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Handwritten History


Molly O’Shea wanted to learn about her dead father, but she didn’t turn to Ouija board. Instead, she took an old letter to a graphologist. Analysis of 550 different handwriting variables showed a man who was straightforward, diplomatic and intelligent but had problems with anger. ‘it really helps me get a handle on who Dad was’, says O’Shea. Slants, loops and spacing are providing info from beyond the grave. According to Barbara Vines Little of the U.S. National Genealogical Society, family-tree enthusiasts are using graphology as ‘one more building block in the whole picture of the past’. Old papers and diaries are interesting not for what they say but for how they say it. Irene Lambert, graph analyst, says casual scribbles can ‘unlock puzzles and mysteries’ that would otherwise remain unsolved. Carl Sundgren is one such detective. After discovering that his greatgreat- grandfather was institutionalized, he sought help from Mark Hopper, president of the Handwriting Research Corp. Analysis revealed no trace of insanity but suggested physical problems, giving Sundgren a whole new area to explore. ‘Instead of just fading away’, Hopper says, ‘history can now continue’.
Alice Fishburn.
Newsweek, September 12, 2005.


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