The study of handwriting, involving the interpretation of
character and personality traits. Empirical interpretation of
handwriting dates back to ancient times. Aristotle claimed that
he could define a person’s soul by his way of writing. Suetonius
noted that Emperor Augustus did not separate his words when
writing and concluded that this demonstrated a neglect of detail
when forming a picture of a whole situation.
In the seventeenth century Camillo Baldi published a small
Latin treatise called De Signis ex Epistolis (1622). Graphology
was systematized in nineteenth-century France when the Abbé
Flandrin (1809–64) made a detailed study of autographs. In
1872 Adolphe Desbarolles published Les mystères de l’écriture; art
de juger les hommes sur leurs autographes. Since then there have
been many books on graphology, often falling somewhere between
scientific principle and popular occultism.
Although modern graphologists have evolved a scientific rationale
that assigns particular significance to the slope of handwriting,
the formation of individual letters, size of characters,
joinings and disjoinings of letters, and so on, interpretation remains
largely subjective and allows considerable room for the
practitioner’s psychic ability to operate and add material. Some
graphologists allow the handwriting itself to convey impressions
in much the same way as objects function in psychometry.
Perhaps one’s signature is the most characteristic piece of
Grant, Joan (Joan Marshall Kelsey) Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
handwriting, for consciously or unconsciously it becomes a kind
of symbolic self-portrait, indicating the personality as a whole.
In this it resembles the magic sigil of celestial intelligences.
Part of the perennial attraction of autograph collecting and
book signing is the emotional association with great or famous
individuals as represented by their signatures.
Graphology is to be sharply delineated from handwriting
analysis. The latter is concerned with establishing the authenticity
of writing and signatures, and such analysts are frequently
called upon to make judgments in legal situations. Graphology
has made some progress toward respectability, however. Some
corporations now employ graphologists to elucidate staff applications,
and police authorities have been known to hire graphologists
to analyze the writing of criminals.
Byrd, Anita. Handwriting Analysis A Guide to Personality. New
York Arco, 1982.
Casewit, Curtis. Graphology Handbook. Rockport, Mass. Para
Research, 1980.
Friedenhain, Paula. Write and Reveal Interpretation of Handwriting.
London, 1959.
Golson, K. K. Presidents Are People. New York Carlton Press,
Jacoby, H. J. Analysis of Handwriting. London Allen &
Unwin, 1929.
Kurdsen, Stephen. Graphology The New Science. Washington,
D.C. Acropolis Books, 1971.
Lowengard, Manfred. How to Analyze Your Handwriting. London
Marshall Cavendish, 1975.
Marcuse, Irene. The Key to Handwriting Analysis. New York
R. M. McBride, 1959.
Moretti, Girolamo M. The Saints Through Their Handwriting.
New York Macmillan, 1964.
Schang, F. C. Visiting Cards of Celebrities. Paris Gale Research,
Solomon, Shirl. How to Really Know Yourself Through Your
Handwriting. New York Taplinger, 1974. Reprint, London
Coronet, 1975.

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