Since my 8th birthday, when I received an Enid Blyton book, The Rockingdown Mystery, the mystery genre has been my first love. But in 1967 I started studying handwriting and handwriting analysis became my career. After forty years and well over 15,000 handwriting analyses, I found myself ready to kill. Fast-forward to 2007, when my Forensic Handwriting mystery series was born, featuring forensic handwriting examiner Claudia Rose.
Claudia doesn’t solve mysteries with handwriting analysis, but the stories I tell usually involve her clients, and she uses it as a means to understand the people she and her partner, LAPD Homicide Detective Joel Jovanic, deal with. Www.claudiaroseseries.com
Handwriting reveals a great deal about what is going on inside the writer. When I first started learning, I was so awestruck by what I could see that I used to believe handwriting could tell everything about a person. The fact is, people are just too complex for that to be true. There is plenty handwriting cannot determine, including chronological age, gender, and the future. It does, however, show how you have handled the experiences that make up your past. For example, if you are happy person who is pretty well integrated and have a good sense of humor, your handwriting will display certain characteristics. If, on the other hand, your childhood was filled with the pain of abuse–physical, emotional, sexual–chances are, that will show up, too, in vastly different ways.
Handwriting analysis is as complex as personality. It’s not simply a matter of seeing how you cross your t’s and dot your i’s, or even the size, slant, or speed of the writing. There are thousands of variables all working together to produce a picture of what is going on inside the writer. And everything is dependent on everything else. In other words, you can’t look at a handwriting and say “this means that,” though it would be so much easier if there was! A competent analyst always examines the whole writing in order to make an accurate assessment.
As in art, handwriting is made up of spatial arrangement (layout), form (letter designs), and movement (rhythm, speed, pressure, etc.). When there is disturbance in one of more of those areas, it points to disturbance in the personality. Let’s say there are extremely wide spaces between words and lines. Depending on other factors in the writing, that may suggest someone who feels isolated and alone. But the opposite may also be true. Crowded words and lines may point to someone who feels too crowded and who needs more space. Or, depending on what else appears in the writing, the person may be pushy and intrusive.
Like Claudia, I work in several areas of the field. I analyze handwriting of prospective employees as part of the hiring process; for individuals who need insight about their strengths and weaknesses, and for couples or whole groups who need to know how to get along better. Some of my clients are private investigators who need background checks. Others are therapists who need to know more about their clients. I also work with teachers who want help with at-risk students. Graphotherapy is another area, in which handwriting exercises are done to music, which helps the writer to improve traits that are holding him back.
Then there’s the other side—handwriting authentication, which has to do with identifying whether a signature or other writing is genuine. I have examined signatures on wills, checks, credit card slips, trust deeds, elder abuse, and a whole range of other types of documents, including suicide notes, threats, and anonymous letters. In some of these cases I’m called on to testify as an expert witness in court–and believe me, court is not done the way you see it on The Good Wife or Law & Order, where everything is solved in a matter of days and the attorneys run the courtroom.
Readers ask if Claudia is me. I tell them we’re actually quite different. She’s far braver (or more foolhardy?) than I am. Plus, she drinks coffee and likes to fly.