From London to Wiltshire via the Far out West
Michael Glickman October 2019, photo David S. Percy
Michael Glickman was trained in architecture, and by 1981 he had his own practice in north-west London. The records from an interdisciplinary conference on city planning that took place in Bath the same year, show that he held firm views on the subject of architecture and planning and did not mind expressing them.1 By the late 1980s Michael had turned his attention to exploring the world of design. As he put it in a 2012 interview, ‘I had moved away really from pure architecture into product design and engineering elements, products in concrete.' 2
Which was fortuitous because in July 1990, as the result of seeing a photograph of a crop circle dubbed ‘the Alton Barnes Pictogram’ in a national newspaper, he felt impelled to drive to Wiltshire and see for himself the design ‘impressed’ into a wheat field. He returned to London a different person. Although he never lost his early ability to use words to his best advantage, in every other respect, walking into that Wiltshire field had, as he put it, changed him forever.
The Boys Downstairs
From then on, what he termed an ‘extraordinary, massive branch of modern landscape art’ would occupy increasing amounts of his time, including his lunch hours. Michael was such a regular client of the family-owned Italian restaurant on Haverstock Hill called Marine Ices that the owner Dante Mansi kept a table specially reserved for him.
Marine Ices 2008, photo KAKE, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
After his visit to Wiltshire in 1990, that table would sometimes see Michael in hot discussion with David Percy and John Baillie-Hamilton, 13th Earl of Haddington,3 on subjects ranging from the new crop circle phenomenon through to matters as deep as the nature of the human soul. Since his first immersion in the world of crop formations, it would seem that he had travelled a very long way from the engineering of products in concrete. However, he had not cast loose from all his old ties.
Describing him as architect, designer, inventor, teacher and old friend, John McConnell (the sixth partner of the renowned London design studio, Pentagram) gave Michael Glickman charge over No. 21 of their famous series the Pentagram Papers.4 Titled Crop Circles he assembled within its pages scale drawings of crop formations from 1987 through to 1992, thanking researchers George Wingfield, John Langrish and John Martineau for their collaboration, along with Wolfgang Schindler, whose drawings had inspired this particular Pentagram Paper. He also gave a talk at Pentagram for the book’s launch, and John McConnell remembers that Michael was particularly delighted to have been given an Eames soft chair to sit on – never having had such an opportunity when he was out in California working for the company! 5
That same year Alick Bartholomew, the publisher of two seminal early Crop Circle books asked Michael to review his April 1993 Gateway Book’s publication, The Only Planet of Choice.6 This book was the record of nineteen years of information channelled by an American deep-trance medium receiving data from an Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (ETI) called Tom. Michael asked David Percy for help in understanding that esoteric process. Fortuitously, David was able to play Michael a video of one of their full-deep trance sessions, which assisted Michael in writing his review. Some of which was quoted on the back cover of this international bestseller:
If this book is a work of the imagination, it is a poetic and consistent work of art; if, as I prefer to believe, it is based on truth, it must be one of the most important books ever written.
Discarding his architectural/design life he signed this review as a ’journalist and cereologist.’ And thus equipped, together with his signature words ‘art’, ‘belief’ and a nod to the wilder shores of the human experience, Michael spent the next few years in both London and Wiltshire, exploring the world of crop and its varied inhabitants.
A world which did not limit itself to Michael’s native island. It took him back to his old stamping ground of California, during which time he attended the Californian Darryl Anka’s channelling sessions of the ETI Bashar. Naturally, crop circles were discussed and Bashar preferred that they were referred to as crop glyphs. Michael, going his own way, in 1996 wrote Corn Circles, a book title designed to appeal to the American reader. His text was again accompanied by Wolfgang Schneider’s scale drawings dating from 1986 through to 1995.
When it was re-published in 2000, Michael had added his own drawings for the years 1996 through to 1999 and re-titled the work Crop Circles. This was more suited to the European reader, for by that time, he was back in England and permanently settled in the village of Horton, just west of Avebury, Wiltshire, from where he would work, write and study for the rest of his life.
