Episode 8 - Behind the Handwriting with Sheila Lowe

Episode 8 August 25, 2020 00:29:46
Episode 8 - Behind the Handwriting with Sheila Lowe
A Most Unusual T Party
Episode 8 - Behind the Handwriting with Sheila Lowe

Aug 25 2020 | 00:29:46


Show Notes

Ever wonder what happens when two graphologists meet? Wonder no more! Join Teresa Abram and Sheila Lowe, best selling author, graphologist, questioned document examiner and President of the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation as they talk about handwriting analysis myths, rewards and future.  And the inspiration behind Sheila Lowe's book "Inkslinger's Ball". 

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Episode Transcript

Speaker 0 00:00:03 Welcome, pull up a chair. Feel your mug. Get comfy. Join us at the table for the most unusual tea party. Here's your host and graphologist Theresa. Speaker 1 00:00:17 Hello and welcome everyone. And thank you for joining us today for the last unusual tea party for season one. I'm Teresa Abrams, a handwriting analyst, and I've got my milk at hand though. What's inside. You won't find out until the end. Our guest today is the wonderful Sheila Lowe president of the American handwriting analysis foundation, a handwriting expert, a qualified forensic document examiner and the author of 15 books, including one of my favorites, the Claudia Rose mystery series, and two books in the beyond the veil series. Thank you so much for joining me today, Sheila. Thank you so much for having me. I am delighted. And before we do go any further, I just want to let the listeners know how much I really do admire you. Sheila. You've been practicing graphology for what? 40 years now? 53 53. Okay. That's impressive. Um, you've worked with the police. Speaker 1 00:01:17 I know that you've done different work to help determine the authenticity of documents, uh, in particular, the Kurt Cobain suicide note. And as you move through it, you continue to change and you continue to evolve what handwriting analysis actually means for you and how you use it. Now you put your energy into the curse of his cool campaign and you testify in court. Your driving force behind the aha, a H a F you do podcasts, conventions, online courses, and you write bestselling books at the same time. All at the same time, I don't know where you get your energy from. I also know that you've been through personal tragedy and that really resonates with me and my own experience with my daughter. You are an inspiration to me and I cannot think of anyone that I would rather wrap up the season with. And with you Speaker 0 00:02:12 Really appreciate any here and meeting you. Speaker 1 00:02:17 Thank you so much. So now we know who inspires me. That would be you, I'm curious to find out who it is that inspires you to do these things Speaker 0 00:02:29 Really, really hard question, you know, after so long. Um, I don't know if there's a specific person that inspires me with work. I do. I don't know. I have a mentor, Roger Rubin, who I have known for more than 35 years. And he's always there when I need to run something by him. I think what inspires me is the ability to help, you know, the self-understanding apart and in the human resource area. Fill on the other side of my practice, the question document, most people who hopefully outcome what's fair. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:03:16 I like that. So what inspires you to keep doing this would be the, uh, the helping aspect, how you can help people, like you say, in HR, get them into the right job, utilizing their skills, matching it with the right job and helping people in court get the outcome that is fair. And just maybe not always the outcome Speaker 0 00:03:35 Fair and just as long as I'm doing my part and you know, my true professional opinion, then, um, it's going to help one way or another. Speaker 1 00:03:47 Yeah, that's right. That's all we can do. Right? You do the best Speaker 0 00:03:50 That you can. Oh, you can do that, Speaker 1 00:03:52 Right, for sure. Thank you for sharing that, Sheila, how was it that you first found out about graphology? Speaker 0 00:03:59 So it was in 1967. I was in high school. I was a senior in high school and my boyfriend's mother had read a book about it and she analyzed my handwriting and we wrote up two whole pages, which I still have. It just, she just got me. No, somebody actually understood me. Oh yeah. 17. That's really important. Yeah. You better believe it. So I started reading all the books I could find and just got really interested and ended up marrying her son. Oh, I should have had her analyze his handwriting. Maybe I wouldn't have three beautiful children from it. So yeah. Awesome. It's always a bit difficult though. Analyzing the people that you know. Yeah, right. Yes. It's like employing surgery on yourself. I studied for about 10 years on my own before I found work versus I could take, I thought I was the only person doing this. You know, Speaker 1 00:05:03 You actually, I know that for me, graphology, it's always been around. It's something that my family talked about, but it seemed like it was only my family that talked about it and nobody else seemed to know anything