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Written by Rosetta Cozart Edited by Cindy Little

When you first meet Alan his piercing, laughing eyes followed by his smile make a striking first
impression. He seems nice enough; but there is something about him that makes you wonder if he can be trusted. He's very tall, somewhat underweight and yet he exudes strength - even
a degree of intimidation.

Next, you notice that he really doesn't fit in with the company image. He looks like the typical high school druggie or rebellious teen, rather than a mature adult. He wears t-shirts depicting rock bands and slogans reflecting defiant attitudes, and he wears his long hair in a ponytail down his back. He arrives for his interview on a bicycle.

Not one to judge a book by it's cover, you give this person an opportunity to prove himself.
Since part of his job requires that he sign for packages or make out invoices, you begin to
collect copies of his handwriting.

Although you have collected quite a few samples of his writing, you're still not quite satisfied. Then an opportunity presents itself to secure more detailed writing. He wants a raise in his pay. So, as his supervisor, you ask him to write out why he feels he should obtain a raise in pay.

When you first look at his handwriting, you are taken aback by the frequent use of felon's claws
throughout. Since he is a printer, most of these felon's claws are located in the middle zone.
Even so, they still reach down in to the lower zone.

Mark Dehe, Certified Handwriting Analyst, gives us a detailed description and definition of a felon's claw:

"A felon's claw is a stroke made from just about any letter that goes below the baseline and resembles a claw. It can swoop back up into the mundane area, but it MUST return and end in the physical zone to be considered a felon's claw.

"Basically the person that has this trait will seem like the nicest, sweetest person you've ever met, but then will end up back-stabbing you for what appears to be no particular reason.

"The psychological theory behind this is because, while the person was growing up, he was made to feel inferior. Now that he is an adult, he firmly believes this. When someone treats him nice, he does not feel that he deserves to be treated this way and he'll hurt you in some way so as to prove to you that he's as inadequate and hateful as he feels."

Another example of a felon's claw, this time in a female's writing

What do we understand about felon's claws?

We recognize that the felon's claw is associated with guilt. In this case, the writer has been made to feel guilty about something that has occurred in his day-to-day life. And, since this is his normal pattern of writing, this guilt has been carried for a very long time. The fact that it
reaches down below the baseline indicates his determination to hold onto this feeling
of guilt even to the point of incorporating it into a subconscious drive.

What type of behavior can we expect from such an individual? Focusing on the aspect of the felon's claw, this person has an unconscious need to feel guilty. It is a certainty that in one manner or another, he is going to create a situation whereby he gets disciplined for his actions.

He wants to be punished. Why? To further validate the feeling he may have of himself that he is worthless, meriting punishment. It is as if he is unable to accept that he has the potential for
goodness and that others would like to be able to enjoy his friendship.

To maintain his need for punishment, he will engage in conducts that provoke, irritate, and
infuriate in order to obtain the desired response of being disciplined. This may include, but is
not limited to, lying, gossiping, and deliberate misconduct regarding company policies and theft.

In fact, this individual did engage in such behaviors. He was argumentative and obstinate. He talked and gossiped extensively, and was extremely stubbornly opinionated.

What are some other factors in this handwriting that would support this type of behavior? Stabbed ovals, retraced letters and the fact that the writing is printed are all indicative of a person who has a secretive, concealing nature. Basically, this is someone who is underhanded.

Within the writing are also ovals that open at the bottom. Graphologically speaking, these are equated with the characteristics of a thief or embezzler.

There are also many letters that, when taken out of context, would resemble other letters. This is definitely a sign of deception.

Other characteristics within the handwriting that support the conclusion that this is not someone with whom we would not want to associate intimately, include the sarcastic t-bars that point downward. A real griper who is witty, with a sharp tongue that can injure with just a word.

The acquisitive hooks throughout his writing support his desire to acquire.

The slashed i-dots and temper tics throughout warn us of his ability to strike out in anger. Indeed, his temper was openly displayed on several occassions, with yelling and defiance toward his superiors.

Looking at the signature, we notice that it is very different than the body of writing. We still see the felon's claw. Only in this case, it is incorporated into the upper zone formation of the retraced n. It has become a part of his reasoning or thought pattern. The entire name is one belonging to someone who is repressed and of a concealing, deceptive nature. It also belongs to one who is determined to hang on and will punish himself, if need be.

As Mark Dehe noted, "Many many MANY criminals have felon's claws, hence the name. But, as with any trait, one by itself means very little. It depends on the other traits that are also in the person's handwriting that determine his overall character."

Suffice it to say that what we have seen here is a strong warning that this person is trouble. If he isn't causing trouble for himself, he will cause trouble for others. Will it be a surprise to anyone if he did find himself a resident of the penal system? The answer is a resounding "No."


You can reach the author, Rosetta Cozart at:
[email protected]

Rosetta is the Librarian and co-editor at, an international handwriting analysis coalition.


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