Worldwide Weird Travel with Ben Osto
Miracle Staircase, Santa Fe, New Mexico: Photos and Text by Ben Osto
The Loretto Chapel Staircase

The Loretto Chapel is very small Spanish-style church in Santa Fe; too small for a big staircase to get to the choir perch. An amazing spiral staircase with no visible center or side support does the job.

Legend has it that St. Joseph (himself posing as a wanderer) built this beautiful spiral staircase. He took no money when he was finished and disappeared the next day. Very Zorro. There are some skeptics of course and they point to Jesus (well known for his mysterious ways) as the craftsman. I’m split here; in this instance, it would've seemed more mysterious if it had been a well-crafted entertainment center rather than a staircase.

Who knows, this area has seen many mysterious miracle workers. One with a very familiar face: Francis Schatter, also known as El Gran Hombre. Back in the day, he was known throughout the land as a reliable healer and people traveled long distances to reach his healing hands. Despite his convincing looks and the number of discarded crutches he enabled tossed, I have my doubts. He was prone to work out by twirling a metal pipe over his head. This aerobic exercise he claimed was his personal trainer's idea, God himself. My trainer has doubts about this routine and told me not to bring the pipe into the gym again.

If you're near Tucson, Arizona, go to the Mission San Xavier del Bac. You'll feel like you entered a hand carved Reredos. Get in line to make a wish and then lift the head of the carved dead saint to have it officially registered. A very coin-op approach to invoking a Novina.

Non-union built staircase.
Francis Schlatter
Do you have a bustle in your hedgerow?
St. Joseph was pass'in through.
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