Download text version in Microsoft Word rich text format (.rtf file)
Full page line-by-line reconstruction,
Paragraph line-by-line reconstruction, high resolution
Ramey's message in ordinary text, color coded for confidence level and visibility. rtf file should be readable with both Mac and PC word processors.
Updated June 2009 reading
A full page reconstruction (50% resolution), showing overall layout of message, including address header and possible stamps at top and bottom of page. Handwriting at bottom also shown. Lines of text are separated with printed interpretation directly below. (Copyrighted)
A high-resolution reconstruction of the main body of the message consisting of two paragraphs, the signature line, and some handwriting underneath. From scanned ~18x blow-up prints scanned at 600 dpi. Lines of text are again separated with printed interpretation below. Printed letters use actual period teletype font scanned from period teletype messages. (Copyrighted)
[Note: Total of images is over 1 MByte -- slower connections expect long download times.]
Because of vertical compression of letters from page tilt, print scanned at 1200 dpi vertically, 600 dpi horizontally, to stretch letters vertically. Some letters along right side are hidden from view by a fold in the paper. Duplicate image at right with message letters outlined in red. Interpretation below each line is in true teletype font. Because header is in shadow and tilted away from camera, it is unusually difficult to read, and this interpretation will no doubt be controversial. Keyword is "VANDENBERG", indicating addressee was Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg at the Pentagon ("HQ AAF"), acting Army Air Force Chief of Staff. The "V" and "A" at the beginning are actually quite clear for this word. Header also indicates message was from 8th AAF headquarters, or Gen. Ramey's command. (Copyrighted)
A closer look at the keyword "VANDENBERG" in the address header. Lettering beneath has been placed in perspective to try to replicate perspective distortion caused by paper tilt. Image lettering has been stretched 2X in the vertical direction. The "V" and "A" at the beginning of the word are quite clear, but the less-distinct letters will undoubtedly be questioned. (Copyrighted)
TOP SECRET stamp
This I believe is a faint security stamp along the lower left margin of the page partly hidden in shadow. Most letters are not very distinct, but the "S", "R", and "T" in SECRET are reasonably clear. Duplicate image on top outlines the suspected letters in red. Expected second security stamp at top of page may not be visible because of paper curvature (upper left), page tilt, and shadowing. (Copyrighted)
Address header, high resolution
A close look at the two key phrases in the message with the words "VICTIMS" and "DISC" which disprove any balloon theory. Real teletype font is used for comparison. (Copyrighted)
2002: poll added. View the image and then vote on whether words are really there.
A high-resolution scan of the entire Ramey message. How believable is Air Force counterintelligence's claim that literally nothing could be read here?
What I believe is a faint time stamp, vertical in orientation, in the top left margin adjacent to the address header. Certainly controversial. The transmit time would be minutes before Gen. Vandenberg returned to his office after being out for an hour dealing with the Roswell press feeding frenzy in the Pentagon press room. (Copyrighted)
New! An analysis I have done of an outdoors shadow visible through a crack in Ramey's curtains also suggests a time of about 5:15 p.m. (or 17:15 military time), probably accurate to 15 minutes. Other evidence based on news story timing and testimony suggests a photograph time of around 5:30, or maybe a little before.
Updated June 2009: A closer look at the keyword "VICTIMS" and alternative proposed words "REMAINS", "FINDING", and "VIEWING". Real teletype font is again used. You decide which is the better choice for the word, but the first letter doesn't look anything like an "R" or "F" to my eye.
June 2009: Updated reading and higher resolution graphic
Selecting "Victims" by context
New! An illustration of how a on-line dictionary search engine turns up only 10 possible hits in the English language in a broad search with 4 of the 7 most likely letters in the word. Only "VICTIMS" makes sense in context. Context can be used to reject spurious matches. A strongly linguistic approach (letter counts, proper spelling, proper grammar, sensibility, and historical context) is needed to read the noisy and otherwise often ambiguous letters and words. This is standard cryptographic practice.
June 2009: Updated reading
New 2009! Graphic showing column allignment, used for accurately and objectively determining word letter counts and one of keys to reading message. Includes discussion of disputed words from various readers where letter counts are wrong.
Ramey message, high-resolution scan
Word letter counts by column allignment
A word completion puzzle illustrating how good we tend to be at reconstructing words from fragmentary information and how helpful a little bit of context can be. Our deep linguistic knowledge makes this possible. Of course this is directly relevant to skeptical arguments that nothing at all can be read in the noisy Ramey memo. You may want to try the puzzle just for fun. Link added 2009