The Dibbuk Box is a wine cabinet that has an evil entity bound within it known as a dibbuk, which comes from Judaic folklore. They’re a restless, usually malicious spirit believed to be able to haunt or even possess the living. It’s believed a dibbuk was once a human soul which is endowed with supernatural abilities. To give an example of what the entity is all about, the word dibbuk in Hebrew means “cling.” These evil spirits latch onto something and don’t let go. The way in which a human soul can become a dibbuk, for the most part, art a burning desire to finish something, or gain some sort of closure. For example, a person with a strong will who was murdered seeking revenge, or an attachment to negative energy could turn a human soul into a dibbuk. But, there are many things that could inspire a soul to cling; like being unable to right perceived mistakes in life.

These entities can possess the living in an attempt to gain what they desire, entering a living person and latching onto their very soul. Dibbuks cause mental illness and the person they possess express alien characteristics that weren’t there before. Possession is a term often associated with demons, and indeed some dibbuk may have become demons. But most are unclean human spirits with demonic attributes, making them far more dangerous than a typical ghost. Though it’s not just unfinished desire that can cause the creation of a dibbuk upon a person’s death. A denuded spirit so unclean from sins and evil could become a dibbuk too. They’re powerful entities, but not unstoppable. According to kabbalistic knowledge, these malicious spirits can be dealt with. A dibbuk can be bound, exorcised, or even in some cases redeemed. As a group of entities, they’re known as the dibbukim; who are synonymous with violent hauntings, possession, bad luck, the smell of urine, and causing nightmares.

A Dibbuk is not an entity you want to meet

The origins of the infamous Dibbuk Box come from eBay. In September 2001 the Dibbuk Box was posted to the auction site complete with a horrific backstory by a man named Kevin Mannis. He got the box from an estate sale in Portland, Oregon without any knowledge of the darkness that haunted it. The liquidated property for sale belonged to a recently deceased elderly Jewish woman. She requested that they bury the Dibbuk Box with her. Obviously, the wish hadn’t been honored.

After owning the box for some time with intentions to refurbish it and give it to his mother as a birthday present, Kevin Mannis started becoming aware of the strange phenomenon. When away from his business Mannis got a call from an employee who was alone at his shop. The Dibbuk Box was stored in the basement of the building. The workshop where Mannis refurbished antiques. His employee called him in a panic, almost screaming. She told him there was an intruder in the building breaking glass and swearing in the basement of the store. The bars to the shop were put in place by the intruder somehow, locking her inside.

The infamous box

Upon hanging up Mannis raced to his business, speeding the whole way there. He found his employee on the ground in his office sobbing and shaking with fear. As he descended the stairs to the workshop he noticed all the lights had been shattered. Debris of glass was scattered everywhere. An overwhelming smell of cat urine was extremely pungent in the basement workshop. With only one way in or out of the basement, there was no possibility the intruder could get by him unseen. However, Mannis saw no one. But there in the darkness was the Dibbuk Box. The employee who was trapped inside the shop left and never returned to work, even though she was a dedicated employee of two years. Till this day the woman refuses to speak of the incident.

Obviously, there was some very high strangeness going on, but Kevin Mannis tried to shrug it off. When he began the project of refurbishing the Dibbuk Box he noticed the masterful way it was constructed. It was carpentry of the highest quality. A mechanism had been built into it which caused the bottom drawer to automatically open when the doors were opened. Inside Mannis found an odd assortment of objects. There were two extremely old copper pennies. A granite slab engraved with the word “shalom” written in Hebrew. Two locks of hair were bound with a string; one blond, one of dark brown hair. A golden wine cup. A dried-up rosebud. Last was a black cast iron candlestick holder with a very decorative design. Though Mannis was unaware, these items were part of a mystic ritual of occult magic, which bound the dibbuk to the box.

By opening and messing with the box the spell had been broken

The pennies were 100% copper. All throughout history copper has been used to battle demonic activity and witchcraft. It’s also a potent form of protection under the right rituals. In kabbalah the Jewish mystical tradition, copper is used against evil spirits. The hair must be from the ones who originally summoned the dibbuk into their lives. Because a price must be paid to seal what they themselves brought forth, the sacrifice of hair locks symbolic for the permanent taint on their souls. The small granite slab was inscribed with the word “shalom” which means peace, dampening the dibbuk’s ability to manifest by being charged with psychic energy through ritual. The wine cup (usually used in Jewish wedding ceremonies) is a symbol meant to bring good health and prosperity, and through faith is filled with positive energy. Also, the cup was made of brass, which is mainly made of copper and zinc, further dampening the entity’s influence. The dried rosebud is a common ingredient in occult rituals used in many esoteric arts. Sometimes representing the divine soul such as in Rosicrucianism. The single candlestick is associated with the Shabbat Jewish tradition. It’s a symbol of peace and light in the darkness. Little did Mannis know by disturbing these items in the box, he was unwittingly giving the dibbuk more power to manifest itself.

These occult items in the box inspire many questions. Like the cryptic origin of the Dibbuk Box, and just who did the locks of hair belong to? Luckily the more infamous this tale becomes, the more comes to light concerning the box’s history. During WWII Poland, the country was in ruins from Nazi occupation. Two Jewish girls hiding from the fascists grew bored with nothing to do. So they messed with things they didn’t understand, using an ouija board to pass the time. Occupied Poland was engulfed in death, poverty, fear, and sadness. An absolute all you can eat buffet for anything demonic. Such negative energy is like a magnet for malevolent spirits. The girls invited something into their lives that horrified them, and they couldn’t get rid of. Though, it seems they were successful at binding the entity to the box and weakening its power. One of these little girls was the old woman who owned the box before it was liquidated to Kevin Mannis.

