The Renaissance of Graphology

As a follow up from last month’s edition, I would like to explore vital ways in which graphology/handwriting analysis can be used in litigation. For the sake of easy reading, let us refer to graphology as the user name rather than using the co-title of graphology/handwriting, not forgetting that both terms are interchangeable.

Any perceived misunderstandings in terms of graphology are ill founded in my opinion. Graphology, construed by some members of the public and indeed professionals in psychology and perhaps some in law and litigation as a second rate and suspicious science, deserves better.  Graphology is not some kind of dark art but a valued science that has been tried and tested as it has evolved from early recognition in the 17th century to the present day, and practiced with much success in Europe, the USA and further afield.

 


We can now explore the many uses of the science in terms of solving crimes, either fraudulent or otherwise in litigation when used by solicitors or individuals who require an expert opinion of a sample or document that contains suspected handwriting.

Graphology is a multi-faceted discipline when applied in various areas that require stringent analysis and close examination. For example, blue chip organisations use it when recruiting staff. Here the candidate’s application form (containing their handwriting) is examined and assessed with the result culminating in a detailed personality profile of an applicant through their own unique handwriting, which helps in deciding who is suitable for the position available.


Another graphological application is when business people are in the process of enlisting business partners for their company and who wish to have a character analysis for their prospective colleagues. This is where the graphologist can provide such an analysis through samples of the applicant’s handwriting just as in the recruitment process. It is very important that any business or corporation select the right personnel that are right for them and graphology has been a most accurate predictor in that domain.

 

However, document analysis is very much high up in the graphologist’s toolkit. When a certain document is questionable regarding authenticity and a graphologist is hired, it becomes a challenging yet fascinating task for the analyst to uncover the truth pertaining to the document. Is the document genuine or a fraud? Whereas the vast majority of documents in the modern era are word-processed, the document still requires a signature as a mark of authenticity as the signature is a person’s identity and unique to that individual. If it is a last will and testimony, the signature is crucial and must be the genuine signature of the person(s) who wishes to pass on their estate to a certain individual (s). Of course, most transactions will be of a lawful nature. However, a small percentage will be of a fraudulent type and will require investigation.

I have studied under J.D. Wetton who I admire as an ultra professional and an internationally eminent graphologist.  I find that his insights into document analysis are amazing and I have gained vast knowledge from observing his techniques and expertise which are meticulous and systematic and which have contributed immensely to my skills and talents as a practising graphologist. He points out the value of gathering exemplars when attempting to solve whether a document is suspect or a forgery. An exemplar is a sample of handwriting known as the usual writing of a certain individual; therefore, it is not suspect writing.

It is good practice to have as many exemplars as you can find so that you can compare them against a suspected forgery. As with character analysis, the more stroke formations and trends within a person’s script you collect through exemplars the better and particularly any wording or particular letters that are contained in the questioned document. That way the analyst will be more confident in coming to a definite conclusion regarding the suspect document. The collected exemplars’ require direct comparison against the questioned writing. The fundamental examination techniques of graphology need adhering to in that printed script requires comparison with printed script and likewise small letters with small letters, capital letters with capital letters. Also cursive script needs to be compared with cursive script and it is a wise idea to try and find a similar writing implement that was used in the suspect document.

Without the above procedure meticulously and systematically carried out, there will be a serious risk of severely damaging any legal case, as well as tarnishing the reputation of graphology, as the above is the accepted procedure of document analysis. Wetton recommends drawing up what he calls ‘The Handwriting Comparison Chart.’ One section contains precise details of general observations in terms of the questioned document whereas the other section will contain similar observations for the exemplars, each exemplar separately examined.

Later a similar chart will contain specific observations each one carefully detailed, scrutinizing every letter and leaving no room for any possible doubt. When all the evidence is collated and analysed, the analyst will arrive at their conclusions. From my experience, the Handwriting Comparison Chart is an excellent tool and invaluable to document analysis. It literally leaves no stone unturned and dramatically lessens any element of doubt in pursuing whether a document is suspect or a fraud. It may involve painstaking work and analysis. However, in the final analysis, it most definitely pays dividends in eliminating doubt and uncertainty.


Gerry Casey. BSc hons.  MSc Dip DAS AQG.