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A HISTORY OF DERMATOGLYPHICS, PALMISTRY & CHARACTER IDENTITY
The scientific study of papillary ridges of the hands and feet is credited as beginning with the
work of Joannes Evangelista Purkinje, a Czech physiologist and biologist in 1823.(1) Fingerprints
had attracted Grew,(2) Bidloo,(3) Malpighius(4) as long ago as 1680's. Cummins and Midlo
mention Hintze, Albinus, Mayer, Schröter, and Bell.(5) But the first attempt to systematically
categorize fingerprint patterns is found in the work of Purkinje. He used a nine pattern
classification. Little was done following Purkinje's initial paper until 1880 when two papers
written Henry Faulds and W. J. Herschel appeared in Nature recommending the use of
fingerprints for personal identification.(6) Herschel reported actually using this method of
identification in India. Faulds reported his interest in fingerprints dated from finding impressions
of them on ancient Japanese pottery.
In 1892 Sir Francis Galton published his classic treaties on fingerprints.(7) While much of
Galton's work was directed towards fingerprint identification uses, he also pursued the subject as
a biologist interested in expanding Purkinje's nine finger patterns in his own classification of the
fingerprints and the hand. He coined a number of new terms in the field.(8) He also explored
studies of the hereditary aspects of fingerprints, investigating comparisons of siblings, twins and
genetically unrelated individuals and was the first to report concordance of papillary ridge
patterns among relatives. This opened the field as a useful tool in anthropology.
Dermal palmer and plantar ridges are highly useful in biological studies. Their notably variable
characteristics are not duplicated in other people, even in monozygotic twins or even in the same
person, from location to location. Because dermal ridges are found on a number of animals, it
will be interesting to observe whether dermal patterns are replicated in cloning and if they vary,
how they vary. The details of these ridges are permanent. Yet while the individual
characteristics are variable, that diversity falls within pattern limits that permit systematic
In the early twentieth century an American, Harris Hawthorne Wilder, pioneered comprehensive
studies of the methodology, inheritance and racial variation of palmer and planter papillary ridge
patterns as well as fingerprints. He began to publish a series of papers on these subjects in 1902
and continued publication through 1916. These represented the first serious study of palmer and
plantar dermatoglyphics.(10) His wife, Inez Whipple-Wilder published the first serious study of
non-human epidermal ridges in 1904.(11) Further important genetic studies of fingerprints in the
first quarter of the twentieth century were made by the Norwegian Kristine Bonnevie publishing
The second quarter of the twentieth century, the field was dominated by Harold Cummins,
sometime professor of Microscopic Anatomy at Tulane University. In 1926(13) he coined the
word dermatoglyphics and used it at the annual meeting of the American Association of
Anatomists. It appears in the same year in a paper written with his collaborator Charles Midlo,
M.D..(14) That term, dermatoglyphics, is used to this date in describing the scientific fields of
study of the palmer and plantar ridges of the hands and feet. In 1929, he together with others,
including Midlo and the Wilders, published one of the most widely referenced papers on
dermatoglyphic methodology to date.(15) Over the years he, alone and with collaborators,
published numerous studies in the field as well as his now famous 1943 book, Finger Prints,
Palms and Soles, a bible in the field of dermatoglyphics,(16) which he dedicated to the pioneer
Harris Hawthorne Wilder.
Cummins was interested in psychology reflected by the hand. By the time of his 1943 publication
he was familiar with the work of dactologists. Dactylomancy was the practice of predicting the
human condition and the future in accordance with the number of whorls and loops on the fingers
of the subject. Either Cummins or Midlo had this done in 1935. It is interesting to note for our
future studies that the dactologist who read one of those authors related whorls to 'tenacity,
stamina and stick-to-it-iveness.'(17) The authors concluded that character and temperament might
well be correlated to dermatoglyphic observations. They quote both Takashima and Kojima
concerning character traits found in relationship to fingerprints.(18)
After Cummins and Midlo, the scientific community seems to have overlooked the input of the
fingerprint readers. Palmistry fortune tellers, also known as cheirologists, were dismissed in
1973 by L. S. Penrose, a giant in the field in the third quarter of the twentieth century, because he
believed that they made no use of the fine dermal ridges which formed the basis of the science of
Penrose was in error, but his error may be why we see little impact from the studies of
'cheirologists' on the work of the 'scientific' students of dermatoglyphics. The students of hand
prophecy have long studied the significance of dermatoglyphic patterns. Mavalwala(20) describes
a two volume Japanese manuscript by Ashizuka-Sai Shofou dating from 1820 that lists thirty-two
different types of whorls and their incidence in various combinations on the five fingers.
There is a long history in India and China of the use of fingerprints as indications or attributes or
character traits. Folk lore from both India and China have traditions of reading certain attributes
or abilities from fingerprints. Before we become amused at the tendency to find significance in
the counted number of prints, we note that such an approach is often used in scientific studies of
the searching for meaningful relationships of fingerprints as genetic and/or chronic health
markers. So while the conclusions drawn in Chinese and Hindu folk ways may be quaint, their
methods of analysis still persist.
Chinese folk fingerprint formula(21) One whorl indicates poverty
Two whorls indicate riches
Three and four whorls good aspect to open a pawnshop
Five whorls for a mediator
Six whorls for a thief;
Seven whorls very bad, indicates catastrophes;
Eight whorls and you will eat chaff;
Nine whorls with a loop and there will be no work for you to do, and plenty of food till old age;
The Hindu formula concerns three types of prints: the Shankh which resembles the ulnar and
radial loop; the Chakra or whorl; and the Shakti resembling the composite. These are the ridge
patterns recognized in the Hindu school of palmistry according to Dr. M. Katakkar, one of the
leading contemporary authorities on that school of palmistry.
When the loop is found on: One finger, the subject is happy;
But on two Fingers, it is not a favorable sign; and
On three fingers it is a bad sign;
When found only on four fingers it is not a good omen; and when found on five fingers it is not
But it is a sign of prowess if found on six fingers; and
When placed on seven fingers live in kingly comfort;
While on eight fingers one is as noble as a king; and
On nine fingers one must live like a king;
But when the loop is found on: Jupiter (No. 2) finger we have the unsteady spendthrift; yet
Moved to the Saturn (No. 3) finger and it symbolizes many accomplishments of a sage person
with a scientific outlook;
Yet poor is he with this print on Apollo (No. 4) finger as he will loose all his wealth in business;
If found on Mercury, (No. 5) the losses will be in manufacturing.
When the whorl is found on: Two fingers indicates honors in the courts of kings;
Three fingers is a sign the subject will become wealthy; but
Four fingers the subject will become a pauper;
Five fingers indicates a hedonist;
Six fingers indicates passion satisfied; while
Seven fingers is a sign of virtue;
Eight fingers indicates one prone to disease;
Nine fingers predicts the rise of a king; while
Ten fingers is the sign of the higher man, the Brahman who realizes self.
But when the whorl is found on: The thumb (finger No. 1), and the life line (thenar crease) is long and strong, the subject will
Jupiter finger, then the subject will benefit through relations with friends;
On Saturn the benefit comes from the church, religion or on religious authority;
On Apollo the whorl indicates benefit through trade and one who enjoys prestige and happiness;
On Mercury it is a sign of benefits to be found in manufacturing, science and authorship.
When composites are found on: One finger such a person is very happy;
On two fingers the subject is an orator;
On three fingers we find a very rich subject; while
Virtuous is the subject with the Shakti on four fingers;
The philosopher (vedantin) is found when five composites are seen; and
If found on six fingers, such a subject possesses high level thinking ability;
Should it be found on seven or more fingers, they are the sign of success in life.
Actually, modern investigators of Palmistry had been expressing an interest in the
dermal ridges since the turn of the twentieth century. Comte de Saint-Germain
published observations on the relationship of palmer apices (triradii) and distal
mounts in 1897-98.(23) (See figure 3) William G. Benham, the noted American
palmist, wrote in his treatise on the subject published in 1900 that the dermal
ridges that formed an apex under each finger could be used to find the exact center
of each mount under the fingers and if it was displaced under the finger, that
displacement could be used to indicate influences on the subject's character.(24)
Apparently as he wrote he hadn't realized that sometimes there might be two
apices under fingers and at other times no apex would be found. An apex is known in
dermatoglyphics as a triradius. The FBI calls the triradius the delta, as have a number of
By the 1930's the English palmist Noel Jaquin, founder of the Society for the Study of
Physiological Patterns, (SSPP)(26) was studying character traits for five different fingerprint
patterns, the loop, whorl, arch, tented arch and composite.(27) In 1940 he published his
conclusions from his studies.(28) Vera Compton continued these studies and published her views
in 1951.(29) Yusuke Miyamoto proposed character trait recognition based on his understanding of
some eastern philosophies and various types of fingerprints in 1963.(30) Byrle B. Hutchinson
reported in 1967 that the SSPP had collected a library of prints in its efforts to aid the
interpretation of these markings.(31) She further interpreted dermatoglyphic markings based upon
these files and her own extensive observations.(32) Dr. Eugene Scheimann, M.D. mentioned them
in his work of medical palmistry in 1969.(33) Seven years after Hutchinson's work, the first two
works of the American, Beverly C. Jaegers, appeared in 1974 discussing her own findings on
psychological characteristics indicated by dermatoglyphic markings of the hand.(34) Fred
Gettings(35) also discussed the subject in 1965.
Since the works of Jaquin, Compton, Miyamoto, Hutchinson, Jaegers and Gettings there have
been numerous authors in the field of cheirology who have discussed human psychological
characteristic findings related to dermatoglyphic patterns of the hand including Elizabeth
Brenner,(36) Dennis Fairchild,(37) Carol Hellings White,(38) David Brandon-Jones,(39) Enid
Hoffman,(40) Darlene Hansen,(41) Hachiro Asano,(42) Andrew Fitzherbert,(43) Sasha Fenton and
Malcolm Wright,(44) Terrence Dukes,(45) Nathaniel Altman along with Dr. Eugene Scheimann,
M.D.,(46) and with Nathaniel Altman,(47) Paul Gabriel Tesla,(48) Rita Robinson,(49) Richard
Webster,(50) Moshe Zwang,(51) Xiao-Fan Zong and Gary Liscum,(52) Ray Douglas,(53) and Lori
Reid.(54) It would be foolish to discount these observations. While their observations are
published in 'Palmistry' books, their observations represent tens of thousands of hours of
'clinical' observations and interviews with tens of thousands of subjects. Each of these authors
have developed fine eyes for recognizing dermatoglyphic patterns, or at least some of them,
through years of practice. Many of them have proven over the years to be good judges of
character. Most of these authors deal with fingerprints, some deal with special loops and whorls
or other dermatoglyphic markings on the palm and one, Tesla, tries to address the entire palmer
dermatoglyphic picture. One of the authors of this work has summarized many of the findings of
these people as well as his own 'clinical' observations in his own work.(55)
The works by Dr. Eugene Scheimann, M.D., and by Xiao-Fan Zong and Gary Liscum are works
written by authors trained in western and eastern medicine. In addition to these works there is
the mixture of science and cheirology displayed in the works of Dr. Charlotte Wolf dating from
the 1940's,(56)and more recently those of Arnold Holtzman, Ph.D.,(57) and Yael Haft-Pomrock.(58)
Dr. Wolfe traced her psycho-physiological studies of the hand back to the works of Carl Gustav
Carus(59) in the middle of the nineteenth century and N. Vashide(60) at the beginning of the
twentieth century and on to the psychiatrist Ernst Krestchemer in the 1930's(61). Krestchemer and
Adolf Friedemann(62), professors at Tübingen and Freiburg investigated correlations between
hand form and mental illness. More recently Arnold Holtzman and Yael Haft-Pomrock of Israel
have actually used such analysis in their psychological practices.
