Articles & Insights into the world of handwriting.

The Secrets of her Phenomenal Memory

Have you ever come across someone with a truly phenomenal memory? Well one such person hit the headlines a while ago.

She is Jill Price and she is famous for her unbelievable memory. In fact, she was featured on the Oprah Winfrey show and her personal story was widely reported in the media.

But that is not the only point.  The important thing for us is her remarkably strange handwriting. I’m sure you’ve never seen anything like it.

Many secrets are wrapped up in her strange handwriting. If ever you wanted proof that handwriting  is a true reflection of personality here it is.

But before I go into her handwriting let me tell you about her first – because this is the true story of how one woman’s phenomenal memory wowed the scientific world and set the media alight.

Jill Price and her Powerful Memory

Jill Price had always wanted the story of her remarkable memory to be kept a secret.  She is over 50 today and for 8 years scientists at the University of California, Irvine studied her phenomenal memory in secret.

They honoured her wishes and kept her identity hidden. Then in 2006 she decided to “come out” and her story appeared in a newspaper. When the story broke the scientific world and the media went wild.

Oprah interviewed her on one of her shows.

Which made her famous overnight. Diane Sawyer also interviewed her – on ABC News where her audience was understandably astounded.

For example, she knew to the exact day when Princess Grace died: She knew exactly when Jr from Dallas was shot; when the Unabomber was arrested and when the L. A. Riots took place.

And there was a lot more. When Jill was questioned about it she explained that she had an autobiographical memory – which means that she remembers things in relation to her own life.  In other words, her memory is based on her own personal history. The things that she remembers so perfectly have to be related in some way to an incident in her own life.

So much so, that her recall of some event not linked in any way to her personal life is not spectacular. She admitted that she was not a brilliant student at school and that she even found it difficult to memorize a poem.

Jill spent most of her life in Los Angeles where she works as a school administrator. She lives with her parents because she is a collector of personal memorabilia that she can’t bear to part with. She suffers from some form of separation anxiety – to the extent that a move away from her family home would be too much for her to bear.

A very Strange Handwriting

And now, if you want to see an example of a very strange handwriting you’ve come to the right place.  You won’t find a better example than this one. It clearly shows the handwriting of a highly unusual person with a somewhat eccentric personality.

Now here is the interesting part for graphologists and handwriting analysts. Jill has recorded in amazing detail the highly fascinating story of her life in a journal that contains 50 thousand pages of her very strange handwriting set up in columns like a newspaper. 50 thousand pages!

Here is a sample of Jill’s handwriting. The excerpt here is reproduced from one of these columns.


Handwriting of Jill Price - Amazing memory

Details about the handwriting

The very first thing that hits you is how strange it is. But we also notice how extremely crowded it is. Crowded to the point of extreme obsession and this I think, is the key to everything. Her mind is so crowded with events of her personal life that she is indeed obsessed with it.

The phrase obsessive-compulsive disorder comes to mind. She remembers so much about herself because she thinks constantly about her past in an obsessive way.

In the handwriting sample, spacing is non-existent. Everything appears to be chaotic – and yet when you enlarge the picture and follow the words, there is a strange sort of rhythm that seems to follow through.

Notice also how the margins of the column are well justified both on the right and left sides. Look carefully and you will see that the lines are in fact quite straight – only the words bob up and down within them. In short, Jill seems to dance to her own tune.

Her handwriting does not follow the norms of communication because there is no desire to communicate.  It’s all about personal reflection.

In some ways it reminds us of the handwriting of Leonardo Da Vinci who used mirror writing so that the merely curious would not be able to read his work.

Much of Jill’s handwriting when magnified appears to be highly individualized – and this is one of the marks of high intelligence.

Angular and rounded connections abound without any obvious pattern. There are imaginative shortcuts on the one hand and there are also words that are completely connected with one another.

This is a handwriting sample to beat all handwriting samples.  It would take many hours of study to try to pin down the personality behind it.

So is this pure eccentricity or possibly genius? Anyone game for the challenge? I would be interested in your comments.


The Mark of Genius

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