John Michell (1933-2009) : The Mystic of Notting Hill
May 12, 2009 10:17 AM   Subscribe

John Michell, who has died aged 76, was an old Etonian who became the standard bearer for the romantic hippy mysticism with his 1969 book The View Over Atlantis, This posited the then original theory of a prehistorical global civilisation linked by leylines, and became extraordinarily popular and influential.

A hugely productive renaissance man, Michell published countless books and articles examining varied topics such as the debate over Shakespeare, the history of Glastonbury, the Jerusalem temple, the science of measuring the earth, sacred England and much, much more, as well as beautiful, mystically influenced geometric art, while eking out a bohemian existence in London's once countercultural epicentre, Notting Hill.
posted by criticalbill (6 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Well, he's no Paul Laffoley, but some of the art is pretty in a quilt-design kind of way, and these ley-line concepts got a lot of play in early issues of Hellblazer. I also approve heartily of the "batshitfunkyassposho" tag.
posted by Halloween Jack at 11:52 AM on May 12, 2009

That's a bit of cock-and-bull neoprene-wasting flange of a meep meep, but then I'm a potato fart of a tricerotops looking rake practically mounting an ostrich with a Korg synthesizer lodged in a small annexe, some would say a vestibule, embedded in the spacetime to the left of my todger, fuming mad after an afternoon of snuff nudgage and cheese worship, as usual.
posted by snoktruix at 1:34 PM on May 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thanks, critical Bill.

I really appreciate Mr. Michell's work. He has made some very clear explanations of otherwise opaque bible passages, using gematria as a key to explain (convincingly, at least to me) passages such as the casting of nets. He points out that expressions such as 'the new jerusalem' may have the numerical value of their opposite, suggesting that the bible authors may have been more coherent than a literal reading of their work would suggest. I'm at work, or might provide a more detailed response. Looking forward to the links when I get home.

Anyway - my first:

posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:48 PM on May 12, 2009

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I've seen that road before
It always leads me here
Leads me to your door
posted by Twang at 4:49 PM on May 12, 2009

Oh, no!

I sparred with him verbally on several occasions. He was one of the few people I ever met who could manipulate numbers instinctively. He would pop out significant numbers in feet and I'd say, "Wait a second, if this is significant then your numbers should be scale-invariant!" but he'd point out that the English foot was specially distinguished as a "natural unit" - an argument you can't really refute.

He seemed perfectly well the last time I saw him. What a shame. :-(
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:45 PM on May 12, 2009

Awh, sadness. Also, lupus...consider me jealous.
posted by dejah420 at 1:00 AM on May 13, 2009

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