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Forensic Science Communications October 2004 – Volume 6 – Number 4
Book Review

Detection of Criminals Through Hand Analysis

D. D. Panse
UBS Publishers, New Delhi, India, 1999
ISBN 81-7476-225-6

Reviewed by
Lynda M. Strong
Fingerprint Specialist
Latent Print Unit
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Quantico, Virginia

When I was asked to review Detection of Criminals Through Hand Analysis, I tried to keep an open mind about palmistry. I have long been skeptical about the use of palmistry as a means to determine one's future and/or character. I admit that prior to reading this book, I had read no other information on how the analysis of the palmar side of the hand is conducted and how the information is used.

In this book, divided into four parts, the author first introduces palmistry and its use as a science to predict events in someone's life. He presents his definition of crime and his opinion of what and who a criminal is. His list of criminal descriptions and definitions include, but are not limited to, his opinions of causes for criminal behavior, classification of criminals, and the role genes and heredity play in a criminal's behavior.

Palmistry, known also as cheirosophy, is divided into two parts.

  • Cheirognomy deals with the shape, division, texture, fingers, thumbs, nails, and mounts (raised areas) of the hands.

  • Cheiromancy deals with the main and secondary lines on the hand and their biological and psychological significance, respectively.

The author presents illustrations of the "maps" of the hands that show how the lines or creases in the palms are named and used to read the information that determines the type of character and future of a person. Dr. Panse acknowledges that these lines do change over the course of a life, thus requiring a person's palms to be analyzed numerous times. This reader is curious to know how the author addresses one's occupation or a medical condition like arthritis, for instance, as a factor when reading the lines or creases of the palm or the shape of the fingers.

Dr. Panse used a study of the palm prints of 200 criminal and 200 noncriminal men to show percentages of occurrences of certain signs that are present in the palm prints and are used in conjunction with the lines, mounts, and other factors. He narrowed down the types of signs present in both groups to seven and used the rate of occurrence or nonappearance of those signs in the criminal palm prints to conclude that those with a higher appearance rate of certain signs have criminal tendencies. It is not that these same signs did not appear in both groups; that information is shown is his data as well. This reader's opinion is if these same signs, lines, and other data are present in the palms of the noncriminal, how can an analysis of these palms be accurate? It would seem that mistakes can and will be made.

In Part 2, the author further explains the cheirognomical factors of hand analysis, which include the shape and division of the hand, fingers, thumbs, and mounts of the hands. By analyzing these factors, an individual's character and personality and his predisposition to criminal behavior can be determined.

In Part 3, the author explains the cheiromantical factors that include the primary and secondary lines of the hands. These lines link the two divisions of cheirosophy and according to the author may determine whether there is a possibility that an individual will commit a crime.

Part 4 lists the 45 different signs denoting criminal tendencies (19 cheirognomical, 19 cheiromantical, and the remaining seven specific), sums up the author's research work, and profiles a few criminal case studies.

Many times throughout this book, the author describes his opinion of criminal behavior as observed through the analysis of the hand. His analysis also includes statements too broad for this reader to give credence to. One such statement is, "A person with long fingers, if he takes to crime, will not commit any type of crime in a fit of anger." He also shows examples of how he arrives at his analyses by showing a hand print and his opinion of how it depicts criminal behavior.

As a professional in the fingerprint field, it was interesting to read another use of hand prints. This book, however, has not changed my opinion of the use of hand analysis to detect criminals or foresee the future. The use of 400 men as a study base does not convince me that this is an exact science. Furthermore, the possibility and, in my opinion, likelihood that mistakes will be made in these analyses would not allow me to accept or refer to its use in deterring or detecting criminals.