Over the years Michael’s Multiple Sclerosis increasingly prohibited excursions into the fields themselves, but it did not stop him from doing what he liked best. Michael gave workshops, attended conferences, wrote his books along with articles for his website. From far and wide the crop community came to him instead. His ‘tea parties’ were a feature of the summer months at his house. He said, that 'these seminars enabled him to "take the temperature" of the croppie community on a yearly basis.'7
The Girls Upstairs
If treating the remarkable subject of crop circles as design and art, via witty journalism, came easily to Michael, it was not necessarily the same when it came to extrapolating the point of origin of crop circles. When discussing with these authors his belief system concerning UFOs, ETI and ‘out there’ along with the potential for any off-planet involvement in the mystery which had so captured his attention, he would use the term ‘the girls upstairs’ and further questioning led to ever more vague, disinterested responses. To the two of us this attitude was extremely ambivalent – and puzzling. For having preferred to believe in the subject matter of The only Planet of Choice, on the basis of that review in 1993, and his friendship with David Percy, he was asked to write a review of Myer’s and Percy’s Two Thirds: A History of our Galaxy, a book replete with crop glyphs, as well as the Wiltshire locations he favoured. However, once again he found a foray into the realm of channelled material a step too far. An opinion which he expressed to Mary Bennett more than once over the years.
He couldn’t read the book but he continued to dance around the edges of the paranormal in his crop circle research. One summer, on returning from the USA with an American colleague Patricia Murray, Michael set out to interview the croppie community as to their anomalous experiences in and around crop circles. When it came to Mary Bennett she found another anomaly: they were working through their standard questionnaire when Mary had the startling experience of seeing Michael literally squirming in his seat. Concerned, she asked him if he felt unwell.
Ever forthright, he robustly replied that when she said something sensible he would be perfectly all right! Astonished by the force of his reply, Mary asked him why he asked such questions if he did not want to hear the replies. Patricia then intervened, suggesting that they all just carry on. However, not wishing to impose her experiences on him, nor water down her responses in any way, but sensing that he was very uncomfortable with any level of ETI interaction, she halted the interview.
Later journalist and photographer Nicolas Montigiani, interviewing Michael in 2002, was told that only 6% of the crop circles were faked, but never offered any explanation at all for the other 94%. Nor did Montigiani press him on that point. Michael also said that some farmers had confided in him their belief that something mysterious was going on. Then at the mention of UFOs, as recounted by Montigiani, Michael became ill at ease. He is reported as saying that ‘it [crop circle origination] was something other than UFOs, about which too much nonsense had been spoken.'8
This ambivalence again became apparent in October 2019, when we visited Michael to say goodbye, as he had told us that he was leaving Wiltshire and returning to London. Together, we reviewed our thirty-year friendship. Michael said that when it came to certain aspects of the crop circle research, ‘he didn’t want to go down the rabbit hole.' We volunteered that we were all already there.9 And his comment made us think that his vehement and ambivalent love/hate response to matters ‘upstairs’, was in part informed by the intense attraction this phenomenon had exercised on him. As he had said at the time,10 when he went to the Alton Barnes Pictogram in 1990, he felt as impelled as had Richard Dreyfuss’ character in the 1977 film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
We are now coming full circle. Had Michael unwittingly started down that rabbit hole when he attended that 1981 conference on the environment in Bath? That was the very same year that the former NASA engineer Pat Delgado first announced crop circles to the media. And if it took Delgado another eight years before publishing his first Crop Circle book,11 one of Michael’s comments made at that conference would find echoes not only with the proliferation of crop circles seen across Southern England but also with events occurring on the planet now – at the very moment the entire world is experiencing a pandemic that is both a humanitarian crisis and a revelation. Nearly all human beings across the planet are seeing that whatever our differences of opinion, religion, race or status, we are essentially one civilisation. That there can be no going back to the old ways, and that we need to emerge from this current crisis with a better awareness of our responsibilities towards the world and each other.
So what was Michael’s prescient remark?