about graphology. So I felt like I was the only one who actually knew these, these things. Um, and it took a long time before I realized that, wait a moment, there's actually a whole pile of people out here that know a lot more about it. Speaker 0 00:05:29 That's an courses that you can take. Yeah. I eventually I studied, started studying with Charlie Cole and the psycho Graham in 1977 and got certified by the American handwriting analysis foundation. And if you want or 82. Speaker 1 00:05:50 Awesome. That's so cool. And do you think it's easier now to find courses or are there more available to Speaker 0 00:05:58 People are probably more courses available? Not all of them are courses though. So you have to really do your due diligence if you want to make sure that you're, you know, things right. School or whoever's teacher. Speaker 1 00:06:17 Yes, exactly. I think that's, um, particularly true in graphology is that you do have to do a little bit of research on people and make sure that they can do what they say they can do. And that it's an approach that's going to be tried and tested Speaker 0 00:06:31 That they are ethical, you know, with the website and say that are whatever, but you really have to make sure that they have the background, the education, the experience. The other thing about courses is that, you know, of course there are two different methods of, and one is not better or worse than the other. But the way I look at it, one trait stroke method, which is no, that the graphical analysis is the big school here. That method appeals most to people who are left pained and very logical step by step step. And who don't mind doing a lot of measuring measure, a hundred slant on a page. So that's one method. And then you end up the list of personality, eight other method, which is the one that I P is the gestalt, which is space, form, and movement. And so it appeals more to write more inseparably oriented people really depends on how you think as to which one is better for you. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:07:43 Yeah, exactly. There are the two school of thought the gestalt is the foundation, the outside of a house. And you can tell a lot about the outside and you can make deductions, right. You know, if it's a single family or an apartment or walk up or a bungalow, and then the trade stroke method tells you more about the inside, it's more of the details and you're going to be, was that you that, did you write that? Nope. That wasn't you. Okay. Speaker 0 00:08:09 No, I don't know. I'm interested to know who that was. I use, uh, O'Neill's he's long gone, but he was wonderful gemologist. And when he used to say was looking at great stroke Methodist, like handwriting through a microscope, cause excuse me, where you have a very small field of vision, you see a little bit done. So that's that building up the personality. Whereas the gestalt is like looking at handwriting through a telescope, who's seeing the whole picture. You really do get a sense of the whole personality from that. You look in it, smaller things. Speaker 1 00:08:51 Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And they do work together. They can one another for sure. Yeah. Speaker 0 00:08:58 Do you know as much as you possibly can? Exactly. Speaker 1 00:09:02 So was there a turning moment for you where you said, you know what, I am actually going to make a living at doing handwriting analysis? Speaker 0 00:09:12 Well, I was doing it as an avocation for a long time. In 1985. I got my first real in client. Well, not first human resource client that way other people had been doing it for individuals. They had been paying, this was just a different level for me. And I got that client through Mary Ruiz and, um, Jen Ruiz wrote a wonderful, a handwriting analysis basics or basic book or something like that. And then later they wrote books on compatibility or an aim and lives in Colorado, Mary Ruiz's, her partner here in LA. And um, she used to come to our chapter and when she got sick with cancer, she gave this client over to me. He was, and he had a good rant. So it was kind of interesting. That would be, yeah, I can make a living at it. I still, I was supporting three young children in 1989. I was working as an assistant administrator in America office and I got fired and that's when I decided that it was time to start my business. Speaker 1 00:10:32 Yeah. Sometimes we need that little kick. Speaker 0 00:10:37 Yeah. Well the next day my car broke completely fixed. It was an interesting time. Speaker 1 00:10:47 That sounds like it sounds like you maybe needed a bigger kick, Speaker 0 00:10:50 I guess so. Yeah. Speaker 1 00:10:53 Yeah. And look at Reddit, you know, what's evolved from that moment. Speaker 0 00:10:59 Yeah. Well, I had to worked for about a year cause I was getting my business calling. Yes. I've never looked. I love being my own boss. Speaker 1 00:11:10 That's for sure. What is a misconception about graphology or handwriting analysis that you would most like to dispel? If you could wave a wand, what would you say Speaker 0 00:11:21 This does not exist? Well, there's a couple of things and probably the first thing that came to mind