Carl Carus divided the hand into four types, elementary, motoric, sensitive and psychic.
Sorell(63), and Wolff(64), have both used this approach. Each of these types of hands reflect certain
human characteristics. A description of the Carus system is also found in the books of Fred
Gettings (mentioned above) and by Francis King(65). Asano(66) also describes this system but does
not mention Carl Carus. Instead he calls this the system used to point out personality differences
in Charlotte Wolff's study.
Asano related the Carus method to that developed Ernest Kretschemer(67) and W. Sheldon. That
method provides for the correlation of personality to physical types and biological conditions.
The system is referred to as morpho-psychology was used sometime in France and Switzerland
for psychological diagnosis. Asano correlated the names of types from the two systems: Wolff's
simple fleshy to Kretschemer's pyknic, Wolff's motor bony to Kretschemer's athletic, and Wolff's
long sensitive to his leptosomatic.
MAJOR PSYCHOLOGICAL CHARACTERISTICS THE PALMISTS FOUND
Noel Jaquin began to speculate about the psychological connections of fingerprints and
individual subjects in print in 1933 as he wondered whether the whorl pattern, then commonly
found on the prints of certain types of criminals, indicated some defect of moral perception that
he would attribute to some psychological deficiency.(68) In that study he divided the prints into
five generalized types that he would use for later study and reference in his work: The loop,
arch, tented arch, whorl and composite. By the end of that decade he was to publish his
conclusions regarding the psychological significance of each of those patterns.(69) Jaquin assigned
these general characteristics to each of his five fingerprints:
Loop: Mental and emotional elasticity with possible lack of
concentration. Adaptable, versatile and emotionally responsive. (Figure
Arch: Self contained and repressive. Secretive
in self defense. Naturally suspicious. Resentful
of others achievements who did not posses for
their own shortcomings that might bar
achievement. Repressive of emotions. (Simple arch figure 5)
Tented Arch: Sensitive and emotional with
'artistic' temperament with the appreciation but
perhaps not the ability or commitment. Idealistic.
Impulsive. High degree of emotional elasticity, high strung nervous
system, to sensitive. (Tented arch figure 6)
Whorl: Independent, original, very individualistic. Emotional elasticity
determined by selfish needs or desires and limited by mental horizons.
Secretive, suspicious. While they may appear conventional, they will disregard convention when
it suits their purpose (Figures 7 and 8).
Composite: Practical, material minded. But as the pattern is not completely rounded, the tend to
be muddled. Critical and resentful, repressive, lacking elasticity. (Figure 9)
By 1958 Jaquin had added that each fingerprint should be interpreted in the light of those
characteristics that are recognized in relation to the hand and finger upon which it is found. He
added a lack of spontaneity to the arch print and appeared more comfortable with finding those
with tented arches as very artistic or musical.(70)
Vera Compton, publishing in 1953,(71) followed Jaquin's lead on the psychology of the prints. she
looked to the location of the core or center of the print to indicate whether the person was
balanced, introvert (towards the little finger) or extravert (towards the thumb). She observed that
those with all whorls were the died in the wool individualists. She also observed whorls on the
palm of the hand and believed that they intensified any psychological aspect associated with the
part of the hand they were found on.
Fred Gettings(72)wrote in his 1965 publication that he was influenced by the Japanese folk lore
traditions expressed in European translations of the work of Kojima. He recognized three
essential types of prints, whorl, loop and arch. The arch he found to be a regressive sign of a
crude, insensitive and hard heartened type of subject. This is softened if the arch is tented. He
found subjects with arches defiantly stubborn and if they have arches on most of the fingers, they
tend to be rebellious against even the simplest of social conventions. Radial loops he described
similarly to his description of whorls, indicating great originality. Because ulnar loops were so
common, he inferred it represented the conventional,,unoriginal type of person. He read little
into that formation. Whorls indicate more psychological complexity. Reading whorls by the
finger, he found that one whorl on the hand located on the little finger would indicate
individuality in relationships, unconventional patterns in sex and money. A singular whorl on
the ring finger would indicate originality in self expression. He believed that the whorl isolated
those characteristics related to the particular finger it occupied and invested those qualities with
Beryl B. Hutchinson publishing in 1967(73) observed that those at the S.S.P.P. believed that the
dermatoglyphic patterning demonstrated the individual's personality tools inherited from birth.
She noted that if the patterning of the fingerprints was mor distal, the personality would more
likely be expressed through theory, abstract thought and ideas, if not ideals. A more proximal
placement of the center of the print would result in the personality trait being expressed in a
more practical or physical way.
Hutchinson recognized the five fingerprints of Jaquin and Compton but expanded the number of
patterns to six and recognized wider variety both in patterns and in their meanings dependent
upon the locations where they were found. She recognized a difference between radial and ulnar
loops. In the whorl pattern she recognized a difference between concentric circles and the shell
pattern. She also recognized the Peacock's eye as a compound of the whorl and the loop, being a
loop with an eye in it.
Loops: she agreed that these were the most frequently found patterns and indicated a graceful,
adaptable outlook on life. She distinguished between the radial loop (that proceeds from the
direction of the thumb like a lariat thrown in the direction of the little finger) and the ulnar loop
that travels in the opposite direction. She noted that the radial loop was most frequently found on
the index finger (No. 2) and the thumb but rarely on the other fingers. Those with radial loops
appear to be more adaptable so long as the choice is from their own interests, while those with
ulnar loops are more apt to act on suggestions from fortune or third persons.
She began to distinguish characteristics of behavior dependant upon where the pattern was found.
Thus a loop on the right index finger of a right hander indicated one who could improvise and act
in various capacities. If that right handed person has an arch or whorl on the right index finger
but a loop on the left index finger, then he is more likely to be able to find his way around fixed
obstacles. loops on the middle finger can indicate open mindedness in areas metaphysics and
religion and one conversant with a wide variety of topics. Loops on the ring finger indicate an
appreciation for fashion and new ideas that conform to the owners conceptions of beauty. Ease
of expression is aided by ulnar loops on the little finger. she had at the time never seen a radial
loop on the ulnar finger.
She felt that thumb loops showed that will could be easily and variously expressed if the thumb
showed there was will power to be expressed. She observed that persons with whorls on their
other fingers who had loops on their thumbs should be able to work well with others as the can
adapt to the individual vagaries of committees and patrons yet keep their objectives intact.
Whorls: The whorl is sometimes considered a fixed sign, most often
found on the ring finger (No. 4) and also frequently encountered on the
thumb and the index finger. She distinguished between the whorl formed
by concentric circles and the whorl that looks like a spiral or shell. The
distinction was that while both patterns carry the same usual meanings,
those evidenced by the spiral or shell will be less intense. Like Jaquin
and Compton before her the whorl is the mark of the individualist.
Those with whorls take time to train but once
trained can respond as if by instinct, very quickly.
Their decisions cannot be hurried. Whorls on the
index finger show the individualist. It the whorl is on the right index
finger, but there is a loop on the left index finger, then there will be more
flexibility of choice. With the whorl on both index fingers, the person
must not only fid his or her own niche, but they must believe that no one
else can fill it, or at least fill at as well, and that it has a community
Whorls on the middle finger will evidence subjects who have strong ideas on philosophy and
these self determined persons may be good at original research. A loop on one of the fingers will
broaden the scope of vision. These subjects often have very sincere, even if unorthodox,
commitments on religion.
Whorls on the ring finger indicate selectivity in concepts of beauty and happiness. This person
will follow his or her own preferences and will not be dissuaded no matter how unorthodox his
choice or approach. A loop on one of the fingers will allow a wider selectivity of personal
Little finger whorls evidence subjects who will take painstaking care with the organization of
anything undertaken. while one might suspect a gift of oratory, this will only be experienced
when the subject is deeply moved. Otherwise, they may be loth to speak, preferring to be 'the
power behind the throne.'
Whorled thumbs indicate strength in behavior which may be mediated if on thumb has a loop.
Arch: She finds this print, (figure 5) especially on the index finger, as indicative of people who
are the salt of the earth. The key words are trustworthy, capable, ability to cope, courage and
reliability. If found on the index finger, it will impart these qualities to any loop or whorl print
found on the same finger of the other hand.
The serious drawback of arches is lack of ability to express inner feelings and personal thoughts.
This is aggravated if there are four or more arches. They may be able to express themselves
better through writing and sketching.
Arches found on the middle finger indicate persons with a pragmatic
approach to religion, does it improve life, make it better. They approach
investments and business the same way. This pragmatism will express
itself in the arts in some useful way if the print is found on the third
finger. While seldom found on the fourth and fifth fingers, if found on
the fifth fingers they tend to be part of a set of arches and seem to
increase the reticence of the subject and restrict artistic expression. On
the thumb, they frequently accompany a strong will. Again efficiency
and practicality rule. They can indicate constructive effort.
Composite: Hutchinson agrees on divided thought patterns, difficult choices and inner conflict.
She sees some use in the pattern on the index finger of lawyers or administrators who need to see
both sides of a question. When the patterns are large and easily apparent, expect both lines of
though to be expressed, so that the subject may find external conflict. with small composite
patterns, the subject may suffer from reservations in their responses. Found on the middle finger
will show conflict between material and spiritual values. (Figure 9) This is also known as a
double loop whorl in F.B.I. textbooks.
Tented Arch: Enthusiasm reigns here, especially where they are found most frequently on the
index finger. (Figure 6) When found on the middle finger, one may encounter the enthusiastic
convert or follower. she thought it might indicate a gift for music if found on the ring finger but
had no proof at the time.
Compound Patterns: Here Hutchinson adds a new pattern, the loop
with an whorl or eye in it. (Figure 10) She finds this combines the charm
of the loop with the selectivity and discernment of the whorl. Also, as a
curious aside, when found on the ring finger, it has indicated much luck
in dangerous situations. (I and others I know have found the same
curious reaction which may indicate some as yet unknown ability to
anticipate and cope within a dangerous situation). The compound is also
know as a central pocket loop whorl in F.B.I. textbooks.
Apices: Hutchinson's work also considered various patterns formed by dermal ridges of the
palm.(74) She made detailed observations of the psychological significance of the placement of the
Apices, the location of the triradii below the fingers and on the proximal palm in the center and
on the hypothenar eminence (a, b, c, d, t or pmtand tb or bt). (Figure 11) She also studied
unusual patterns formed in various places on some palms and their traditional and psychological
meanings. These included various loops found on the palm between the fingers, in the center of
the palm and on the thenar and hypothenar eminences. She is the first cheirologist we have
found to publish in depth on these points.
She used the main line patterns of the palm, a major tool in dermatoglyphics, to locate the
triradii. Unlike the scientific students of dermatoglyphics, she did not make any point of the
destinations of these main lines. She was more interested in the exact location of the triradii, in
relation to near hand features, the fingers for those under the fingers, the base and center of the
palm in relation to the t and whether a line from or through or through the tb. She felt that the
ideal lateral placement for the triradii under the fingers was directly beneath the midline of each
finger except the 5th (little) finger where it should be found 'aligned with the inner side of the
little finger.' (In reading her work one must constantly remind oneself that she starts numbering
the fingers from the index finger, not the thumb.)
Beryl Hutchinson was also interested in how high the triradii were. If there were seven or fewer
ridge lines separating it from the palmar-phalangeal crease then the apex could be considered
high but if there were fourteen or more lines separating it from the proximal finger crease then
the placement was low. The placement of these apices evidenced the manner of the character
influence, 'instinctive ways of thought,' represented by that particular area of the hand which
might otherwise be hidden by other markers of character in the hands. She appeared to be greatly
influenced by knowledge of Indian schools of palmistry available to her at the time.
