Some urban legends are just downright stupid. Here is one: bury a plastic statue of St. Joseph in your backyard to get your home sold. There is a story about a lady who had some San Diego real estate for sale and had been unsuccessfully trying to unload it for seven months. So she buries the saint in the yard and on the following day a group of nuns comes to look at the property. Three weeks later, the nuns make an offer that is accepted. As an extra touch, the price agreed upon was the highest ever seen in the neighborhood.
Give me a break! Nuns!? First of all, don’t they live in convents? But furthermore, how desperate do you have to be to think a plastic statue will precipitate a sale? This would truly be a miracle. Shame on realtors who stoop to this level. They are so unscrupulous, they even give detailed instructions just for verisimilitude – for instance, make sure the saint’s head is pointing up and don’t dig him up until the house is sold. What a load!
Well, where the heck does this story come from? Apparently, the Middle Ages in Europe, that’s where. According to legend, some nuns buried a medal of St. Joseph in the hopes he would help them find a convent. Others say that German carpenters would bury statues of St. Joseph in house foundations. The best story goes back to the late 1800s in Montreal. A monk, Brother Andre Bessette, wanted to buy some land on which to build a small chapel known as an oratory. When the owners wouldn’t sell him the land, he started burying St. Joseph medals all over the property. All of a sudden, the buyers had a change of mind, and Brother Bessette got to build his chapel.
The urban legend can be traced back to 1979 in the U.S. Apparently around 1990, it became a big fad, as realtors started buying plastic statues by the carton. The legend states that after the sale, you should dig up the statue and place it on your mantel. Alternatively, you can leave the saint buried on the property in order to protect it from harm. But wait a minute, if you leave the saint buried, doesn’t that mean that the house will be constantly sold and resold? That doesn’t sound to me like a happy ending!