I talked a little bit about the Sam Raimi produced upcoming horror film The Possession a couple of weeks ago and the film follows a young girl who buys an antique box at a yard sale who is totally unaware that inside lives a malicious ancient spirit called a dibbuk – an evil spirit from Jewish lore. Her Father teams up with his ex-wife to find a way to rid the curse that has taken over their child.

If you didn’t know already, the film is “based on a true story” which is only something that horror films use these days as a way to grab the attention of people. Most horror films that claim they are based on a real life event are totally false and they only use this form of marketing in order to sell more tickets. Let’s face it, studios will do anything in order to get more people in front of the silver screen and if that means bending the truth a bit (or a lot) they’ll do it in a heart beat.

The true story behind The Possession is actually quite interesting and the entire idea behind the film is very intriguing. When you go to something like a garage sale and you buy an item, you never know the exact history of it and why someone is trying to get rid of it. Because of that, I decided to take a look into the truth behind The Possession and its dibbuk box.

In the mid 2000’s is when the story of this famous dibbuk box surfaced. It started with an odd listing on eBay for an old wine box that had a starting bid of $1.00. In the box there were locks of hair, a couple of pennies, a wine cup, a slab of granite that had been engraved, and a dried flower. 50 bids later, the wine box ended up selling for almost $300. The seller bought it from another seller, who was the first modern-day buyer of the box.

The original buyer, Kevin Mannis, says that this box was purchased at the estate sale of a 103-year-old Holocaust survivor. The old woman was the only person in her entire family to survive. When she came to the United States, she only brought three things with her; a steamer trunk, a sewing box, and this wine cabinet. The granddaughter, who managed the estate, remember that her grandmother was terrified of the box and would insist that her family never, ever open the box. When the buyer had offered the box to her she immediately refused it.

Before the buyer could even get home with the box, Mannis received a nervous and frantic call from one of his employees at the furniture shop that he owned. The employee claimed someone was in the shop, destroying the place. When Mannis finally arrived, he found his store covered in broken glass and lightbulbs were everywhere, but he never found the mysterious stranger. That same day, his employee quit and never returned.

Mannis soon cleaned up the box and gave it to his mother for her birthday and within minutes of receiving the box, she had a stroke and lost the ability to speak forever. Much later she was able to point to letters spelling out HATE GIFT. Of course, Mannis doesn’t put two and two together and attempts to gift the box to many of his friends and family members. All who did take the box returned it to him within days of taking it. Some of them said that the doors wouldn’t stay closed and  would open on themselves; others smelled a strange mixture of jasmine and cat urine while owning the box. When Mannis sold it to a couple they eventually left it on his doorstep two days later with a note that said: “This has a bad darkness.” Now that Mannis just couldn’t get rid of the box he started to have terrifying recurring nightmares about his friends turning into a demon and beating him to a pulp. He claims to have waken from these nightmares with bruises all over his body. All of the family members who had taken possession of the box suffered from the exact same nightmare. If that wasn’t bad enough, on Friday the 13th Mannis found all 10 fish in his aquarium had died. Coincidence?

This obviously begs the question, “Why the hell not throw the damn thing away?” The reason is that Mannis was so afraid to destroy the box that he worried it would cause whatever evil spirit that he believed might be haunting the box would stay with him forever. Traditionally if something like this happens they say you are supposed to formally transfer ownership for the spirit to move on, except he could never find anyone who would keep it for more than a couple of days. So instead, he sold it on eBay for $140 to a college student, Losif Nietzke who also claims to have had similar bad luck.

Nietzke says that in the seven months that he had possession of the box, he and his roommates fell victim to many injuries like broken fingers, bronchitis, swollen red eyes, and insomnia. Also, their house became plagued with decaying dead mice and their electronics would die daily. The worst came over Nietzke when the healthy 20-year-old started losing his hair.

Currently the box is in the hands of a university museum curator by the name of Jason Haxton in the Still College of Osteopathic Medicine Museum in Kirksville, MO who has experienced some of the same illnesses and has also smelled the odd mixture of jasmine and cat urine like many of the other owners. The reason Haxton is interested in the box is because of it’s religious background. There are Hebrew etchings all over the box, and it is believed to contain a dibbuk, a malevolent, misplaced Jewish spirit. It is said that, “a soul that has been unable to fulfill its function during its lifetime is given another opportunity to do so in dybbuk form.” 

