also just about the only totally ridiculous theory about this and related matters that Nick Redfern hasn't written a non-fiction book about yet, so one of these days I expect he'll have to.

But the real elephant in the room is this. If the document in Gen. Ramey's hand contains even a hint of what is literally the biggest secret ever, why is he casually holding it in plain sight while giving a press conference and posing for photos? How absent-minded or downright stupid would he have to be not to even bother putting it in his pocket while encouraging a roomful of professionally inquisitive people who may be equipped with telephoto lenses to take pictures of him?

Unless the general was a complete moron, the only plausible explanation is the common sense one that he took that memo into the press conference to refer to if he forgot any of the details of what he was supposed to say, therefore Gen. Ramey revealed everything important the memo contained way back in 1947. Case closed.

Don Maor said...

Lance and Kevin,

The complete clause would need to be "THE viewing of the wreck" not just "viewing of the wreck". So "THE viewing of" looks pretty strange here. "The victims of the" is much more reasonable, as "victims" is a decent noun.

Don Maor said...

Just for the sake of comparing the relative usage of clauses, I have just searched in google for different sentences with the following results

"the view of" has 198,000,000 results

"the review of" has 75,600,000 results

"the viewing of" 545.000 results (no even reaching the million, HAHAHA!)

"the victims of" has 48,600,000 results


Mr. Sweepy said...

On the Ramey memo, the total focus has been on what is the contents in his hand. That's fair. But you touched based on a interesting subject Kevin. That is what else could the memo have been and what else should be on the memo? In other words are there other documents that Ramey had about other subjects that could be compared to as a sample?

Another way to ask the question is there other documents that the headers, markings, jargon and typing styles that is on to compare with?

Anthony Mugan said...

Is there a write up of the detailed methods and results available anywhere (or planned)? It would be interesting if I stacks up to scrutiny.

Nick Redfern said...

COB: If you have things to say about me, try using your real name. When someone uses an alias it always comes across as the person being weak - frightened to use their real name.

cda said...

Count Otto:

Alas, case not closed (not quite). A decade or so ago I raised the very point you make in your 3rd paragraph. I was shot down by at least one pro-ETHer (David Rudiak) who told of two other instances of supposedly 'top secret' papers being accidentally exposed to the cameras.

So Gen. Ramey may well have been "a complete moron", but he kept silent, never revealed the truth and took the secret of perhaps the greatest scientific discovery of all time to his grave. [At least that is the ETHers version of things].

KRandle said...

CDA and Otto -

I'll make two relevant comments here. First, Ramey would have been in the office with his aide who would have had a responsibility to make sure that the classified material was properly stored especially if there was going to be a reporter in the room with a reporter. Had Ramey held a classified document in his hand, his aide, Captain Showalter would have said something to him... not to mention the fact the David's examples did not include general officers making such an error. Civilians at the top seem to have a more cavalier attitude told classified material.

Second, what is often ignored is J. Bond Johnson's claim that he brought the document into the office with him. If true, then it is a newspaper teletype that would refer to the events in Roswell (which would be the only reason Johnson had it) and it would therefore be unclassified. Johnson later repudiated the claim saying that he had picked the document off Ramey's desk so that he would have something in his hand for the photograph. Ramey's aide, if not Ramey himself would have stopped Johnson from grabbing something off the desk.

Nitram said...


You have "stolen" my byline... well, I will let you off this time.


Nitram said...

Hi Kevin

You wrote"

"David's examples did not include general officers making such an error."

To be fair to DR, he did email us (KR and I) sometime ago about this...

Photographic examples:

March 28, 1965: McGeorge Bundy, Pres. Johnson's National Security Advisor, carelessly allowed a top secret document to be photographed by the New York Times while he was being interviewed at the White House.
This was published on the front page of their Sunday magazine 3/28/65, and apparently the very top-secret code name (DONAR) was very readable even in newsprint. Either the CIA or FBI noticed the security slip, showed up at the NY Times, and confiscated the negative and prints. At considerable expense, all the documents with that code name were redone with a new code name. Bundy's desk was also photographed covered with papers, some of them no doubt sensitive and probably readable on negative. Attached are microfilm photos showing McBundy with document face out and no cover page, a comparison of how Ramey's memo appeared in the newspapers compared to McBundy's document (which was many times larger, thus readable), and McBundy at his desk, covered with other documents.

April 9, 2009: The UK's head of counter-terrorism, Bob Quick, emerging from his car for a briefing at 10 Downing Street, had a document tucked under his arm, flat and facing outward, no cover page, showing details of a major counter-terrorism operation, classification SECRET. A photographer with a telephoto took a photo where nearly everything could easily be read. A redacted version was all over the Internet within a few hours. Attached photos showing Quick holding document and a
blow-up of the highly legible document. Some stories:

Old examples (non-photographic) from Gen. Ramey's time:

April 1944: Gen. George Miller, supply officer for the 4th Army, blabbed at a cocktail party about how D-Day was going to be in early June, breaking incredibly strict security imposed by Eisenhower on the subject. (E.g., entire villages near bases were evacuated to help prevent the date and place of the invasion from leaking out.) Although an old friend and West Point classmate of Eisenhower's, Eisenhower demoted Miller and sent him packing.

A high Naval officer the following month went to a pub and did the same thing, topping Miller's indiscretion by also disclosing the landing site and critical logistics.

Jan 1950: At the White House, Sec. of Defense Lewis Johnson blurted out to political columnist/radio commentator Drew Pearson about development of the H-bomb. By the next day, Pearson made it headline news around the world.

I agree with Kevin that Civilians at the top seem to have a more cavalier attitude toward classified material - but everyone, including people who have served in the military, make mistakes.

Regards Nitram

Nitram said...

Lance negatively wrote

"David should be left out of any scientific look into the memo as he has already stridently voiced his false conclusion that he has PROVEN the text of the memo."

Maybe you can give him a break Lance...

We should be grateful for the work that David and others have done in their efforts to read the memo. Rather than knock him for this, we should be encouraging him and others for their work to date. Most of us who know David personally, understand that he is a "more than a little bit rigid" in his views...

The work on the memo is ongoing... nobody working on this is being paid a salary to do so!

Of course we know that Roswell was NOT an ET event, but we don't have a sensible solution either...

I consider it "quite likely", that, if we were one day, able to read the memo, we might have an answer to what really happened in Roswell in July 1947...


Terry the Censor said...

> If you have things to say about me, try using your real name.

That has long been a tiresome evasion of criticism, Nick. Do you really think it works?

We live in a world of online harassment, ID theft, doxing, swatting (see link at very bottom), and, perhaps worst of all...employers check out our social media accounts! So we should be fine with people using handles to state mere opinions. (It's another thing if someone uses an alias to make claims that need to be verified.)

Keep in mind, a few years ago Anthony Bragalia did background checks on and made threats to people who disagreed with him on UFO blogs. People using their legal names, not people using aliases. That happened (see first link, and my comment there).

Running Background Checks on Bloggers and Commentators: Ethical or not?

Men Who Sent Swat Team, Heroin to My Home Sentenced