Art of deciphering handwriting
Graphologist has the uncanny ability to learn about people’s personalities based on their writing
YOSSI Vissoker is a forensic graphologist, a handwriting expert who is able to learn something of the personality of an individual based purely on their handwriting.
He specialises in behavioural profiling and forensic document examination and has been used by the likes of the Nelson Mandela Foundation to establish the veracity of signatures scammers often pass off as Madiba’s own.
He has been commissioned by the SAPS, most notably in a 1988 case involving the disappearance of nine girls in Pretoria.
He has done this work for nearly 40 years.
“I have examined the writing of thousands of people, including the rich and famous,” said the Israeli, now based in Sandton, west of Joburg for more than two decades.
He received his basic training in his craft in the Israeli Defence Force in 1971, focusing on “Arabic and other languages I was not familiar with”.
He is certified by the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute, whose citations decorate his office at his home in Gallo Manor.
“I’m a regular guest on Radio 702 and Cape Talk, SABC and have also appeared on numerous TV talk shows. The television show use me as their sole expert in the cases they need to authenticate handwriting and signatures on,” he said.
He was also the official graphologist on the first show as well as
His evidence has been accepted in the high courts in the country and the Council for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration.
He has done handwriting analysis in his native Israel, Botswana, Zimbabwe, France, Switzerland, India and Taiwan.
We asked Vissoker to tell us more about the personalities of three of our colleagues, based on the handwriting samples they provided.
She’s quite thorough in what she does. Self-controlled. Family-orientated.
She’s very committed to her job. If she promises something, she gets committed to seeing it through.
She doesn’t have too many fantasies, illusions. She’s a very realistic person, who agonises over details, sometimes unnecessarily. She digs at petty things. She often wastes energy to go into specific details.
A good observer about situations, about herself to the point of being self-torturing. She always irritates herself… about herself.
I think she’s a religious person who always thinks whether what she does accords with her religious beliefs or not. She is a moral person.
Not rebellious. She’s a self-critical, rational person.
I don’t know what field of news she works in. I don’t think she’s about fashion, but even if she were, her interest would be the facts, not the gossip of fashion.
She thinks other people can learn from her.
She has some digestion problems, maybe difficulty in swallowing; maybe she cannot swallow properly.
She had big issues with her father while growing up, in her pre-teen years, like age 11 or 12. Her mother took her father’s side.
The analysis was fairly spot on. Based on the write-up I gave, some of the analysis that Mr Yossi gave back to me were pretty obvious (like being religious), and some rang true to a huge chunk of who I am. And well, some parts were off the mark – or maybe will unfold as time goes on. But overall, it was pretty good.
An intelligent person. He considers himself to be among the top. He has high self-esteem. That’s what he projects.
He is ambitious. He grasps concepts easily, situations very quickly.
He is enthusiastic.
Lives by principles. Though he criticises other people, he is very empathetic, very sensitive.
He suffered abuse from friends when he was young, like he was bullied. He wants to forget what was.
He is a very curious person, about everything. He’s the right person for the kind of job he does.
He creates, sometimes, his own realities. He interprets life, situations, a lot. He’s got all the answers, from his own interpretation.
He protects himself, afraid that other people would criticise him.
He is a target for bullying.
The analysis is generally spot on despite my misgivings about having to give basic biographical details beforehand. A more specific reading into some of the issues that were picked up would also add weight to the analysis. I’m now convinced there is a science behind handwriting analysis, contrary to my earlier position.
He gave me some problems. The writing is unique, it is… a bit strange. I think he is hiding a lot.
I needed to dig to go into his genuine personality. Initially, I even thought he was sick, or crippled. I do not know.
He doesn’t speak effortlessly. But he likes to talk, and it is always dragging.
Although he doesn’t want to show people, he has lots of fantasies… about himself, about life.
He finds it difficult to adapt to new situations. He covers that up by talking.
He’s an impatient person. He responds without fully hearing what the other person was saying. He is impulsive.
He’s a nervous person.
He has a fairly good sense of humour.
He quickly gets frustrated if people disagree with him, though he is easily influenced by other views. He understands other people easily. Maybe he is good looking, and intelligent – which combine to give him a good rapport with other people. But he is reserved.
He finds it difficult to decide. He is dependent on his parents , and sees life through their eyes. MANYANE RESPONDS:
I never thought the day will come when someone will reveal the truth about me. This is unbelievable, but true, except that part about “depending on parents, and sees life through their eyes”. Maybe I don’t understand... can he kindly elaborate further on this?