was you can tell everything about a person from handwriting. That's just ridiculous. People are far too. You can tell a lot of important things. The other thing is that it's a pseudoscience, some psychologists and theirs claim that it's a pseudoscience because they rely on flawed studies or they don't know what they're talking about on the H E website, which is eight, eight, eight F handwriting. There's a list of peer reviewed studies in support and writing and ELA, but they got to go look at those. Speaker 1 00:12:07 Is there a lot of research currently ongoing? Speaker 0 00:12:10 No. And well, let me separate that. There's a lot of research ongoing in neurology handwriting and the brain, but not in driving as far as personality assessment. Why do you think that is? Yeah, I wish I knew the answer to that probably because it's not a huge practice in the U S in Israel there it's used more. And I think for more studies conducted there, but yeah, not well known here. Speaker 1 00:12:45 No it isn't. And I think in a lot of the, a lot of the ways, the history of it, it's almost like we've shot ourselves in the foot because for so long, you know, your graph analysis was separate from graph graphology. And each one tried to buy for their way was better. Right. Although there's, I think more leniency now that we can combine them. Speaker 0 00:13:07 Yes. They don't. Maybe in the past they were like, you know, they acted like the church and they would say, if you associated with anybody outside of this organization, you basically ex-communicated, I'm sure the rule may be the same, but it's not applied in a strictly. Yeah, Speaker 1 00:13:28 Exactly. So, and I think that moving forward, the more that we can, you know, come together, it'll be better for it as a whole, because we have two factions who are saying, we're doing the same thing, but the other one is wrong. Neither one wins. Speaker 0 00:13:45 Exactly. Like I said, when I was describing the two method, neither one is wrong, but it's okay to have more than one in psychology. There are, you know, well, there's six or seven major schools of thought and many, many others are not major. And there's no reason for there to be only one method of writing. Speaker 1 00:14:08 And you know, as we move forward, it's like, if one thing gets proven wrong, that's only a good thing. Right? You have a hypothesis. That's what science is all about. You create a hypothesis and then you see, can you support it? That's the basis of science and that switch. Speaker 0 00:14:23 So what about writing a book, Speaker 1 00:14:26 Many myths and misconceptions that people have about writing a book that you would like to do? Speaker 0 00:14:32 Anyone can do it. Anyone can write a book. Oh, I mean, that's just my opinion and tell you how many people have come up to me and said, well, I'm going to write a book. I want to write a book, but it's not for everyone. Fiction. And nonfiction are two very different aspect of writing. Very different story. If you will first or nonfiction, and then always wanted to write a mystery. And when I decided to do that, I ended up reading about 40 books on mystery writing and fiction writing. Oh, different. Speaker 1 00:15:17 I believe it. And I think even within that, there's so many different ways of how do you progress through it? Speaker 0 00:15:23 Well, a big misconception in writing is that you're going to get a publisher and they're going to promote you. Well, I've had one of the biggest publishers in the world, which more than one England and Macmillan, and even the biggest publisher is expecting you to do almost all of your own PR that publicist in my imprint in penguin said you had 200 authors and she could give each one 10 minutes a month for publicity. So you have to be prepared. Writing a book is hard, selling it to a publisher is harder. And then marketing is the hardest of all. So if you want to write a book, you have to be prepared to do all of those things. It's like a full time job. Speaker 1 00:16:10 Hm. You know, that's, that's a really interesting point. I hadn't realized that if you did get a publisher, that's so much would be left to you to actually promote it. I thought they would Speaker 0 00:16:21 Take 92% and they fuck and they send it out. So that's about it. Speaker 1 00:16:29 That's about it. Oh, there you go. Thank you for sharing that with your 53 years of experience, what would you say is one of the funniest stories that you have about graphology or friends, Speaker 0 00:16:41 Document examination? You know, I, I thought about that a lot and I'm afraid, you know, what I can think of is that this is a very serious business. And even though I always want to have humor, um, mostly when I do a good job, I make people cry a good way. So I thought it was a question I could not come up with an answer. Speaker 1 00:17:07 Ah, alright, well, no problem. So let's change it around a bit and say, what was one situation that really touched your heart? Speaker 0 00:17:15 I did an airless, not too long ago. I did an analysis for somebody that her friend in her analysis as a gift, but she mailed me the sample and I never, I rarely meet the people that I'm analyzing. It did the