Digging St. Joe

Digging St. Joe

This is the sort of thing I was talking about yesterday.

Donald Ward Cranley doesn’t need to look at the latest economic indicators to know how the real estate market is faring. He just checks the inventory in his shop, Ward’s Gifts, on High Street in Medford.

If sales of the beige, 5-inch St. Joseph statues are slow, it means the real estate market is strong. If sales are brisk, the market is weak. Lately, all signs point to a real estate meltdown: He’s selling 300 statues a month.

‘‘We can’t keep them in stock,’’ he said. ‘‘Everybody comes in here looking for them. Realtors are buying a dozen at a time.’’

St. Joseph statues have long been used by sellers to help move property. Tradition has it that if you bury a statue upside down and facing the property you are trying to sell, St. Joseph will direct a buyer your way.

There is a fine line between faith and superstition. It’s one thing to offer up prayers, but when you have to follow strict instructions about the way to bury it, you begin to ask questions. Why bury it? Why upside down? Is it some kind of “blackmail” against St. Joseph? “Find a buyer or I’ll leave you buried upside down.”

Custom or voodoo?

Technorati Tags:, , , ,

bk_keywords:0879735732, B0007LV164.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli