Vassar Professor Donald Foster
My comment - that is evidence of telling the FBI just PART of the truth - in an effort to make them lean BORG. There simply can't be another explanation for it.
Q. I want to go back. I told you I would do it, let's do it now. Look at page 281 of your book,
please, the hardback copy. The top of the page, the first actually it starts with "Don Foster from
Vassar." Do you see it?
A. Yes.
Q. The first paragraph there under that starts "'In my opinion, it is not possible that any individual
except Patsy Ramsey wrote the ransom note.'" Have I read that correctly?
A. Yes.
Q. Earlier we were talking about whose words. Don Foster stated that it was impossible for
anyone else to have written the note except Patsy Ramsey, true?
A. This is his statement, yes, sir.
Q. It was not -- and so I was accurate earlier, that he said to you it's impossible that anyone else
wrote it?
A. Well, when I asked about your earlier quotation, I don't think you said this verbatim. But --
Q. Fine. But he did tell you it was impossible, didn't he, it was not possible, which is saying to you
as a detective, it's impossible that anyone else wrote it according to Don Foster, right?
A. Yes, that was the conclusion that he shared with me, Mr. Wood.
Q. But when you worked with him, and you worked with him a lot, didn't you? You all spent a
considerable amount of time discussing this case, didn't you, you and Don Foster?
A. When you say considerable amount of time, you know, no, I didn't spend weeks or days with
Don Foster, but he was an outside expert that we used in this case, yes.
Q. At any time did Don Foster, himself, ever disclose to you that he had written a letter to Patsy
A. Yeah, I became aware of that at some point.
Q. After the district attorney's office presented you with the information about Jameson, true?
A. I believe that's correct.
Q. Did Don Foster when you were working with him for whatever period of time you spent with
him, when he was giving you his conclusions about the JonBenet Ramsey case and the impossibility
that anybody else wrote that note except Patsy Ramsey, did he ever look at you and say, you know,
you probably ought to know, though, that I did write a letter to Patsy Ramsey where I told her that I
was convinced that she was innocent? He never told you that, did he?
A. We had that conversation at some point.
Q. After he had already been outed by the Boulder DA, true?
A. Possibly.
Q. Do you think you had it before then and didn't disclose it to your police department in the
A. No, that sounds reasonable.
Q. You would have if you would have known it, you would have told the police department about
that in the June presentation, wouldn't you, sir?
A. Right.
Q. Well, actually the presentation with Foster was in March, wasn't it?
A. If we're talking about 1998.
Q. We are.
A. It was the spring of 1998.

My comments, written 13 years ago, in 2003 -
But I think a lot of it was Thomas' own fault - - he didn't seem to be open to anything not BORG - - we know from his own book that when Foster brought up Hunter and other suspects he was told to stay on track, ignore all that. Even later, when Thomas did become aware of the letters and all - - he didn't look beyond the first page?
I was in Boulder the first time I saw his letter to Patsy - - I was allowed to hold a copy, read it - - but not to take notes or make a copy - - and I read every word. I don't understand how Thomas could stop at page one - - except he just didn't want to know.
an old post by a present poster

