“Burke is quite the sailor”

Special thanks to guest-blogger, Cottonstar from Websleuths, for this contribution:

Be prepared in Mind by having disciplined yourself to be obedient to every order, and also by having thought out beforehand any accident or situation that might occur, so that you know the right thing to do at the right moment, and are willing to do it.  Be Prepared in Body by making yourself strong and active and able to do the right thing at the right moment, and do it.”The Scout Motto

Burke was in the Boy Scouts for more than 3 years.  That’s longer than JonBenet was involved in pageants.

What do we know about Burke and the Boys Scouts?  Actually, not a heck of a lot which is odd, right?  For all the bragging Patsy did about the achievements of her offspring, why can’t we find a single picture of Burke in his scouting gear?

What we do have, though, are pics of a flashlight, nylon cord and a tightening stick.  All items found in the Boy Scout Handbook as needed checklist items for successful scouting adventures.

Tightening stick? Yes, I called it a tightening stick because that’s exactly what was found hanging from JonBenet’s neck when her body was discovered. A tightening stick is described on pg.150 of The Boy Scout Handbook, 10th edition, the same copy Burke was rumored to have received on Christmas morning, 1996.

tightening stick.JPG

Use a tightening stick to draw your lashings extra snug.

The “garrote” wasn’t a garrote per se, and wasn’t used how a real garrote would function [the cord was double knotted at the back of JonBenet’s neck] if someone was trying to murder someone in a sexually deviant way.

In the autopsy report, the medical examiner describes the evidence as a “wooden stick”.  The word “garrote” only enters the narrative at the same time JonBenet’s pageant videos make the airwaves, then suddenly, the conversation shifts [thanks in part to Ramsey PR, and Lou Smit] to… It must have been a pedophile – a sadistic, monster!

Let’s address the complexity of the knot tied around the stick.  Knot tying has long been part of the scouting program. A Google search of scouting knots reveal the knot tied on the stick – a prusik knot/hitch – is one of the most basic knots Scouts learn.

From Patsy Ramsey’s annual Christmas newsletter to family and friends in 1995, we learn more about the Ramseys’ level of knot use and expertise:

“This year John [former active-duty Navy], John Andrew [former advanced Eagle Scout], and Melinda took the crew of Miss America (our sailing sloop) to victories in the NOOD races in Chicago and a 4th Place Division Finish of the Chicago-Mackinaw Island Race. Seventy-knot winds in the MAC race really made the finish line look pretty good!”

In the same newsletter, we also learn that:

 “He [Burke] continues with Boy Scouting and the piano. This winter he is the tallest guy on his basketball team. Summer on Charlevoix was spent taking golf and sailing lessons each day. Burke is quite the sailor!”

It seems Burke is also quite the camper. That same summer in 1995, at Camp McSauba in Charlevoix, Burke was awarded Best All-Around Camper. Scouting, sailing, and camping. All three of these activities require a basic, if not extensive, knowledge and use of various knots and hitches. Not only does it seem Burke had a great deal of training and experience with knots, but he had highly-trained instructors in his immediate family.

Something else I’ve recently learned, has shed light on a previously ignored piece of evidence collected from the Ramsey’s basement. There’s an old boatswain mate’s trick used in the Navy and in sailing for learning to tie knots. A wire, such as a copper wire, is formed into a loose exemplar of a particular style of knot, which can later be used as a guide when tying rope.  Boatswain mates are known to carry around these wires for that purpose. It seems, these same type of wires were found at the crime scene in at least two places: the boiler room wire tied in knot (5BAH) and the wine cellar wire near body (7KKY).  Did the intruder, in the pitch dark of the Ramsey basement, forget how to tie the knot he wanted and leave his exemplars behind?

Hi-Tec footprint in basement

KANEWe have been provided, and again, one of the sources of this information is confidential grand jury material I can tell you in the question, but we have been provided information from two sources that your son Burke, prior to the murder of your daughter, owned and wore Hi-Tec boots that had a compass on them, which makes them distinctive. Do you recall — if you don’t recall that they actually were Hi-Tec, do you remember Burke having boots that had a compass on the laces?

