We seldom give thought to the fact that writing is a neuromuscular action and as such, how we write is determined by our unique neuromuscular physiology.
Writing takes place in many forms besides the obvious one of signing a document. For example, it was established in World War 2 that the individuality of specimens of writing was even identifiable in Morse code. As a result, great care was taken in handpicking specific ace operators to communicate on shortwave radios. It was essential that both sides’ communications officers had a sixth sense in addition to their technical skill at the shortwave set. These highly skilled officers were able to recognise the “fingerprints” of the Morse code typist.
It was realised that each officer had their uniquely characteristic touch of the Morse key that distinguished the agents from one another as clearly as fingerprints – no two of them were ever identical. This was indispensable to alert them to messages put on the air by somebody other than the agent who was supposedly sending them. The spies knew that each time they went on air from their hideout, not only did they run the risk of giving away their location, but they could potentially lose their anonymity.
Radios were used by the secret services for the emission of both genuine and bogus intelligence. Whenever a radio spy was caught, and it was assumed that his employers remained unaware of his fate, the agent could either be salted away or hanged or shot. In order to survive, he may even have changed allegiances by cooperating with his captors against his former customers. Efforts were made to keep their radios alive, and to be operated by men with the special aptitude of imitating somebody else’s Morse touch. A lot of time was spent trying to learn how a specific operator communicated in order to pretend to be him.
It is these unique characteristics that define our handwriting and as a result, forgery is identifiable to a trained and competent Forensic Handwriting Examiner.
There are so many unique handwriting features in each individual’s writing that a Forensic Handwriting Examiner will look for when examining a suspected writing against a known writing. For example, are there resting spots and where are they? Are they consistent? What are the zonal ratios? Is the pressure regular? Is the pressure consistent? Is the pressure in the normal places where it should be? Is the spacing between the letters, words and lines consistent or are there breaks? Is the movement of the pen on the paper spontaneous? Is the movement regular and consistent? Does the writing have unique movement patterns? Does the writing flow? Is the writing rhythmical? Are there specific or individual letters? Are there loops? Are they regular? Where are the loops usually positioned? Where does the writer position their pen before they even start writing? What is the quality of the ductus? What is the speed of the writing? … and so it goes on.
Even your printer has its own unique “fingerprints” – but that’s a whole other topic for another day!
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Forensic Handwriting Analysis