This article contains information from later episodes of The Magnus Archives, and may contain major spoilers for the setting and plot.

'Michael' is an an aspect of the being referred to as "the Distortion" (MAG 80). It was also referred to by Jurgen Leitner and his assistants as "Esmentiaras" ["he who lies"] or "The Spiral". It deals in fooling the senses, and the doubting of sanity.

First appearing in MAG 26: A Distortion, it appears to be 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 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, refusing to shake hands with Helen Richardson 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 reported on that case, taking Helen 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 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 "sport". It then traps Martin and Tim in its corridors for a period of time to prevent them from assisting Jonathan (MAG 80).

Michael, or at least a part of the creature, once worked for the Archives as one of Gertrude Robinson's assistants (MAG 99). He 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 a servant of 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).