What is the 'Dybbuk Box' and why are people so scared of it?
Every paranormal investigator and really anyone who watches scary movies will have heard of the ‘Dybbuk Box’. It must be super important because Zak Bagans dropped a ton a cash to buy the ‘original’ box to feature in his haunted museum. He will not display the box opened, it will be in a ‘protective case’ and you have to be over the age of 18 and sign a consent form waiving any liability should something happen to you. Is it all a gimmick or is there some truth to it? Have Hollywood misrepresented the true origins of a Dybbuk? Can anyone capture a spirit in a wine box? Here is all you need to know about the Dybbuk box and you can make up your own mind.
It is a very very very long and complicated story so I am going to try to condense it down a bit for you but let’s look for at what a ‘Dybbuk’ is. In Hebrew it means ‘Cling’ and in Jewish folklore a Dybbuk refers to a malicious spirit that is bound to the earth with the intention to possess a living person to cause harm. This is the important part – it is NOT and I repeat it is NOT a demon! Jewish folklore has many different terms for different kinds of spirits and even for demons. None of these are ‘Dybbuk’. I am by no means an expert on Judaism so I am not going to pretend I am and leave the translation at just that. I will however mention towards the end of this article and experience I had at a recent investigation that caused me to look into the term Dybbuk further.
Back to the Dybbuk box. Now that you know what a Dybbuk is, what is a Dybbuk box and where did it come from? Well in 2003 a man called Kevin Mannis put a wine box up for sale on Ebay. I would post the whole description but it is pages and pages long. If you would like to read the whole post that was put on ebay you can find it at www.dibbukbox.com/story (even this does not contain the complete post but does offer a link to the official book on the dybbuk box hmmmmm. It is really quite dramatised and elaborate and of course sold as a ‘haunted’ item. Luckily I have done all of the hard work reading for you and I am going to summarise it for you. In 2001, Kevin went to a yard sale or garage sale as we would call here in Australia, and came across the box. He is a used furniture dealer so makes sense. The family of a woman who had recently passed away at the age of 103 were selling her things. The family explained this woman was born and raised in Poland, married and started a family and unfortunately because of the era was sent to a Nazi concentration camp during world war 2. Tragically all of her family were killed and she was the only survivor. Her and some other prisoners escaped and lived in Spain until the end of the war. She somehow acquired a wine cabinet during her time in spain(which would soon become the Dybbuk box) and it was one of only three positions she brought with her when she immigrated to America. The grandaughter of this lady told Kevin that growing up she was never allowed to touch the box, definitely not to open the box and that her grandmother referred to it as the Dybbuk box and asked it to be buried with her. (Due to orthodox tradition her wish was not granted). The family were very upset at the thought of the box and wanted it gone.
Fast foward a bit and all of these very dramatic things happened to Kevin and anyone who was basically around the box so of course it was the box right? Kevin was going to refinish the box and of course had to open it and see what was inside. Inside the box was some pennies from the late 1920’s, some locks of hair, a dried rosebud, an octopus candlestick holder, a golden wine cup and an engraving of the word ‘Shalom’ which is a salutation meaning ‘peace’ for when you greet or say goodbye to someone. There was also an engraving in the back of the cabinet in Hebrew. He didn’t refinish the box, just cleaned it up and gave it to his mum who not long after suffered from a stroke. She managed to write him a note that said ‘Hate gift’ on it. He gave it to his sister, his brother his girlfriend all who returned it to him for different reasons. No one wanted this cursed box and they all suffered nightmares of an ‘old hag’. Lots and lots of things happened at the hands of box apparently that had these people’s lives in turmoil so he put the item on ebay because he was too scared to destroy it. It was purchased for $140 by a student Iosif Nietzke who was a uni student that wrote blogs about his experience. He relisted it on ebay 8 months later with similar stories. In 2004 Jason Haxton bought the box for $280. He knew of Iosif Nietzke and the box as he followed the blog and jumped at the opportunity. He is the most well known owner of the box as he wrote a book and made a website (the one I listed above).
He created a website, wrote a book and appeared in documentaries and tv shows. He had ‘paranormal experts’ conduct different experiments on the box (which of course were televised or written about). He claimed that it gave him physical problems but in some interviews on youtube claimed that it had anti ageing benefits as well.
He partnered with Kevin Mannis on these ventures and they of course made money from it and still do. The movie ‘The Possession’ was based loosely on this whole story (and I am sure they benefited financially). The in between buyer is nowhere to be found and is known of by the name of Iosif Nietzke who no one can seem to find or more I can’t find anymore information on him. Eventually it all became too much and he consulted with Rabbi to have the Dybbuk sealed back in the box and he buried it in an unknown location. The box was dug up for a special appearance of ‘Deadly Possessions’, Zak Bagan’s show on his haunted museum which thrust the story of the Dybbuk box back into the spotlight. The world’s most haunted object is now going to be on display in Zak’s museum. Maybe Zak wants to take advantage of those Anti Ageing benefits!
So is it just me or are there some red flags here?
How did a Dybbuk get in the box and why? Why would someone sell something like this on ebay back in a time when it wasn’t cool to sell ‘haunted objects’ on ebay? Why does the box always seem to magically reappear when there is a media opportunity? How do you know it is the ‘REAL’ box? There are replica boxes all over the place and I am sure there is no Dybbuk in there. The real question I actually have is this ….. Do these guys genuinely believe this box is causing them all this misfortune? Did they make it all up or do they truely believe the box is ruining their lives. Skeptic Chris French spoke out and said if people are purposely looking for items with a reputation for causing harm, their mind is automatically going to think that anything bad that happens can be attributed to the box. Have to say I agree here.
Personally I don’t really buy into the hype of the Dybbuk box. Would I open it in person and investigate it! Hell yeah I would. Sign that consent form, I’m in. Sadly I don’t think I am going to make it to Zak’s museum anytime soon.
That is about all I know on the Dybbuk Box. What I can tell you is a personal experience I had recently on a paranormal investigation that led me to research into the folklore of the Dybbuk. I was at a location where a lot of Jewish immigrants were living post World War 2. It was a very quiet evening and we were having difficulty capturing any sort of evidence. We felt like they were there, but either didn’t know how to or didn’t want to communicate with us. Some of the information that came through led us to believe that perhaps we were picking up on some Jewish energies. A quick google search and we came across the word Dybbuk. As soon as we mentioned this word, the equipment would go crazy and we would get responses. (The mobile phone was off and in another area at this point before you jump the gun with assumptions you smart people – I would think the same btw). Anyway that is my little link to the Dybbuk and what led me to start researching the folklore behind the Dybbuk.
So I want to know ….. Do you think the Dybbuk box is truely haunted?
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