Over 300 years before the Christian era, the Greek Philosopher Aristotle observed that “written words are the symbols of spoken words” and that “all men have not the same handwriting”.
Aristotle and his students dealt with handwriting and the information concealed within the handwriting features.
Some Chinese sages in the east and Romans in the west made outstanding observations about the formations of letters. King Jo-Hau (1060 and 1110 AD), a Philosopher and Painter of the Sung Period declared that “handwriting infallibly shows up whether it comes from a vulgar or a noble-minded person”.
The first known systematic attempts to describe the correlation between handwriting features and human personality traits were made in Italy in the 17th Century, for instance, Alderisius Prosper published a study entitled “Ideographia” followed by Camillo Baldi, an Italian Physician, and Professor of medicine at the University of Bologna, Italy, with a treatise presenting a method for analysis of handwriting specimen, published a book called “treatise on a method to recognize the nature and quality of a writer from his letter” in 1622.
Another Italian Professor, this time of Anatomy, called Marcus Aurelius Severinus, wrote a book on the subject of graphology but died from the plague in 1656 before it was published.
Long after Camillo Baldi, among others, curiosity about the relevance of handwriting analysis began to interest Poets and Philosopher such as Shakespeare, Goethe, Edgar, Allan Poe, George Sand, Dumas, Zola, C.G Jung, Chekhov, and Alberts Einstein were fascinated by discoveries of Correlation between handwriting features and human character, they came up with profound observations about human personality portraits that were amazingly accurate.
During the 19th Century, French Priest and Scholar Abbe’ Flandrin and his disciple, the Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon of Paris, in France, devoted their lives to the study of handwriting analysis (graphology).
Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte, who later was recognized as the Founder of European Graphology, possessed a methodical mind, an extraordinary gift of observation and photographic memory.
After studying minute details of thousands of handwriting samples, he defined them as “elements of the handwriting”. He regarded each of these handwriting elements as a “sign” to be interpreted as an outward index of an inner attribute of human personality. After 30years of study, Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon published his system of Handwriting Analysis. Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon coined the name “Graphology”, which became widely known and accepted after his publication of “Les Mysteres de l’ecriture” in 1872 and “La Methode pratique de graphologie” in 1878.
Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon’s basic assumption was that each graphological sign corresponds to a human personality trait and that the absence of a specific sign indicates the lack of its matching human trait. Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon credited with arousing interest in Graphology and the thoroughness of observation he introduced to the field of Graphology.
Jules Crepieux-Jamin (1858-1940), a follower of Abbe’ Jean-Hippolyte Michon, broke the tradition of examining individual handwriting “signs” or traits and related such to handwriting analysis as a whole, thus giving Graphology its modern orientation.
The development of Psychology, Freudian Psychoanalysis, Gestalt, and other approaches also supported this new far-reaching direction in Graphology.
Towards the end of the 19th Century, several German Scientists began to make important contributions to the field of Graphology. Wilhem Preyer, an English-born Physiologist, and Professor at the University of Jena, Thuringia(1841-1897), Germany, was the author of Zur Psychologie des Schreibens (the physiology of handwriting). He established that handwriting was actually “brain-writing” by comparing the similarities in the handwriting of people who lost their arms with handwritings they made holding the handwriting instrument in their foot or mouth.
German Psychiatrist, George Meyer related individuals’ handwritings to their emotions. With time, as German Psychologists and Psychiatrists became interested in Graphology, they soon produced scholars who laid the foundation for Graphology as it is today.
The application of the Gestalt theory to handwriting analysis is attributed to Dr Ludwigs Klages (1872-1956), a German handwriting analyst, Philosopher, and Psychologist who started publishing articles and essays on handwriting analysis in 1904.
Especially significant is “Handwriting and Character”, published in 1940. He made the study of Graphology his life’s work and is known today as the “Father of the modern Graphology”.
Max Pluver, a Swiss Professor at the University of Zurich, applied the Psychoanalytic approach of Freud and Psychological methods of Adler and Jung to handwriting analysis, as can be deduced from his book entitled “Symbolism of Handwriting” published in 1940, where he discusses the interpretation of handwriting and its interpretation of handwriting and its relationship to some unconscious mythological or ancient symbols. He (Max Pulver) developed the importance of interpreting upper, lower, and middle zones of handwriting.
In 1925 the Czechoslovakian graphologist, Robert Saudek, spent much of his life in England and the United States, studied with psychologist June Downey and Frank Freeman, and also founded the first British journal of graphology.
He was the author of “the Psychology of Handwriting” (1920), and “Experiment with Handwriting” (1929), Saudek conducted many experiments on the spread of handwriting, which he considered an important indicator of the spontaneity of the handwriting and relevance in every handwriting analysis.