She felt that the location of A, the triradii
under the index finger (or what palmist call
the Mount of Jupiter), was one of the most
important indicators of character and
expected behavior. Personal integrity,
adherence to a personal code of honor, was
indicated by a centrally placed apex. It the
sign leans towards the middle finger, then
this personal code will yield to the needs of
practicality, especially in the needs of family
or others who may depend upon the subject.
When it is placed in the opposite direction,
the personal code may yield to the sense of
adventure and perhaps irresponsibility. The
high and low placement on a b c and d
follows the analysis of the fingerprint,
intellectual for high, practical for low.
Hutchinson observed that the b triradius (below the middle finger on what palmist call the Mount
of Apollo) was always higher than the others, so she believed that its relative position should be
counted by fewer ridge lines to the finger. She found good judgment on those with centrally
placed apices but that those whose apex leaned towards the ring finger seemed to be ill advised in
financial affairs. she had at the time not seen one leaning towards the thumb. If both the apex
and the middle finger lean towards the ring finger she found this related to persons with problems
of duty versus happiness. She did follow the main line from b to see if it was linked to c or d. It
a link could be found, then she that this lent support for the serious creation or construction of
writers, speakers and artists.
The c triradius is located under the ring finger on what the palmist call the Mount of Apollo. She
noted it was frequently drawn towards the radial (thumb) side of the hand but could on occasion
be found in the opposite direction when the triradii are duplicated as the result of a loop being
formed on the palm between the ring and little finger. As the loop had a meaning of its own, no
special meaning was attributed to the ulnar triradii. She taught that the high apex was of benefit
to the 'artist in any branch of expression.' She discussed a curious loop sort of form in the
triradius that members of the S.S.P.P. attributed to a devotion and skill with animals.
She taught that the nearer the d triradius was to the center line under the little finger the more the
subject appreciated the meaning of words, but not necessarily the lyricism of them. This is in
line with the observations that the language center of the brain does not control the poetry which
is more under the control of that center of the brain that is involved with syncopation, rhythm
aspects of sound. She found in looking for harmony within the person, that one should also
check the comparative height of this apex with the one under the index finger and the closer they
were to the same height, the more harmonious would be the subjects personality.
Occasionally one may find a triradius on the thenar eminence (Mount of Venus). Other than to
note that she had found it more readily on oriental and Jewish hands, she had little to say of it.
Perhaps those she observed had some common genetic ancestry.
The is frequently a triradius at center base of the palm, in the area between the two eminences
that some palmists call the Mount of Neptune. She speculated over its possible involvement with
extra sensory abilities. Traveling further over the palm, towards the inside edge of the
hypothenar eminence (the Mount of the Moon) she noted some early dermatoglyphic study that
may have correlated this with pre natal conditions. A number of studies have sought to relate
this as evidence of some congenital defect. She noted that for palmists it indicated an ability of
the subject to draw into sharp focus memories of sensations, feelings, both texturally and
emotionally. Finally, she considered the apex on the lower part of the Mount of Luna itself, the
hypothenar eminence, and reported that Indian practitioners considered it a bad sign, one of a
laborer for others who would not succeed but bring the harvest to those for whom he or she
Palmar Patterns: Hutchinson also explored the meaning of special palmer patterns. (Figure 12)
This was not an attempt to gain insight into the possible of any of the origins and endings of main
lines used in the regular course of dermatoglyphic studies, but rater it was an attempt to make use
of any unusual dermatoglyphic patterns that appeared on the palm.
Hutchinson believed that the loop of humor (a) was an infallible sign of subjects who could see
the humorous side of life and had the sense of the ridiculous. But if it crosses over towards the
thumb (b) it is more of an indication of vanity, and the vain do not care to be laughed at. She
named (c) the loop of serious intent tends to denote people who have a serious purpose in life.
While a serious hobby might satisfy those with only one such whorl, two seems to require work
of some serious service or contribution. In (d) she followed Indian tradition of relating that loop
to one who was born with Royal blood, and looked for personal magnetism or executive abilities.
The (e) type of loop may be found beginning anywhere from below the index finger to the middle
of the palm, and can go across the palm or down, and lies near or below the proximal transverse
crease (head line). It will tend to end on the hypothenar eminence (Luna). It evidences special
qualities of good memory which she said defied exact definition. The (f) loop is related to
physical courage. The (g) loop has been related to green thumbs and a discernment of any
energies that may be emitted from various substances. Both the (e) and the (g) loop are believed
to increase the posers of dowsers, with Hutchinson perhaps giving the edge to the (g) loop. She
recalls how village idiots used to be considered to have the 'gift of the bees' or other natural
traits that made them useful to society. She also noted that this sign was frequently found on
people with down's syndrome. This raises some interesting conjectures.
The loop beginning at the center-base of the hand (j) may take any direction. Hutchinson
speculated that it might reflect some powers of imagination or intuition. She had seen the (h)
loop so seldom that that she was merely speculating that it reflected some humanistic
imagination, kindness or humanitarian aspect of personality.
The loops (I), (k), and (l) she relates to music. (k) may be found on those with a strong
emotional bond to music. The cross patterning found in the bee (i) appears to relate to a love of
stringed instruments while the brass have their advocates with the (l) loop. The ability to play or
compose is not assured.
Occasionally a whorl will be found on the hypothenar eminence (Luna) When not on the hands
of schizophrenics she feels that it heightens the individuality of characteristics drawn from the
subconscious. A composite found in the same area is an indication of ambivalence. Hutchinson
also found that a tented arch in that area was a sign of instinctive enthusiasm. She felt that the
arch so often found at the base of the hand and on the thenar eminence evidenced did not
represent a field open to investigate because it is so frequently found and lack any radius or any
clear focus on western hands. The open field, that area without pattern where the ridges seem to
flow smoothly of the percussion were for her an indication of a harmony with nature.
Dr. Scheimann, M.D., referred to both Cummins &
Midlo and to Jaquin in his work in 1969.(75) He brought
together both observations from the science of
dermatoglyphics and cheirology. He discussed a
number of fingerprint features as well as features of the
dermal ridges on the palm: the loop, the arch, the tented
types, the whorl and the composite, the triradius as
designated by their scientific designations, a b c d and t
(Figure 11) and the atd angle (Figure 13) and the ridge
counts on in the loop and between the A and B triradii.
Dr. Scheimann observed that loops and whorls were the more common fingerprints and tented
types were the more common palmer patterns. He noted that if one lacked any three of the five
more common characteristics, one would be mor predisposed to some congenital defect. Those
"normal features were: 1) no patterns on the thenar and hypothenar prominence (mounts of
Venus- the base of the thumb and Luna on the hypothenar edge or percussion of the hand); 2)do
not have monomorphic hands (monomorphic hands have the same fingerprint on all ten fingers);
3) the ATD angle is around 45%; 4) the average loop ridge count is from 12 to 14; and 5) the AB
ridge count is around 34.
He related the following features to the possibility of neurotic predisposition: displaced axial
triradius; whorls and loops on the mount of Luna; qn increase of composites on all fingers and
the Mount of Venus; and disassociated or ill-formed ridges known as "Strings of Pearls" (Figure
24). He then indicated that he felt that fingerprint patterns indicate certain characteristics and
those characteristics at times corresponded to those observed by Jaquin.
Loops: He found that those with six or more loops for fingerprints were adaptable, had both
mental and emotional elasticity, easygoing, and perhaps a little too responsive to other's moods.
Versatility fights concentration in this person.
Tented Arches: He observed that those with tented arches sounded like those born under the
sign of Libra, strongly influenced by their environment and who "easily gets out of balance." He
also added the traits of peach, harmony and beauty to idealistic.
Composites: This person is plagued by vacillation. His thoughts, like his print patterns, run in
Arch: Mistrusts himself. Questions his own actions and wisdom. Becomes more introspective
with age through his anxiety to avoid error.
Whorl: He felt this was the most important pattern and was the keynote to individuality.
Independence, determination and originality unaffected by convention or opposition.
He would look to the thumb as the overall personality indicator if no pattern makes up the
majority of the prints and if the thumb pattern is not the same as the predominant pattern on the
rest of the fingers, one suspects that the person has a combination of the characteristics shown.
Yusuke Miyamoto divided fingerprints into two types, streams and whirlpools.(76) In his short
book for public consumption on the way to use his system, he did not give individual character or
psychological meaning to each type. Rather he compared the location of each type on five
fingers, thumb through little finger and from that came up with thirty two character types. Each
type is infused with a variety of psychological characteristics forming a composite profile of
character. He might be considered a modern eastern dactologist. We do not plan top use his
approach in any initial investigations. He also follows the oriental approach of reading the right
hand prints for women and the left hand prints for men following the theory that the right hand
represents the yin, female or negative elements and the left hand represents the yang, male or
positive elements. Some Chinese reverse this order after the age of about thirty.(77)
Beverly C. Jaegers published two books the year following the Penrose comment. One was
devoted almost entirely to fingerprints and palmar dermatoglyphics and the other to the wider
subject of hand analysis. On the palm she identified thirteen patterns. She omitted the
Hutchinson Humanism pattern (Figure 12 h) and added two new patterns she had observed. One
was an ulnar loop on the proximal phalange of the index finger that she called the Charisma -
'Presence' sign. The other new loop was shown as a radial loop on the proximal phalange of the
little finger and she called that the Ultra-femininity or masculinity sign.(78)
In her book You and Your Hand she also identified several other palm patterns. She showed a
Figure reminiscent of the composite illustrated by Hutchinson on the hypothenar eminence
(Luna) and called it the Aquarian or double loop sign. She also identified a wavy formation seen
on either the hypothenar or thenar eminence that she related to some astrological influence. She
found the loop that Hutchinson called the Rajah (Figure 12 d) was extremely rare, may have
something to do with some chromosomal abnormality may occasionally be found on persons
with enhanced charisma. She mentioned the connection to royalty. She identified the loop
Hutchinson called serious (Figure 12 c) as the common sense loop. She related it to the popular
idea of good horse sense, good management of life in all areas and a need to take responsibility
towards those around the subject. These people have a good grasp on their own needs and may
be capable of giving good advice.
Another contrast with Hutchinson is Jaegers' description of Hutchinson's vanity loop (Figure 12
b). She describes it as the ego or relationship loop. She finds these subjects to be extremely self
conscious, introspective or over self conscious. Like Hutchinson, she noted that these subjects
do not like to be the objects of jokes. She added meaning to the Hutchinson brass music loop
(figure 12 l). She mentioned the subjects response to music and rhythm but adds that this is also
a sign of empathy to surroundings, where the subject's moods are greatly influenced by those
around him or her. In discussing the loop of memory (figure 12 e) she found that if the loop ran
horizontally it indicated a strong memory for facts and figures and information gained through
reading. As it dips toward the wrist, the memory is mor colored by remembrance of feeling and
emotions of the past.
Jaegers new loop or ultra-femininity or masculinity, which she also calls the Scorpio loop, relates
to the id or libido, apparently enhancing it. It may also enhance appreciation of sights and sounds
of beauty. The new Jaegers' loop of charisma represents a particular quality of leadership who
attracts people to his or her goals and leadership by his or her mere presence. Most of her other
palmar sign observations parallel those of Hutchinson.
Jaegers added new types of fingerprints for our consideration, the loop-arch (figure 14) the
double loop or Aquarian (figure 15) as possibly distinguished from the composite (Figure 9) also
referred to as the incomplete whorl, and the accidental (figure 14). Her kernel loop later (Figure
10, compound) became a Peacock's feather and her bulls eye became know as the whorl. She
distinguished between the ulnar and radial loops.
