Handwriting Research Corporation

Analysis of Anthrax Letters & Envelopes

Also available:

Tom Brokaw letter         Senator Daschle letter          letter to Editor         envelope to Editor

What to look for if you receive a suspicious arriving envelope or package:
*  All capital letters (w/ emphasis on first letter of word larger than rest of word)
*  Descending baselines
*  Excessive letter spacing within words and lines
*  Poor and irregular rhythm
*  Slow and crude script
*  Unknown, incorrect or mysterious return address
*  Straight left margin of mailing address
*  Inflated level of importance placed on the envelope itself (i.e. markings such as "confidential", "personal", "hand deliver",
    "top priority", etc.)
*  Exaggerated size of letters and numbers
*  Letters and numbers made in pieces (segmented):
        *  Three piece number "1" as shown here with top hat and feet
        *  Capital letter "Y" constructed in pieces
        *  Capital "R" made like a "P" with right leg added on
        *  Capital "W" made in stick pieces

Personality of the author of the envelopes:
*  The below personality profile is consistent with a person skilled in managing a dangerous substance such as anthrax.
    Despite this, it cannot be concluded with certainty that the writer of the letters is the sole manager and/ or creator
    of the anthrax even though it is highly probable.
*  Suicidal, severely depressed individual
*  Sociopathic character
*  Meticulous, perfectionistic and technical temperament
*  Rigid, consistent and predictable behavior due to neurotic compulsions and thinking
*  Fanatical, extremist beliefs
*  Deep seated hatred: violent, aggressive tendencies
*  Domineering and controlling of others psychologically, but avoids conflict directly
*  Likely a male, single, unattached, isolated from family and friends and eccentric in life style
*  Cowardly and lacks independent thought
*  Poorly developed social skills
*  Controlled, calculating, objective, flat personality
*  High degree of patience and slow moving
*  Unlikely to have a career which involves people, sponteneity, charm or quick decisions (sales, business leader, customer
    service, waiter, etc.)   More likely: self or unemployed, technical or physical work, accounting, drafting, driving,  where
    his introverted, meticulous temperament are desirable and compatable with job expectations.
*  Introverted; passive aggressive  (avoids direct conflict, retaliates behind one's back rather than openly complaining or
    confronting others).   Socially reserved and invisible.
*  Sees self as only a "pawn"  when conducting the anthrax attack, rather than an ego maniac who takes credit for attack.
    The letter writer does not see himself (likely a male) as important in the attack, but rather as one of many who represent
    a cause.  So, despite the fact he is an introvert and emotionally isolated from others, he identifies himself with others of
    his cause.  (Notice the omission of a signature, symbol or group name claiming credit for the anthrax attacks.)  This
    suggests that the sender of the letter does not see himself as significant in the mission.
*  Emphasizing the date of the bombing 09-11-01 (enlarged and use of  zeros) in an effort to stretch out the terror of that date
*  Improper spelling of "penacilin" (sic) suggests writer not scientifically trained or a professional.   This misspelling in not
    likely intentional, as misspellings which are intentional are rarely the most difficult word in the letter written.
*  Date order of day, then month, suggests some comfort with American way of writing, whereas overseas cultures
    train students to place month, then day on dates (referring to date of 09-11-01).  Also, these letters were written from
    left-to-right as Americans write, not right-to-left as people do in the Middle East.  (Notice straight left margins which
    suggest left-to-right.)  Other features however, suggest a tremendous discomfort or unfamiliarity with American script and
    etiquette.  In conclusion, writing likely written by person with some but only limited familiarity with American style script.
    In fact, it excludes writers from countries which teach alphabetic forms: Europe,  Mexico, etc. but does not exclude
    writers from the Middle East, China, etc. which do not teach the English style lettering.
*  Writer attempts to disguise handwriting but does not attempt to alter style from one letter to another or from envelope to
    envelope.  This suggests author doesn't care that investigators know one person authored all writing samples involved in this
    case.  Other indications, however, such as, "THIS ANTHRAX" is poorly written and represents a poor command of our
    language (this, unfortunately, is true of some Americans too).
*  Writer writes the word "GREAT" when saying "ALLAH IS GREAT" yet the "G" in "GREAT" is no larger than other letters
    in the word.  For this writer, that is unusual, suggesting that the author does not really believe that Allah is great, otherwise
    the "G" in "GREAT" would have been taller than other letters in word as found in remainder of writing.
*  Although the author wants to kill Americans as substantiated by the insertion of anthrax, the author is more interested in
    terrifying Americans than killing them.  (Our reason for saying this is confidential so as to not educate the terrorist.)

Same author of all three envelopes and letters?:
*  Yes . . .
*  Same individual letter construction
*  Same overall form level
*  Irregular letter, baseline consistencies
*  Identical and unusual baseline violations or right leg of "R" and other letters
*  Same letter segmentation
*  Same poor rhythm
*  Same capital enlargements at word beginnings even with all capital letters
*  Unusual number "1" with copybook three piece construction
*  Over 40 other more subtle commonalities that we will not make public

What makes this difficult to analyze?:
*  Envelope writing in general, unlike one's normal handwriting, must be legible (to insure postal delivery); therefore, author is
    more cognizant about how the envelope writing appears. This heightened awareness often affects the handwriting style as
    being self-conscious alters one's behavior (and writing)
*  Limited amount of handwriting
*  Disguised handwriting . . . likely written with wrong hand
*  Capital letters were only letters provided, which limits scope of analysis

Notes to readers:  if you have any insights you would like to share with us please feel free to contact our offices.  If you
have any information of substance regarding these crimes, contact the F.B.I. in your area.  Let's get this case solved!!!!