unregistered user
May-24-03, 10:55 AM (EST)
12. "Truly incredible......"
In response to message #11
Who else did Foster compare the note to? His past experience has been comparing known writings to other writings, to see simiarities in grammar, words, and phrases. He had a lot of prose to compare--in other words, large samples. Even we figured out who the leak was to Vanity Fair, by comaring direct quotes in the article, to statements ST made in his book and on TV---and that was without any handydandy computers doing the work for us.
The Animal House reference is ridiculous. So is the fact that you can't write what you don't know, and there were specific references to movie lines from extortion type movies, that the Ramseys did not watch. If Foster was truly using linquistics, then the screenwriters from at least Speed and Dirty Harry should have been suspects.
Remember in the Dowaliby case, where the police actually got a credible doctor from a credible institution to say the son had bruises and evidence of assault? And as a result he was taken out of the home? Fortunately there were photos of the son WITHOUT bruises that were taken....which made the doctor's story unravel. Turns out she was influenced by the detectives who said without a doubt they had evidence the parents murdered Jacqueline......lo and behold the doctor then came up with the bogus assessment of the son, to get him out of the house.
It's quite evident, IMO, ST was shopping for witnesses to support his theory---and we all know you'll find one. What's incredible is he actually presented this and thought this was "evidence."
unregistered user
May-24-03, 04:01 PM (EST)
15. "Excerpt from the letter"
In response to message #0
as reported in the Denver Post:
Letter to Patsy Ramsey
Excerpts of Vassar College professor and handwriting expert Donald Foster's June 18, 1997, letter to Patsy Ramsey:
• "I am terribly sorry for your irremediable loss. JonBenet was a remarkably charming and talented little girl, and I believe that you were an ideal mother, wise, protective, caring, truly devoted."
• "I know that you are innocent -- know it, absolutely and unequivocally. I would stake my professional reputation on it -- indeed, my faith in humanity."
• "I know that you are innocent. It has become obvious to me that you loved JonBenet very much, and that you always will, and that you would never harm her, even when angry. But those two interviews, and some of the advice given to you by your attorneys, certainly harmed you, damaging your reputation in ways that you could not have anticipated. You can be vindicated. You will be vindicated.
"I have also looked closely at police disclosures concerning the unpublished ransom note. My study of the incomplete transcript leads me to believe that you did not write it, and that police are wasting their time by trying to prove that you did. Unless police have misreported the note, it appears to have been written by a young adult with an adolescent imagination overheated by true crime literature and Hollywood literature, and by someone having prior issues with you and your husband. The near universal belief among ordinary Americans -- a view encouraged by police behavior -- is that you wrote the letter to protect the person who murdered your daughter. I find that impossible to believe."
• "I do not wish to intrude where my counsel is not wanted, but I am ready to assist you. At the very least, I think I can exonerate you from a presumption of guilt with respect to the ransom note. I may also be able to assist you in seeking justice for JonBenet. I do not want any money from you, now or never. I just want to stop this person from killing again, and to exonerate those who are innocent."

• "My only request is that you keep our exchange absolutely private. I don't know whom I can trust -- but I do feel quite sure that you were sincere when you said that you wish to expose the killer. In fact, I already have a pretty well-formed opinion about who killed your daughter and where he is hiding out."

April 11, 2000

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Charter Member
11546 posts
May-24-03, 11:39 PM (EST)
16. "RE: Excerpt from the letter"
In response to message #15
"My only request is that you keep our exchange absolutely private. I don't know whom I can trust --
but I do feel quite sure that you were sincere when you said that you wish to expose the killer. In
fact, I already have a pretty well-formed opinion about who killed your daughter and where he is hiding
April 11, 2000
He was accusing John Andrew - and he thought John Andrew was hiding in NC and posting as jameson. What an ass.
Just for comic relief, this is also on that old thread

unregistered user
May-25-03, 01:28 PM (EST)
18. "RE: Excerpt from the letter"
In response to message #16
This ass is very well-kown and respected professor. You are publicy known as a Code6 Wignut.

My comment - I assume the poster meant to say Foster WAS a well-known and respected professor. After being discredited as he was, not only in Ramsey but in Shakespeare and Hatfill (anthrax) I am sure he is still well-known but not as respected. As far as me being known as the "wingnut", I can say I have done more to solve this case than the charlatan and his ex-detective friend who gave me the title. Foster is in hiding, discredited and glad he had tenure. And Steve Thomas doesn't come off as JonBenet's hero as he once hoped he would be.
June 20, 2002
A Scholar Recants on His 'Shakespeare' Discovery
In 1995 Donald Foster, a professor of English at Vassar College, made a startling case for
Shakespeare's being the author of an obscure 578-line poem called "A Funeral Elegy." After a front-page
article about his methods of computer analysis in The New York Times — and after his reputation was
further burnished by unmasking Joe Klein as the author of "Primary Colors" — the poem was added to
three major editions of Shakespeare's works.
Now, in a stunning development that has set the world of Shakespeare scholarship abuzz, Professor
Foster has admitted he was wrong. In a message dated June 12 and quietly left last Thursday on the
Internet discussion group Shaksper (, he said that another poet and dramatist was the
more likely author of the poem. He was joined in his recantation by Richard Abrams, a professor of
English at the University of Southern Maine, who has been his close associate in the Shakespeare
attribution. In their messages, both conceded the main point of an article in the May issue of The Review
of English Studies by Gilles D. Monsarrat, a professor of languages at the University of Burgundy in
France, a translator and editor of Shakespeare's works in French, and a co-editor of "The Nondramatic
Works of John Ford."
The article compares the text of the poem with Ford's known work and concludes that the writing is
Ford's. Professor Montserrat's method seems to derive from a close reading of the texts, rather than the
kind of computer analysis Professor Foster uses.
John Ford (1586-1640) is best known for his later dramatic works, like " 'Tis Pity She's a Whore,"
but earlier he was a writer of memorial verse.
"I know good evidence when I see it and I predict that Monsarrat will carry the day," Professor Foster
told the more than 1,300 members of Shaksper. "No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his
own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar."
Ramsey evidence to undergo review by DA, experts
Seven Boulder detectives will present the case to the group
Associated Press

Boulder District Attorney Alex Hunter and his hand-picked team of experts will begin their first comprehensive review next week of evidence in the JonBenét Ramsey murder investigation.