Professor Rudolph Pophal, a Hambury neurologist established a method of classifying people into categories based on motoric movements. Rudolph Pophal published several books and publications in the field of kinetic Graphology.
An American, Milton Bunker founded a standardized system of handwriting analysis known as Graphoanalysis. He began his career as a shorthand teacher and was familiar with numerous shorthand systems. He noticed that his students, who were taught shorthand by the same instructor from the same textbooks, did not produce the shorthand character in the same way.
After analyzing thousands of handwriting samples and studying various European sources, he developed Graphoanalysis in 1929 and a school, the international Graphoanalysis society, to teach his methods.
Milton Bunker is credited with taking a middle-of-the-road approach, combining the intuitive approach of the German school with the strict interpretation of signs.
This method, called Graphoanalysis is a system of identifying basic handwriting strokes, relating them to the particular human personality traits, and evaluating the relative strengths of different traits of the writer. Milton Bunker died in 1961 and the leadership of the International Graphoanalysis Society fell on psychologist V. Peter Ferrara.
V. Peter Ferrara stressed exacting standards for those practising handwriting analysis and encouraged further insightful research studies in making Graphoanalysis worthwhile and relevant to human lives and activities.
Thea Stein Lewinson, Werner Wolf, and Klara Roman are additional American contributors of note. Stein Lewinson, who practised graphology in Germany before she came to America, was involved in research in the field of Psychosomatic medicine with physicians. She also investigated the handwritings of children and emotionally disturbed people. In collaboration with Joseph Zubin, Stein Lewinson published “handwriting analysis: A series of scales for Evaluating the Dynamic Aspects of Handwriting”(1942).
They combined clinical judgments with objectives measurements to get a complex score. They were particularly interested in the rhythmic balance in handwriting, which they considered an important indicator of normalcy.
Werner Wolf is another German-trained graphologist who studied at the University of Barcelona and the Sorbonne in Paris before arriving in the United States in 1939.
Werner Wolf’s expertise in a variety of languages led him to be fascinated by both the physiology and psychology of handwriting. In his book “Diagrams of the Unconscious” (1948), he states that man in his handwriting or artistic expression communicates not only his conscious thoughts but also his underlying thoughts of which he is unaware.
The Late Klara Roman, who was trained in Hungary, studied the relationship between speech and handwriting. She found the handwriting of those with speech disorders showed poor rhythm, split letter formations, and a general lack of fluency.
Around 1938, Roda Wieser conducted landmark graphological research in her ten-year study on the handwritings of criminals. She is credited with discovering the “basic rhythm”, and developed theories concerning criminal tendencies.
In Europe, Graphology is one of the oldest psychological approaches for the study of human personality and it was widely used before the advent of psychoanalysis, Gestalt theory, Social Anthropology, or Projective techniques. An important step toward acceptance in the United States was made in 1980 when the Library of Congress recognized Graphology as science and changed the Dewey Decimal System Classification for Graphology from the Occult Section to a place in the Psychology Section. Now in the 21st Century more and more businesses and individuals throughout the world are experiencing the benefits of using handwriting analysis (Graphology).
Africa and Graphology
Africa officially received tydings of Graphology and learned about Graphology for the first time in 1983, through commendable efforts of Jide-Oni Charles at the then University of Ife, Ile – Ife, Oyo State (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile–Ife, Osun State). Jide – Oni Charles had a first-class B. A. Hons in French language (The first class graduate of French language from the University of Ife, Ile – Ife (Oyo State) in 1982, towards the completion of his B.A Hons French language in between 1981/1982 Session, travelled to France for French foreign exchange programme, at the Universite De Grenoble, France, where he encountered Graphologie as one of his courses, and had a Diploma in Graphologie, asides his French language exchange programme. When he (Jide – Oni Charles) returned towards the end of 1982 to the University of Ife, Ile – Ife having completed his programme, he thereafter in 1983 introduced Graphology to lecturers and undergraduate students of the University of Ife, Ile–Ife, as well as to a number of persons outside the University of Ile–Ife, those from Ile–Ife (town), these audiences form the first groups that graphology was introduced to…. before spreading Centers and lectures to Lagos and other parts of Nigeria.
Jide – Oni Charles started by organizing Consultancy and Consultation services to prove the validity and authenticity of the relevance of Graphology as a field of study, these efforts by Jide – Oni Charles laid the foundation for Graphology in Africa as well as for African Graphology. He (Jide – Oni Charles) used the word Graphognomy so often as another word for Graphology (as his derivation). Jide – Oni Charles is the progenitor of Graphology in Africa, his efforts, skills, and knowledge in the field of Graphology paved the way for the basis of African Graphology. African Graphology is a unique species of Graphology that bears psycholinguistic cultural extractions that consist of Onigraffiks Writing System, Working Symbols, and Formulas embedded in what Jide–Oni Charles referred to as Oniigraffiks Graphology as the first basis of the contents and curriculum of African Graphology. Onigraffiks Graphoanlysis is the foremost foundation genre for the contents and curriculum of African Graphology.
