First published in Glastonbury’s Oracle magazine

John Michell (1933 – 2009) put Glastonbury firmly on the map as capital of the New fog_TorAge world. He wrote 40 books, the most influential being his 1969 book The View Over Atlantis. Professor Ronald Hutton said this was “almost the founding document of the modern earth mysteries movement.”

In this book, the author said that the seven hills of Avalon – which included the Tor – were built by ancient people to mirror the constellation of the Great Bear. This tied in to traditional mythology representing King Arthur as a bear. It also linked ancient structures to the stars, implying mysterious cosmic connections with the universe. 

Ley lineHe also showed how pre-Christian sacred sites sit on key nodes of earth power. For example, the Michael ley line runs from St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall through Glastonbury Tor and Avebury. All along this line are churches dedicated to St Michael. This is because long ago people had marked this line with their special places of magic. As was the custom, Christian churches were later built on those power spots.

By the twentieth century, people were beginning to think there was more to the world than school had ever taught them. Michell’s writings gave voice to a growing awareness of the latent powers and mysteries of the earth.

As his biographer Paul Screeton said, Michell “re-enchanted the British landscape and empowered a generation to seek out and appreciate the spiritual dimension of the countryside – not least attracting them to reawaken the sleepy town of Glastonbury”.


John Michell didn’t start life as a counter cultural icon. He was born into a wealthy family who sent him to Eton and then Cambridge, to study Russian and German. However, he soon began to chafe against the conventional mind-set of the university.

“The whole atmosphere there was extremely rationalistic and materialistic,” he said. “I was never sympathetic to that, but saw no way of questioning them. The first chance of a breakthrough was in the 1950s when the first UFO books came out. It was quite obvious that people were having experiences that weren’t allowed for them within the context of our education.”


He lost interest in university, left without a degree, and went to work in his father’s property business. In 1966 he converted his Notting Hill flat’s basement into the London Free School, where he gave courses in UFOs and ley lines.

pic from the GuardianAndrew Kerr took part in this school. When he later set up the Glastonbury Festival, John helped him design the Pyramid Stage to be an exact replica of the Great Pyramid of Giza, as a great example of spiritual engineering.

Karl Miller, editor of the Listener, described Michell as “Less a hippy, perhaps, than a hippy’s counsellor – one of their junior Merlins, promoting the idea of England as a site of spiritual redemption, and bringing together popular ideas about sacred geometry, Druids, sacred landscapes, earth energies, Atlantis and UFOs.”


Author John Michell had a huge effect on Glastonbury, reviving this town as a centre of spiritual awareness and mystical experience. He also created and inspired organisations that are still part of Glastonbury’s special infrastructure.

In 1969, he established RILKO – the Research Into Lost Knowledge Organisation, which is still going strong. They describe themselves as “An organisation providing a platform for the dissemination of hidden knowledge incorporated in myth and legend, number and geometry, art and music, architectural proportion, megalithic structures and the geomantic layout of cities and landscape.”

Another Michell legacy is the annual Megalithomania Conference. This name came from a 1982 book he’d written about lost civilisations, ley lines, geomancy and archeo-astronomy.

In 1990, he co-founded and edited The Cerealogist, a magazine about crop circles. cosmic spiralHe said that strange lights in the sky, crop circles and other phenomena were all signs of huge changes in human consciousness that would ultimately usher in the more enlightened Age of Aquarius. He taught that benign ETs were the gods of ancient legends, and had helped early humans to create a civilised world. He believed these lost spiritual teachings are now returning to create a new golden age.

Glastonbury’s Gothic Image published his books, and he worked closely with Jamie George’s Mystical Tours. Michael Law, who then worked there, shared the following anecdote, saying, “This is my favourite story, not on the cosmic level, but on the human.”

