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View Full Version : Occam's Razor and the Ramsey Case



BrotherMoon
03-01-2004, 03:32 PM
It's all about a personal experience of the irrational side of human behavior known as the unconscious and the difficulties people have in relating to it as we struggle for maturity and consciousness. Studying dreams is probably the easiest and safest way to experience the unconscious. Participating in the creative process is a little more difficult and risky. Noting the spontaneous creativity of children and studying the products of their semi consciousness is very informative and then seeing the grand products of infantile retentive adults like Blake and Joyce along with their social disfunction is a good example of extreme positive and negative aspects of living closely with the unconscious. Studying serial killers is a good way to see people who are socially adapted to the point of being innocuous in their public life and terribly destructive in their private life. The point is the irrational behavior is not just a lack of rationality but it has a form and process and autonomous nature all it's own. A person can fall into it or can be over taken by it with tremendous positive or negative results. This is relevant to the Ramsey case in that there is form to what many people see as something that was based on an accident and the same form is to be found in the life of Patsy Paugh Ramsey well before the famous event.

twilight
03-01-2004, 04:29 PM
Brothermoon...you make some excellent points in your above post. Made me stop and think for a moment. There is a space where people go to write publishable - sometimes memorable - literature. That 'stream-of-consciousness' effect is hard to grab. You have to have a talent - trained or otherwise. The note has that quality.

If it appeared in a manuscript, written in a similar vein, it would probably get published -- oh, what am I talking about, it DID get published!! Not only was Patsy an accomplished author - publishable - but she would have us believe that John was as well. What a family! Was there anything they couldn't do?

And then there's BC trying to convince us that Burke, too, was publishable!! ~sigh~ Must be genetic.

I collect fake ransom notes. I just ask people to jot them down for me. They are interesting, but they don't capture that 'stream-of-consciousness' thing that I always hope for. And most of the people I'm asking are pretty literate, but alas, do not exhibit extensive free form fantasy writing skills.

If you disagree posters, I'd invite you to construct your own note using movies as your guide. Minimum length 30 sentences. You'll get a feel for how difficult this process is, although I suspect there are quite a few here who could do a credible publishable job of it. One for sure.

Yes, this is off topic, but so are 99.9% of these posts. So, what the hey...!!

vicktor
03-02-2004, 01:27 AM
[I]
visit schizophrenics--don't know any formally diagnosed ones


Now what is all this supposed to do for me in relation to this case?


I was once formally diagnosed as one, but I'm normally and currently not.

BlueCrab
03-02-2004, 08:34 AM
And then there's BC trying to convince us that Burke, too, was publishable!! ~sigh~ Must be genetic.


He certainly didn't follow Occam's Razor principles when and if he wrote it (three pages of gibberish nonsense based on action movies), but Burke could indeed have been the "writer" of the ransom note.

IMO Burke's handwriting matches the writing in the ransom note closer than does Patsy's handwriting. The authorities won't release the results of Burke's handwriting analyses but, from the few samples that I've seen, Burke could have been the "scribe" as another person dictated much of the text.

This theory was inadvertently supported by Darnay Hoffman's handwriting examiners in the Wolf v Ramsey lawsuit when in 1997 the examiners used exemplars they were mistakenly told were Patsy's but, IMO, were actually Burke's. Their conclusion after examining the exemplars: the person who wrote the exemplars also wrote the ransom note.

JMO

Shylock
03-02-2004, 09:14 AM
This theory was inadvertently supported by Darnay Hoffman's handwriting examiners in the Wolf v Ramsey lawsuit when in 1997 the examiners used exemplars they were mistakenly told were Patsy's but, IMO, were actually Burke's. Their conclusion after examining the exemplars: the person who wrote the exemplars also wrote the ransom note.

Most of Hoffman's examplars came from cards and notes Patsy wrote, as well as pageant applications. I seriously doubt Burke would have been entering JonBenet in any contests. :)

I also don't believe the note was based on movie lines. None of the lines in it are exact quotes. The closest one is the "grow a brain" line, and that's a common expression. I think if you took any short note and looked hard enough you would be able to find movie lines that match it, (at least as closely as how people claim the Ramsey ransom note matches.)