She felt the arch evidenced an honest and reliable subject, conservative
and taciturn with moral values that could approach the puritanical at
times, yet on a person with sensual tendencies. If the hand is strong, the
subject will be steady and capable, but found on a weak hand the
indication will be of conflict. The persons with the tented arch she
divided into two groups, those with a delta, triangle or kernel at the base
of the arch and those without. These people enjoy interspersing mental
with physical work and those without the kernel are need to stay busy.
Those with the kernel are more comfortable with participating in communication and have an
"eager, searching intellect. They can tend to be perfectionists. Their sincerity and honesty colors
their expectations so they may misjudge others expecting them to have the same sincerity and
honesty. Those without the kernel tend to have good technical skills and can be good with
animals. The full value of the prints could depend upon the type of hands they are found on.
Arch with Loop: She described an arch with a loop in it. In tradition dermatoglyphics this might
either be confused with a loop or an arch. It would appear somewhat like that shown in figure
14. She indicates that it may be indicative of a searching intellect, one who might excel in
creative fields that require abstract thought, such as medicine or science, and who have good
Double Loop: She designates the double loop as the Aquarian and finds
it most frequently on the 4th (ring) finger which is generally known in
palmistry as the sun or Apollo finger but which she and Dennis
Fairchild(79) call the Venus finger. The attributes of the double loop are
much like the of the composite loops described by Hutchinson and indeed
Hutchinson actually pictures a double loop in her book as does Vera
Compton and both refer to this feature also as the twinned or entwined
loop. Dr. Scheimann appears to picture both, though it is not entirely
clear from the illustrations given. Jaquin pictures the incomplete whorl,
the type shown in figure 9 above, and calls it the composite. Jaegers
gives the subject the ability to "double-think" and have trouble separating
reality from fantasy. Depending on how the ability is channeled Jaegers can see the result as
either an artist or a liar. Perhaps the consummate con artist?
Whorls: Jaegers adds the nonconformist to the individualist in her analysis of what the spiral
whorl indicates (figure 8). The target or concentric circle whorl she describes as a sign that
looks like an eye (figure 7). She assigned descriptions dependant on which finger it was found
on. On the index finger it indicted good perception. When found on the middle finger, she
credits the subject with a genius for organization and categorization who are not confused or
disoriented. When found on the ring finger the subject is able to spot the flaw in objects or plans,
a fine eye for discernment. As a general rule the target whorl is the sign of inner concentration of
the individualistic person who can see all sides of a question and that makes the subject's
Loops: (figures 4 and 14) Jaegers divides loops into radial and ulnar as do those studying
dermatoglyphics and she differentiates these from the radial and ulnar loops with a kernel. Good
perception, good visual memory and unique patterns of analysis that allows perception of hidden
patterns and agenda, all that may lead to different conclusions from the 'crowd' characterize those
with radial kernel loops. Those with the ulnar kernel loops are better at plagiarism of assets and
ideas of others who can see the talents or shortcomings of others better than their own. They
suffer slow or dull thinkers badly. They suffer from too wide ranging interests. The subjects
with plain ulnar loops have short attention spans. Think quickly and need changes. They have an
adaptable personality and flexible outlook. She believes they may be able to perceive loop holes,
can work towards personal goals or the goals of others, loose sight of personal aims when the
goal is in sight and are open minded. The radial loop has some of these characteristics, with free
flowing ideas and abilities to improvise. This subject seems more individualistic, especially with
the loop found on the index finger. But they are much less adaptable and flexible than those
found with the ulnar loops. They seldom retain all the information they have gathered.
Accidentals: The other print described by Jaegers is the accidental. This is sort of a catch all
category for prints that do on file well in other categories. I have not found in the three books I
have of Mrs. Jaegers''s work on palmistry any further description of what these accidentals may
evidence in terms of character.
Triradii: Jaegers also considered the significance of triradii in her 1974 book You and Your
Hand.(80) She located seven positions for the triradius, one under each finger that we described
above as a, b, c, and d, one along the thenar side of the palm below the distal transverse crease
(heart line) (in the area of the box on the hand in figure 12), one in the general area that we have
formally described as td (Figure 11), and one at the center base of the palm that we have
described as t. She considered the td location as the normal placement of the axial triradius.
She indicated that the axial triradius at this location evidenced a "normal correspondence
between the conscious and subconscious" and "normal prenatal existence The higher location,
under the distal transverse crease, (Figure 12 box on hand area) would indicate to her prenatal or
later life heart problems and an enhanced tactile, sensual or emotional memory. She illustrated
some unfamiliarity with the scientific studies of dermatoglyphics when she discussed the normal
placement of the axial triradius at or below where we show td (Figure 11). Cummins & Midlo(81)
had reported t as the most frequent location of the axial triradii and cited statistics on the study of
1281 German males in their 1943 book on dermatoglyphics. But Jaegers, possibly unaware of
such scientific literature on the subject, stated(82) "Although this placement does not seem to have
come to the attention of the scientists, it has been my observation that this particular placement
has been found exclusively on the hands of psychics." She felt this corroborated the findings of
astrologers. Perhaps Palmists are fortunate she published after the Penrose letter of 1973. She
voiced a desire to be better informed of the work in scientific studies of the hand.
The digital triradii that we show as a, b, c, and d in Figure 11, Jaegers calls Apex triradii,
possibly following the leads of Benham and St. Germain. She mentioned a formation below the
ring finger that looked more like a neckless than a triradius and indicated subjects with those
formations would never achieve happiness in terms considered as popularly desirable, though he
or she, through individual efforts, may find satisfaction and contentment. She described ridge
counts from the triradii to the proximal finger flexure line as normal if between five and ten,
recessed if thirteen or over under fingers 3 and 5 (Saturn and Mercury), and fifteen to seventeen
below fingers 2 and 4 (Jupiter and Apollo). High setting would be within three to five ridge lines
of that flexure crease. She considered the low setting as repressive and those with high settings
had access to the fuller use of the character attributes related to that finger.
A low set apex under the index finger (No. 2) would indicate that leadership abilities would be
understated, better expressed in support, or behind the scenes. High settings would provide more
support for the active leader. Such a setting would spur ambition, aspirations, and self
confidence. If the placement of the apex tends toward the thumb, the quality of fearlessness
grows. The self sacrificial or martyr may be indicated if the mount is more radially located.
Jaegers also felt the radial location might indicate persons who use others to achieve their own
Jaegers recognized that the triradius under the middle finger would normally be higher than the
one under the ring finger. The higher triradius under the middle finger evidences the desire for
continuing education and intellectual expansion. Learning for those with normal or more
centrally located triradii would preferably come through experience rather than formal education.
The low apex indicated the conservationist to her, one interested in gardening or animal
husbandry and even vegetarians. People with apices that lean towards the index finger are
sensitive about their intellectual accomplishments and shortcomings. They also tend to be tight
with finances. It is not a usual location. The more customary location is below the middle of the
finger, indicating balanced judgment (justice, fair play and good judgment). With the apex
leaning towards the ring finger we may find a more live and let live attitude, accepting human
nature in all shades. sh notes that some authorities have held that it represents a spendthrift
attitude, but she does not concur. She believes it evidences the humanitarian. If the main line
flows from b to d and thus the ridge lines cut off any apex pattern below the third (ring) finger,
this is a sign of one possibly gifted in electronics or computer or software design.
Highly placed apices under the ring finger labels one as enjoying the company of others and not
caring to be alone. Jaegers finds this person requires constant background noise, such as the TV,
or boom box. Rarely self conscious, they enjoy socializing. If both this setting and the one under
the little finger are high, they tend to be performers, show offs. It the aspect is low, the person
will tend to be more introspective, creating for themselves, such as a diarist. Need for personal
space and solitude accompany this sign. The normal location for this apex is from eight to
twelve ridge lines below the proximal finger crease. If the apex leans towards the middle finger,
intellectual creativity is indicated. It is seldom seen leaning towards the little finger, but when it
does, look for a "fascinating conversationalist." Should no apex be found below this finger, the
subjects creativity may be blocked unless their are palmar lines or creases that cut through the
ridge lines to reach the proximal finger crease.
Under the Little finger the apex is usually lower set than under the other fingers. If it is set closer
to the radial side, it indicates one who finds vocal communication easier. Moving to the center
or towards the ulnar side of the hand the apex indicates one who is more relaxed with the written
Elizabeth Brenner acknowledges the existence of dermatoglyphics but offers little insight into the
complexion of personality in her 1980 discussion of dermatoglyphics.(83) She preferred to advise
the readers of the then popular understanding of the scientific studies in the area. Dennis
Fairchild in his book of the same year(84) goes into quite extensive observations on character traits
and dermal patterns. He shows some strong affinity for the same school as Bevy Jaegers as they
both reverse the common palmistry names for the pads under the ring finger and the thumb,
calling the one under the ring finger Venus and the one under the thumb the Sun of Apollo.
Dennis Fairchild offered a few new observations in his 1980 publication. He found whorls on
the thumb indicated deliberate and careful characters, aggressive in pursuing desires, with a need
for recognition, admiration, and to be applauded. This may lead to excesses. On the index finger
the whorl can indicate magnetic dynamism. These people set strict rules for self and are willing
to accept responsibility for future planning. On the middle (Saturn) finger it denotes the good
organizer needing a concrete philosophy of life. Subjects with whorls on the ring finger show an
"uncanny" ability to ferret out injustice across their paths. They are effective teachers of morality
and truth. Focus is important for these subjects to realize their endless and limitless desires for
love, freedom and discoveries. When found on the little finger, the whorl indicates an
understanding of people. But they tend to be detached. They are also wealth seekers. Arches on
the middle and ring fingers indicate something of the same run for the money. He appears to be
confused about the more common loop to be found on the thumb. He says the radial loop is the
more common loop. Cummins and Midlo reported in 1943, based on 1905 data from Scotland
Yard reporting on fingerprint types of 5,000 individuals that 55.89% had ulnar loops on their
right thumb and 0.22% had radial loops. On the left thumb, 65.9% had ulnar loops and .20% had
radial loops.(85) Our experience is quite similar. Fairchild did not discuss this further in his recent
(1996) palmistry book.(86)
Carol Hellings White approaches fingerprint patterns very simply in her 1980 publication,
dividing them into four patterns, whorl, loop, arch and composite, without differentiations
between ulnar and radial, or tinted and simple arches or other features.(87) She emphasized
general characteristics evidenced by these prints. The arch indicates one who sees an orderly,
purposeful world in a nonjudgmental, accepting fashion. The loop indicates an active, outgoing
person with a love of "progress", who may be motivated by either feelings of responsibility or
desire to be prominent and involved in the limelight. Depth and concentration come to mind
when looking at the whorl, a person very selective and otherwise noncommittal. She sees the
composite as the combination of the whorl and loop. In this she sees an open minded person,
curious and with what she sees as the scientific approach, cautious?
David Brandon-Jones in his 1980 work followed a course of several other palmists listed here of
trying to popularize some "scientific" findings with regard to health and dermatoglyphics. He
also included a few observations on character traits associated with several fingerprints, the
loop, composite loop, whorl, arch, tented arch and peacock's eye.(88) Following observations we
have already encountered he noted that too many loops on the hands, without other strong signs,
would be evidence of vacillation, instability and inconsistency. He felt that those with radial
loops tried to impress themselves on the world and risked charges of braggadocio.