JOHNVaguely. I don’t know if they were boots or tennis shoes. My memory is they were tennis shoes, but that is very vague. He had boots that had lights on them and all sorts of different things.




12 thoughts on ““Burke is quite the sailor”

  1. Enjoyed reading this entry. Interesting to read about the boatswain mates use of wire knots.

    (found this article link via a topix thread, glad I read it; btw Right44, I’ve admired many of your posts on topix, much appreciated)


      • No, haven’t gotten brave enough yet! But many of you are my posting heroes/sheroes and I will link to your threads on DocG’s site. (even tho I don’t agree with his ‘theory’). I post sometimes on the McStay case blog run by Cornelius.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Very thought provoking, at last I found the link between the crime scene and the evidence collected from the BPD. You are a great sleuth CottonStar. Thank you for your insightful contribution.


  3. Thank you for a dedicated site with fresh information regarding Burke. Mike Kane let us all know that the knots were not sophisticated (the garrotte and cord tied around JB’s wrists). Burke most certainly had cub scout/boy scout training and likely had sailed with his father at the tender age of 9.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have always suspected he was the killer. Patsy clearly had a personality disorder. From what I’ve read about her growing up and as an adult, I’d bet money she was a full blown narcissist. This is relevant because a parent with NPD will always have the favorite child, leaving the other(s) to be the put-upon child(ren). Clearly she was too focused on JB making herself look good to everyone. But add NPD to the mix and you will have mental, verbal, and emotional abuse and manipulation, and no love or empathy. Both kids would’ve endured it, but only JB benefitted. If Patsy compared him to JB – “why can’t you be more like JB?” and ignored him and punished him while letting JB do what she wants, etc – if this was the case, I could see Burke having such deep resentment and frustration toward her and JB, that he killed JB. There was a report that he hit JB in the yard once.

    Maybe he was trying to scare her and it went south, maybe it’s more sinister. Maybe he wanted to become the favorite. Or turn the tables and punish Patsy by depriving HER of something. But with that family dynamic, it very likely at least one child will develop a PD. Very likely Burke could’ve. Had JB lived, she would probably be just like Patsy – attention-seeking, entitled, arrogant, self-serving, and controlling.

    JB was still wetting the bed, indicating possible sexual abuse. Perhaps Burke was the culprit. It could be for control/revenge/punishment OR having a sister strutting around, made up like a 20-year-old, aroused some conflicting sexual feelings (and causing more resentment).

    A report long ago said that Burke was heard in the background during the 911 call, but the Ramsey’s said he was asleep.

    And the Ramsey’s we’re adament that Burke was not to be questioned. Perhaps he would’ve revealed everything. His sexual deviency and/or his growing resentment – which would lead to him exposing Patsy’s abusive nature. No one wants family secrets divulged, especially a narcissist who has worked relentlessly to maintain the facade of perfection and godliness (as evidenced by a super-sized cross necklace Patsy wore in a photo). A lot of evil people use religion and charity work as a cover.

    So if Burke did it, it’s understandable. To be neglected, abused, and traumatized to that point, especially as a kid.

    That’s my theory.


  5. The straw the broke the camels back for Birk was that he must’ve been eating pineapple and walked away when Jon Benet came upon it and indulges in a few pieces- Burk saw red, grabbed his bat and hit her head then took her to the basement to strangle her to death. Burk is quite the Cub Scout , the tightening stick and specials knots. The Ramseys went several directions to cover up for Burk. The random note indicating Scott Brooks “Truth” Coruthers. The guy who took responsibility for the murder which wasn’t linked to any evidence. The taser could’ve been used by Burk as well. Or the parents to cover up bit idk if the marks would be dark that way


    • if burke did it…i dont think he could have kept quiet all these years….especially as a kid….i think he would have blurted it out numerous times to many people…..he seems off


  6. You should consider removing that first Christmas newsletter quote. She’s not talking about actual, physical knots there. “Knot” is a measurement of wind speed, and the “seventy-knot” she mentions refers to a wind speed of roughly 80mph, since she’s talking about yacht racing.


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