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Mysterious file contamination

On several occasions I have had the following peculiar
problem.  An ascii file that I have edited recently turns up
in what appears to be totally octal characters.
I have no idea how this happened, and I don't know how to recover the
text file I had before.
I am using emacspeak10.0 and emacs20.3.

The most recent time this hapened, I was connected, via terminal mode,
to a unix machine.  I was editing a file on hat machine using the ex (vi) editor.
When next I opened the file, it was all octa.

Anybody ever had this problem?  

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