Indecision is the key in the composite. Brandon-Jones agreed with many other palmists here on
the meanings of whorls. Dogmatic stubbornness may be indicted if found on the thumb who will
not back down unless the other thumb contains an ulnar loop. People with whorls on their little
fingers, it may indicate such independence of thinking that the subject has long since despaired
over being understood or sympathized with. The arch is a sign of dependability, once the subject
has given his word. He sees the tented arch as a sign of such emotional sensitivity as to be close
to instability. These people need quiet, peaceful surroundings. He also observes such people
may have very sensitive, acute hearing. The peacock's eye indicates penetrating perception on
any fingers but the ring finger where it seems to indicate the ability to avoid death through
accident or intentional trauma.
In 1983 Enid Hoffman addressed her attention to a group loops we have seem previously in
Jaegers' work.(89) She leaves out the ultra-feminine-masculine loop on the little finger and moves
the Inspiration loop more into the central area of the ulnar side of the palm. She adds a loop from
the palm edge just at the base of the thumb that she says evidences a natural sense of rhythm in
people who love melody and harmony and have an aptitude for dance. This may be a little closer
to the ideas of Hutchinson, though it is at the more distal location on the thenar eminence, above
Ms. Hutchinson's mark for brass music.
She treats several fingerprints, loops, double
loops, concentric whorls, spiral whorls that twist
clockwise and counterclockwise, and two types of
tented arches, one that looks very much like
Fitzherbert's high arch, below, and one with a
triad. She uses the word triad to indicate triradii,
and also to an enclosure at the base of a simple
arch. She also mentions composites but it is not
clear whether she is talking about fingerprints.
She adds the team player to loops found on both little fingers or both middle fingers, and
achievement through cooperation if found on the index fingers. She notes loops on the index
finger also indicate flexibility and one friendly to suggestions for change.
Hoffman stresses the uniqueness represented by whorls as well as the individuality and strong
belief system. Whorls on little fingers signify idealism and expectations in close relationships.
On the ring finger, besides supporting creative talent, they indicate one not easily influenced
when it comes to choices. Whorls on the middle finger evidence heightened concern for strong
family, home and career. Whorls on the index finger indicate the decision maker, with a strong
personality and sense of self identity and latent powers to take charge. On the thumb the whorls
are a strong sign of potential success of one who likes to control.
Hoffman pictures a high arch(90) (as Fitzherbert would describe it below) as a tented arch (Figure
17). She compares those with this sign to mountain climbers who strive to achieve. They often
get caught up in social reform, movements, and political causes for the common good. She
distinguishes between a high arch that has an enclosure at the base (Figure 18) and one that does
not have any inclosure (Figure 17) and calls the enclosure a triad. Those without the triad plug
along trying to get others into his or her cause. She confirms the arches indicate stubbornness
and that these people do not like to be bossed. She also confirms their practical, reliable and
industrious natures. If they have the triad arches on both thumbs, she finds this adds more
concentrated power and increases ambition. Strong ambition is indicated when both middle
fingers have this sign. These high arches may indicate an interest in the avant garde side of art
when found on the ring fingers. On the little finger, goals of marital security and status will loom
Enid Hoffman finds that double loops are signs of good judgment in persons who avoid hasty
decisions or impulsive behavior. On the thumbs this good judgment will involve goal setting.
When found on the index fingers it will signify a good judge of other people. She counsels
careers in decision making positions for those with double loops on both middle fingers.
Darlene Hansen went to some effort to annotate her Secrets of the Palm in 1984 and actually
referred to several works on dermatoglyphics including the well know book of Cummins and
Midlo.(91) She discussed several types of prints, the whorl, loop and arch including the ulnar loop,
the "triadus" and radial loop. She distinguishes the character traits between the ulnar loop (mild
mannered happy people) with radial loops indicating more individuality, like whorls. She notes
that in the orient the whorls are mor associated with the yang elements while the loop is more
representative of the yin elements. The whorl on the thumb will indicate one who will get what
he wants even if he has to do it in an unusual way. Uniqueness accompanies the whorl
The Japanese palmist Asano relied on the three basic fingerprints, loop, arch and whorl in his
1985 English language publication Hands.(92) People with whorls on their first two fingers
(Thumb and index) hate to loose and refuse to submit to the will of others. They are positive in
attitude and active in life, undaunted by defeats. If the whorls appear on both fingers of both
hands, the subjects are adventurous extroverts. If the whorl is only on the index finger, these
socially adroit people are constantly on the move seeking to put their own ideas into practice.
They may tend to be insecure and irritable at times. While they may occasionally appear to
conform to the will of others, the are actually quite selfish and will persevere.
Asano finds that loops on both the thumb and index fingers will indicate a cautious subject
putting prudence before valor. They may let the opportunities of life slip by and may allow
themselves to be dominated. Arches found on any of the four fingers will indicate both the bold
and the timid, the picture of the bully who will generally improve his lot.
Asano believes that the ring and little finger prints relate to posers of original thought, opposite
sex interests and artistic talents and are part of the keys to understanding the subjects aesthetic
tastes and creative abilities, and love expectations. Whorls on both fingers indicate passionate
subjects towards the opposite sex who have great creative and aesthetic abilities, far above the
ordinary with extraordinary intuition and grasp of what others are thinking.
When only one finger is graced with the whorl, the subject still has special artistic or technical
skills and ability to produce unusual, original ideas impossible for those of the middling sort to
conceive. These may frequently follow long and unpleasant situations or human relationships.
They may appear very cool but are quite tender. Their misfortunes and disappointments in love
stimulate rather than depress them.
Asano finds that those with whorls on all fingers have outstanding artistic talent together with
very easily bruised egos. The frequently find their love rebuffed while they may despise those
who admire or love them. Those with loops on all fingers accommodate and survive in
troublesome situations. While they appear to be weak, they will fiercely protest if backed into a
Andrew Fitzherbert in his 1986 work Hand Psychology divided the fingerprints into arches,
whorls and loops and divided those groups into spiral and concentric whorls, high and low
arches, and left and right loops.(93) He continues with the observation that the whorl indicates the
individualist: intense, possibly isolated, secretive and thoughtful. The arch signifies the practical
doer, who may be suspicious and ask to be show before he or she believes. These people can be
steady, useful and realistic, but slow to respond and accept change. The loop fits the adaptable,
easy going, flexible, middle of the road personality with wide abilities, who fits in. He follows
the line that the concentric whorl may indicate the whorl traits more strongly. He finds those
with high arches are usually more skillful and idealistic. He makes no difference between left
and right loops and does not distinguish in this work between ulnar and radial loops (which, or
course, could be left or right depending on the hand). He indicates that strong, clear prints
intensify the character significance of each pattern and bring out the loftier aspects of those traits.
He tends to read the characteristics by which print is the dominant print on the hands. He
mentions briefly the tented arch and the composite. He clearly distinguishes between a tented
arch and a high arch by requiring a "tent pole" for the tented arch (Figure 6), a distinction not
observed by Hoffman. Those with composites see two sides to a question and have a difficult
time making up their minds. Hence indecision? The tented arch is a sigh of enthusiasm. These
subjects have the qualities of the ordinary arch, but become deeply involved with what they do.
Fitzherbert ascribes meanings to each print type depending on the finger where it is found. On
the index finger, the whorl evidences individuality, ability to form one's own ideas. On the
middle finger, the individualism is expressed in working life, often leading to selection of
unusual careers. A whorl on the ring finger indicates artistic ability, while the same print on the
little finger is usually so seldom found he could make little interpretation of it except in one
case. When whorls are found on both the little and ring fingers, it indicates an unusually active
subconscious leading to vivid precognition, hunches and mental impressions. On the thumb he
say the whorl as indicating the individualistic way of getting things done.
Placing the arch on the thumb indicates a practical, direct approach to tasks. On the index finger,
it may indicate a practical approach to personal hobbies and interests, beliefs, that does not carry
through to other areas of life. Arches on the middle finger evidence the practical employee and
the otherwise intellectually oriented person with this mark may prefer simple, physical tasks.
Arches on the ring finger indicate the artistic interest may be represented through craftsmanship.
No mention of the arch is made on the little finger. The tented arch adds the element of
Recognizing that the loop on the little finger is by far the most common print on that finger., he
says no more. Not does he discuss the loop on the other fingers. He discusses the composite,
noting changeability in beliefs and attitudes if found on the index finger; uncertain and
changeable attitudes towards career when found on the middle finger; and variable artistic tastes
on the ring finger. He also discusses the loop in connection with the loops of seriousness and
Fitzherbert also discusses palmar skin patterns.(94) In addition to some observations we have seen
in Hutchinson's work above, he indicates that an ulnar directed triradius under the ring finger is a
sign of caution. He finds a triradius under the ring finger that has a loop as one arm indicates an
affinity with animals, a trait earlier recognized by Hutchinson.(95) He generally follows
Hutchinson in relating various signs and loops on the palm to character traits and personal
qualities. The S sign generally seen on the hypothenar eminence indicates switching of culturally
related sexual roles, while the whorl in the same location shows a specially strong imagination
and affinity for visualization. A whorl on the IV interdigital area, where the loop of humor is
more likely found, will indicate sarcasm.
Sasha Fenton and Malcolm Wright,(96) addressed their attention to six types of prints and some
problem patterns or defects in them in their 1986 work. The prints addressed were the arch,
tented arch, composite, whorl, loop, and peacock's eye (Figure 10). Arches signify tendencies
toward introversion, secrecy, withdrawal, self defensive behavior from rather shy, ordinary and
practical people usually not bestowed with an easy life. If they become enthusiasts they may 'talk
your ear off.' The double loop analysis follows previous observers except for the speculation that
if found on the little finger it might be a sign of bisexuality.
The person with many whorls reminds these authors of the anti-hero, cool and calculating with
strong emotional control who need either a compliant partner who stays in the background or has
his or her own separate career. The whorl on the index finger indicates one who either does not
or can not understand other peoples way of life and does not let other competing matters interfere
with his or her career. For Fenton and Wright the whorl on the middle finger will increase the
serious concern of the subject for matters of self importance. On the ring finger, the whorl
indicates tastes set early in life are hard to change and the subject has the right to dictate his or
her partners emotions and activity. On the little finger it represents conflicts between shyness in
one who could be a teacher or researcher driven by the need to expand his mental horizons.
Fenton and Wright bring out the that the loops indicate not only a quick and elastic mind, but one
that quickly becomes board in a subject who just may leave an escape hatch to avoid long
commitments. The tented arch shows these writers a subject who may be idealistic but lacks
adaptability. This super enthusiastic subject may be easily deranged by changes in circumstance
and very sensitive to criticism. The tented arch indicates talent by combining the intensity of the
whorl with the flexibility of the loop. An inclosure in the arch (Figure 18 Triad style arch) may
look to the authors like a little whorl which may signify the subject is a 'know it all.'
Terrence Dukes, who is now known as Shifu Nagaboshi Tomino in recognition of his priestly
status, described his work including dermatoglyphics as hand analysis focusing on the
fundamental teachings of the Wu-Hsing method as practiced within the Chen Yen Esoteric
Buddhist tradition.(97) He opines that most now agree that the ancient Buddhist texts that describe
the skin color, texture, shape, and gesture as well as wheel patterns are descriptions of
dermatogliphia although such texts do not describe them as such. This would have been news to
Cummins and Midlo when they published their seminal work in 1943. But Dukes published in
Dukes discusses a number of dermal patterns, the
simple and tented arches, the loop, the falling
loop, the whorl, elongated whorl and imploding
whorl, the triradius, the flame and the loop as
more likely seen on the palm. Each of these
patterns symbolize one or more basic elements
from which human characteristics may be drawn.