analysis. And she wrote, I think she said phrasing before I even finished the first reading, the first paragraph I was in peers, because somebody really understood me for the first time. So Speaker 1 00:17:50 Yeah, you were saying at the beginning, how, when you're 17, that's so important. I don't think we ever outgrow that. Speaker 0 00:17:56 No, this was, uh, a mature woman. A few weeks ago. I was hired to, I need to have their employers, employees from zoom, about five minutes, eat about handwriting. They were just giving it to them as a fun thing to do. And I remember I made three of those people, but they all said, no, it's okay. It's good. One of them had mentioned that it looked like she had some physical problems she was dealing with and she wants to meet. And other one was, went through a divorce, you know, similar things to that. So we have a way of really touching really deeply. Speaker 1 00:18:45 It is right. When you can make that connection, that deeply with somebody, it makes it all worthwhile. Definitely. Is there something that maybe changed your practice in a very significant way? Thank you. You have like Desmond Morris had a comment about how you can have like 5,000 evenings and they're all beautiful, but not memorable, but there could be one that changes your life. Speaker 0 00:19:09 Well, I, in just my life in new insight, about almost 20 years ago, I did an analysis for a woman and he wrote back and she said, how much she enjoyed it? He said it was really me. Wasn't all of me. And that was kind of a wake up call for me because it's really, it was humbling to realize the limitations of what we do. Of course there is the story of my daughter, as you mentioned, educate, and that when he was 27, well, 26 at the time she met label, who was a very nice looking, you know, he was, I'm a federal agent and we welcome him in family. When we first met it before we met him, he brought me his handwriting. He wanted to know what his handwriting said about him. And, um, I explained for copies that they would have, he was a very authoritarian personality. Speaker 0 00:20:20 It was like, was I say, not as I do, I'm going to make rules for you. And that would never work with Jennifer who never listened to what I said. And I was her mother. And, um, so I noticed in his handwriting, there were funds of a head injury. And I asked him about that. And he said, this, I was hit in the head so hard. I was almost blinded on the federal agent, the what was then the ins, which is now Homeland security. And so we talked about it and naturally she didn't listen. And he moved in with her and within a year he had pulled her and himself. Although, one thing that I noticed that I didn't mention was the potential for explosive behavior. And of course, handwriting, hint tell you, it's not like a crystal ball. That's going to say this. Guy's going to be a killer. There was potential for explosive behavior with alcohol involved explosion wedding. Speaker 1 00:21:24 Yes. And you know, that's so true, right? Is we can't predict the future. It's simply a matter of seeing, is there a red flag there that indicates there's a potential for something Speaker 0 00:21:34 That's all you can do? Yeah. We can predict future past behavior, which we see in the handwriting and possibilities potential for future behavior. The experience did teach me a lot about life after death. And I, I am fully convinced that Jennifer confused involved in my life and he can help me write my last book. So I'm fucking about her feel like fucking about what happened and the people who were in that situation, because it's an abusive situation, but not physically. A lot of people think that use is always getting beat up. It's not, it can be verbal. Yes, Speaker 1 00:22:18 Exactly. Um, I totally agree with you. And that was something with my daughter. It wasn't physical abuse and it was somebody that we had trusted. He was a teacher of hers for years and we trusted him and it wasn't until she turned 18 where he suddenly switched and became a threat to her. And it, you know, pulling her out of that situation, created quite a mess to say the least. Yes. But now you know that the, the upside to this is that, you know, it's now she's like, okay, here's their handwriting, mum, what are you saying? We don't want to go through this again. Like if there's a warning there, let's take a look at it and deal with Speaker 0 00:22:56 Realistically, we don't need to brush it under the rug. And I think that's a really one of the values of Gruffalo Speaker 1 00:23:03 G and handwriting analysis is the idea that you can look at it and say, Speaker 0 00:23:07 This is an issue. And maybe you need to look at this, don't sweep it under the rug, address it now, before it becomes bigger hand there's warning signs. And if the individual, whether that looks up to them or not, but sometimes you just Speaker 1 00:23:23 See it, you have a blind spot and you catch it. Right. Speaker 0 00:23:25 Or even when I did it myself, I saw my second husband handwriting. I saw where the problems were going to be. I went ahead with it anyway, and the problems were certainly there and we spent 20 years breaking up. Yeah. So where do you see the future