Wednesday, March 3, 2010

St. Joseph in the House

Desperate Michiganders are turning to arcane ritual and St. Joseph — the Biblical contractor — to sell their houses.

Zlati Meyer of The Detroit Free Press reports:
"Our sales on the St. Joseph kits increased over 227% between July of 2008 and June of 2009," according to Leann Cooper, a spokeswoman for Michigan Church Supply of Mt. Morris, near Flint, one of the nation's largest religious-goods stores. "Since June 2009, the sales have decreased about 25%, but remain much higher than before the real estate crunch."

Home sellers are counting on the statues to help them beat the odds: Metro Detroit houses that sold in January had been on the market for an average of about 100 days, according to Realcomp, a Farmington Hills-based multiple listing service.

How is St. Joseph supposed to work? Bury the figurine upside down in the yard of the house you want to sell.

Some say the little fellow should face east. Others say a prayer, asking for a quick sale. Another school of thought adds a candle and oil.

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Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at