Hunter and the team of prosecutors, criminologists and forensic scientists will be on hand when police present the evidence they've gathered. Hunter said he hopes to decide within a month after hearing all the evidence whether to present the case to a grand jury.

Starting June 1, seven police detectives and several experts will detail the evidence and outline theories about the Dec. 26, 1996, murder of the 6-year-old beauty queen. The evidence includes hundreds of interviews and more than 30,000 pages of reports.

A grand jury investigation, with its secret proceedings and sweeping subpoena powers, could offer investigators a chance to question John and Patsy Ramsey, who refused a police request for a second interview about their daughter's slaying.

Ramsey attorney Pat Furman said the couple welcomes the change a grand jury could make in the investigation.

"The lack of progress has been extremely frustrating for John and Patsy, and they're hopeful that this new phase of the investigation will get things back on track," he said.

A grand jury investigation could take months, police and prosecutors said. A vote of nine of the 12 jurors is required to reach a conclusion of a true bill, which would lead to a criminal indictment.

JonBenét's body was found Dec. 26, 1996, in a basement room of her family's sprawling home in Boulder. She had been strangled and beaten. A ransom note found on a stairway at the home claimed the girl had been kidnapped by a group representing "a small foreign faction" and demanded $118,000 for her release.

No suspects have been named in the case, but police Cmdr. Mark Beckner has said John and Patsy Ramsey remain under an "umbrella of suspicion." The Ramseys deny any involvement in their daughter's slaying.

Beckner said the review of evidence will be broad and complete.

"We are going to cover everything. It's an overview for Alex and his staff and we are going to hit it all," said Beckner, who has directed the investigation since last fall.

"We'll talk about the different evidence we have. We'll talk about evidence of an intruder in the house and the evidence of a non-intruder. We'll talk about what we got off the ransom note and the hundreds of different items we found in the house, and what was not found in the house," Beckner said.

"We'll discuss the interviews we've conducted with family friends or employees. We'll talk about people we have looked at as suspects and people we have eliminated as suspects. We are going to cover a lot of ground."

Each of the seven Boulder detectives will present one part of the case, from a review of the hectic morning hours of Dec. 26, 1996, when Patsy Ramsey telephoned police to report her daughter missing, to the results of handwriting analysis of the purported ransom note.

Boulder detectives will be assisted by specialists from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, other consultants and possibly an FBI expert.

Officially, authorities aren't saying who will attend the meetings. But Dr. Henry Lee, the director of the Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Lab, has confirmed that he plans to attend. Lee, a criminologist and a specialist in crime-scene reconstruction and DNA analysis, said he has reconstructed the crime scene for police but has not examined physical evidence yet.

"It is a difficult job for Boulder detectives and the Boulder district attorney. I know this is a case everyone wants resolved and they are working hard to do it," Lee said.

Among the experts who won't attend is Donald Foster, an English professor at Vassar College and a linguistic expert who analyzed the ransom note and scores of other documents for police.

Foster declined comment on the specifics of his work on the case. But he said the textual evidence is "compelling, and my sense is justice will be done in this case."

Tuesday, May 26, 1998
Donald Foster had this to write in his book:

On pages 1 and 278, he drops the name simply as something he looked into - the ransom note is in
a list of documents he looked at and he mentioned he did this other thing right before he went to
Boulder to consult on the Ramsey case - - you know, just name-dropping. On pages 8-9, he said
that one word he looked at in the Ramsey case was etc./etcetera - some suspect wrote it out the
long way when giving a police sample and normally wrote it in the abbreviated form.
Then there are pages 16 and 17 where he devotes two paragraphs to the Ramsey case.