Ruins of the Polish city of Warsaw during the Nazi occupation of WWII

Eventually, the little girl and her family were discovered by the Nazis and sent to a brutal internment camp where her whole family was murdered. She alone survived by escaping and living out the rest of the war in Spain. Though it’s not clear how she kept possession of the box, it was one of only three items the young woman would take with her when she immigrated to the United States. Conflicting tales suggest the entity attached itself to her during the internment camp nightmare and the occult rituals to bind it to the box were conducted in Spain. The Dibbuk Box actually being of Spanish design. In any case, when the young Jewish woman came to America she brought the box with her where it remained secret and hidden until its existence was illuminated by Kevin Mannis’ bizarre eBay auction.

Upon inspecting the box to refurbish as a present for his mother, Kevin Mannis decided it was already in excellent condition and just oiled and cleaned it. He contacted the family of the elderly Jewish woman who formerly owned the box and offered the strange items inside the box to them. They refused outright. So he decided to just put the items back in the box and give it to his mother as is. When Mannis’ mother saw the Dibbuk Box she was incredibly excited, but right after presenting it to her he received a call and had to leave her alone with the box. When he returned, Mannis found his mother sitting in a chair beside the box. Her face was blank and expressionless, with tears pouring down her cheeks in a steady opulent flow. Her face was blank and expressionless and no matter what he did Mannis’ mother wouldn’t respond. Shortly after an ambulance was called to take her to the hospital. His mother had a stroke and lost the ability to speak. When Mannis visited her she could only point at letters to communicate. She told him she hated the gift pointing out the letters one by one. She never wanted it in her presence again.

Something had horrified his mother beyond comprehension

At this point, Mannis was baffled but still didn’t accept the high strangeness around him as more than coincidence. Since his mother would have nothing to do with the Dibbuk Box he gave it to his sister. She quickly returned it only giving the excuse “The doors won’t say shut.” So then Mannis gave it to his brother, who also quickly returned it saying it reeked of piss. Then Mannis handed it off to his girlfriend, who returned it almost immediately, asking him to sell it for her. Frustrated Mannis sold it to a couple at a steep discount. Three days later it was left for him at his business with a note on it saying “This has a bad darkness.” Giving up Mannis decided to just keep the box and took it home.

That very night he had a horrible nightmare. Mannis was walking with someone he knew and trusted when all the sudden they violently altered into the appearance of a horrifying demonic-looking old lady. Whom then beat him relentlessly. This would become a re-occurring nightmare, and he would even have physical bruises on his body when he woke up. Kevin Mannis then invited his sister, brother, and his brother’s wife to stay the night at his home. The following morning his sister complained about having a horrible nightmare. One she’d had before. Mannis asked her to tell them about it and was astonished that his sister was repeating the same nightmares he’d been having. His brother and sister in law too spoke up, saying they’d had the same dreams. Everyone was flabbergasted it was possible to share the same nightmare. Then they all admitted it wasn’t the first time they’d had the dream. Each one of them had been in possession of the Dibbuk Box before, and each one of them had nightmares of the demonic old lady while it was in their homes. His family members confessed to Mannis the reason they’d all given him back the box was because it creeped them out, and associated it with their nightmares.

The demonic spirit took the form of an old hag

Now exceptionally spooked, Mannis decided to put the Dibbuk Box in an outside storage unit. But it didn’t help. He began to notice shadow figures out of the corner of his eyes. Other people who visited his home also claimed to see these shadow people.  One night the fire alarm went off in the storage room. He got out of bed to check on it but there was no fire. Just the Dibbuk Box and the smell of cat piss. When he returned inside the smell of urine was in his home as well and he experienced horrifying supernatural phenomena. This was when Mannis fully conceded to the paranormal nature of the box and researched it. He learned as much as he could concerning its history, but most importantly he discovered the nature of the demonic entities called the dibbukim.

Bad luck follows the Dibbuk Box to basically anyone who sees it, much less comes into possession of it. Anyone who comes across the box suffers some kind of misfortune, as well as terrifying paranormal activity. Kevin Mannis’ lease on his business was terminated for no reason while he had the box. Owners of the box since the eBay auction all claim high strangeness occurs when the box is around. From nightmares to health problems, to hair falling out, and much more. It has yet to outright kill anyone, but the trauma its produced is profound. Jewish Rabbis have since re-sealed the Dibbuk Box, and it currently resides in the museum of a man named Zak Bagans.

Kevin Mannis was told by the granddaughter of the old Jewish woman who originally owned the box that her grandmother had always been stern about keeping the box closed. When the granddaughter would ask what’s inside the box, the old woman would spit three times and say “Dibbuk” with a finger on her lips in the gesture of silence. When Mannis opened the box and removed the items he partially released the entity, causing a spiral of bad luck and paranormal occurrences to many people around him, as well as the consecutive owners of the box after selling it on eBay. Luckily he didn’t destroy the Dibbuk Box though. Otherwise, the dibbuk would have been freed to terrorize the living at will as it did before being bound to the box. Still, horrible events have come to anyone who interacts with the Dibbuk Box till this day. The craziest thing is people who’ve simply just heard of the Dibbuk Box have suffered horrible nightmares of the demonic hag, so sleep well tonight.

Classical depiction of a Dibbuk

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