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Analysis of Sample From 'Miraculous' Stairs in Santa Fe Found Unknown Species of Wood

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posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 06:59 PM

You perhaps have heard of it, the staircase at Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where -- according to the literature -- nuns who operated a convent there began a novena to Saint Joseph, patron of carpenters and builders, when they needed a way to easily traverse up to the choir loft, which previously had been accessed by ladder. Their dilemma was that there was no room for a stairway as normal stairways go. A flurry of carpenters they consulted had said so

According to accounts, on the last day of the novena, a gray-haired man came to the convent with a donkey and a tool chest -- basically, a saw, a hammer, and a square. He also needed tubs to soak wood. They gave him the job, and he set about the work on July 25, 1873, taking what is now estimated as six to eight months to complete it. Only wood pegs (no nails) were used. And the result was exquisite.

"The winding stairway that the old man left for the sisters is a masterpiece of beauty and wonder," noted St. Joseph Magazine. "It makes two complete 360-degree turns. There is no supporting pole up the center as most circular stairways have. This means it hangs there with no support. The entire weight is on the base. Some architects have said that by all laws of gravity, it should have crashed to the floor the minute anyone stepped on it and yet was used daily for nearly a hundred years." Indeed, there are photos of the staircase filled with members of the choir!

When the sisters went to pay the man, continues the account, he had vanished. There is no record of paying anyone a penny for the incredible piece of carpentry.

This was a cool story that I had never heard before, so I thought I would share it with all of you.

An "unknown species" of wood, is that even possible?

It's awesome that these are build and "defy" gravity, and that only wooden pegs are used, as most stuff nowadays breaks within 5-10 years.

Any thoughts?


posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:08 PM
reply to post by predator0187

great mystery!!


posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:09 PM
Aliens did it.


One-Line Responses, Please Review This Link
edit on 24-3-2011 by Ahabstar because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:11 PM
sexy looking stairs...
i think its just the way the coil is compactly designed and how the weight of the structure is distributed.
i dont think its impossible, but very hard to do because obviously, it can be done.

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:17 PM

Perhaps he did it because no-one had told him it was impossible (it obviously isn't).

It appears that he hand-curved the wood, which would account for its great structural strength.

A friend of mine (now deceased) had a process whereby the density of wood could be increased with pressure and steam and then "locked" into that state with resin/lacquer.

He claimed that the resultant material was stronger than steel. I wonder if this wood had been similarly treated?
edit on 13/3/2011 by chr0naut because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:27 PM
Wow, amazing piece of work.

In the article it's stated that it was originally built and then used without a banister, it would then have been in a flatter spring like shape and easy to just collapse so I assume that the weight is mostly supported by the top floor in a suspended fashion, though I'm just purely guessing.

Ah, Cronaut, your hand-curved theory sounds very plausable as an explanation for the strength. I also wonder if the treatments used on this wood somehow made it's classification unreadable therefore species unknown?
edit on 13-3-2011 by Hawkwind. because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:36 PM
Do those stairs look like a DNA molecule? Someone who knows more about maybe you can see something in it?

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:40 PM
reply to post by Hawkwind.

Yeah, the cells in plant matter are already quite "squarish" and compression would make it more so.

My friend's method utilized rolling with several tons of pressure & steam but while he was prototyping he did everything with hand tools/jigs.

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 07:59 PM
What a beautiful staircase — I’ve never seen it before.

This church would be a beautiful venue for a wedding..The staircase is a true marvel simply beautiful !
edit on 13-3-2011 by sugarcookie1 because: just cuz

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 08:19 PM
Because this is from a church rag you kind of have to take the story with a grain of salt. Although it is a nice looking set of stairs.

And to the other person that mentioned it, it seems like Aliens can explain everything to do with religion....Seriously...

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 08:30 PM
this staircase is gorgeous! It reminds me of a cute pair of heels i have.
I want a staircase like this!

posted on Mar, 13 2011 @ 09:33 PM
There is a movie loosely based on the legend of the staircase. You can rent it from Netflix.

Here are some of the better vids and pix on the web:

In one of those pix, you can clearly see that the banister is metal, perhaps brass or bronze. There are only photos of painting of the staircase before the banister was added, since photography in those days was hightly experimental.

I have seen how wood is bent nowadays. Several thin plies are steamed or soaked in hot water and then pressed together against a rigid mould with epoxy resin between them. I suppose it used to be done with horsehide glue. You can watch it being done to form the sides of a Steinway piano in this movie. It's truly amazing that one man could do it so precisely without the benefit of a factory.

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 01:14 AM
reply to post by predator0187

I did visit this church and it is impressive.
No it is not fake and i seen it for myself and no props are used anywhere. It was not quite as lit and bright as the movie or the pics on here but rather like an old dark musty church out in the middle of nowhere but with an exceptional and only feasible set of stairs solving a conundrum.
the stairs are now protected and not even the nuns are allowed to walk on them but they did still use the stairs i believe up til around 2000 or maybe a little before
They were going to get rid of the church recently because of no funding to keep it up but after the story got out about the stairs i guess they got the funds to keep the church open.
Pretty interesting story though.

edit on 14-3-2011 by laslidealist because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 01:34 AM
a gray-haired man came to the convent with a donkey and a tool chest


nice job wish we ha more gray haired men with donkeys kicking around need some jobs done my self

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 02:11 AM
Very neat story, that is amazing. Even more mysterious that the man "vanished". Good find op.


posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 02:38 AM
reply to post by predator0187

an exceptional work created by French carpenter Francois-Jean "Frenchy" Rochas.


posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 02:53 AM
reply to post by audio assasin

You can find them outside home depot!

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 04:02 AM
I want to eat these stairs, is that normal?

Why can't a mysterious man come up to me and build me a house that defies logic!?

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 05:32 AM

Originally posted by Deebo
Very neat story, that is amazing. Even more mysterious that the man "vanished". Good find op.


Yes, I agree... A little "too" mysterious for my taste. Keeping this church seems to have a history of money problems... I`d bet the old man & his donkey were buried out back somewhere once the nuns realized they could never afford such a magnificent staircase, nor were they willing to accept his "other deal" of having a nun/donkey/old man sex party. And once they realized he was a pervert, killing him didn`t really seem like That bad of a sin. And they couldn`t just make payments over the next 20 years and have this weirdo and his donkey lurking around, it just would be too akward after he made his advances... Better to just nip this little problem in the bud, me thinks. Yep, that`s what happened. Case closed.

posted on Mar, 14 2011 @ 05:42 AM
reply to post by predator0187

No mystery here

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