Dybbuk box

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Alleged Dybbuk Box

The Dybbuk Box is an apparent wine cabinet which is said to cause bad luck and strange phenomena. The box was offered for sale on eBay in February 2004, and became somewhat of an Internet cause celebre and made international news.


The original eBay seller of the Dybbuk box relates the following story as to how they ended up in possession of the item:

During September of 2001, I attended an estate sale in Portland Oregon. The items liquidated at this sale were from the estate of a woman who had passed away at the age of 103. A grand-daughter of the woman told me that her grandmother had been born in Poland where she grew up, married, raised a family, and lived until she was sent to a nazi concentration camp during World War II. She was the only member of her family who survived the camp. Her parents, brothers, a sister, husband, and two sons and a daughter were all killed. She survived the camp by escaping with some other prisoners and somehow making her way to Spain where she lived until the end of the war. I was told that she acquired the small wine cabinet listed here in Spain and it was one of only three items that she brought with her when she immigrated to the United States. The other two items were a steamer trunk, and a sewing box.

I purchased the wine cabinet, along with the sewing box and some other furniture at the estate sale. After the sale, I was approached by the womans granddaughter who said, I see you got the dibbuk box. She was referring to the wine cabinet. I asked her what a dibbuk box was, and she told me that when she was growing up, her grandmother always kept the wine cabinet in her sewing room. It was always locked, and set in a place that was out of reach. The grandmother always called it the dibbuk box. When the girl asked her grandmother what was inside, her grandmother spit three times through her fingers said, A dibbuk, and keselim. The grandmother went on to tell the girl that the wine cabinet was never, ever, to be opened.

Further investigation by the current owner of the box is said to have revealed that the 103-year-old woman's name was Havela, and her and other family members in pre-WWII Poland had been holding séances hoping to talk to the dead. It is thought they had reached a true spirit who became a regular 'visitor' to their séance group. As the spirit became more and more influential, and perhaps more sinister, the group decided the best way to get rid of it was to bring it to this world and trap it. They did this, with the Dybbuk Box being purchased at a later date as a custom storage unit for the spirit.

The original eBay seller related that after they first purchased the box from the estate sale, strange and terrible things regularly occurred in the vicinity of the box. An employee was scared witless by a poltergeist-like phenomenon which smashed lights and swore profusely. Upon returning to the premises, the owner described an ammonia-like smell ("cat urine"). The seller's mother allegedly had a stroke just minutes after being given the box as a gift.

The box is said to have been sold in June 2003, with the details mentioned above provided. The buyer describes hunting down the original definition of 'Dybbuk', which they found meant: "1. (Jewish folklore) a demon that enters the body of a living person and controls that body's behavior. Synonyms: dybbuk. 2. Evil Spirits, that cause mental illness, rage and changes of personality. "

The box was offered for sale on eBay again just seven months after purchase, and this time it became a minor Internet phenomenon, with many websites linking to it and some news outlets even covering the sale (the eBay sell page clocked up over 57,000 hits). The Dybbuk Box sold on February 9th 2004 for $US280.

The word on the stone in the box is the Hebrew word shalom, which means "peace."

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