The Spiral is one of the Entities. It is based on the fear of madness, that your world isn’t right, that your mind is lying to you. It deals with deception, lying, deceiving the mind and senses.
The Spiral is associated with fractal patterns, hallucinations, doubt of sanity, impossible geometry, maddening realms and dimensions, doors and mazes.
|ATTENTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!!|
This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot. Continue at your own risk.
- MAG 19: Confession (Father Burroughs)
- MAG 20: Desecrated Host (Father Burroughs)
- MAG 26: A Distortion (Michael/The Distortion)
- MAG 27: A Sturdy Lock (The Distortion)
- MAG 38: Lost and Found (The fractal pot)
- MAG 47: The New Door (Michael/The Distortion, Helen Richardson)
- MAG 74: Fatigue (Michael/The Distortion)
- MAG 85: Upon the Stair (A Man Who Wasn't There)
- MAG 91: The Coming Storm (Partially; The Lichtenberg Figure)
- MAG 100: I Guess You Had To Be There (Partially; Robin Lennox's statement)
- MAG 101: Another Twist (Michael/Helen/The Distortion, Gabriel, The Great Twisting)
- MAG 126: Sculptor's Tool (Gabriel, The Distortion (mentioned))
- MAG 141: Doomed Voyage (Partially; the carpet)
- MAG 146: Threshold (The Distortion)
- MAG 177: Wonderland (Domain, Dr. David, Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 183: Monument (Helen/The Distortion, partial Domain)
- MAG 187: Checking Out (Domain, statement, Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 8: Burned Out (Partially; Ivo Lensik's father)
- MAG 32: Hive ("Fools chasing fractals")
- MAG 46: Literary Heights (The Lichtenberg Figure)
- MAG 78: Distant Cousin (Michael/The Distortion)
- MAG 79: Hide and Seek (Michael/The Distortion)
- MAG 99: Dust to Dust (Michael Shelley)
- MAG 115: Taking Stock (Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 131: Flesh (Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 160: The Eye Opens (Partially)
- MAG 164: The Sick Village (Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 166: The Worms (Helen/The Distortion)
- MAG 188:Centre of Attention (Michael/Helen/The Distortion, mentioned)
- MAG 190: Scavenger (Helen/The Distortion, Domain, mentioned)
- MAG 200: Last Words (mentioned)
- The Distortion: An avatar of The Spiral that frequently appears to those at The Magnus Institute, the Distortion describes themself as "a door that would open to all the places that were never there." They take the form of a door and can appear anywhere they wish, including underneath solid surfaces, standing alone with no attached structure, and taking the place of other doors. Their door can take a variety of forms and leads to an endless and impossible maze of carpets, paintings and mirrors. They were permanently altered after Gertrude Robinson's interference in The Great Twisting, wherein a human was given an accurate map of the corridors and guided to The Distortion's core, with the human component combining with their being.
- Michael: The Distortion's first human form. As a human Michael Shelley was an archival assistant to Gertrude Robinson, who she sacrificed to The Distortion to disrupt The Spiral's ritual.
- Helen: The Distortion's second human form. As a human Helen Richardson was a real estate agent ensnared by Michael. She drew her own map of the corridors and later replaces Michael as the human component of The Distortion after he is overwhelmed by emotions.
- The Man Who Wasn't There
- The Fractal Entity: In 1996, Ivo Lensik's father was being followed someone with "all the bones [in his] hands" not long after becoming obsessed with fractals. Although this description is similar to Michael, as The Distortion became Michael sometime between 2009 and 2011 it is unclear who this entity may have been.
- Gabriel: An Avatar of the Spiral, also known as The Worker of Clay. He was the mastermind behind The Great Twisting in the late 2000s and committed suicide when it failed.
- The Lichtenberg Figure: A creature taking the form of a man with flashing Lichtenberg fractal organs. It tormented Michael Crew until he exploited the connection between Lichtenberg figures, lightning, and The Vast to trap it in the book Ex Altiora.
- Dr David: A possible avatar of Wonderland House who torments victims of The Spiral post-Change. He manipulates the victims into believing their legitimate mental health problems are made up for attention and berates them for it.
- The Fractal Pot: A Chinese, Jiajing-era ceramic pot decorated in crisp geometric blue lines that repeat perfectly even as they grow smaller and denser. It takes things from its owner, along with all memories and evidence of those things, save the memories of its owner. It may be the residence of a being of the Spiral rather than an artefact itself, as one of its victims witness long, thin finger with dirty nails emerge from the interior.
- The Pattern Rug: A rug with a pattern separate from this being. The pattern can remove itself from the rug and flow across other things in a mess of diamonds, swirls, and colours, a process that is painful to living creatures and can pull them apart from the inside. It is unclear whether the rug is powered by the Spiral or the pattern is a Spiral creature that merely resides upon the rug while not hunting.
- Sannikov Land (Zemla Sannikova): An island north of Russia that doesn't exist, defined by impossibility and structures that should not be able to exist. It was the staging ground of The Spiral's ritual sometime between 2009 and 2011.
- Wonderland House: The Spiral’s domain after The Change. It is a mental institute where a being known as Doctor David manipulates victims into believing that their mental health problems are made up for attention and berates them for it.
- The Distortion: A manifestation of The Distortion in the post-change world that took the shape of a constantly shifting, impossible to navigate hotel. The hotel destroyed by Jonathan Sims in MAG 187.
- An Unnamed Maze Domain: Similar to the one mentioned in MAG 100. Laverne, Melanie's therapist, was trapped in it before she was rescued.
The Spiral's ritual is called "The Great Twisting", which took place in Sannikov Land (Zemlya Sannikova) sometime between 2009 and 2011. Gertrude Robinson stopped the ritual by sacrificing her assistant Michael Shelley to merge with The Distortion, who then became Michael. The ritual failed as the unknowable being of The Distortion combined with a knowable being in the form of Michael Shelley.
Gertrude Robinson used the statement from MAG 126 in her research to formulate the counter-ritual, presumably taking inspiration from Gabriel saying that The Distortion does not have a name and would be confused by having one.
Connections with other Entities
- Its allegiances are difficult to fully know, though it has been seen actively fighting against The Corruption and The Stranger.
- The Spiral's relationship with The Eye is unknown, but The Distortion's relationship with Beholding seems to be based on its human element's opinions.
- Michael helped the Archives to foil others' plans, later stating he wanted neither the Circus nor the Archives to "win", making it convenient for him to kill John himself before The Stranger could.
- Helen, on the other hand, is revealed in Season 4 to be regularly helping the Archives.
- In MAG 187 John questions if Helen is working with Elias to stop him from reversing The Change, something she firmly denies.
- MAG 101: Another Twist
- MAG 47: The New Door
- MAG 38: Lost and Found
- MAG 141: Doomed Voyage
- MAG 126: Sculptor's Tool
- MAG 80: The Librarian: Leitner mentions "six years ago" was when Gertrude lost the last of her assistants. This information may no longer be valid, due to information revealed in MAG 167: Curiosity