Contributions of Ben Ezeohaagwu to the world of graphology
Ben Ezeohagwu is the patent originator and first graphologist in the world that formulated, introduced, and made use of the “GRAPHICAL AND STATISTICAL” method/technique known as BENEZOGRAFS for graph analysis….. as a means and a process to unravel the movement and type of human neural impulses, volitions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions by the use of graphical pictorial rendition and statistical analysis as deduced from the plotting correlations of n L or n W (number of letters or numbers of words) in each successive line (l n ) on a page of the handwritings specimen under consideration for graph analysis. With this outstanding Psycholinguistic Scientific technique of Graphoanalysis (BENEZOGRAFS)….. a resounding landmark breakthrough in psycholinguistic graphological research findings, making Graphology and Graphology practice….. Purely harmonious blend as applied psycholinguistic scientific and human science enmeshed in empirical and practically oriented mathematical laws in approach and contents.
BENEZOGRAFS provides Scientific and Mathematical logic and correlations in observing that Handwriting: “as a flowing system of human neural impulses, volitions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions with definite latent or conspicuous behavioural patterns that can be physically ascertained in their kinds (types), movements and forms (features), among others via graphical and statistical technique.
The Graphical perspective of BENEZOGRAFS involves the use of different kinds of graphs which disclose visibly the kinds, movements, and forms of human neural Impulses, volitions, thoughts, feelings, and emotions while the statistical perspective of BENEZOGRAFS reveals the use of the central tendency of mean, median, mode and other statistical tools of Pie charts, Histograms, Bar charts, etc. MEAN reflects an average number of letters/words (n l /n w ) per successive line (l n ) on a page of the handwriting specimen (under consideration for graphoanalysis), among others, while MEDIAN of a data set of handwriting specimen represents the particular line on the page of handwriting specimen that is centrally located, and MODE as the value of data item of handwriting specimen that manifests a point in time of the particular successor line of a page of handwriting specimen when the writer (author) of the handwritings specimen appears to be most (mode) inspired as to allow his/her highest flow of the number of letters/ words on a particular successive line.
Examples of some Benezografs Specimens by Ben Ezeohagwu
Benezografs 1: A page introductory handwritten specimen profile on Yusuf Grillo by M. Omoighe (2018)
Benezografs 2: A page introductory handwritten specimen on love of God by M. Omoighe (2018)
Benezografs 3: Multiple exam malpractice psychograph curves: A, B, C and D drawn from handwritten specimens of S. Adebayo and Others (2021)
Benezografs 4: Comparative exam malpractices asymmetric psychograph curves drawn from handwritten specimens of A.S. Adebola and others (2021)
Benezografs 5: A page handwritten specimen on African Art by R.U. Nosireme (2021)
BENEZOGRAFS is shortened word for BEN EZEOHAGWU GRAPHICAL AND STATISTICAL technique for Graphoanalysis. It was invested on 18th August 2012 during Ben Ezeohagwu’s postdoctoral research efforts. He (Ben Ezeohagwu) has been using this BENEZOGRAFS for Graphoanalysis of a number of Graphoanalysis projects with resounding results of high accuracy in Graphoanalysis.
Ben Ezeohagwu is the first black African writer winner of Onigraffiks prize for literature (2017). He is the first Nigerian Professor of Graphoanalysis and also the first black African professor of Graphoanalysis(University of Business Technology, Wilmington Delaware, USA; Edexcel University, Ifangni Plateaux, Republic of Benin, 2015).
Ben Ezeohagwu is professor of Graphonomy, Chancellor and President, African American University, Porto–Novo, Republic of Benin, and can be reached at Email: benezeohagwu@yahoo.Com; www.africanamericanunversity.org; +2348173175540
Ezeohagwu, B (2014), “Historical Foundation of Graphology In Africa”.
Glowflowers Publishing, Lagos.
ISBN: 978 – 978 – 966 – 150 – 3
Ezeohagwu, B (2018), “As A Man Writes”
Glowflowers Publishing, Lagos.
ISBN: 978 – 978 – 966 – 151 – 0
Ezeohagwu, B (2020), “The Advent of Graphology In Africa and Why Nigerian Government should Utilize Graphology”.
Ezeohagwu, B (2020), “Graphoanalysis of Suicide note by two lovers from Okija, Anambra State, Southeastern Nigeria.
Watts, M (2021), “The Historical Evolution of Graphology “
(C) 2021 Michael watts (google)