John Michell (1933-2009) was a thinker and writer, an artist and unforgettable personality. His writings uniquely combine the thought of Plato and Charles Fort. They remain a source of inspiration to many people.
Born in London in 1933, John Michell studied at Eton, where he won prizes for painting and handwriting. He studied languages at Trinity College, Cambridge, and trained as a Russian interpreter in the Royal Navy. He worked briefly as an estate agent and a chartered surveyor. He painted and gave exhibitions.
John began to write. His first three books came out in the late sixties ferment between 1967 and 1971: The Flying Saucer Vision, The View Over Atlantis, and City of Revelation. They “provided a synthesis and a context for all the other weirdness of the era”, as Bob Rickard has put it, who calls The View Over Atlantis “probably the most influential book in the history of the hippie/underground movement and one that had far-reaching effects on the study of strange phenomena.” John Michell became something of a cult figure, part of the Notting Hill and Rolling Stones scene and, for the rest of his life, the recipient of a ceaseless stream of fan letters and visitors. In between entertaining, travelling, and giving talks, he went on to write many more books, pamphlets, columns and reviews, working at his best between midnight and four in the morning.
His approach uniquely combined the thought of Plato and of Charles Fort. Blending scholarship and deep intuition, John often returned to his favourite subjects: Platonic idealism, sacred geometry, ancient metrology, leys and alignments, megaliths, astro-archaeology, strange phenomena, simulacra, crop circles, UFOs, the Shakespeare authorship controversy, and the nature of human belief.
one of the most brilliant men in England" – Kathleen Raine, poet and scholar
His subversive and humorous trickster qualities earned him many friends as well as enemies. His detractors consider him a mere eccentric or even a 'crackpot'. His admirers consider him a true scholar-visionary and a genuine prophet: Kathleen Raine, the eminent poet and scholar, called him “one of the most brilliant men in England.” Whatever the side, few would deny that John Michell was a fine and a seminal writer. He broke new ground in several fields and has inspired more than one generation.