Commenting on the subject of vandalism in cities, Michael had said that he didn’t believe in vandalism. ‘Vandalism was the symptom, creating an environment of care deals with the cause.'12
Having spent thirty years studying what many have called vandalism in the fields, all the while struggling with Multiple Sclerosis, Michael died peacefully on May 1st, 2020. Michael might not have been entirely sure as to where he stood relative to ETI – but as early as 1981 he had sensed that any extraordinary signs relative to a local environment were indicators (by those leaving their mark) that the environment was lacking care. For those who might have missed those marks he has left his books, videos and website archives.13 These remain as the record of his understanding, together with the memories of a life fully lived for those who had the privilege to know ‘Glickers’, as we called him.
Michael Glickman, May 1941 - May 2020
See also the tribute to Michael Glickman at The Truth Agenda
1. City Landscape: A Contribution to the Council of Europe's European Campaign for Urban Renaissance (1983) Edited by A.B. Grove, R.W. Cresswell. List of participants: Michael Glickman AA Dipl, RIBA, Glickman Office, London.
2. Elizabeth Zollinger Crop Circles an Open Case: Facts, Lies & Hypothesis (Kirchberg, Switzerland 2012),138.
3. The Marine Ices site has since been redeveloped. Patron of the Centre For Crop Circle Studies (CCCS) which had been formally established in April 1990, John George Baillie-Hamilton, 13th Earl of Haddington (21 December 1941 – 5 July 2016) was a British peer and politician of the Conservative Party. He was also a photographer and explorer of the paranormal.
4. Pentagram Papers ref 1 and Pentagram Papers ref 2
5. Sixth Pentagram partner John McConnell in a personal communication with Mary Bennett, May 2020.
6. Edinburgh born Alick Bartholomew (1930-2015) was a publisher, author and therapist. With his 1984 imprint Gateway Books he pursued his desire to reconcile science with a spiritual view of the world. A founder member of the CCCS he published their 1990 book The Crop Circle Enigma: Grounding the phenomenon in Science, Culture and Metaphyscics. In 1991 he published and was Editor of Crop Circles: Harbingers of World Change. In 1993 and 1994 he published two editions of The Only Planet of Choice: Essential Briefings From Deep Space. This book of channelled ETI communications via Phyllis V. Schlemmer was an international best seller for Gateway Books, but it is notable for its absence from an otherwise detailed author & bibliography listing of Alick Bartholomew’s works, see sourcewatch.org.
7. MichaelGlickman.com and for example, this video interview.
8. Montigiani is an American-French journalist, photographer and specialist in UFO studies, based in Paris, France. His book Crop Circles: Evidence of a Cover-up (Carnot New York, 2003), 98-101 attempted to replace both the theory that humans had stamped down all the crop circles and the ETI origin theory – with the hypothesis that UK military technological experiments generated from an airship had produced all the crop circles. This book was published in France in 2017 with the text in French and updated photos but without the Glickman interview.
9. Chapter one of Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and finds herself falling in slow motion down a cylinder-like hole – more of a well than the conventional rabbit hole. It is the entryway to a bizarre world where the normal rules do not apply, either scientifically or culturally. Today the expression ‘to go down the rabbit hole’ is defined as: entering into a situation or beginning a process or journey that as it unfolds becomes increasingly strange, problematic, difficult, complex, or chaotic.
10. Elizabeth Zollinger ibid.
11. Pat Delgado & Colin Andrews, Circular Evidence: A Detailed Investigation of the Flattened Swirled Crops Phenomenon, (Bloomsbury, 1989).
12. City Landscape: A Contribution to the Council of Europe's European Campaign for Urban Renaissance (1983) Edited by A. B. Grove, R. W. Cresswell, Part One, 38.
13. Books by Michael Glickman:
Pentagram papers No.21. (Pentagram Design, London, UK, 1993).
Corn Circles (Wooden Books, Presteigne, Powys, Wales, 1996).
Crop Circles (Wooden books, Presteigne, Powys, Wales, 2000).
Cornography: The New Swirled Order (The Squeeze Press, Glastonbury, England, 2007)
Crop Circles: The Bones of God (Frog Books, California, US, 2009).