The Loretto chapel Staircase

The mysterious helix staircase of the Loretto Chapel

(Read the article on one page)

Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in New Mexico, US. But it is not just the age of the city that makes it a popular destination. In the centre of the city stands an architectural landmark, a former Roman Catholic Church, which is known as the Loretto chapel. The church was built in the 1870s and it has a French gothic style , but unlike other chapels where you admire the paintings, statues, stained glass and masonry skills, this chapel is famous for its helix spiral staircase, otherwise called the “Miraculous Stair”.

According to legend, which has since been made into a movie called “The Staircase” (1998), the nuns of the Loretto Chapel that were there when it was been built realized at some point that they had to find a way to build a staircase to connect the choir loft to the ground floor. They didn’t want the staircase to be big because it would take up too much space, so they went to the local carpenters but no one could provide a feasible solution.

According to the historical account, a short time later a man arrived and offered to do the job but he asked to be alone in the chapel for three months, and with only simple tools including a saw, T-square and a hammer, he built the ‘miraculous’ staircase. It is a spiral staircase making two complete 360 degrees rotations but without using a central pole and without using any nails, only wooden pegs. The bannister of the staircase is perfectly curved, a remarkable accomplishment considering the basic tools that were used. The shape of the helix is not a stable weight-supporting structure, and without the middle column it shouldn’t be able to withstand the weight of the people using the staircase.

The Original Loretto StaircaseWhen the man finished the staircase, he left without asking for a cent. The nuns tried to find him but they could not. They did not know who he was and where he got the wood from. Ten years later the railing was added to the staircase by Phillip August Heasch – for safety reasons (image on the left is the original staircase)!

Later on, the manager of the privately owned chapel (1991-2006), Richard Lindsley, took a piece of wood from the staircase and sent it for analysis to find out what kind of wood it was. When the results came back, they showed that it was spruce, but of an unknown subspecies. This specific wood was very strong with molecules dense and square which is something that you usually find in trees that grow very slowly in very cold places – like Alaska. However there was no such wood in the area and no local trees grow in the Alpine tundra (approximately 2,000 to 3,000 meters) in the surrounding area. The closest place that he would find this density in trees was in Alaska, but of course back then transport was not the same as it is now and wood was not transported over such long distances.

The nuns of the Loretto Chapel attributed the staircase to a miracle, a divine event that seems to transcend the natural law, and they believed that the man who came to create the staircase was a man sent from heaven.  While the account of the mysterious helix staircase of Loretto is a relatively modern-day legend associated with a miracle, reports of miracles go back thousands of years and can be found in virtually every religion and culture around the world.

Miracles through history

During the first century BCE, a variety of religious movements and splinter groups developed amongst the Jews in Judea. A number of individuals claimed to be miracle workers in the tradition of Elijah and Elisha, the ancient Jewish prophets. The Talmud provides some examples of such Jewish miracle workers, one of whom is Honi HaM'agel, who was famous for his ability to successfully pray for rain

In Buddhism too, there are texts that speak of miracles. The Biographies of High Monks record that that King Beopheung of Silla had desired to promulgate Buddhism as the state religion. However, officials in his court opposed him. In the fourteenth year of his reign, Beopheung's "Grand Secretary", Ichadon, devised a strategy to overcome court opposition. Ichadon set up a scenario which would result in his capture and eventual execution. He prophesied to the king that at his execution a wonderful miracle would convince the opposing court faction of Buddhism's power. Ichadon's scheme went as planned. According to the story, when Ichadon was executed on the 15th September 527 AD, his prophecy was fulfilled; the earth shook, the sun was darkened, beautiful flowers rained from the sky, his severed head flew to the sacred Geumgang mountains, and milk instead of blood sprayed 100 feet in the air from his beheaded corpse. The omen was accepted by the opposing court officials as a manifestation of heaven's approval, and Buddhism was made the state religion in 527 AD.

Comments

Can someone explain me the concept behind the mysterious cases that proved 2*2=5

There are no miracles or magic -- only methods and practices not understood by the prevailing society. The Shroud of Turin image, for example, is quite real. It is the molecular burn resulting from sudden
de-materialization of the body within. This was accomplished by highly advanced technology implemented by extraterrestrial beings the ancients called gods. I might add, ETs are responsible for ALL human religions and "myths". Indeed, there are ETs that live among nearly every culture, in every period of time on Earth planet. The carpenter the built the staircase may have been one

I'm sure that my husband, being a carpenter, would enjoy seeing this, as would I. No matter how you look at it, most definitely, it is a work of art. Especially, given the fact that he was limited to hand tools. Amazing.

malisa wright

they beliebe that the French man did it but we do not know for sure, what we do know is someone showed up our of the blue and did it. They said the nuns prayed for several months, there is power in prayer, and immense power in thought, the power to influence, draw, connect, pull in etc and this is a prime example of thought power. Just imagine every person on the world focused on one thought at the same time, what could we do, could we cure cancer, could we influence the universe in beautiful ways and make this world so much better.

angieblackmon's picture

just because the masses don't understand it, doesn't mean the answer isn't simple.

love, light and blessings

AB

Pages

Register to become part of our active community, get updates, receive a monthly newsletter, and enjoy the benefits and rewards of our member point system OR just post your comment below as a Guest.

Top New Stories

Caves of Loltun, Mexico
It goes on speak about the challenges and wonders of Columbus’s voyage to the new lands known today as the Caribbean. It even goes on to mention Columbus’s blunder in assuming that this newly discovered land was India when in fact it was what we know today as the Bahamas.

Human Origins

Photo of Zecharia Sitchin (left)(CC0)Akkadian cylinder seal dating to circa 2300 BC depicting the deities Inanna, Utu, and Enki, three members of the Anunnaki.(right)
In a previous 2-part article (1), the authors wrote about the faulty associations of the Sumerian deities known as the Anunnaki as they are portrayed in the books, television series, and other media, which promotes Ancient Astronaut Theory (hereafter “A.A.T.”).

Opinion

Hopewell mounds from the Mound City Group in Ohio. Representative image
During the Early Woodland Period (1000—200 BC), the Adena people constructed extensive burial mounds and earthworks throughout the Ohio Valley in Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and West Virginia. Many of the skeletal remains found in these mounds by early antiquarians and 20th-Century archaeologists were of powerfully-built individuals reaching between 6.5 and eight feet in height (198 cm – 244 cm).

Our Mission

At Ancient Origins, we believe that one of the most important fields of knowledge we can pursue as human beings is our beginnings. And while some people may seem content with the story as it stands, our view is that there exists countless mysteries, scientific anomalies and surprising artifacts that have yet to be discovered and explained.

The goal of Ancient Origins is to highlight recent archaeological discoveries, peer-reviewed academic research and evidence, as well as offering alternative viewpoints and explanations of science, archaeology, mythology, religion and history around the globe.

We’re the only Pop Archaeology site combining scientific research with out-of-the-box perspectives.

By bringing together top experts and authors, this archaeology website explores lost civilizations, examines sacred writings, tours ancient places, investigates ancient discoveries and questions mysterious happenings. Our open community is dedicated to digging into the origins of our species on planet earth, and question wherever the discoveries might take us. We seek to retell the story of our beginnings. 

Ancient Image Galleries

View from the Castle Gate (Burgtor). (Public Domain)
Door surrounded by roots of Tetrameles nudiflora in the Khmer temple of Ta Phrom, Angkor temple complex, located today in Cambodia. (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Cable car in the Xihai (West Sea) Grand Canyon (CC BY-SA 4.0)
Next article