By: Dave Astor
Self-syndicated columnist Michelle Dresbold has analyzed the handwriting of many people, including President Bush, Osama bin Laden, Oprah Winfrey, Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe — and Jerry.
The last was a skeptical Missouri reader who wondered if Dresbold really knew her stuff. So Jerry sent a handwriting sample and challenged Dresbold to figure out his gender, marital status, level of affluence, and health.
Dresbold got all four right.
“Nothing in life is foolproof, but handwriting is rarely, if ever, wrong,” she said. “It’s one of the most valuable diagnostic tools around.”
Of course, you need to have the knack and the training — and Dresbold has both. She got interested in handwriting analysis while taking a course in the subject, and her skills eventually came to the attention of a Pittsburgh police official.
“Most of the detectives in the department rolled their eyes,” recalled Dresbold, until she correctly concluded that a bank-robbery note was written by a man with no previous criminal record who was desperate for money. “It turned out to be a shoe salesman whose daughter needed a heart operation,” she said.
Dresbold — who soon received training from the U.S. Secret Service — now freelances not only for the Pittsburgh police but for prosecutors, private attorneys, and other clients. She also lectures, does handwriting therapy (which involves trying to change one’s behavior by changing one’s handwriting), and analyzes handwriting at parties and other events. And she writes “The Handwriting Doctor.”
The weekly column, which started in 1999 and now runs in about 20 newspapers, is not just about handwriting. Dresbold talks about the court cases she testifies in, and also covers other ground. But a major component of the feature — which includes some Q-and-A and some humor — is Dresbold’s handwriting analyses of readers, criminals, and famous people.
She said bin Laden’s signature looks like a “rifle connected to a grenade connected to a bomb. It’s amazing. It’s almost like, ‘This can’t be!'” She added the handwriting of a sniper who recently terrorized the Washington area includes a thick “club stroke” at the bottom of the letter “y” — indicating violent tendencies.
Dresbold (http://www.handwritingdoctor.com) studied psychology and art at the University of Michigan, and continues to paint. “I do abstract impressionism — somewhere between Jackson Pollack and Monet,” she said, adding that having an artist’s eye helps her analyze handwriting.
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