The arch symbolizes the Earth element, the loop
the water element, the tented arch and the triradius the fire element and
the whorl the air element. Other patterns symbolize a combination of elements: the falling loop
both water and fire (Figure 19 based on drawing); the elongated whorl both water and air (Figure
20); the imploding whorl both fire and air (Figure 22); and the flame both fire and water (Figure
In the simple pattern of the arch (Figure 5) we find the tribe or group oriented person, often
inarticulate and cautious but with a since of the rhythms of life. The characteristics of this sign
are related to protection and security and would be accompanied by inhibition.
Sensitivity, artistic interests, responsiveness all with a lack of concentration are shown by the
loop (Figure 4). He notes they may lean right or left. The Whorl (Figures 7 and 8) indicates all
those elements we have seen above, independence, freedom seeking, often intense, self
motivated, secretive, original and emotionally inhibited personality. Elongating the whorl
(Figure 20) adds emotional overtones to these qualities so that original ideas may be prompted by
The tented arch (Figure 6) is a sign of the fire element, hyperactive and
powerful, indicating expressive and impulsive subjects. Falling loops
represent dualism in approach to experiences. Though highly perceptive,
without stabilization in other features of the hand, this is an erratic sign.
The imploding whorl is drawn as if two whorls stand side by side and we
have attempted to represent the actual drawings with prints in Figures 21
and 22. However this feature may also be represented by the composite,
shown in Figure 9 or perhaps even the double loop shown in Figure 15, or
one or more of the accidentals (Figure 16). However the double loop
may rather be more representative of the falling loop described above. In
any case he describes it as a sign of "incomplete energy transformation."
Because of this it relates to the "mundane world" which means it
indicates materialism and inability to adapt. He describes it as folded
over and pushed together. He says composites closely resemble it. His
imploding whorl appears to be disintegrating.
The descriptions of the triadus, the flame and the loop that lies horizontal
across the palmar surface leads us into the other dermatoglyphic patterns
of the palm itself. The flame looks like an inverted peacock's eye. The
horizontal loop looks like a loop laid over onto its side. The triadus looks
like a triradius. One wonders if he was reading Darlene Hansen (above)
when he decided to call the triradius the triadus. He describes it as the
"center of energy within a specific pattern." He also says "It occurs upon
every digital and palmar mount, marking its effective source." As such a
mark may not occur on a finger graced with a simple arch print, we are
not absolutely sure this is what he means, but then the pattern he shows
that looks like a triradius also does not appear on such fingers.
In Dukes' method of palmistry, each direction on the hand takes on added meanings relating to
character. Like other palmists, he finds that the significance of the print is influenced by the
direction it lies in relation to other parts of the hand. He also relates gradations of character to
the texture of the skin as exhibited by the sizes of the ridges and how they are spaced. They
climb the ladder of character as they grow finer and closer. One must take into consideration the
finger elements where the sign is found, energy or ether for the thumb, water for the index finger,
earth for the middle finger, fire for the ring finger and air for the little finger. He describes
finding a simple arch on the ring (fire) finger as an indication of the love of dance, crafts or
simple arts. Signs on the energy finger, the thumb, will reflect how one manifests ones desires in
the external world.
Dukes refers to three main types of patterns found on the palm, the loop, whorl and flame. And
how it is unlikely they will coexist on the same palm. He also notes that triradii are found on the
palm and the center of the triradius forms the center of the "mount," a geographic reference to a
location in the palm that has character significance. The loops he pictures in three types
depending on how high the loop is, how wide it is and how fine and closely packed the ridges
are. Low, wide loops are earth types, while fine and closely packed ridges represent the air
element. The drawing of the fire element in loops seems to fall in between, but the language
description indicates it is slightly wider and shorter than the earth loop. He finds that all loops on
the palm indicate a subject who is essentially responsive. Whorls and flames indicated more
individualistic attitudes. Like prints, the palmar patterns take on the characteristics toward which
they incline and those related to the areas wherein they lie. Occasionally one will find such
marks on the phalanges and these also have characteristics attributed to them.
The epicenter of each fingerprint also has the modifying characteristics of location in relationship
to character. Where the epicenter lies closer to the thumb it reflects a predisposition towards
external expression, while the opposite is true if it lays closer to the little finger. The higher the
epicenter, the more spiritual, idealistic are the subject's characteristics and vis versa. The tip is
also divided in quarters to represent the four elements. In relationship to the thumb the air
quadrant is the upper most distant. Water the lower most distant, Fire the upper quadrant nearest
the thumb and earth the lower quadrant nearest the thumb. Air relates to spiritual impression,
(conceptualization), fire to spiritual expression, water to physical impression (subjectivity) and
earth to physical expression.
So the Wu Hsing method of palmistry would combine the meaning of each finger with the type
of print, and its level and direction as well as its epicenter to form an accurate plan of the
subject's personal interests and influences. The epicenter seems to bear a close physical
similarity to the core as described in criminal forensic science of fingerprint identification and the
kernel described above by Jaegers.
Nathaniel Altman combined with two other prominent hand analysts in 1989 to produce two
books. With Dr. Scheimann he produced Medical Palmistry(98) an update of Dr. Scheimann's
earlier work. With Andrew Fitzherbert he produced Career, Success and Self Fulfilment.(99) In
the former book they dealt with the medical aspects of fingerprints. In the latter they made a
short reference to the personality traits represented by the whorls, arches, tented arches, loops and
composites.(100) They emphasize that these represent the permanent elements of character that
may perhaps be modified, but not discarded. They repeat the general observations of Fitzherbert
Paul Gabriel Tesla has produced two books that clearly appear to be attempts to meld ideas of
palmistry with dermatoglyphics.(101) Tesla describes the palm from the viewpoint of one studying
dermatoglyphics. However, while he shows some dermatoglyphic main line courses in his Crime
& Mental Disease in The Hand, he does not discuss the general relevance, if any there be, in
their origin and insertions on the palm with respect to character analysis. The spaces between
the fingers are know as interdigital spaces and are correctly numbered from the first between the
thumb and index finger to the fourth between the ring and little finger. He recognizes 36 types of
fingerprints and 20 types of dermal patterns. These include the tri-radius, unpatterned or neutral
field, whorl, coil (a type of spiral from a single ridge), loops (including both ulnar and radial
loops and some other variations), whorl loop, pocket loop (like a peacock's eye or flame),
entwined loops, opposing loops, head on loops, arch and tented arch, cross patch and cross cuts.
In the Complete Science of Hand Reading, he describes his findings on the significance of all of
these patterns where found on the palm and fingers. His overall observations are to numerous to
capsulize in this short paper, but would be used for inquiry while conducting our future studies.
It is enough to say that his 1991 works, by their sheer size, are unique in the reports of hand
analysts on personality as reflected in the dermatoglyphics of the palm.
Samudrik Tilak M. Katakkar also wrote an Encyclopedia of Palm and Palm Reading after many
years of practice and in his 1992 work discussed the loops, arches, tented arches whorls and
composites from both health and character aspects.(102) His work was not know to this author
while writing my own Encyclopedia. However, Dr. Katakkar may have been even less familiar
with the works cited here because he makes the remarkable statement that the patterns of
fingertip dermal ridges had never received any attention before his work. Perhaps he is merely
speaking for Indian palmists, because it is obvious that by 1992 many palmists had considered
Dr. Katakkar maintains that the fingerprints show the hereditary character foundation of each
person. This is apparently only partially correct as environmental influences also play their rolls.
He notes that loops may run right to left or left to right so he does not distinguish between ulnar
and radial loops. We have seen this failure in other palmists above. We believe that the
distinction of whether a loop is radial or ulnar, besides being anatomically correct, is the only
way to make sense of those prints because right and left can depend on whether the hands are
observed from the subject's view or by an independent observer in front of the subject and
whether the hands are held fingers up or down.
Dr. Katakkar finds the loop indicates a person with a high degree of emotional elasticity. Such a
person can be expected to be very active and ready responses to his environment. However his
versatility will make it difficult for him to stick to any one thing and he lacks concentration. This
subject will be emotionally impulsive.
Katakkar's second type of print is the tented arch which he believes indicates more nervous
activity that the loop. He finds subjects with this print high strung, nervous and too easily
responsive to emotional stimulation. He finds them naturally affected by musical tunes
(melody?) and so idealistic as to expect too much from life. By contrast the simple arch
represents a secretive type of individual who represses his emotions and sentiments. He will
have the appearance of a strong willed person, but in fact is uncertain, bewildered and hesitant.
This inhibits him so he may exhibit obstinate characteristics and these mechanisms make him
appear to be awkward.
The whorl, also called the chakra, fairs much better in Dr. Katakkar's estimation. This is a sign
of one with definite independence in thought and action. Such persons are original in ideas and
independent, resenting dominance of others. While they tend to be better listeners than talkers,
they are quite eloquent and clear in their expressions. These self confident subjects follow their
own whims and are quite secretive. If found low on the thumb print, it is a sign of good luck
unless found on a woman with an ample, round middle phalange of the thumb. In that case it is a
sign of infidelity and immorality.
Dr. Katakkar's last print is the composite. He finds such prints indicate the practical type. He
finds that such people can have good judgment but lack common sense. He finds such people
too materialistic and lack consideration for the emotional aspects of life. He finds these subjects
lack an understanding or appreciation for the ideal visions or plans of life. He also finds such
persons lack mental elasticity and are everywhere narrowly limited.
In 1993 Rita Robinson published her dermatoglyphic observations in her Health in Your
Hands.(103) She recognized a number of shapes: a simple arch, a sharp parch, a left loop that
leans towards the little finger (radial loop?), a right loop that leans towards the thumb (ulnar
loop?), double loops that could pass for a composite with both loops entering from the same
direction, an oval whorl that looks like an elongated whorl, a spiral whorl and a round whorl that
looks like a target whorl. She also describes the triradius and shows the core of a fingerprint.
She mentions briefly the subject of ridge count between triradii which we will cover in more
depth below. She follows the tradition of citing recent studies for various medical and
biological traits and dermal patterns. In commenting on characteristics she adds to the tented
arch that it can be a sign of difficulty in expression and tendency to internalize, and emotional
insecurity. She cites some commonly held beliefs of other palmists for other character traits.
Richard Webster in his 1994 work, Revealing Hands, discussed the whorl, arch loop and tri-radii
(Hyphenated like Dukes) and a group of palmer loops that could be practically laid on top of
those mentioned by Hutchinson. From Hutchinson to Webster we can trace some of the
development of ideas relating character to loops in the palms in the minds of many "palmists"
(Figure 23). Webster's new loop is the one below the distal transverse crease in the palmar area
palmists call upper mars, on the more distal portion of the hypothenar eminence. It bears some
of the same personality traits as Jaegers' triradius in the same location. This indicates a good
retention and ability to recall where Jaegers indicated that a triradius (apex) was a sign of
enhanced tactile, sensual or emotional memory. His observations of other characteristics of
loops on the palm have been described by the prior palmists covered above, as are his
explanations of the meanings attributed to the fingerprints.
Moshe Zwang is another modern palmists, as well as acupuncturist and naturopath, who
annotates his work and traces his fingerprints back to the work of Jan Purkinje's patterns and
Noel Jaquin's work. Unfortunately, his 1995 work does not describe his own observations of
what particular dermal patterns may signify.(104) Moshe has been studying microscopic changes in
the dermatoglyphics resulting from behavioral changes and we look forward to the publication of
his work. Xiao-Fan Zong and Gary Liscum concentrate on the oriental medical side of
dermatoglyphics and add nothing to our character analysis report.(105)
Ray Douglass addressed fingerprints in his 1995(106) work and concluded that the whorl
represented independent, self-contained and somewhat dogmatic characteristics. The loop
represented the versatile, mercurial mind and quick emotions. The high arch also indicated
quick, responsive minds as well as being impulsive and over sensitive. The low arch represented
the skeptical and guarded characteristics and the composite the dual personality.
