Inkblots? Are You Crazy?

Inkblot by Caleb Callens

If you’ve never had an inkblot party with your kids, I highly recommend it.  I had a lot of fun making thirty-one inkblots for the chapter headings with my children.  Not only was the process fun, the kids couldn’t wait to see what their splatters looked like.

I think the best part of this was watching them look through the book when my shipment came in.  Their names appear on the copyright page.  At the top of each chapter is a nifty little inkblot that they made.  I was so happy to be able to include them in the novel this way.  I think that in the future, I’ll try to get them to do something for each of my books.

In my novel, Interpretation, there is only a brief mention of the Rorschach, or inkblot, test.  Still, the inkblots themselves symbolize the illusions that people see in the book.  There is no definitive answer as to what any single inkblot is supposed to look like.  What one person sees is not the same as what another one will see, which is a strange phenomenon.  The visual information from an inkblot test is up for personal interpretation.

Inkblot by IsaakThe Rorschach test itself is a fascinating little piece of psychology.  It is usually used as a projective test to determine personality.  Accordingly, a projective test checks personality by letting the subject respond to ambiguous stimuli – the inkblots.  Presumably, this will reveal hidden emotions and internal conflict buried deep within the person.

Originally developed in 1921 by Hermann Rorschach, the test was only used as a means to help produce profiles of schizophrenic patients.  He was critical of those who used that test to determine personalities.  Regardless, his test was used in such ways.

For quite some time, a version of the test was used in evaluating soldiers entering the military.  It appeared to have great predictive power over how soldiers would act.  Each ink blot image is shown and there are a number of normal answers.  Abnormal answers indicated some kind of anomaly in the individual.  If a high number of abnormal answers were given, there could be concerns about that person’s mental stability.

Want to try the Rorschach Test?  Here is a good one:


About Hermann Rorschach (8 November 1884 – 1 April 1922)

Rorschach was born in Zurich, Switzerland, the eldest of three children born to Ulrich and Philippine Rorschach.  His sister’s name was Anna and his brother’s name was Paul. He spent his childhood and youth in Schaffhausen, in northern Switzerland. He was known to his school friends as Klecks, or “inkblot” since he enjoyed klecksography, the making of fanciful inkblot pictures.

Rorschach graduated in medicine at Zurich in 1909 and at the same time became engaged to Olga Stempelin, a girl from Kazan. At the end of 1913, after graduation, he married Stempelin, and the couple moved to live in Russia.   (Wikipedia)

Dylan Callens

About the Author...

Dylan Callens is a writer and educator living in Sudbury, Ontario. 

His debut novel, Operation Cosmic Teapot, was a resounding success. Since then, Dylan has written a number of other books, including the upcoming series, The Haber Effect