In 2004, there was an eBay auction for a Dybbuk Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet Box, which ended up selling for $280. While the box itself looks rather normal, the accompanying story as to why the box is haunted is far from normal.
According to the history of the Dybbuk Box, also known as the Dibbuk Box, the original owner was a Polish Holocaust survivor that purchased the box in Spain. In 2001, the survivor perished and the box was sold at a real estate liquidation sale. However, the survivor’s granddaughter informed the new owner of the dybbuk, or haunted spirit, that was living within the box. When the new owner asked what the dybbuk was and why it was living within the box, the granddaughter became hysterical, commanding that the box not be opened, and refused to take the box back.
Thus, the new owner brought it home and put it in his workshop. Upon opening the box, he found two 1920s pennies, a small statue with the Hebrew word “Shalom” engraved on it, a lock of blond hair, and a lock of brown hair. As he was driving home, he received a call from his secretary that someone was smashing glass within his workshop. When he got to his shop, however, there was no one to be found, his secretary was uncontrollably sobbing, and all of his light bulbs were broken, still in the sockets.
In October of 2001, the owner’s mother came to his workshop to celebrate her birthday. The owner was planning on giving her the box as a gift. While he was making a phone call, an employee came running and screaming, saying that something was wrong with his mother. He found her sitting next to the box, as if in a trance, unable to speak. They later found out that she suffered from temporary partial paralysis and had lost her ability to speak. While under the paralysis, though, she spelled out letters to speak: N-O-G-I-F-T and H-A-T-E-G-I-F-T.
Trying to get rid of the box, the owner gave it to his sister, who gave it back within a week. He then gave it to his brother, who gave it back after three days. He sold it to a couple, but they returned the box to his workshop, with a note that said, “This is a bad darkness.”
Finally, he gave up and brought the box home. It was then that he started to have a recurring nightmare, where an old hag attacks him:
Every time I have the horrible dream it goes something like this: I find myself walking with a friend, usually someone I know well and trust at some point in the dream, I find myself looking into the eyes of the person that I am with. It is then that I realize that there is something different, something evil looking back at me. At that point in my dream, the person I am with changes into what can only be described as the most gruesome, demonic looking Hag that I have ever seen. This Hag proceeds then, to beat the living tar out of me. I have awakened numerous times to find bruises and marks on myself where I had been hit by the old woman during the previous night.
It was some time later that the man invited over his sister and brother for a dinner party. As the conversation flowed, they soon discussed the Dybbuk Box. When he informed them of his recurring nightmare, they revealed that they, too, had the same nightmare while in possession of the box.
During the weeks after the discussion, the owner saw what he called “Shadow People” walking around his house. Visitors to his house also claimed to see peripheral shadows moving and shifting. His house was also invaded with the intense smell of jasmine flowers and cat urine.
I woke up at around 4:30am (when it felt and smelled like someone was breathing on my neck) to find that my house now smelled like Jasmine flowers, and just in time to see a HUGE shadow thing go loping down the hall away from me.
This led to the eBay sale, which led to a new string of owners. Every new owner claims to be affected by the same negative effects: nightmares of being beaten, the smell of cat urine, jasmine flowers, and other strange occurrences.
The current owner is Jason Haxton, a museum curator, who has stated, “I’m not even sure that there’s a spirit attached to [the box].” He does not believe the history or story behind the box has any factual basis; as in, it is all a hoax. If it is a hoax, Haxton owns one of the most talked about Halloween props to ever exist.
Regardless, the box has received so much attention that Sam Raimi, director of the Evil Dead films, is now producing a film based on the box’s story, which is due out in 2011. The film is entitled “Dibbuk Box.”
From eBay item to movie, the Dybbuk Box proves that people love the paranormal.