BlueCrab
03-02-2004, 09:41 AM
Most of Hoffman's examplars came from cards and notes Patsy wrote, as well as pageant applications. I seriously doubt Burke would have been entering JonBenet in any contests. :)

I also don't believe the note was based on movie lines. None of the lines in it are exact quotes. The closest one is the "grow a brain" line, and that's a common expression. I think if you took any short note and looked hard enough you would be able to find movie lines that match it, (at least as closely as how people claim the Ramsey ransom note matches.)


Shylock,

All of Hoffman's examiners used the captions from Burke's personal photo album and, IMO, those captions were definitely written by Burke, not Patsy.

Four of Tom Miller's seven exemplars he used were from Burke's photo album.

Six of Cina Wong's eight exemplars she used were from Burke's photo album.

It must also be remembered that Burke was taught to read and write by his mother and therefore the two of them would use similar verbiage and display similar handwriting characteristics.

Also, please remember that when Patsy was asked who wrote the captions in Burke's photo album, Patsy "didn't remember" who wrote them.

JMO

WolfmarsGirl
03-02-2004, 12:51 PM
...All of Hoffman's examiners used the captions from Burke's personal photo album and, IMO, those captions were definitely written by Burke, not Patsy....JMO

BC,

I have to disagree with you here (what's new, right? :))

I remember reading about the photo album some time ago. Maybe I saw some of the captions. I am not sure.

Anyway, I think the captions included statements like ,"this is me on my first birthday..." and "this is me the day my parents brought me home from the hospital..."

Sorry, but I really don't see a nine-year-old boy writing captions like that in his own album. Boys that age could really care less about the cute little baby that they used to be...

Unless Patsy gave him the album with the instruction, "Now, make sure to write captions for the pictures...," I don't think he would have taken the time.

Look at it from a child's perspective: Burke knew who the photos were of and what was happening in them. Why should he care if future photo viewers knew what was in the pics? Little boys have far better things to do with their time than label pictures.

It would be way to cutesy and, well, just plain weird, for a boy that age to caption the photos.

Patsy wrote the captions.

twilight
03-02-2004, 01:35 PM
I also don't believe the note was based on movie lines. None of the lines in it are exact quotes. The closest one is the "grow a brain" line, and that's a common expression. I think if you took any short note and looked hard enough you would be able to find movie lines that match it, (at least as closely as how people claim the Ramsey ransom note matches.)

Ah, but it was. Lexical analysis will show you that. And it's very clear. Course, ya have t' know how to do lexical analysis. But it's quite scientific and very replicable. And no, if you take other notes you do not get the same results. You'll have to trust me on this one. I've done it. Many, many, many times.

The trick is to look for themes rather than direct word matches. The language belongs to the register (words used in a ransom note). How you use it belongs to the author (words used to create a theme).

To make an identifiable ransom note (register), you must tell the recipient:

1) who you took
2) what you want
3) why they should comply

It's ... who you are ... that is problematic in the ransom note. Doesn't happen. So, you have to ask: Why did it happen here?

Answer: It gives the police someone outside the home to chase. Duh!

Lexical analysis will reveal movie themes around 3) why they should comply, and that extra bit, who you are.

Shylock
03-02-2004, 08:06 PM
Lexical analysis will reveal movie themes around 3) why they should comply, and that extra bit, who you are.

Twilight, I don't know jack about "Lexical analysis", but let me tell you about "Common Sense analysis".

Go up to ANY person on the street, ask them to write a fake ransom note, and 99% of the time what they write will closely match something that was said somewhere in a kidnapping movie. Why?--because there are only so many things you can say IN or ABOUT a ransom situation. And all those scenerios have been covered over the many years that movies have been depicting the same situations.

Consider this: Ask a person to write down what they would say to their co-pilot if they were the pilot of an airplane about to crash. Then compare what they wrote to all the lines in movies where there is an airplane crash. I'll bet you will be surprised how many of the lines would be very similar in context.

Let's call it "Human nature/response in a limited or controlled situation"...

BlueCrab
03-02-2004, 10:01 PM
I don't think it's very difficult to recognize that the writer of the ransom note was likely influenced by action movies. For instance:

From "DIRTY HARRY" --

o "if I even think you're being followed, the girl dies."

o " I don't care if it's a girl Pekinese pissing against a lamppost, the girl dies."

o "that's the end of the game. The girl dies."

o "Now listen to me carefully."

o "It sounds like you had a good rest. You'll need it."

