Estimated reading time — 11 minutes
DERPNOTE: Since the “This Man” post was seemingly well-received, I’m going to continue tossing in these sorts of posts every so often. They’re not actual pastas, but interesting things to read about “real life” paranormal events and experiences. My hope is that you will enjoy both learning about and discussing the events described in these sorts of posts, and maybe even glean some inspiration for future submissions.
With that said, what follows is the original text of a very famous eBay auction where a harried seller tried his best to unload a possibly cursed item: The Dibbuk Box.
All of the events that I am about to set forth in this listing are accurate and may be verified by the winning bidder with the copies of hospital records and sworn affidavits that I am including as part of the sale of the cabinet.
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 woman’s 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 shut, 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.
The granddaughter told me that her grandmother had asked that the box be buried with her. However, as such a request was contrary to the rules of an orthodox Jewish burial, the grandmothers request had not been honored. I asked the granddaughter what a dibbuk, and keselim were, but she did not know. I asked if she would like to open it with me. She did not want to open it, as her grandmother had been very emphatic and serious when she instructed her not to do so, and, regardless of the reason, she wanted to honor her grandmother’s request.
I finally ended up offering to let her keep what seemed to me to be a sentimental keepsake. At that point, she was very insistent and said, No, no you bought it!
I explained that I didn’t want my money back, and that it would make me feel better to do what I thought was an act of kindness. She then became somewhat upset. Looking back now, the way she became upset was just plain odd. She raised her voice to me and said, you bought it! You made a deal!
When I tried to speak, she yelled, we don’t want it! She began to cry, asked me to leave, and quickly walked away. I wrote the whole episode off to the stress and grief she must have been experiencing. I took my purchases and politely left.
At the time when I bought the cabinet, I owned a small furniture refinishing business. I took the cabinet to my store, and put it in my basement workshop where I intended to refinish it and give it as a gift to my Mother. I didn’t think anything more about it. I opened my shop for the day and went to run some errands leaving the young woman who did sales for me in charge.
After about a half-hour, I got a call on my cell phone. The call was from my salesperson. She was absolutely hysterical and screaming that someone was in my workshop breaking glass and swearing. Furthermore, the intruder had locked the iron security gates and the emergency exit and she couldn’t get out. As I told her to call the police, my cell phone battery went dead. I hit speeds of 100 mph getting back to the shop. When I arrived, I found the gates locked. I went inside and found my employee on the floor in a corner of my office sobbing hysterically. I ran to the basement and went downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs, I was hit by an overpowering unmistakable odor of cat urine (there had never been any animals kept or found in my shop). The lights didn’t work. As I investigated, I found that the reason the lights didn’t work also explained the sounds of glass breaking. All of the light bulbs in the basement were broken. All nine incandescent bulbs had been broken in their sockets, and 10 four-foot fluorescent tubes were lying shattered on the floor. I did not find an intruder, however. I should also add that there was only one entrance to the basement. It would have been impossible for anyone to leave without meeting me head-on. I went back up to speak with my salesperson, but she had left.
She never returned to work (after having been with me for two years). She refuses to discuss the incident to this day. I never thought of relating the events of that day to anything having to do with the cabinet.
Then, things got worse.
As I already indicated, I had decided to give the cabinet to my Mother as a birthday gift. About two weeks after I made the purchase, I decided to get started refinishing it. I was surprised to find that the cabinet has a unique little mechanism. When you open one of the doors, the mechanism causes the opposite door, and the little drawer below, to open at the same time. It is very well made. Inside the cabinet, I found the following items: 1 1928 U.S. Wheat Penny; 1 1925 US Wheat Penny; One small lock of blonde hair (bound with string); One small lock of black/brown hair (bound with string); One small granite statue engraved and gilded with Hebrew letters (I have been told that the letters spell out the word SHALOM); One dried rosebud; One golden wine cup; One very strange black cast iron candlestick holder with octopus legs.
