Schermann, Raphael (1879– )
Austrian clairvoyant mostly known as a graphologist but
with powers far transcending reading character from handwriting
samples. He was credited with telling the past and future
with an uncanny precision. From the writing Schermann could
visualize the writer, from a face he could visualize and reproduce
the script. ‘‘Psycho-graphology,’’ the term employed by E.
S. Bagger as the title of his book on Schermann, was coined to
refer to this strange gift of combining the science of graphology
with psychic talents.
Schermann was born in Cracow, then part of Austrian Galicia,
in 1879. He was self-educated, and by the age of 12 he had
developed a serious study of the characteristics of handwriting.
He visited the United States early in the twentieth century, but
soon returned to Europe and settled down in Vienna, where he
earned a living as a claims inspector for an insurance company.
His privately exhibited talents as a psycho-graphologist soon
earned him a considerable reputation, and he was consulted by
the police to assist their work, eventually being appointed an
official handwriting expert at the Vienna Central Law Court.
During World War I, Schermann served in the Austrian
army. In 1923, he again visited the United States, where he delivered
lectures and cooperated with the New York police in
solving a murder mystery. Back in Vienna, he acted in two silent
movies based on some of his most interesting cases. After
this, he continued to work as a consultant for a group of insurance
companies, but spent his spare time on psychographology.
He charged nothing for his talents and took part
in many experiments conducted by psychical researchers.
Oskar Fischer, of the University of Prague, conducted between
1916 and 1918 a series of experiments in character reading
from writing with Raphael Schermann.
During World War II, Schermann returned to his birthplace
in Cracow and became a victim of the Nazi occupation of Poland.
Bagger, E. S. Psycho-Graphology. London; New York G. P.
Putnam’s & Sons, 1924.
Fischer, Oskar. Experimente mit Raffael Schermann. Ein Beitrag
zum Problem der Graphologie, Telepathie und des Hellsehens. N.p.,
Hayek, Max. Der Schriftdeuter Raffael Schermann. N.p., 1921.
Tabori, Paul. Pioneers of the Unseen. London Souvenir Press,