Sasha Fenton and Malcolm Wright have turned out a new book in 1996(107) and
simplified the characteristics related to the fingerprints. The loop represents the team player,
adaptable and reliable. The arch represents the shy and repressed. The Peacock's eye is very rare
and signals creativity. The whorl signs the ambitious, selfish and independent. The double loop
indicates the two sided person who tries to please everyone.
Lori Read's 1996 The Art of Hand Reading(108) is graced with some of the best art work of any of
the palmistry books illustrating fingerprints and palmar ridge patterns. We have covered the
fingerprint characteristics she finds above under prior palmists. She considered both ulnar and
radial loops, concentric and spiral whorls, tented and simple arches, composite's and peacock's
eyes. She notes that it is rare to see the peacock eye on any fingers other than the ring and little
fingers and that it is a sign of luck or preservation.(109) On the palm Ms. Reid identifies the
common location of the a, b, c, d,and t triradii, the rajah, humor, nature, music, courage loops
and she names the serious loop the loop of vocation, saying it indicates dedication to work or
career. She identifies the bee as the whorl of music indicating strong musical talent. She adds a
loop of water, which is a loop proceeding from about the middle of the palm below the distal
transverse crease with its loop at the more proximal end towards the hypothenar eminence. This
shows an affinity to water. Reid also identifies a whorl found on the hypothenar eminence and
says it signifies a concentration of imaginative talents. See the chart below for a comparison of
major palmar dermatoglyphic designs found on some palms.
Some Campbell Studies and Observations
My own studies have provided me with these tentative conclusions regarding certain fingerprints
and certain other features of the hands
1. Persons with whorl prints (figures 7 and 8) as their thumb (finger No. 1) will tend to fight
rather than fly whereas those with loops (figure 4) will tend to try to avoid the fight. People with
composites (incomplete whorls or double loops) (Figures 9, 15 and 22) will tend to suffer from
self doubt when it comes to completing their own plans and often fail to complete through
hesitation or reverse their own decisions. In addition to this, those with loops together with a
transverse creased between the proximal transverse crease and the wrist that runs from the ulnar
edge of the hand to the thenar crease on the right hand, and possibly on the left hand at the same
level in the center of the hand touching the thenar crease, will tend to become physically ill at
their stomach when pressed into confrontation or arguments. The location of the print on the
right or left hand will aid in determining in what activities in life the expected behavior will more
likely manifest. This will also be influenced by the more currently predominant portion of the
brain used to control personal relationships and this in itself can often be determined from the
hands through a subsequent, pressure sensitive test.
2. Persons with whorl prints on their index fingers (finger No. 2) tend to be goal oriented whilst
those with loops, especially ulnar loops, are more process oriented (drawn toward addressing
immediate concerns of life). Radial loops will indicate more "mothering" qualities, good team
players and support people. In the ulnar loop the lines that loop begin and end on the little finger
side of the hand. The radial loop lines begin and end on the thumb side of the hand. If that loop
has a cornel in it (sometimes referred to as a peacock's eye) the tendency will be the desire to be
the mothering leader, needing a crew to work for her or him, such as a ship's captain. These
people take the lead with an audience.
3. Persons with whorl prints on their middle fingers (finger No. 3) tend to be judgmental in that
they look at appropriate behavior as "their way or the highway." They may tend to write their
own rules. Those with loops tend to be more "live and let live".
4. Persons with whorl prints on their ring fingers (finger No. 4) tend to be highly concentrated
when at work, and do not take interruption easily. Those with loops on the same finger tend to
handle interruption far more easily and can handle tasks with many interruptions but they may be
less focused on any single task at hand. (Excellent knowledge to have concerning receptionists
and any supervisors in positions that require constant interruptions.)
5. Persons with whorl prints on their little fingers (finger No. 5) tend to interrupt conversations
to bring out matters they believe are important even if those matters have nothing to do with the
current topics under consideration. Those with loop fingerprints on the same fingers will tend to
go with the flow of the conversation and make efforts to fit in even in uncomfortable situations.
(Excellent knowledge to have of potential comptrollers and quality control engineers.)
6. Persons with brachytactyly affecting the medial phalange of the 5th
finger (a noticeable short middle phalange on the little finger) have a very
difficult time making "small talk", i.e. making talk just to be sociable.
(Good quality to look for when its all business, but might fail in
situations where "sociability" is a strong requirement.)
7. Persons with interrupted fingerprints (forming no patterns, Figure 24)
on their 3rd (middle) finger are likely to have balance problems when they
close their eyes and may have problems with personal location
orientation. Gloria brought this home to me. She was accompanied by
her Chiropractor when I examined her for the second time. She had this
type of print. She could never predict from day to day where she would be (very undependable)
and would actually loose her balance when she closed her eyes. This may suggest some very
interesting neurological possibilities that should still be studied.
8. Persons with plump proximal phalanges on the palm side of their 4th (ring) finger tend to be
good hosts or hostesses, liking to entertain while those whose phalange is flat there would rather
go out to dinner than entertain.
9. Persons with very few lines on their hands tend to be more anxiety prone, and less able to
express their emotions. While appearing very strong, they could be more prone to sudden brake
downs, apoplexy and serious reactions to heavy and prolonged stressful situations.
10. The hand on which the fingerprint will be found will dictate the area of life the behavioral
reaction is more likely to be displayed, with the left hand markings relating more to the personal,
sensitive, home, and sentimental, nurturing family areas of life (except perhaps in some left
handed and mixed handed people) while the right will probably relate more to the activities of
the subject connected to his or her survival and security, including nest building.
This author(110) has had some success in using the suggestions of both Hutchinson and Jaegers on
palmar patterns. On fingerprints, we have tried to keep it simple. The thumb whorl represents
the person who hates to loose and thus would more likely fight than fly. The ulnar loop indicates
the opposite approach of a person who would rather go around the obstacles in life. The
intertwined double loop or composite indicates one who has a hard time separating wishful
thinking from that which he or she may know but have no firm grounds to support that
knowledge. These people may vacillate if required to act on hunches. They may find some
success using the dowser's techniques to remove their doubt. The arch indicates the hard worker
who will undermine the opposition with the same effort as the historical military engineer would
undermine fortification walls. The whorl on the index finger will indicate the goal oriented
person while the ulnar loop indicates the process oriented person, that is one who would rather
work in a job that is concerned with immediate needs. This fits with the versatility and
adaptability nature seen in that loop as well as its tendency toward boredom, or lack of
concentration. The radial loop adds a different quality, one with more team spirit, of one who is
a nurturer or motherer, and turns his or her attention to protecting those persons close and things
dear to him or her. Key words describing persons with whorls on the index finger is that they are
goal oriented planners, with simple arches, they are implementers, with ulnar loops are
processors of the immediate needs and with radial loops they are motherers.
Occasionally one runs into a double loop that parallels the center line of the finger going
longitudinally straight back and forth towards the end of the finger. We have found this a good
sign of the bargain hunter and might indicate a good buyer when found on either the index finger
and perhaps also if found on the middle or ring fingers. The whorl found on the middle finger
indicates a person who might say: "Its my way or the highway." At one time we thought it would
mean this person was judgmental according to social norms, but we have come to accept through
observation that the whorl judgment may be a very personal one if that suits the subject. The
loop on the middle finger indicates a more live and let live attitude. The arch on the same finger
indicates one who will "chew over matters" to see what "tastes right" before making a decision.
A whorl on the ring finger indicates strong concentration in activities. Don't interrupt this person
when on the phone. They become quite upset, flustered and possibly angry, when their
concentration is broken. They need to be allowed to complete their tasks before starting the next
one. By contrast, the loop on the same finger indicates one who can take interruption with
equanimity, and would be a far better selection for a busy receptionists' position. A whorl on the
little finger represents one who will speak up even if what she has to say has nothing to do with
the conversation, so long as it appears to that subject to be of importance. These are the natural
comptrollers, quality control engineers and whistle blowers of society. The loop is more likely to
represent one who would go along with the flow of the conversation and blend in.
We find in the peacock's eye a sign of the performer. In each area it is found, the person will
more likely concentrate his or her talents if there is a prospective audience. Otherwise, they will
have the roving interests represented by the loops.
PHYSICAL DERMATOGLYPHIC DEVELOPMENT
Earlier scientific studies related dermatological marking developments to the first four months of
gestation, according to Dr. Eugene Scheimann, M.D.(111). or in the second trimester according to
Dr. Theodore J. Berry, M.D., F.A.C.P.(112) Schaumann and Alter(113) describe the process more
accurately and in detail as taking place early in fetal development and being genetically
determined while being modified by environmental forces as exemplified by exposure to
Rubella(114) and Thalidomide(115).
According to Schaumann and Alter, the process of dermal ridge formation begins with the
formation of fetal volar pads. These are mound-shaped formations of mesenchymal tissue
elevated over the end of the most distal metacarpal bone on each finger, in the interdigital areas
just below the fingers, and on the hypothenar and thenar areas of the palms and soles. Secondary
pads are found in other areas such as in the center of the palm and on the proximal phalanges.
The fingertip formations of volar pads are first visible in the sixth to seventh week of
development. William J. Babler indicates the epidermal ridges first appear in the form of
localized cell proliferations around the 10th to 11th week of gestation. These proliferations form
shallow corrugations that project into the superficial layer of the dermis. The number of ridges
continue to increase, being formed either between or adjacent to existing ridges. It is during this
period of primary ridge formation that the characteristic patterns are formed.(116) At about 14
weeks the primary ridge formation ceases and secondary ridges begin to form as sweat gland
anlagen begin to develop along the apices of the primary ridges at uniform intervals. At this time
the epidermal ridges first begin to appear on the volar surfaces. The dermal papillae are reported
to develop in the valleys between the ridges on the deep surface of the epidermis around the 24th
week. Until then the morphology of primary and secondary ridges appears as a smooth ridge of
tissue and thereafter peg like structures, the dermal papillae, characteristic of the definitive
dermal ridges are progressively formed.(117)
Babler reports the there is a relationship between the volar pad shape and the epidermal ridge
configuration, specifically narrow volar pads related to whorl patterns. There was also a
suggestion of association between the shape of the distal phalanx and the pattern type and
significant correlations between the bony skeleton of the hand and the epidermal ridge
dimensions. If is also suggested that the underlying bony skeleton correlates with the ridge
configuration. Also, time of ossification may be a key factor in ridge patterning.(118)
It had been believed that the critical period of development of ridge formation began in the fetus
of approximately 70-mm crown-rump length, or about 12 weeks of age.(119) However, we believe
this has to be set at a considerably earlier time. The volar pads become visible around the 6th to
7th week of gestation.(120) In addition, clinical evidence supports the finding of arch patterns with
shortened distal phalanges or short fingers because of the shortening of their bony parts
(brachytactyly).(121) Brachymesophalangia-5 (short-middle phalange) has been detected as early as
41 mm Crown Rump Length growth of the fetus (prior to the 10th week) and prior to the
formation of the epidermal ridges.(122) More recently Babler indicated that ossification of the
distal phalanges appears to play a key role in epidermal ridge configuration and that any
association of pattern type with the length of phalanges may be related to the ossification process
of the distal phalanges rather than their size.(123)
As early as 1929 K. Bonnevie had
speculated that fingerprint patterns
were dependent upon the underlying
arrangement of peripheral nerves.(124)
W. Hirsch and J. U. Schweichel
summarized opinion up to 1973 and
pointed out the arrangement of blood
vessels and nerve pairs under the
smooth epidermis that exists shortly
before glandular folds. They
speculated that the folds were induced
by the blood vessel-nerve pairs.(125)
They describe a different and longer
development of the dermal ridges
some of which may be post natally
concluded.(126) They conclude that
pattern of papillary ridges is set after the development of the glandular folds, and thus after four
months, although the growth pattern of the glandular folds are one of the three forces postulated
to control the final highly arranged surface pattern. the glandular folds become perceptible in the
forth month. So we have a pattern of development of ridges from possibly as early as the 10th or
11th week of gestation and not being set until after the forth month of gestation and not visible
on the surface of the skin until after the sixth month of gestation with some possible minor post
natal changes in the form of furrow folds.
