EBay has long been an auction mecca for everything imaginable. You can buy vehicles, whole towns, and even a ghost in a bottle. For one such item, the website became the birth of an urban legend. This episode we bring you the story of the Dybbuk Box.
In 2003, an eBay auction was posted for a Jewish wine cabinet that the owner claimed he’d bought at a yard sale a couple of years before. The original owner was a 103-year-old Polish woman who escaped the Holocaust with the box. The family was told to never open it and seemed anxious to part with the item. When the new owner, Kevin Mannis, brought it to his antique shop, he quickly found out why. Within half an hour of the cabinet arriving, Mr. Mannis received a telephone call from a terrified employee who claimed that someone was in the store’s basement destroying things and cussing up a storm. When he and the police arrived, there were no signs of an intruder and no other way out of the store. That proved to be just the first of many bad events to follow. By the time he listed the box on eBay, his store had been raided by the FBI, his identity stolen, his lease taken away, and his mother suffered a stroke when he gave the box to her as a gift.
Aside from the stories, the contents of the box in the listing are an interesting sort. Inside are two U.S. wheat pennies, two small locks of hair bound with string – one blonde and one black or brown, a small granite statue engraved and gilded with Hebrew letters that spell the word “Shalom”, a dried rosebud, one golden wine cup, and a very strange black cast iron candlestick holder with octopus legs. Also reported to accompany the ordinary looking cabinet is the smell of jasmine or cat urine.
The box eventually was sold to its current owner, John Haxton. He claims to have experienced some physical maladies since obtaining it, including hives, welts and coughing up blood. Presently, Mr. Haxton, with the help of a Rabbi, has sealed the ybbuk inside the box and hidden it away for study. This has only helped the story to grow like wildfire, eventually coming to the attention of director Sam Raimi, whose horror production company, Ghost House Pictures, released the film “The Possession” in 2012.
Whether the story is real or just a creepy way to sell an otherwise ordinary item, the dybbuk box is a sensation that ranks up with Slenderman and the Boogieman. Buyer beware!