Gatton Horrors font (2020)

The Gatton murders were an unsolved triple homicide in December 1898 outside the town of Gatton in Queensland, Australia. Numerous irregularities in the case and its investigation were part of the motivation for a Royal Commission into shortcomings of the Queensland Police Force.

The case generated significant media attention, and with that came a flood of letters from the public offering information. Some of them were unusual, to say the least. One anonymous writer sent a handful of missives in a very distinctive but likely affected hand, recognisable but barely readable.

One of these, held in the Queensland State Archives, is shown below.

It comes from a 269-page folder labelled “Astrologers, Dreamers, Theorists, etc.” held in the archives (Item ITM294496) and is the basis for a digital font. Below is a sample of the font in use.

The font was created through a series of digital manipulations and reconstructions of letterforms from the scans, trying to capture the feel of the original including some of the variety of forms of certain letters and letter combinations.