Albert S. Osborn

UNMASKED BY A TREMOR? In his book about Morton Smith’s alleged forgery of the Clement letter, lawyer Stephen Carlson claims that the fake manuscript is revealed by “forger’s tremor,” a characteristic often used by handwriting experts to describe the nervous shake or other errors in forged documents presented in court cases. In the photo, two genuine signatures by a woman named Helen Huellen are seen at top, but the lower two signatures (one shown again in close-up detail at bottom) were forged. Shaky lines (in the “H”s), blunt ends (on the first and last letters) and pen lifts between letters (the “e” and “n” in “Helen”) betray the slow and unaccustomed hand of a forger’s copycat writing, whereas the authentic samples were written with a quick, smooth motion.