I saved all of the items in a box intending to return them to the estate. The family has refused the items, so they will be included in this sale of the cabinet.
After opening the cabinet, I decided not to refinish it. I cleaned it, and rubbed in some lemon oil. It was at this time that I noticed that there was an inscription in Hebrew carved into the back of the cabinet. I have no idea what it says or if it is significant. I have included a picture of that inscription below. On my mother’s birthday, October 28, 2001, my mother called to tell me that she was going out of town with my sister for three days, and we postponed celebrating her birthday together until she returned. On October 31, 2001, my mother came to my shop. We were going to have lunch together, but before we were going to leave, I gave her the wine cabinet. She seemed to like it. While she examined it, I went to make a phone call. I hadn’t been out of sight more than 5 minutes when one of my employees came running into my office saying that something was wrong with my mom.
When I went back to see what the matter was, I found my mom sitting in a chair beside the cabinet. Her face had no expression, but tears were streaming down her cheeks. No matter how I tried to get her to respond, she would not. She could not. It turns out that my mother had suffered a stroke. She was taken to the hospital by ambulance. She ended up suffering partial paralysis, and losing her ability to speak and form words (she has since regained the ability to speak). She could understand things being said to her, and could respond by pointing to letters of the alphabet to spell out words she wanted to say. When I asked her the following day how she was doing, she teared up and spelled out the words: N-O G-I- F-T. I assured her that I had given her a gift for her birthday, thinking that she didn’t remember, but she became even more upset and spelled out the words: H-A-T-E G-I-F-T. I laughed and told her not to worry. I told her I was sorry she didn’t like the cabinet, and that I would get her anything she wanted if she would promise to get well soon.
Still, I didn’t associate anything that had happened with the cabinet itself or anything paranormal. Frankly, I don’t think I ever even used the term paranormal until this last month.
I’ll try to make this short now. I gave the cabinet to my sister. She kept it for a week, then gave it back. She complained that she couldn’t get the doors to stay closed and that they kept coming open. There are no springs in the door mechanism and I have never found that the doors come open. I gave it to my brother and his wife who kept it for three days and then gave it back. My brother said it smelled like Jasmine flowers, while his wife insisted that it put out an odor of cat urine. I gave it to my girlfriend who asked me to sell it for her after only two days. I sold it the same day to a nice middle aged couple. Three days later, when I came to open the shop for the day, I found the cabinet sitting at the front doors with a note that read, This has a bad darkness. I had no idea what that meant. Anyway, I ended up taking it home.
Then, things got even worse.
Since the day I brought it home, I began having a strange recurring nightmare. 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. Still, I never related the nightmares to the cabinet, nor do I think that I ever would have.
About a month ago, however, my sister, and my brother and his wife came over to my house and spent the night. The following morning, during breakfast, my sister complained that she had had a horrible nightmare. She said that she recalled having had it a couple of times before, and went on to describe my nightmare exactly to the last detail. My brother and his wife froze as they listened, and then chimed in that they had both had had the exact same dreams during the night as well. The hair was standing up on the back of my neck and still is. As we talked, it became clear that the common denominator was that each of us had had the nightmare during the times that the cabinet was in our respective homes. I called my girlfriend and asked if she could recall having any nightmares recently. She described the same nightmare, same Hag, everything. When I asked her if she remembered the date when she had the nightmare, she said she did not. Then I asked if it happened to be the night before she gave me the cabinet back to sell for her. She said, Yeah! Hey, how did you know that?!!!
Now then, since my family discussion, it seems like all hell is breaking loose. For a week afterward I started seeing what I can only describe as shadow things in my peripheral vision. In fact, numerous visitors to my house have claimed that they have seen these shadow things. I put the cabinet in an outside storage unit and was awakened when the smoke alarm in the unit went off in the middle of the night. When I went to see what was burning, I opened the door and didn’t see any smoke. However, I did get hit with the smell of cat urine. When I went back inside, the smell was there in my house. I DO NOT OWN A CAT AND I NEVER HAVE. I went back outside and grabbed the cabinet. I brought it back inside and tried to research it on the Internet. While I was surfing the net, I fell asleep and once again had the same freakin nightmare. 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.
