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Forensic Graphology

By: Jack Claridge - Updated: 28 Nov 2015 | comments*Discuss
 
Forensic Graphologist Writing

Forensic Graphology is the study of handwriting especially that found in ransom notes, poison pen letters or blackmail demands.

Forensic Graphology and Crime Solving

Although this is a recognised and called upon scientific technique Forensic Graphology cannot tell a person's age or sex from the handwriting. What it can do however is give indications as to the person's state of mind at the time of producing a particular document, be it a blackmail letter, a poison pen letter or a suicide note.

A Graphologist looks for insights into some of the following:

  • Mood
  • Motivation
  • Integrity
  • Intelligence
  • Emotional Stability
A Graphologist will examine an individual's handwriting for signs of some or all of the above and there may be other factors that interest them as well, depending on the reasoning behind their involvement in a particular investigation.

During the course of an investigation a Graphologist will be called upon to offer advice as to how the individual was feeling at the time of writing their document and how they wrote the document.

Examining The Writing

Aspects of the writing process include examining slants and size of the writing, how the writing was put onto the paper - was it written softly or heavily scrawled - and how the individual writing the letter might speak.

This may not sound important but you can tell a lot about a person by the way they write - or more importantly - in the words they write. It has become commonplace now for us as individuals to write in the same manner as we speak, using abbreviations, slang and colloquialisms that vary from person to person and indeed place to place. These are important and a Graphologist can make good use of these things during the investigative process.

Also they may be called upon to examine what may be suspicious - or fraudulent - documents as is sometimes the case with insurance claims and indeed in some rare instances, police statements where there have been allocations of corruption.

How Graphologists Work

A Graphologist will employ the use of what is called an ESDA test: Electrostatic Development of Indented Writing Impressions. This test is used to bring to the fore evidence on paper that is not visible to the naked eye. For example an ESDA test can determine whether or not a document has been altered by being rewritten on top of another document or if there any fingerprints on the paperwork, which might not be visible.

Working Together

Another important aspect of a Forensic Graphologist is to help provide a usable profile in conjunction with a forensic psychologist that police can use in order to draw up a list of suspects.

Profiling an individual's writing can prove immensely valuable and can throw up evidence as to their state of mind, their education, their intellect and also their egotistical tendencies. Some writers of poison pen letters or ransom demands may make outrageous claims or disparaging remarks which when directed at the person receiving the letters can lead to a name being given as a possible suspect.

It is important to note however that no two individual's handwriting is the same and also you cannot tell their sex or race from their handwriting but it can give interesting clues as to their mental and emotional state.

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