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John Michell ††††1933 to 2009


This page has been posted to my website to remember the writer John Michell and his work. John passed away on 24th April 2009.


John wrote a number of books on esoteric and spiritual matters.


The work of writers such as John often involves a degree of intuition and subjective projection and can never be 100% accurate in a factual sense.Its real value, however, lies in its ability to prompt people to think more deeply about life and the world around and to question and to seek their own truths. It can be one of the triggers for people to develop a more spiritual way of life. Some of those people become the spiritual teachers and leaders of the future.


The narrative below has been reproduced from the Wikipedia page about the life and work of John.






John Michell (or John F. Michell, born 9 February, 1933, died at Stoke Abbott, West Dorset, 24 April, 2009) was an English writer whose key sources of inspiration were Charles Fort and Plato. His 1969 volume The View Over Atlantis has been described as probably the most influential book in the history of the hippy / underground movement and one that had far-reaching effects on the study of strange phenomena: it "put ley lines on the map, re-enchanted the British landscape and made Glastonbury the capital of the New Age."


In some 40-odd titles over five decades he examined, often in pioneering style, such topics as sacred geometry, earth mysteries, geomancy, gematria, archaeoastronomy, pseudoscientific metrology, euphonics, simulacra and sacred sites, as well as Fortean phenomena. An abiding preoccupation was the Shakespeare authorship question. His Who Wrote Shakespeare? (1996) was reckoned by The Washington Post "the best overview yet of the authorship question."




Michell was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge. He then worked for a while as an estate agent in London. His first book, The Flying Saucer Vision, was published in 1967. Gary Lachman states that View Over Atlantis "put Glastonbury on the countercultural map." Ronald Hutton describes it as "almost the founding document of the modern earth mysteries movement". By the late 1960s Michell was closely associated with members of the Rolling Stones. At this time Michell took the view that "an imminent revelation of literally inconceivable scope" was at hand, and that the appearance of UFOs was linked to "the start of a new phase in our history"


In the 1980s Michell was a member of the Lindisfarne Association and a teacher at its School of Sacred Architecture. He lectured at the Kairos Foundation, an "educational charity specifically founded to promote the recovery of traditional values in the Arts and Sciences". He was also for some years a visiting lecturer at the Prince of Wales' School of Traditional Arts.




John Michell was the author of over forty books, numerous (sometimes humorous) short treatises, and articles in publications as diverse as International Times, The Temenos Academy Review and The Spectator.


His better known works include The Flying Saucer Vision: the Holy Grail Restored (1967), The View Over Atlantis (1969), later revised as The New View Over Atlantis, (1983), which stimulated renewed interest in ley lines, City of Revelation (1972), which concerns sacred geometry, A Little History of Astro-Archaeology (1977), Phenomena: A Book of Wonders (1977 with R. J. M. Rickard), Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions (1984) and The Lost Science of Measuring the Earth: Discovering the Sacred Geometry of the Ancients (2006) with Robin Heath.


Michell's books received a broadly positive reception amongst the "New Age" and "Earth mysteries" movements and he is credited as perhaps being "the most articulate and influential writer on the subject of leys and alternative studies of the past" Ronald Hutton describes his research as part of an alternative archaeology "quite unacceptable to orthodox scholarship."

Bob Rickard, founding editor of Fortean Times, has written that Michell's first three works "provided a synthesis of and a context for all the other weirdness of the era. Itís fair to say that it played a big part in the foundation of Fortean Times itself by helping create a readership that wanted more things to think about and a place to discuss them. The overall effect was to help the burgeoning interest in strange phenomena spread out into mainstream culture."


His 1984 volume Eccentric Lives and Peculiar Notions covered such figures as Comyns Beaumont and Julius Evola, as well as eccentric, not to say egregious, behaviour such as self-administered trepanning.


From 1997 he wrote a monthly column of humour, philosophy and social commentary in The Oldie magazine, an anthology of which was published in 2005 as Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist.



Metrology and numerology

A recurring theme in Michell's work, from Living Wonders to Twelve Tribe Nations and The Measure of Albion, is of universal truths codified in nature and continually, if intermittently, rediscovered from ancient times up to the present day.


Ioan Culianu, a specialist in gnosticism and Renaissance esoteric studies, in a review in 1991 of The Dimensions of Paradise: The Proportions and Symbolic Numbers in Ancient Cosmology, expressed the view that, "After some deliberation the reader of this book will oscillate between two hypotheses: either that many mysteries of the universe are based on numbers, or that the book's author is a fairly learned crank obsessed with numbers."


Who Wrote Shakespeare?

In 1996 Michell published on the question of Shakespeare authorship. In surveying the arguments for and against the various candidates, he did not expressly favour any single one of the surprisingly many, but judged certain hypotheses more plausible than others, particularly the Oxfordian theory. Who Wrote Shakespeare? received mixed reviews: Publishers Weekly was critical, while The Washington Post and The Independent praised his treatment of the subject.






Date of posting :26th April 2009