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Tony Grist

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John Michell RIP [May. 5th, 2009|10:31 am]
Tony Grist
John Michell died. I wouldn't say I was a disciple, but whenever I have pursued some particularly far-out line of speculative thought- anything to do with UFOs, ley lines, King Arthur, Glastonbury, standing stones and so on- it's a pretty sure thing that MIchell was loitering about somewhere in the vicinity.  I must have read some of his books- though I'm not sure which- because the New Age books that weren't written by him were mostly inspired by him- and you can't dip your ladle into that nutricious porridge without it coming out full of Michell. Earlier this year I found myself navigating round South West England with his book Sacred England as my guide and he led me to a very wonderful romanesque bas relief of St George in a  suburb of Dorchester that even the locals don't know is there. He was a man who knew a fabulous number of things- all of them fascinating, many of them nonsense. And the dear thing about him is that he was in on the joke.  He was a savant, a mystic, a trickster, a conjurer, a twiddler and tweeter on the Pipes of Pan. His scholarship was ludic, because- as he fully believed- the universe is too. He wasn't serious- or responsible- but he cared- and is in the line of those- which includes Shakespeare and William Blake and Kipling and Stukeley and Dion Fortune and so many other of my heroes and heroines- who have treated and written of England as holy ground.
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Comments:
From: mamadar
2009-05-05 10:43 am (UTC)
John Michael Greer, who's the Grand ArchDruid of my Order, regards Michell's works as visionary poetry, a picture of what *could be* rather than what is, and holds Michell in very high regard. Greer writes in his book on Druid magic of re-enchanting the world, and no doubt Michell is an influence on him there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-05 10:53 am (UTC)
I like that idea. Michell has certainly helped "re-enchant" the world for me.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-05-05 05:27 pm (UTC)
Most emphatically, Michell is an important influence on him there.
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[User Picture]From: frumiousb
2009-05-05 11:08 am (UTC)
Bad month for the paranormal-- didn't Hans Holzer just die as well?
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-05-05 12:05 pm (UTC)
If Holzer died, I suppose he'll be roaming around tapping on furniture for awhile.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-05 04:23 pm (UTC)
I've just read his obituary in The Daily Telegraph. It ends like this:

"Hans Holzer, who died on April 26, is survived by two daughters. Through one of them, he has since sent his heartfelt "thanks" to The Daily Telegraph for its interest."
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-05-05 04:51 pm (UTC)
WONDERFUL.

Exactly what he WOULD have said, I think. "...heartfelt 'thanks' to The Daily Telegraph...."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-05 04:12 pm (UTC)
I hadn't heard about that. I won't say "how sad" because he must have been a great age.

And now I must go see if I can track down an obituary.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2009-05-05 12:04 pm (UTC)
Tony, have you ever seen a crop circle?

What do you think--are they all a hoax? I've heard that many people report hearing sounds (like crickets, but more mechanical).
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-05 02:04 pm (UTC)
I don't believe I've ever seen one for real.

Some are made by hoaxers- but I find it hard to believe they all are. Some of them are so extraordinarily elaborate
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[User Picture]From: internet_sampo
2009-05-05 12:36 pm (UTC)
The Fortean Times did a major story on him in this month's issue. I was reading it yesterday.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-05 02:05 pm (UTC)
I'd like to see that.

I really ought to subscribe to the FT.
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[User Picture]From: internet_sampo
2009-05-06 01:55 am (UTC)
I'll scan the article for you this weekend.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-06 08:23 am (UTC)
Thank you. I really appreciate that.
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[User Picture]From: sovay
2009-05-05 04:54 pm (UTC)
He wasn't serious- or responsible- but he cared- and is in the line of those- which includes Shakespeare and William Blake and Kipling and Stukeley and Dion Fortune and so many other of my heroes and heroines- who have treated and written of England as holy ground.

Thank you for this remembrance of him. It makes me want to read him even if I won't agree with a single thing he says.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-06 08:23 am (UTC)
People like him aerate the culture. We need contrarian thinkers, people who challenge received wisdom.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2009-05-05 05:28 pm (UTC)
Michell was an amazing man. We're the richer for having had him in the world.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2009-05-06 08:30 am (UTC)
Yes, indeed!
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