Across much of the earth’s surface are ancient earthworks and stone system; and John Michell argues that they served the elemental science. Obituary: Champion of New Age ideas and author of the counterculture classic The View Over Atlantis. New View Over Atlantis by John Michell, , available at Book Depository with free delivery worldwide.

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John Michell, the cult figure and man-about-Notting-Hill who brought “ancient ovwr to the New Age, has died of lung cancer aged By a coincidence which the man known as “the New Merlin” would have loved, his mifhell came just as subscribers to Fortean Times, the house magazine of collectors of oddities, were about to receive the issue which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the publication of his counterculture classic, The View Over Atlantis.

His first book, The Flying Saucer Visionhad been unorthodox enough, but his follow-up put firmly on the map the world of ley lines, sacred engineering and other magical relics of a lost civilisation. It was all the more unexpected in being jichell by a self-effacing Old Etonian and Cambridge graduate.

An English Figure was the title chosen by the atlajtis press publisher John Nicholson for a book in tribute to his friend. Born in London, Michell grew up in the Hampshire and Berkshire countryside, where he collected moths, and was a boarder at prep school and then Eton, where he had a good time, winning prizes micheol art and his wonderful italic handwriting.

He did his national service in the Navy as a Russian interpreter; Dostoyevsky was one of his many passions. He read modern languages at Trinity College, though he preferred the social and bohemian to the academic life. Cambridge gave him confidence, although he failed even to get a Third.

His performance in exams was hindered by a disinclination to get up early enough to take them. Friends with whom he stayed in later life expected him to surface at the crack of 5pm. He followed his father into the property business by becoming an estate agent.


John Michell | Books | The Guardian

Someone with his background would not be expected to end up smoking pot “the philosopher’s friend,” as he ovsr it in Notting Hill for most of the rest of his life.

He might perhaps have become the chairman of a Conservative council in Suffolk, as is his younger brother. Instead, says Charles Michell, “He had an extraordinary life: In the late s he relocated himself to London.

The s started early in W11, which was emerging from its race-riots-and-pimps era. Michael X was strongman to the rent-racketeer Peter Rachman and a Black Power leader; when he was executed in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, for murder, one of the many pamphlets from John’s pen affirmed his innocence.

New View Over Atlantis : John Michell :

John was no namedropper. He mentioned to his brother only in passing that he had recently been chatting to Prince Charles; he and HRH are said to have visited together the Chalice Well at Glastonbury and bathed their eyes with its special waters.

His miche,l and obsessions were equally wide. Republished in as The New View Over Atlantis, the book is crammed with bewildering calculations about the “sacred geometry” of the Great Pyramid.

John took it much further, believing that these alignments of traditional sites were a kind of feng shui of the landscape. They made up a sort of Druids’ transport system, he said, which harnessed a mysterious power that whisked large rocks across the countryside.

The actor and author Heathcote Williams was amused, while watching the moon landings with John, to be told that ley lines existed there too, leading presumably to a lunar Glastonbury.

John Michell (writer)

Williams was even more intrigued when he witnessed Atlqntis attempting to perform an exorcism on a disturbed acquaintance by trapping the ovr spirit” in a matchbox and burning it. However bizarre some of John’s theories, no one would question his mystical love of the landscape – and traditions. Furious at the replacement of the age-old inch and foot by the new-fangled metre, he set up the Anti-Metrication Board to fight a rearguard action.


Orthodoxies were to be questioned. Who really was the author of Shakespeare’s plays? Darwin must be wrong.

John Michell

In he started The Cerealogist, a magazine devoted to the study of crop circles, and held “cornferences”; he included an annual round-up of these elaborate designs in his column in The Oldie, which has appeared every month since the magazine’s launch in Its editor Richard Ingrams says, “He introduced an element of mysticism into the magazine. He always struck me as a very quiet, peaceful person with a very good sense of humour.

He took the nostalgic view; he was a conservative anarchist. Confessions of a Radical Traditionalist was the title of a collection of Michell’s Oldie essays.

Plato’s ideal society was a pyramid with the king at the top but all members were equally valued. John certainly possessed charms, though of a different sort to those employed by a wizard, and enjoyed a succession of affairs; he had a son to whom he became close.

Two years ago he married Denise, a lady of the Druid persuasion, in a church wedding followed by an outdoor “handfasting” ceremony which can be seen on YouTube. The bride and groom separated shortly afterwards. An affectionate and fascinating account of odd folk over the centuries, it has one striking omission. Its author is not featured among them. John is survived by his son Jason and jhon grandchildren.

British identity and society Heathcote Williams obituaries.