Hirsch and Schweichel, supra., emphasize that the neuro epithelium plays an important part in
the development of the dermatoglyphic patterns. Numerous aberrations of these patterns are
recorded as developed in cases where the nervous tissue has been damaged during embriological
development. At that time it was still impossible to posit a casual for the occurrence of any
particular pattern alteration in association with either chromosomal anomalies or other clinical
syndromes. But even then the authors offered these explanations: 1) failure of nerves to grow
into the epithelium may be expressed through dermatoglyphic aplasia (failure to develop); 2)
Both qualitative and quantitative deviations of subepithelial nerve branches to form may be
evidenced by dermatoglyphic dysplasia (abnormal development); and 3) Where dermatoglyphics
are distorted, there may be a disturbance of the spatial arrangement.(127)
By comparison, the neural tube that will develop into the central nervous system and neural crest
from which the peripheral nervous system will develop, appears during the third week of
gestation. By the fifth week, three main subdivisions of the central nervous system, the
forebrain, midbrain and hindbrain are evident.(128)
We have speculated on a number of factors that correlate the palmer patterns with the
development of the nervous system and account for those patterns being reflective of behavioral
reactions. Skin cells and the entire vertebrate nervous system develop from the outer most layer
of the early embryo, the ectoderm. The nervous system first appears as a thickened column of
epithelial cells known as the neural plate. Shortly after it forms it begins to differentiate along its
anterior-posterior axis and folds into the neural tube. During this process the primitive forebrain
and midbrain begin to form in the anterior section of the tube while the hindbrain and spinal cord
begin to develop to the posterior portion of the tube. What controls this regional identification of
the neural plate? Apparently this is controlled by adjacent mesoderm,(129) the precursor of bone,
connective tissue, muscle, blood, vascular and lymphatic tissue as well as the pleurae of the
pericardium and peritoneum.
This has given rise to the theory that normal development of the nervous system is induced by
cells of a special region that has been called the organizer. Recently, in confirming this theory in
frogs, two proteins, noggin and follistatin, have been identified with inducing the neural
development process. After the induction of the neural plate by signals from the organizer region
those cells can then differentiate into neurons and glial cells. After the regional identification of
the neural plate, the mesodermal tissues continue to impose organization on the sensory and
motor axons in the spinal cord, but segmentation of the hindbrain, and perhaps the midbrain and
forebrain are presently believed to result from intrinsic cell reactions within the neural tube.(130)
A number of congenital problems have left their marks on both the brain and the hand.
Examples of such associations are the significant increases in palmer single flexion creases
("simian line") and Sydney creases (distal or proximal transverse crease that completely crosses
the palm) and mental retardation in a Down syndrom, missing interphalangeal flexion creases in
mentally retarded individuals, and "sandal" plantar creases on the soles of those with Down
syndrome and Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome.(131) Elevated incidence of Sidney creases have also
been observed in children with delayed development, learning difficulties, or minor behavioral
problems.(132) Elevated incidence of Sidney lines have also been observed in leukemia,(133) and in
environmental congenital rubella and possibly cytomeglaovirus.(134) Other environmental effects
were noted to the hand and the palmer creases caused by or related to chemical agents
thalidomide, methadone and alcohol.(135) The latter is also related to mental retardation.
Any changes to the normal incidence of transverse creases (Sidney, simian lines and interrupted
transverse creases), will occur very early in pregnancy. By about the eighth week of gestation the
thenar crease becomes visible starting on the radial side of the hand between the thumb and index
finger. Around the ninth week of gestation, the metacarpophalangeal creases (between the palm
and the fingers) are visible and the distal interphalangeal crease barely is visible. The thenar
crease continues to be visible. As we progress into the tenth week the proximal interphalangeal
creases start to become visible. The 12th week brings signs of the distal transverse crease across
the palm starting under the area between the index and middle fingers to later extend to the ulnar
margin of the palm. By the thirteenth week both the distal and proximal transverse creases are
becoming visible and after the 14th week of gestation at the 15th week all palmer creases can be
clearly seen. The onset for spontaneous movement of the hand has not been reported until about
the middle of the 11th week of pregnancy and fetuses are reported to begin to tightly grasp at 16
to 20 weeks.(136) It would therefore appear that the palmer creases are genetically rather than
mechanically induced. It is also interesting to note that Hale observed that dermal ridge
differentiation also advances "progressively from the apical pads proximally and in the
radio-ulnar (or tibio-fibular) direction."(137)
We find in interesting to note that the progress of the development of these creases is from the
radial to the ulnar side of the hand. We would suspect that Hales observations of similar
development of fingerprints accurate, though we would believe that the development of the print
on number 4 finger (the ring finger) may, at least at times, precede that of the print on finger
three (the middle finger) because of the higher incidence of whorls on the ring finger as
compared with the middle finger. However, this may be related to the size of the volar pads and
the fact that the ring and index finger are often the same size. Still, one often finds whorls on the
ring finger and not on the index finger. Ulnar loops are the most common finger print. And
whorls are least common on the little finger and next on the middle finger. They are much more
common on the thumbs, index fingers and ring fingers.
Certain elevated frequency of patterns of the epidermal ridges have also been observed in relation
to rubella, cytomeglaovirus, and alcohol embryopathy.(138) If this were to hold true in cases
coupled with higher elevation of unusual early palmer creases, this could support a hypothesis of
an earlier onset of any genetic factors involved in the formation of epidermal ridge patterns.
The relationship of genotypes to phenotypes appears as one of the most promising current area of
study to understand the correspondence of hand markings to neurophysiological development.
Breakthroughs in the 1990's in the study of genetic conservation of sequence, equivalence of
expression and functional homology not only cross species but also from cell to cell(139) are
promising to furnish us with the actual shared messengers or triggers that are responsible for
patterning of the neurological structures as well as the skin on the palm.
We believe that both line and epidermal ridge patterning in the foetus may be strongly dependent
upon the highly conserved genes that belong to the developmental pathways which function in a
variety of diverse cells at different developmental stages are not only good candidates for
molecular defects underlying some multi-organ syndromes,(140) but are also good candidates for
being involved in patterning of the lines and ridges. So we might look to homebox containing
Pax genes that may also be related to specification of neural cell differentiation, or perhaps the
Sonic hedgehog (shh) and hepatocyte nuclear factor-3 (HNF-3) which are both expressed in the
notochord and later in the floor plate.(141)The Hox genes, or at least their combinational
expression, that play a role in the development of the spinal cord and hindbrain development,
may also play a role in the midbrain and forebrain.(142) The sonic hedgehog (shh), retinoic acid
and its receptors and the homeobox genes are also implicated in the establishment of skin fields,
that are also related to well defined programs of pattern formation not only in the CNS but also in
the axial skeleton, and the limb buds.(143)
The concept of developmental field is also under current study in connection with both normal
and abnormal skin development.(144) Observations accepting the existence of such fields
interrelate anatomically distinct structures through co-ordinate development and, because of the
immense content of gene interaction within the field, a set of tissues formed in the early stages of
embryonic development can react identically to different dysmorphogenetic causes. This may be
why some observations of line formations and dermatoglyphic patterns can be related to several
mental and physical conditions. This may help us to better understand when, in the
developmental process, actual normal and abnormal traits are set up in the subject.
FEW DERMATOGLYPHIC STUDIES IN NORMAL HEALTH AND PSYCHOLOGY
Alberto Damasio recently observed while medical students study the sick mind to learn about
psychopathology they are not taught about normal psychology. (145) What we find in the study of
the hand that a state of normal psychology varies from person to person. The psychological
character reactions that aid homeostasis in one individual do not necessarily promote healthy
survival in another. Given this, it is vital in modern medicine that the medical community have
the tools available to it to individualize care based upon individual homeostatic needs and
modern scientific hand analysis, taking into account the contributions of observant palmists, can
help establish those needs in medical, educational, and career planning.
Those using dermatoglyphics in biology and medicine have long been interested in abnormal
psychology and congenital defects. Amrita Bagga surveyed and studied the subject of the
dermatoglyphic patterns of schizophrenics.(146) W Hirsch could report in 1978 that studies had
been performed in relationship to mental retardation, congenital heart defects, diabetes mellitus,
several child psychiatric groups, retarded growth, and a number of syndromes.(147) Hirsch found
clear relationships. Autosomal trisomies, Trisomy 21 (Downs Syndrome), Trisomy 13 and 18
and trisomy 8 (Mosaicism) have long been the subjected to studies in relationship to
dermatoglyphic patterns.(148) And in addition to the trisomy, diabetes mellitus, congenital heart
defect and schizophrenia subjects, Danuta Z. Loesch also reports relationship studies with sexual
chromosomal anomalies, spina bifida, cleft lip and palate, leukemia and other conditions.(149)
Surprisingly little work can be found in the study of normal psychology and relationships to
dermatoglyphic patterns in the MEDLINE indices. This is despite the fact that personality and
psychopathology are considered inextricably intertwined hence the multiaxial model of patient
diagnosis first adopted in DSM III (and perpetuated in DSM IV).(150)
img src="images/PalmD-History/img4.gif" width="527" height="211" align="right" >The most tantalizing piece is
the work of A. C. Bogle, T.
Reed and R. J. Rose. They
published in 1994(151) their
replication of a study first
published in 1987 relating to
the combined use of
dermatoglyphics and the
MMPI tests. The tests
indicated that identical twin
subjects with asymmetric (dissimilar) patterns on their left and right hands were more likely to
suffer from environmental distresses (as opposed to genetic distresses) than identical twins who
had symmetric patterns. Twins with asymmetric palmer patterns studied were considered to have
poorer genetic buffering against environmental factors than those with symmetrical
corresponding palmer patterns. Those with the asymmetrical patterns exhibited "heightened
developmental sensitivity to extraneous environmental stress." The researchers stated that if the
asymmetrical subjects had been part of a psychiatric population the recorded personality
dimensions would have related to those concerns over physical health and behaviors that are
often associated with anxiety and/or depression. Their findings suggested such persons had
"poorer genetic buffering" and environmental sensitivity differences could be manifested in
clinically correlative behaviors of anxiety or depression and physical complaints.(152)
These conclusions were reached based upon the counting of the dermal ridge lines between the
apices, the center of the triradii, below the second and third fingers on each hand (Figure 26, the
a and b triradii) and comparing the count. In the Bogle et al study, asymmetry (dissimilarity)
was found when the count difference in the number of ridges between the left and right hand
measurements was 7 or more. Symmetry was found when the difference in ridge count was 3 or
less. The authors noted that these cut off numbers might change for singletons (non identical
What is clear from all of this is that there is more than ample evidence to support the systematic
study and analysis of basic personality characteristics and the dermatoglyphic features of the
hand that we propose to do. No mind, including the human mind, starts as a tabula rasa. The
mind starts with a genetic 'tool kit' of development retained over many millions of years. This
tool kit not only specifies the pattern of development of the brain but the pattern of development
of the hand and the palm. Genetic conservation of sequence, equivalence of expression and
functional homology create a cross reference code between the two organs and indeed between
the cell formation throughout the whole. And it says in Job 37:7 of the King James version of
the bible He [God] sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work. We can
now really begin to read the seals.