From "RANSOM" --

o "Do not involve the police or the FBI. If you do, I will kill him."

o "No tracking devices in the money or the cases or I will kill him."

From "SPEED" --

o "Do not attempt to grow a brain."


JMO

Shylock
03-03-2004, 09:45 AM
Thanks for posting those, BlueCrab. I still see those lines as just coinsidence. The ones from "Ransom" are really a stretch. I'm actually surprised nobody ever came up with a movie containing a political kidnapping where some urban guerilla shouts "victory!". Surely one must exist.

I know the intruder theorists like to point to the supposed movie lines and claim none of the three Ramseys were avid movie buffs. But they've always been at a loss to explain why an intruder who was so into kidnap movies that he could quote lines from them, would go to all the trouble of writing a 3-page ransom note with movie lines, then not even attempt to complete the kidnapping phase of the crime.

BlueCrab
03-03-2004, 10:23 AM
I know the intruder theorists like to point to the supposed movie lines and claim none of the three Ramseys were avid movie buffs.

The Ramseys definitely watched movies at home. In fact, it appears Burke preferred to watch movies in his room at the exclusion of everything else on TV. For instance, here's John Ramsey being interviewed by Tom Trujillo in 1997:

TT: "I know we talked earlier about Burke liking watching TV movies. Does his TV come in real clearly as far as regular TV stations go, or is it just more for movies?"

JR: "It's more for movies. In fact, I'm not even sure the TV was in his room that night, I don't know, I don't recall. But it's not hooked up to cable or anything."

If the TV wasn't hooked up to cable or anything, then Burke could watch only movies on it. It looks like Burke was the movie buff of the family.

JMO

Shylock
03-03-2004, 11:10 AM
If the TV wasn't hooked up to cable or anything, then Burke could watch only movies on it. It looks like Burke was the movie buff of the family.
Burke's TV was also used to play video games. I believe LHP said something about Burke spending most of his time in his room playing video games.

Brefie
03-03-2004, 01:01 PM
I could be wrong but just because his TV wasn't hooked up to cable doesn't mean that he couldn't get network channels with the help of 'bunny ears'.
That's what we did before we got cable in the bedroom.

TLynn
03-03-2004, 01:18 PM
I also believe the Ramseys had a big movie screen in their bedroom.

twilight
03-03-2004, 05:12 PM
Twilight, I don't know jack about "Lexical analysis", but let me tell you about "Common Sense analysis".

Go up to ANY person on the street, ask them to write a fake ransom note, and 99% of the time what they write will closely match something that was said somewhere in a kidnapping movie. Why?--because there are only so many things you can say IN or ABOUT a ransom situation. And all those scenerios have been covered over the many years that movies have been depicting the same situations.

Consider this: Ask a person to write down what they would say to their co-pilot if they were the pilot of an airplane about to crash. Then compare what they wrote to all the lines in movies where there is an airplane crash. I'll bet you will be surprised how many of the lines would be very similar in context.

Let's call it "Human nature/response in a limited or controlled situation"...

Let me tell you about "Common Sense analysis" - I have gone up to strangers on the street, well not quite on the street, but you would be surprised to know that in my entire, extensive, and still growing 'fake' ransom note collection there are no references to movies.

They all do the same thing - We/I've got/kidnapped/abducted/taken _________. THE VICTIM IS ALIVE. We/I want money. (some have great detail) others say they will phone. There is a threat to either the victim, or the note recipient. There are no references to 'dog', 'cat's', 'foreign factions', 'beheading', 'proper burial', 'countermeasures and tactics', 'scrutiny', electronic devices', 'businesses', 'countries', and none are signed 'Victory', or 'S.B.T.C' or any version thereof. Most are not signed at all - why would they be?

The above words do not belong to the register of ransom notes. They belong to the register of movies. Here's the words that belong to the register of ransom notes: have -- get -- or else. Not very exciting, are they? Takes a special talent to jazz them up and make them exciting.

Let me tell you something else about linguistic analysis - Jayelle where are you - A while ago I discussed a word with Jayelle in a private message because it had nothing whatsoever to do with this forum, but is more common in her neck of the woods. The word was 'whilst' and I wanted to know about usuage where she is, and she very nicely answered me. I added that info to my collection. In the process, I told Jayelle, just like I had told others, that the word was never, ever, ever, used here. Well, last week, while cleaning up some old papers, and glancing through them to see exactly what they were, imagine my horror and disbelief when I discovered that right there on the black and white page was my use of 'whilst' ahhhhhhhhggggggggg!!!

