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Why homeowners bury St. Joe

House Keys

He's back. He's buried. He's upside-down. How perfect. Or, alternatively, how weird. "He" is of course St. Joseph, the patron of carpenters, who may be buried in a front yard near you at this very moment. No one seems to know how this tradition got started, nor is there much agreement about the ritual itself. But in essence, the idea is that home sellers bury St. Joseph -- in statue form, of course -- in the front yard, say a prayer and, voila, a speedy sale is assured, even if their home has been on the market for months at a price that hasn't been seen in years. Most of the instructions agree that St. Joe should be buried head first, i.e., upside down, rather than feet first or sideways as in a grave. Whether he should face the street, the for-sale home or the seller's next residence is open to debate. The ritual is not new, though homeowners' faith in its effectiveness tends to be as cyclical as the housing market itself. When homes sell quickly, St. Joe fall...