One morning John parked his Morris Minor across the road and ‘floated into’ Gothic Image,   worried because his car was playing up. Someone who knew about motors popped over to investigate – and discovered that it had absolutely no oil or water in it. John was amazed. He thought it was enough just to put petrol in! A few days later, he returned with a big smile to say his car was going well again.


3b Chalice-WellHis younger brother Charles described John’s life as “turbulent in a peaceful sort of way”. Following his star, he somehow wafted above everyday matters. Maybe because of this, the facts of his final years are misted over with rumours. One story is that he and Prince Charles visited Chalice Well to bathe their eyes in its special waters. 

His Glastonbury marriage also soon entered the realms of speculation. In April 2007, in St Benedict’s Church, he married Denise Price. This was followed by a beautiful outdoor handfasting ceremony.

Denise told me they’d known each other for a long time before this, and over the years he’d proposed to her three times. However, the marriage ended within the year. This naturally created much chitchat around town. In 2015, Denise Michell became the first Druid Mayor of Glastonbury. 

Another rumour about John Michell was that he was the original inspiration for the character of Dr.Who. Like a time-lord, he strode across the vistas of history, explaining its mysteries to whoever cared to listen. Was his dowsing rod the original sonic screwdriver? Like much else about this influential writer, we may never know for certain.


The New Avalonians are people now passed on who contributed in some way to Glastonbury in the last fifty years or so. If you’d like to share anything about this, you’re welcome to message me through the contacts page on my website:

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For centuries people have reported seeing all kinds of other-worldly phenomena around Glastonbury Tor.

Some say that the elves and fairies people used to see were really ETs all along. So it’s hardly surprising that in recent years there have been UFO sightings from its slopes.

ImageHere are two accounts from people I know well enough to know they’re telling the truth. To protect their privacy, all the names in this article are pseudonyms.


‘There was a special astrological formation in the sky, which made a six-pointed star. So four of us decided to see it from Glastonbury Tor’ Jenny told me.

‘We were driving from Cornwall. As we got near the Tor, we suddenly saw this thing zig-zagging across the sky. It was a white light, and going really fast.

‘As we looked, we could see that it was a triangular shape. It had three lights – one at each corner. It came to the top of the car and hovered very low above us. After a while it lifted up and went.

‘Then we were on the Tor that night. There were about ten other people there. And we saw another UFO! It was a white light zig-zagging really fast. We saw it from the Tor and so did all those other people who were there. We took pictures as well, but they came out as just lights.’


While that was relatively straightforward, the next account goes into rather deeper waters.    

‘This happened when I was on holiday in Glastonbury, at a healing centre,’ said Brenda. ‘One of the chaps there – Mike – had become a good friend. We used to take the dogs for walks in the evening. But the night this happened, he said, “let’s just go for a walk – don’t let’s take the dogs. I feel that something special’s going to happen, and it’s my last night.”

‘So we donned our raincoats and took an umbrella because it had been a wet day. It was still very cloudy and dark. We kept to the road – the Tor was too muddy to walk up.

 ‘We got to a gate that looks over a field, and just stood there, looking over this gate at the Tor. It looked like a great big magic majestic thing standing there.

 ‘And while standing there, my head felt funny. I went all wobbly and dizzy. I wondered what was going on. But the feeling passed after a bit.  

 ‘It was a really dark night and the clouds were heavy with rain. We were looking up at the sky – don’t know how long for. All of a sudden there was a clear patch in the clouds. And I saw it! There were about five lights in a circle.

 ‘I said to Mike, ‘Look up! There it is! Can you see it?’

 ‘And he caught sight of it as well. We danced up and down like two kids, watching these lights move across the sky. Then they went into the clouds and vanished.

 ‘I was so excited! I said, “Gee, we’ve seen them, we’ve seen them!”

 ‘We still kept on looking. One bright light, like a star, moved diagonally across the sky.

 ‘Then all of a sudden there were two whirling lights. They were two spaceships that came out of the clouds. There was a blue light around them. They each had a circle of about ten lights that shone down.

 ‘We watched them go across the sky. They went into the clouds, but we could still see their lights through the clouds.

 ‘After that, there was a twirling light. It came out of the blue of the sky, moved across, and went. After that, the sky was one dark cloud again.

Image‘Mike and I were jumping up and down and hugging each other like kids. It was so wonderful!

 ‘He said, “I still think we’re going to see something else.”

 ‘I said, ‘Don’t be so greedy – we’ve seen about five now. Come on, let’s start to wander back.’

 ‘We wandered back down and came again to the gate where we’d stood and looked the first time. And as we stood there he said, “I KNOW we’re going to see something else!”

 ‘And then something very strange happened. The sky had been completely dark – then it was as if somebody had pulled the clouds back like a big curtain. We were suddenly looking at a magnificent blue sky.

 ‘There was a feeling in the air that’s hard to describe. It was like a soft, gentle hum. Almost like the “Om” – but really soft. There was an incredible feeling of love. I felt enveloped by it. It was awesome, just being in that energy.

 ‘I looked up at the top of the Tor and hanging over the Tor was this filmy kind of cloud. It was quite large. I said, “You know – I think that’s a ship up there.”

 ‘We just stood and looked at this lightship. We both remarked on this cosmic feeling of love that we felt. It was so exquisite it was hard to put into words.

 ‘Then all of a sudden the feeling left us and the clouds quickly came back into place. We just stood there, silent. It had all been so incredible. The sky had been impossibly blue for that time of night. We realised that we’d just been shown another reality.’

 Brenda agreed to be regressed to see if we could find out anything else about that experience in her unconscious memories.


 ‘I’m standing by the gate, the first time we were there. I’m feeling dizzy and strange,’ said Brenda. “There are five or six golden balls of light around me. They are activating things in me – at the base of my head, and the top of my spine.

 ‘I think they’ve taken out a blockage that prevented me from being able to see them up until then. One of these lights is blending in some way with me. They are activating something. (Long pause).

 ‘I’m back at the gate the second time we were there…

 ‘I’ve now whooshed through a tunnel. I wasn’t aware of going through this tunnel at the time. There’s an energy around me. The feeling of love is all around me.

Image ‘I’m on their spacecraft – their light ship. There are lots of them here. They speak to me telepathically. They say “You are always with us. And we will soon be with you in great numbers.”

 After the regression, Brenda explained as much as she could about the experience.

 ‘The spacecraft is made up of energy – several different energy fields. There’s no structure in the way we know structure. But it’s contained. It has edges. It doesn’t spill out – it has a shape.

 ‘It also has intelligence that you can converse with telepathically. It’s very soft and gentle. Very loving. It encompasses you in itself. It’s a part of you really. That’s the best way I can describe it. This is a very new experience for me. It’s difficult to put into words.’

 Next day, Brenda said she hadn’t been able to sleep most of the night. As she lay there she’d felt explanations about the nature of the light vehicle pouring into her head. This became so insistent that at 1.00am she finally got up and wrote it all down.

 These are some of the notes Brenda made:
You can’t go into the higher vibrational reality while in the denser form of 3D. You can travel into it with the energy of your thought. Thought travels in a finer energy form.

Level 1: Third dimension. The physical world is surrounded by an auric field. That is surrounded by what we call space. But there’s no such thing as space. It’s all energy in a lighter form. We take this energy and use thought to create things and give them form.

Level 2: A finer dimension. This is where we see the space craft in the sky.

Level 3: Even finer energy. The form is hardly noticeable from its surroundings, the energy is so refined. To perceive this, our thought has to be at the same refined level.

It seems that what we call UFOs can be physically real; and yet at the same time they also show signs of belonging to another dimension of reality. To our way of thinking, this is a puzzle and a paradox . I’m sure that as we figure this out,  it’ll mean a quantum leap forward in our understanding of the nature of reality.


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