The Dybbuk Box (or Dibbuk Box) is the commonly used name of a wine cabinet which is said to be haunted by a dybbuk, a spirit from Jewish folklore. The box achieved recognition after it was auctioned on eBay with an accompanying horror story.
The term “Dibbuk Box” was first used to describe the subject of an original story by Kevin Mannis which he posted as an eBay auction listing. Mannis, a writer and creative professional by trade, owned a small antiques and furniture refinishing business in Portland, Oregon at the time. According to Mannis’ story, he purportedly bought the Box at an estate sale in 2001. It had belonged to a German Holocaust survivor named Havela, who had escaped to Spain and purchased it there before emigrating to the United States. Havela’s granddaughter told Mannis that the Box had been kept in her grandmother’s sewing room and was never opened because a dybbuk—an evil spirit from Jewish folklore—was said to live inside it. He offered to give the box back to her, but she became upset and refused to take it.
On opening the box, Mannis found that it contained two 1920s pennies, a lock of blonde hair bound with cord, a lock of black/brown hair bound with cord, a small statue engraved with the Hebrew word “Shalom”, a small, golden wine goblet, one dried rose bud, and a single candle holder with four octopus-shaped legs.
Numerous owners of the box have reported that strange phenomena accompany it. In his story, Mannis claimed he experienced a series of horrific nightmares shared with other people while they were in possession of the box. His mother suffered a stroke on the same day he gave her the box as a birthday present—October 28. Every owner of the Box has reported that smells of cat urine or jasmine flowers and nightmares involving an old hag accompany the Box. Iosif Neitzke, a Missouri student at Truman State University in Kirksville Missouri and the last person to auction the box on eBay, claimed that the box caused lights to burn out in his house and his hair to fall out. Haxton had been following Neitzke’s blogs regarding the box from day one and when he was ready to be rid of the Dybbuk Box Neitzke sold it to Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. Haxton wrote The Dibbuk Box, and claimed that he subsequently developed strange health problems, including hives, coughing up blood, and “head-to-toe welts”. Haxton consulted with Rabbis (Jewish religious leaders) to try to figure out a way to seal the dybbuk in the box again. Apparently successful, he took the freshly resealed box and hid it at a secret location, which he will not reveal.
Skeptic Chris French, head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths’ College, told an interviewer he believed that the Box’s owners were “already primed to be looking out for bad stuff. If you believe you have been cursed, then inevitably you explain the bad stuff that happens in terms of what you perceive to be the cause. Put it like this: I would be happy to own this object.”
The cabinet has the Shema carved into the side of it. Its dimensions are 12.5″ × 7.5″ × 16.25″.
In popular culture
- The box inspired a British performance tour, The Thirteenth Box, a cave tour led by Jez Starr in Cheddar Gorge, in which audience members claimed to have taken a picture of the Dybbuk.
- The box is the subject of a 2012 Sam Raimi film by Ghost House Pictures, entitled The Possession, starring Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick and Natasha Calis and directed by Ole Bornedal. The script was written by Juliet Snowden and Stiles White and was based on an Los Angeles Times article by Leslie Gornstein, which told the story of the Dybbuk box after the first eBay auction. Mannis and Haxton served as production consultants.
- The box’s story has been featured on the Mysterious Universe podcast.
- The box’s story has been covered in an episode of Syfy’s Paranormal Witness.
- A Portland radio show entitled “The Daria, Mitch and Ted Show” found out about the story via the film The Possession. The program told the stories from previous owners who attempted to sell the box to exorcists. Immediately after that, odd things began happening in the studio.
^ Kevin Mannis (September 2, 2009). “The Dibbuk Box, A.K.A. The Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet”. Yahoo. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
^ “TONIGHT (7-21) on Paranormal Underground Radio We Talk About the Haunted Dibbuk Box”. Paranormal Underground. July 21, 2011. Retrieved July 29, 2012.
^ Max Gross (February 13, 2004). “A Box Full of Bad Luck: Haunted Wine Cabinet Goes to Highest Bidder”. The Forward.
^ Leslie Gornstein (July 25, 2004). “A jinx in a box?; Maybe mischievous spirits do haunt this Jewish scroll cabinet, or maybe it’s just another Web-spawned legend run wild.”. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 31, 2010.
^ Collis, Clark. “Little Box of Horrors.” Entertainment Weekly, August 3, 2012, pp. 50-55.
^ “Paranormal Witness Episode “Dybbuk Box””. SYFY.
^ “Mystery of possessed box at caves”. Cheddar Valley Gazette. June 10, 2010.
^ “Demon ‘haunts show audience member'”. Bridgwater Times. October 21, 2010.
^ “Magician’s shock after demon ‘haunts carer’ following show”. Cheddar Valley Gazette. October 21, 2010.
^ CATHY DUNKLEY and NICOLE LaPORTE (October 26, 2004). “Horror unit will unlock new ‘Box'”. Daily Variety.
^ Nicole LaPorte (October 30, 2006). “Brand New World for Scribes”. Variety.
^ “Episode 209 Mysterious Universe”.
^ “Episode 524 Mysterious Universe”.
^ Syfy’s Paranormal Witness Returns in August Dread Central
All or part of the article above was taken from the Wikipedia article Dybbuk Box, licensed under CC-BY-SA.