BY WESLEY BUTLER
Next time you’re sitting with your friend, get them to write a few lines on a sheet of paper. If their handwriting forms what’s called the “felon’s claw,” then stop hanging out with this person, and definitely don’t go into business with them.
That’s what forensic hypnotist Mike Mandel told students during his visit to Conestoga College’s Sanctuary on Oct. 2.
He displayed an example of the felon’s claw, which is a lower loop that curves downward like a frown, and forms a hook when someone writes a letter.
He said this is what reveals major personality problems such as psychopathy, and can temporarily appear in teenage girls’ writing, but disappears after a while.
“The question today is, are you dating a psychopath?” he told the audience. “Get your friends, people you don’t really care about or your family members to write a couple of lines on a sheet of paper.”
He added that there are times when the findings in someone’s writing can be shocking, and it’s an accurate depiction of what that person is truly like.
Mandel, who has been involved in a number of different forensic cases throughout his career, mainly focuses on forensic hypnosis and forensic handwriting analysis.
When he was starting his career, he worked for a company called the Police Charter in the early 1990s. The company assigned an officer to guard a person’s home all day, every day.
Mandel knew an officer, who he called the “comparable James Bond agent,” who was assigned to help a woman who claimed that her ex-boyfriend was stalking her. The officer in turn, stalked the stalker for six consecutive nights. He got the ex-boyfriend’s handwriting, and was able to fully analyze it. From there, the officer discovered all of the ex-boyfriend’s personality problems, and continued to stalk him.
At the end of the six nights, the officer called the ex-boyfriend at his home at 3 a.m., and told him that he knew he was getting up to urinate at that moment, that he knew he had salmon for dinner, he knew where he shopped, he knew his Visa number, his MasterCard number, the MasterCard number of his brother who lived in Vancouver, and his licence plate number.
When the ex-boyfriend asked him who he was, the police officer ended the call by saying that if he stalks his ex-girlfriend one more time, they would meet face-to-face, and it would “not be pleasant.” The stalking stopped at that point.
According to Mandel, most people’s craziness shows up in their handwriting. He went on to describe another case about a doctor at one of the hospitals in Toronto. The doctor would go into a room where an expectant mother was, and would tell the other doctors that “they were due for a still-born baby today.” He was also said to have gone into operating rooms and flicked blood at the patients during surgery.
The other doctors were questioning whether or not their colleague had a mental disorder, or if he just had a very dark sense of humour. Mandel was able to get his handwriting, and after a full analysis, confirmed that the doctor showed signs of predisposition violence, intentional deceit, deceptive manipulation, and possible psychopathy. The doctor ended up being fired.
“One of the things I’m able to see is how to detect things like this in handwriting,” said Mandel. “The writing is accurate 100 per cent of the time, and it never lies.”
The second part of Mandel’s presentation was how to detect when someone is lying.
“If someone tells you a story and they give you a whole bunch of information, then they are probably lying,” he said. “When they give you unrequested information, it’s because they know that they’re lying and they feel they’re not being convincing enough.”
Mandel instructed the audience to run someone’s story backwards in their heads to test if someone is lying, and ask the person what happened before a particular part of their story. If the person can’t remember what he said, then he is lying. Mandel said this happens because people usually only rehearse their stories forward.
He concluded his presentation by asking a Conestoga student to come up to the stage for a “lying experiment.” The student, Brendan, was shown a card. Mandel asked him what the card was, and the student had to keep saying no to everything. This was so Mandel could detect what the student would do when he was telling a lie.
At one point, the student began to laugh when he said that his card wasn’t the one Mandel asked about, leading Mandel to believe that he was lying.
He asked the student to stand up and reveal what card it was, and it ended up being the one Mandel had chosen as the student’s card.
“I can always catch someone’s patterns when they tell a lie,” said Mandel. “They will almost always do something humorous or unusual when they aren’t telling the truth about something.”