of graphology and cursive writing going Speaker 1 00:23:46 Well Speaker 0 00:23:46 Recently did a survey, an informal survey. I went through each of the 50 United States. Uh, they were doing with cursive, the medication. What I found was that 25 state currently how her requirement for sift to be taught in school, usually starting in the third grade, another six States have like a station pending few more, left it up to the school district and the last 10, no requirement. Oh, I was really kind of heartened to see that only they now require it. Speaker 1 00:24:29 So it's moving in the direction of they're bringing it back into the curriculum. Speaker 0 00:24:32 Yes. And so that means that handwriting analysts are always going to be needed. Speaker 1 00:24:37 Yes, we will. Um, the thing is though, I think that's also one of those myths about handwriting analysis that has been tough on our industry is the idea that we can only analyze handwriting. I think printing is also it's, it's not quite as communicative. It doesn't tell us as much, but there's still information within our printing too, that we can Speaker 0 00:24:58 Think graphic expression can be analyzed in any language. So, I mean, if we can analyze, um, Arabic and Hebrew and Chinese, why shouldn't we be able to analyze printing Speaker 1 00:25:09 Well said, but I agree with bringing cursive back. It's, it's something that to me is a Mark of civilization. It's a Mark of education. It's a Mark of intelligence. It's part of what makes us human, that ability to communicate in such a way. Speaker 0 00:25:24 Um, another thing that the organization, the AAF organization has done in the past couple of years was to write a white paper that authored dr. Jane Yang, who is our research chair. And it lists over 80 or in studies showing the need for handwriting training and the effect it has on the young brain, right? There are many reasons. And one you listed and the fact that all through history, people who were able to read and write, or on a different strata of society and people who were illiterate, which is our kids today, many of my functionally illiterate, you don't learn this. If that means that they can't sign their name and that's been a problem noted, there was an article in a San Francisco Chronicle recently about a Stanford university study. And the study noted that this is a problem with ballot because you have to sign your name on a ballot. Speaker 1 00:26:30 Yeah. Yeah. There are a lot of unforeseen repercussions when you can't write cursive and sign your name. Right. Speaker 0 00:26:39 It's who you are. It's your, it's your public image, your Speaker 1 00:26:45 Right. Can you met with like, what would Liberace have done if he couldn't have signed his name and the way that he did? Speaker 0 00:26:49 Yeah, Speaker 1 00:26:52 Exactly. The world would be so much more plainer. Yes. So Sheila, if you could name this episode, the final episode of season one, what would you call it? Speaker 0 00:27:07 I would use a phrase that Roger Rubin uses handwriting tells the truth, but not the whole truth or perhaps behind every handwriting, the human thing. Speaker 1 00:27:20 Yeah. That's a good one too. Yeah. And I, you know, that's so true. I think that's what we often say is the handwriting doesn't lie. I might misinterpret it. I might miss something, but the handwriting itself doesn't lie. It tells the truth. Speaker 0 00:27:35 Yes. Beautiful. Speaker 1 00:27:37 Thank you. All right. Well, as we wrap up, Sheila, thank you so much for joining me for this. I really do appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and discuss all things with handwriting. But I'm curious, I know that in my mug, I've got some sparkling water with pressed elder in it. Nice and sweet. And I'm curious, what is in your mug today? Speaker 0 00:27:59 Actually, I have sparkling water. I don't have anything exotic as elderflower, but if you want to go out, I have mint outside. I think I should go pick some. Speaker 1 00:28:08 Oh yes. That sounds, that sounds delicious. Sheila, if people would like to stay in touch with you, how can they do that? Speaker 0 00:28:17 Well, my website for handwriting analysis is just my name. Sheila lo.com. It's H E I L a L O w E for the book for the Claudia road series and Claudia Rose series. Speaker 1 00:28:33 And definitely my favorite book, ink, slingers ball. Love that one. Recommend it to all to everybody Speaker 0 00:28:41 Too. And that's the first one where there's more than one point of the book Speaker 1 00:28:47 And the ending totally surprised me. I'm a big crime buff and I did not see that one coming. I was like, no way. Speaker 0 00:28:56 That's great. Yeah. My, my son is a tattoo artist. My older son, he had asked me to do some supplies for him. And as I was looking for a website and I found winner's ball was the name of a tattoo convention. And I said, I love the inspiration. That's beautiful. All right. Well, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks for listening. If you're wanting to hear more from Theresa and her guests, be sure to subscribe on the platform of your choice for handwriting underscore.

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