Stairway to….

 My favorite thing in the world is when you go out specifically on an adventure and you end up finding one you hadn’t planned on. Somewhere in Orient Heights, we saw a sign off the highway that promised a 35-foot statue of the Virgin Mary, and the Crown Chapel in alien East Boston delivered on this promise:

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This inspired my comrades and me to pray before we went exploring.

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Here is what we found while searching for this 35-foot statue. It turned out the statue was hanging out on the other side, but this was an imposing sight as well. It looks like a penitentiary for anyone who has done something very, very bad- something bad enough to make God’s head explode into spiky yellow flames. After you’re committed you are sentenced to walk the yellow plank and plunge into hell.

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We found our way inside, and Spanish mass was being conducted on the first floor. Not wanting to disturb, we quietly moved to the winding stairwell to climb to the top of the flames. It was a really nice view of East Boston, and you could see the planes from the airport taking off and coming in.

But it turned out that this spiral staircase was one of those cursed staircases that has no real entrance or exit. It was very much like a dream-

“Hey, I had this nightmare that I was on this dark spiral staircase that had a door on every landing. And each door led to something weird, and we kept going up and down these stairs forever and ever and no door ever led to an exit, only another church…”

Yeah, each door led to a church! Look at this one:

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Oddly, none of these doors were locked and we ended up going into every church. The Glorious Mysteries church was empty, dusty and abandoned. There was a table with some scattered fake flowers on it, and nothing more.

On another floor, we came to this door:

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The chapel of Sorrowful Mysteries was completely dark, and very creepy. Here’s what we found inside:

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The flashlights proved to be useful in this mystery staircase of churches.

Besides the Jesus, the room was full of boxes that were unidentifiable in the dark.

Another floor contained a room full of Christmas lights.

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Another floor had a pretty miniature church, though there was no mass in session when we peeked in.

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At this point we were becoming uneasy because it seemed like when we had climbed up, we had only climbed up maybe 5 or 6 flights or so to get to the top. By this time we had descended some 8 floors and this provided the surreal, dream-like quality about the experience. That and each level of the tower seemed to be at varying stages of abandonment and nothing made much sense. We finally made it to the bottomest bottom of the basement, and I walked in boldly- where there was yet another church and either Spanish or Portuguese mass was in session. I got some funny looks, then I jumped back into the stairwell.

Fun times! We felt pretty holy afterward, so I think it was an afternoon well-spent. I thought of it as Holy Land II.