When I was training as a handwriting analyst, I learned how to take an inventory of a writer’s character traits and then write a report about my findings. But there is another branch of handwriting analysis which has nothing to do with personality and is used in detection work; namely signature forgery, distorted writing to disguise the writer’s regular penmanship, and anonymously penned slanderous or threatening letters.

Questioned Documents Examination requires a keen eye for details and differences where letter formations, spacing, slant, pressure, size, baselines, and idiosyncratic aspects are concerned. The latter are often a sure giveaway that the writing has been penned by the same author – or not. In order to come to a conclusion, samples for comparison are needed.

I remember a case where someone had put up slanderous notes on the bulletin board of a condo building. The strata council gave me a number of writing samples from people that could have committed the offence but basically asked me to confirm the person they had in mind. Imagine their surprise when the culprit turned out to be a very ‘respectable’ resident. They would have never suspected.

Another time a bomb threat was found written on the door of a girls’ washroom in the school where I was teaching. I offered my expertise working from photos and suspects’ samples. I found the culprit within half an hour.

I used to work for lawyers and the police appearing as an expert witness in BC Provincial and Supreme Courts. It was fun for me being pitted against experts for the other parties and winning because my charts and explanations left no doubt in the judge’s mind. In one case ‘His Honour’ was the father of one of my students and he paid me a great compliment when he wrote in his sentencing report that my presentation of the writing differences had been extremely clear and convincing. Well, to me it was no different than making charts for my students…

In conclusion I would like to say that QDE was one of the most fascinating things I’ve ever done in my life. It felt good because I was making a difference for someone, either as an innocent or as a culprit. Making a difference in someone’s life has always given me joy and I am doing this now through my book “When Life Has Other Plans…Discover the Hidden Gifts”, a wonderful Christmas present for yourself, family members, or friends who can use a dose of inspiration and encouragement. It’s available at Uplifters Shop in Courtenay, Blue Heron in Comox, and independent bookstores in Victoria.

Dorothea L. Gordon