Can’t sell your house? Try voodoo magic!

I was chatting with my friend Jeff Wagg today. Jeff just bought a new house, complete with a yard, which has a garden. He found a memorial stone in the garden, and upon returning it to the former homeowner, he was informed that there was something else buried in the garden — the remains of four dead hookers.

No, just kidding. It’s actually a statue of St. Joseph. Maybe you’ve heard of him — he’s the poor sap who married a virgin who then cheated on him by banging every holy spirit in the tri-state area. When one particular holy spirit failed to use adequate protection for His most holy of bits, poor Joe was stuck raising the resulting spawn. So he ended up with a baby without enjoying the carnal benefits granted those who procreate. That’s so tragic, I think we can all agree he deserved sainthood.

It’s only natural after these feats that he became the patron saint of Austria; confectioners; dying people; emigrants; happy death; Mexico; people in doubt; people who fight Communism; Peru; travellers; wheelwrights; working people; and real estate sales (among other things).

It’s that last thing that led to the previous homeowner burying a statue in the garden. Apparently, doing so is supposed to encourage your house to sell. I imagine it might, if the statue is made of solid gold with diamond accents. I get the feeling that the one in Jeff’s garden isn’t so well-adorned, since the woman told Jeff that he could keep it if he could find it, as she had forgotten where it was buried.

“Wait,” you’re wondering, “how did she forget where she buried it? Surely she must have done so mere weeks before Jeff snapped it up?” Not exactly. According to Jeff:

I say it didn’t work because they buried it two years ago when they tried to sell this whole building as one house. They had to fire the agent, get a new agent, go to condo, suffer through a last minute breach of contract . . . and THEN I bought it.

The Lord works in mysterious ways. Of course, maybe the Lord was just a little confused as to what Saint Joe was supposed to be taking care of in this instance — maybe completely unbeknownst to her, by burrowing St. Joseph in her yard that homeowner completely conquered Communism in her neighborhood.
Of course, this story won’t be appearing in the local paper. Certainly not a respected paper like the Miami Herald, since they’re far too busy encouraging their readers to bury their own statues and pimping a book about all the various voodoo tricks to trick God into selling your house:

The tradition of burying St. Joseph’s statue in the yard to sell your house more quickly has been around for a long time. Some say it dates to an order of European religious sisters in the Middle Ages who sought help in getting land for a convent. Others say it started in the late 1800s with a Montreal order of religious brothers who wanted a new chapel.

Stephen J. Binz’s 2003 book, St. Joseph, My Real Estate Agent, fanned new interest. Binz says he was a doubter until he buried a statue and a week later was able to sell his house, which hadn’t moved in seven months.

Halleleuija it’s a miracle! This die hard skeptic couldn’t sell his house, so he buried a little statue in the yard, sold the house, immediately converted to a true believer in the power of the Lord, and wrote a book that includes “a statue and prayer card” and retails “for only $7.50.” Thanks for that breaking news, Miami Herald!

Jeff helpfully provides this link where you can get your own St. Joseph kit: “Your Underground Real Estate Agent!” You can get the 4″ statue if you just kind of want to sell your house eventually, or you can get the 8″ statue and maybe sell it twice as fast! Jeff isn’t sure how big his statue is, so we’re going to have a digging party and try to find it. Whoever digs up Joe gets a free bottle of liquor and a free listing in New England Home Sales magazine!

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca is a writer, speaker, YouTube personality, and unrepentant science nerd. In addition to founding and continuing to run Skepchick, she hosts Quiz-o-Tron, a monthly science-themed quiz show and podcast that pits comedians against nerds. There is an asteroid named in her honor. Twitter @rebeccawatson Mastodon Instagram @actuallyrebeccawatson TikTok @actuallyrebeccawatson YouTube @rebeccawatson BlueSky

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  1. Man, I am so glad that correlation is the same thing as causation and that data is the plural of anecdote. I wonder if I can bury Joseph under my floorboards and sell my apartment. God can forge deeds, right? I mean, if you ask him nicely and stuff. So I bury the statue, God transfers ownership of the apartment to me and then helps me sell it!

    Man, this is going to be awesome.

  2. Speaking of Voodoo. Whatever happened the the test of opening a car via cell phone and remote keyless entry? I know the forgetfulness of your co-worker and your vacation interceded but some of us are excitedly awaiting the un-spectacular results of the test.

    On the topic of the day I wonder what effigy of a pious old person we should bury if we're looking to find an apartment? Does Sait Joe do leases? Or can God only help you buy real property and not lease? Also, do we bury the yet to be named saint on the property we live on or do we sneak in at night and bury one on the property we want to lease?

    These burning questions will keep me up at night, that and the half a dozen sodas i've had so far today.

  3. Actually, there's more to it than just the size of the statue. There are these hidden stats. If you got the Ruby of Wendell and went through the 22 Gates of Garrash BEFORE getting the Brunhild sword, you'll get your Chaos Frame up to 100 much faster.

  4. Of course, the fact that nobody knows what St Joseph was supposd to have looked like appears to have escaped the attention of the statuette manufacturers and believers. Which means we can't even do a double blind experiment of homes on sale with some having saint Joe buried and others having other saints.

  5. On the contrary, the fact that no one knows what saint Joseph looks like, means you could bury two identical looking statues in two separate back yards, and say that one is saint Joseph and the other is, oh, I don't know, saint Anthony for example. Then you can see which house sells first, and which statue you can find back the easiest. If this religious voodoo-nonsense actually works, saint Anthony, the patron saint of lost objects, should be the statue you recover first.

  6. So what you're saying is we can bury a lot of different looking statues and work out (through which house sells first, which one we find first etc) what the Saints actually looked like? That's genius.

  7. Does it matter who buries the statue? If I want to buy a house, can I sneak onto the property and bury the statue to help me get a better price? If the owner buries one too, which one would win? Should I bring one when I go to apply for the mortgage? How about the closing?

  8. Like the way you're thinking TheCzech. I was planning to surreptitiously bury a couple in my obnoxious neighbours yard, maybe they'll move.

    Another question: What if you move into a house you really like and want to stay there? You should probably have the property searched for buried St Joes just in case. I sense a business opportunity: St Joe's Exterminators Inc – Your Home Gauranteed St Joe Free or Your Money Back.

    Slashnull: There's a government grant in that theory!

  9. "Another question: What if you move into a house you really like and want to stay there? You should probably have the property searched for buried St Joes just in case. I sense a business opportunity: St Joe’s Exterminators Inc – Your Home Gauranteed St Joe Free or Your Money Back."

    This is a very good point NA. If your house was perviously owned by a more than one person smart enough to have trusted in the infallable St. Joe, you could have St. Joe overload. People might buy the house even if you aren't selling. Wouldn't that be embarassing? The public needs this!

    I won't stomp on your trademark since it was clearly your idea, but I hope you will consider letting me buy a franchise once you get this started. It's a sure winner. I'm sure I can offset the franchise fees by starting a side business selling "Previously Owned" St. Joe statuettes. Why exterminate when you can recycle? After all, they are better then new ones because they have undergone vigorous testing. Every one is guaranteed to have successfully sold a house. I'll also put little recycling stickers on them and call them "environmentally friendly". It can't miss. I'll be swimming in cash!

  10. I wonder what will happen to your storage room if it's full of St. Joe's? Won't it accidentally be bought by half the city if it's so stocked up on statues? You'd have to install a special holy water sprinkling system just to keep the statues' from accidentally selling your place.

  11. An interesting point, Exarch. The question is do the statues have to be buried in soil to be effective or is placement anywhere inside the property sufficient? More research is required. Now where did I put that grant application…

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