I would destroy this thing in a second, except I really don’t have any understanding of what I may or may not be dealing with. I am afraid (and I do mean afraid) that if I destroy the cabinet, whatever it is that seems to have come with the cabinet may just stay here with me. I have been told that there are people who shop on EBAY that understand these kinds of things and specifically look for these kinds of items. If you are one of these people, please, please buy this cabinet and do whatever you do with a thing like this.
You can see that I have no reserve price or minimum bid. If I can make things any easier let me know and I will do everything within my abilities.
One more note. On the same day my Mom had her stroke, the lease to my store was summarily terminated without cause.
The measurements are 12.5″ x 7.5″ x 16.25″
ALL OF THE ITEMS THAT I ORIGINALLY FOUND INSIDE THE CABINET ARE INCLUDED IN THE SALE AND WILL BE DELIVERED WITH THE CABINET.
On Jun-12-03 at 02:15:30 PDT, seller added the following information:
There is no way that I can respond to all of the e-mails I’ve received since I put this thing on-line. I’ll try now to update and answer the most common questions I’ve been receiving.
1. No, I am not religious.
2. No, I do not wish to have or participate in any sort of exorcism, or case study, or photo sessions at my home.
3. No, I will not sell any of the individual pieces which were originally found separate from the other pieces and the cabinet.
4. No, I do not speak Hebrew nor do I know what the word “keselim” means. I don’t know that the word is even or or a Hebrew word.
5. At the end of the auction, I have decided to take an opportunity to speak with the winning bidder for two reasons: a.)To make sure that the winning bidder is a serious adult who has employed some valid reasoning skills in making the decision to accept whatever this is. I will not be judgmental. Do whatever you want or need after the sale. b.)To offer full details of the events that have transpired. After I have carried out those responsibilities, and upon payment, I will have the cabinet and its contents delivered by U.S.MAIL, FED-EX, or UPS to the winning bidder. At that point, I will have no further involvement with the matter in any way, shape, or form. Period.
6.) To all of you who have offered to pray, I may not be religious, but I am certainly open to the possibilities –no matter what your religion might be. THANK YOU!
On Jun-14-03 at 05:216 PDT, seller added the following information:
Here is another update for everyone following this listing.
NO! No, I will not circumvent, or make any deals outside of EBAY – EVEN FOR MORE MONEY THAN THE FINAL AUCTION PRICE!!! If you want to win the auction and have the kind of money some of you are offering, there shouldn’t be any reason why you cannot simply place your bid in an open honest fashion. I’m sure you can understand why I might be suspicious.
For those of you wanting to know if I am still experiencing anything out of the ordinary, I thought everything was going OK until I got home on Friday – the 13th of June – and found that the fish in my fresh water aquarium – all 10 – were dead.
I’m still hoping that all of this is coincidental crap.
DERPNOTE PT2: Now, I seem to recall that more follow-up information was initially available on this website, but it seems to have been removed – most likely, to encourage interested parties to just bite the bullet and buy their book about the whole thing instead. For now, I’m just linking the book, but if anyone else stumbles onto pages that go a bit more into detail with the follow-up investigations and other details about this particular story, I’d appreciate if you would drop me a link in the comments. I’ll edit it any new links into this post as they come, so that eventually we can have a nice little “main menu” page here about the dibbuk box for both discussion and discovery.
Mirror of the original eBay auction
Paranormal Review Podcast Episode: The Dibbuk Box with Jason Haxton
Mysterious Universe Episodes 209 and 524 both deal with the dibbuk box
The Dibbuk Box on Amazon – full disclosure: our referral link is included.
Syfy’s Paranormal Witness episode on the topic – full disclosure: our referral link is included.
The “official website” of The Dibbuk Box
The wikipedia entry