| ATTENTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!! CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK!!!
This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives, and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot.
'Michael' is one manifestation of the Spiral creature known as The Distortion, created when it was merged with former archival assistant Michael Shelley as part of Gertrude Robinson's plan to stop The Spiral's ritual.
It appears as a 6.5 foot tall male with straw blonde hair and a round face. If viewed through tainted glass or a reflection, its form distorts to appear to have a spindly body with huge, pointed hands that are as large as its torso. It can choose to distort its surface appearance as well, such as to display its sharp hands (MAG 26).
First appearing in MAG 26: A Distortion, it warned Sasha about the oncoming attack by Jane Prentiss and the Flesh Hive, going so far as to show Sasha that fire extinguishers could kill the worms, and then removed a worm from Sasha.
It appears again in MAG 47: The New Door, showing up to the house tour Helen Richardson is giving, refusing to shake hands with while in human form, and in its distorted form in the coloured corridors that she later got lost in. 'Michael' approached Jonathan Sims after he took Helen's statement, taking her back to the corridors. When asked if it owned these corridors, it suggested that it owns the corridors in the same way that your hand owns your stomach. It alluded to a war that was going on, and that the destruction of the Magnus Archives would sway the war too much in one way, although it claimed to be a neutral party.
It next appears in MAG 74: Fatigue in the statement of a woman with insomnia losing her grip on reality. It repeatedly appears to her to taunt her.
It returns to the Magnus Institute following the destruction of the web table by Jonathan Sims in MAG 78, offering him a doorway away from the unbound NotThem. It compares its viewing of the events to a "sport." It then traps Martin and Tim in its corridors for a period of time to prevent them from assisting Jonathan (MAG 79, MAG 80).
Michael Shelley once worked for the Archives as one of Gertrude Robinson's assistants, and is heard on a tape of hers in September 2007 trying to be helpful, while she hides her true activities from him (MAG 99). He was her assistant up to at least October 2009 (MAG 126).
The creature "Michael" appears to Jonathan Sims after the latter is captured by Nikola Orsinov where he explains how Gertrude sacrificed her assistant Michael Shelley in order to bind The Distortion, creating an entity that was merged between them. Michael says that he is here to kill Sims, but before he can he screams, and is replaced by Helen Richardson. Helen says that Michael had gotten distracted, and now he is gone, and she will take his place (MAG 101).