So, it is not possible to make determinations about the English language based on your own personal opinions without doing the actual data research. So, when you say go collect notes, believe me - I have and will continue to do so.

Shylock
03-03-2004, 05:41 PM
There are no references to 'dog', 'cat's', 'foreign factions', 'beheading', 'proper burial', 'countermeasures and tactics', 'scrutiny', electronic devices', 'businesses', 'countries', and none are signed 'Victory', or 'S.B.T.C' or any version thereof. Most are not signed at all - why would they be?
The above words do not belong to the register of ransom notes.

Twilight, are you missing the obvious problem? You say you "collect ransom notes". However, THIS IS NOT A RANSOM NOTE. There was NO kidnapping involved here. There was no INTENT to kidnap here. This was a killing with a FAKE ransom note left ONLY to point the crime outside the house. So all your comparisons to any historical ransom notes or kidnap situations are null, void, pffft...out the window.
Just how many FAKE ransom notes are you comparing the Ramsey note to?

I think the "movie aspect" of the Ramsey ransom note exists only in people's imagination. Face it, if the killer had left a grocery list on the Ramsey staircase, many of the same people would be arguing that the killer was a TV buff who watched cooking shows. Why?--because some of the items on the grocery list appear in recipes that were broadcast on The Cooking Channel.
(And I have no doubt that you Twilight, would probably be doing "Lexical analysis" on that grocery list, collecting recipes, and love'n every minute of it!. :waitasec: )

IMO/JMO

vicktor
03-04-2004, 01:42 AM
But they've always been at a loss to explain why an intruder who was so into kidnap movies that he could quote lines from them, would go to all the trouble of writing a 3-page ransom note with movie lines, then not even attempt to complete the kidnapping phase of the crime.

Some crimes are business or economically oriented. The perp is doing it to satisfy some goal or to gain financially. Others are the perp's giving himself some fun, outwitting the police( cops and robbers), indulging in some illegal activity while risking being discovered, having his way with-abusing-controlling another person who is helpless, etc. Kidnapping could easily have been on his wish list. But maybe the reality was that he had no transportation to take her away, or lived somewhere where she would be noticable to others, or had nowhere to take her, or knew his chances of pulling off that much would be poor and not worth the risk. The note was part of the fantasy. In "Dirty Harry" the deranged perp kidnaps an 8 year old girl, then taunts the police. He tortures the girl and continues to taunt the police. When finally found, she had died from suffocation. Looks like the note and events of that night are pretty true to the movie.

Nehemiah
03-04-2004, 09:48 AM
So, it is not possible to make determinations about the English language based on your own personal opinions without doing the actual data research. So, when you say go collect notes, believe me - I have and will continue to do so.

Are you actually capturing data for research purposes, or for your own comparisons?

IMO

Toltec
03-04-2004, 01:38 PM
BC,

I have to disagree with you here (what's new, right? :))

I remember reading about the photo album some time ago. Maybe I saw some of the captions. I am not sure.

Anyway, I think the captions included statements like ,"this is me on my first birthday..." and "this is me the day my parents brought me home from the hospital..."

Sorry, but I really don't see a nine-year-old boy writing captions like that in his own album. Boys that age could really care less about the cute little baby that they used to be...

Unless Patsy gave him the album with the instruction, "Now, make sure to write captions for the pictures...," I don't think he would have taken the time.

Look at it from a child's perspective: Burke knew who the photos were of and what was happening in them. Why should he care if future photo viewers knew what was in the pics? Little boys have far better things to do with their time than label pictures.

It would be way to cutesy and, well, just plain weird, for a boy that age to caption the photos.

Patsy wrote the captions.

Exactly. Nine year old boys do not write on photo albums with the exception of drawing mustaches and beards on the faces. I remember my son drew mustaches on every photo in the great room.

Nobody but Patsy wrote the captions on the photo albums.

Can anyone explain what frame of mind Patsy was in when she said that God spoke to her about how she of all the people in the world needed Christmas? Does God engage in conversations about Barbies and pretty dresses?