Graphology with Elaine Quigley: History's Six Most Evil Scrawls


 It’s said that a person’s handwriting is a window to their soul. In their loops and curves and the spaces between their letters lie clues their predilections, their deviances, their secrets and sins.

We’re talking, of course, about the science of graphology, at which Elaine Quigley is one of the world’s leading practitioners – not to mention a Jack the Ripper expert. To mark the spookiest time of year, Elaine has kindly agreed to help us out with an appropriately grisly Pen Heaven blog entry.

So lock your doors, turn off the lights, pull the duvet over your head and brace yourself for a foray into some of the most devious minds ever to have existed. Handpicked by Elaine herself, here are history’s six most evil scrawls…


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Elaine on Crowley's Handwriting


crowley  "The stroke is ragged and the lower section of the writing goes deeply into his sensory nature. It shows his preoccupation with instinctive drives, an inflated sexual imagination and a leaning towards perversions. The sabre-like strokes, seen in the beginning and end of the surname, reveal sadistic tendencies."


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Elaine on Crippen's Handwriting



 “In a smudgy and uneven scrawl such as Crippen’s, the varying baselines and heavy ink flow demonstrate a sensual nature.


The right slant to his signature demonstrates a passionate character, and the heavy pressure used shows a yearning for renown and prestige. Notice in the signature that all his letters are joined – and indicator of a clear and committed sense of purpose.”


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Elaine on Manson's Handwriting


“The signature is tense with the verticals close together, showing obsessive determination to be in charge. The sideways figure eight - the symbol of eternity - indicates that he envisaged that he could always get what he wanted."



"The writing is very erratic both in letter size and line variation, showing that he could be totally unpredictable and unreasonable. The dipping line ends show his depression.”



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Elaine on Haigh's Handwriting


haig “Haig’s smoothly flowing script looks rather soft and nicely presented, but the information is in the way various aspects of his writing come together. The thread-style joined-up writing with wide threads between letters shows a great capacity for deceit. The ink floods inside loops and along some verticals, showing unreliability of temperament and well-hidden tension. The writing is cold, and his ego is directing his head, rather than his heart.”



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Elaine on Tumblety's Handwriting



“A number of hoax letters surfaced during the investigation, supposedly written by the killer, but most likely created by contemporary newspapers. In contrast, the letter formation in the “From Hell” document matches an earlier, verified sample by Tumblety, though his handwriting has become wrought with the anguish. This letter refers to one victim, Annie Chapman, whose two brass rings were never recovered. When Tumblety died in 1903, amongst his possessions there were two brass rings.”



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Elaine on Hitler's Handwriting



“A clear characteristic is his Hitler’s depressive personality, with every signature tipping down at the end of the line – notice how this becomes more pronounced over time. The variance in size is telling too - the larger signatures show that he could mask his depression by bravado, but the smaller signatures show that he trembled inside. Joined letters in both parts of his name reflect a determination to make his mark and keep people in terror. He had to be successful and powerful, or he simply wouldn’t have been able to cope.”


Over to You


By now, you're probably wondering... what does your own handwriting say about you?

Perhaps, while scrolling through this article, you've spotted pre-echoes of your hand in the traces of some of the most evil minds of all time. Perhaps your signature, like Crowley's, is marked by "sabre-like strokes". Perhaps your seemingly beatufully crafted script, like Haigh's, belies a darker nature hidden deeper within.

Well, if it's only one of these features, then according to Elaine, you don't necessarily have to worry.

Elaine Quigley, graphologist"There are many configurations within handwriting that come together to indicate good or bad. But it is not a sum of its parts, rather a blend of how they influence each other, and also the harmony and flow - or the disharmony and conflict - that tell the story."


But if you've got the feeling that there's something more in your handwriting - if disharmony and conflict ring from your nib as it scratches across the page - well, we'd love to hear about it. Leave us a reply below!

So there you have it folks, the six most evil scrawls of all time. And until next year...

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Elaine Quigley, B.A. Hons, F B.I.B. (Dip), is one of the world's leading graphology experts, and a fellow of the British Institute of Graphologists. If you're worried that your own handwriting might be the mark of evil - or to make any other use of her graphology services - she can be contacted by email at [email protected]

If you'd like to reuse or repourpose any of this content, please contact [email protected] or leave a comment below.

One thought on “Graphology with Elaine Quigley: History's Six Most Evil Scrawls”

  • John Wheatley
    Written by John Wheatley on December 5, 2018

    Hi Elaine

    I write about two of the individuals mentioned in this post (Adolf Hitler and Francis Tumblety).

    Hitler's signature from the 1920s onwards to May of '45 varied and I'm not convinced his slant was simply down to 'personality'. It certainly may reflect his self-esteem through time. Yes, the inward trembling may have been reflected on the outside. However, it is a well-known fact that he involuntarily trembled given his physical condition during the latter stage of his life. There is some speculation regarding his condition. It may have been the progressive condition of Syphillis, Parkinsons or Huntington's disease which influenced his handwriting in his final years.

    Regarding Francis Tumblety,the postcard and the letter handwriting seems too disjointed to have been written by the same person. I know what you say about emotion and can understand the possible link regarding someone with a personality disorder. However, the 'Mishter Lusk' could have been written by a prankster pretending to be a drunk. Also, it ends differently to the 'Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper' in previous letters. It could have been the killer trying to throw the police off his trail by using a combination of misspelling, poor handwriting and a different "signature". However, beyond such issues, I don't see the connection in the handwriting. Even given a "Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde" scenario, most of the academic literature examines the switch in personality and the resulting psychological/behaviour traits. You say: 'In contrast, the letter formation in the “From Hell” document matches an earlier, verified sample by Tumblety, though his handwriting has become wrought with the anguish.' Can you please specify how the letter formation in the "From Hell" document matches an earlier, verified sample? I assume you mean the letter from his male lover found in his pocket by the police. What are the unique matches between the two documents?

    Please understand that I do not, in any way, discredit what you say. I also have an interest in this particular individual and wonder if he was the one.

    Best wishes

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