In Author Unknown I will not discuss evidence or reveal undisclosed information about
pending cases, not even to correct misinformation published in the press or on the Internet.
The JonBenét Ramsey homicide investigation, a difficult and painful business for everyone
associated with it, produced an early bump in my learning curve. In 1997, when moving
from tragic denouements to actual homicides, and from Stratford-upon-Avon to Quantico, it
was perhaps inevitable that I should make a mistake, and I did. In June 1997, seven months before I was retained by the Boulder Police
Department, before any case documents were available to me, I privately speculated with
other observers concerning the Ramsey homicide, and actually took an uninvited and (as I
would learn) unwelcome initiative to assist John and Patsy Ramsey, by private letter. At the time I knew virtually nothing about "true crime forums" and "online
chatrooms," but was directed by others to despicable activity on the Internet by "jameson,"
an individual whose months-long obsession with the details of the killing of JonBenét -
ascribed by jameson to a Colorado University friend of the older Ramsey boy - was too vile
in its voyeuristic description to be a prank, too well informed to be madness, too full of
seeming relevance to be ignored.

Competent and dedicated detectives, though much maligned in the press, were
investigating the slaying of a child. As I later learned, the police had already investigated
and dismissed jameson as a "code six wingnut," a phrase I had not heard before but one
that I would soon come to appreciate. I regret the mistakes of intruding so quickly. That beginners mistake impressed
upon me a sense of limit when venturing from the safe world of academic debate into the
minefield of criminal investigation. In January 1997, (his error, he certainly meant 1998) when
brought onboard by the Boulder police, I took the lesson to heart, started over, and did the
best I could, for justice and JonBenét. Though I am bound by a
confidentiality agreement not to discuss the investigation or court proceedings, I do stand
by the statements that I have made for the record regarding that case and believe that the
truth will eventually prevail."
Foster is a typical "intellectual" as defined in Thomas Sowell's book Intellectuals and Society, namely people who work strictly with ideas --- lawyers, professors, and teachers not engineers and scientists despite the intellectual requirements for the latter.  Many of these "intellectuals" venture beyond their areas of expertise (you know, for example venturing out from Shakespearean tragedies to modern-day, real-life homicides), believing themselves somehow being endowed with some sort of superpowers and infallibility.  These folks are gifted with a talent Sowell calls "verbal virtuosity" which enables them to hoodwink others. 

A good example of "verbal viruosity" is the post immediately above, Foster's rendition of his horrible mistakes and ineptitude as heroic efforts to invoke justice.  This is an extraordinarily twisted version of the truth.  Beware of these people; they can be a danger to society.
Grand jury to examine work of Vassar linguist

By Matt Sebastian
Camera Staff Writer

The grand jury investigating the JonBenét Ramsey murder apparently will review the work of a controversial linguist who concluded the 6-year-old's mother wrote the ransom note left in the family home.
Although he has not testified before the secret panel, Vassar College professor Donald Foster said he and prosecutor Michael Kane, who is presenting the case to the grand jury, have been discussing the matter.
"I've been in communication about how my work should best be presented but was asked not to discuss it," Foster said, declining to elaborate.
While handwriting analysis has indicated that Patsy Ramsey may have written the note, investigators apparently have not reached a definitive conclusion.
But a source close to the case told the Daily Camera last fall that Foster compared the language of the ransom note to Patsy Ramsey's writings and concluded JonBenét's mother penned the 2½-page note.
In fact, officials attending a two-day presentation of the case that detectives made to prosecutors in June called Foster's evidence crucial to the police theory of the crime, the source said.
Yet six months before going to work for Boulder police, Foster wrote to Patsy Ramsey, saying he believed "absolutely and unequivocally" that she was innocent.
Surprised police and prosecutors didn't find out about Foster's letter until several days after the June case presentation.
Last fall, when news of his letter to Patsy Ramsey surfaced, Foster refused to elaborate on his apparently contradictory analysis.
"I think that will be entirely explained in due course," Foster said in October.
Suzanne Laurion, the Boulder County district attorney's spokeswoman, declined to comment Thursday on Foster's involvement with the grand jury investigation.
An English professor at Vassar, Foster gained notoriety by linking Theodore Kaczynski to the Unabomber Manifesto and determining that Newsweek columnist Joe Klein was the anonymous author of the political novel "Primary Colors."
On Dec. 26, 1996, JonBenét Ramsey was found beaten and strangled in the basement of her parents' 15th Street home, about eight hours after Patsy Ramsey reportedly discovered the ransom note demanding $118,000 in exchange for the girl's safe return.
Boulder County's grand jury has been hearing evidence in the slaying since mid-September. JonBenét's parents, John and Patsy Ramsey, remain under suspicion in the case. They have vehemently maintained their innocence.

January 29, 1999

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