LTK (Love to Know) has an interview with Jason Haxton in which they ask him about what it’s like owning the box and he gives some surprising answers to say the least. One of which is when he states that when he dies he “would like the Dibbuk Box to buried with me and for it to be finally gone from this world.” But probably the most interesting thing in the interview is Haxton’s own theory of the box which he says that it “is somewhat neutral – neither evil nor good. I believe it was designed and equipped to move a person toward their innermost desire or wish. Of course, sometimes what a person wants is not always a good thing for them or others.

The Dibbuk Box moves toward understanding and exposing the truth at the smallest level. Its original acting out against its early owners and others was a way of continuing to move toward the ultimate goal of its creator. Those not willing to move it forward received stronger assaults from it until they let loose of the box so it could find someone who would fulfill its destiny and accomplish the goal or task it was given. Now the journey and its work is finished. As long as the Dibbuk Box remains contained with no one requesting anything more from it, it will stay in a neutral state.”

Be sure to head over to LTK and read the full interview.

So is this dibbuk box real, or is it just some elaborate hoax that the film is using as an excuse to add to its horror?

Source: FearnetDibbukBox.comLTK
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73 comments

  1. Wow, that is a really neat story, thanks for sharing! I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this one before! The stories behind films are usually always better than what is eventually shown on screen, but I might just have to see this one!

    1. so i dont get it.. is it a real story ? did those things actually happened with a certain family..? or its inspired by some stories?..

  2. I saw the preview to the new movie before reading the story. It is plausible to believe that there may be some kind of dark entity attached to the wine box. After all, one only has to recall certain phenomena like cursed objects among other well documented paranormal cases. What seems disturbing is how the movie portrays it all. Obviously enough, Hollywood will aggrandize this particular story, and it will be blown out of proportion to be something beyond anything the experts who have dealt with other similar paranormal cases have experienced. Therefore, what can be reasonably expected in the real world is clearly not going to be demonstrated in this movie. Perhaps the word “extreme” could be used to describe the movie because extremeness is what sells, and people won’t be interested if it’s not full of screaming demons and action packed exorcist-like scenarios. Well, congratulations to Lions Gates! They’ll get yet another opportunity to make a couple dollars off some far flung story taken out of context from its original recounting.

    1. You summed it up perfectly. It’s all for the money and if saying it’s a true story will sell more tickets they’re most definitely going to do that. The problem I’ve always had with films that do this is that a lot of the people that see the film go on telling everyone else that the film is the exact truth when in reality it doesn’t even come close.

  3. As a religious Jew I can tell you we don’t believe in the devil, hell or possession. No one who claimed to be harmed by this box is a practicing Jew. This just makes me sick.

    1. Arielah, religious Jews do belive in hell ( gehenom) as well as the devil ( the Satan is the same as the “devil) as far as possessions go, there are things written in the zohar that say possessions are real although we obviously don’t don’t hear about them all that often for whatever reason, probably bc it doesn’t happen too often or bc everyone would freak out? But these things are real and I really wouldn’t mind never seeing it for myself!

    2. If you’re a religious Jew then you should believe in the devil (aka Satan) because iliad mentioned in the book of genesis in the scriptures.

    3. Arielah I too am a religious Jew and if you really were or paid attention to any of our teachings you would know there is a devil,hell and possession. Without evil there would be no reason for us to belive in God and good! You my dear need to go back to temple

  4. haha… I listen to the Mysterious Universe podcast and have heard a couple of episodes about this box. The accounts of the strange activity that accompanies the box are very interesting. In fact, if I recall correctly the host, Ben interviewed the current owner of the box. I just paid attention to a preview for this movie and immediately thought of the dibbuk box story. When I search low and behold, I found this post. Thanks for the great write up and its good to clear up whats true and what has been changed to suit the studios.

  5. Um, this article is totally over dramatized. I saw the actual E-bay listing and he said that his mother REGAINED her speech. I mean it’s still a really spooky story. He never mentioned the dead fish in his description, but maybe this person had a one on one interview. And maybe, the mother lost her speech again, but I doubt it. If any of you wanna see it, just ask, or go on IMDB. Someone has a link on there.

  6. true or not i bet its gonna be an awesome movie period! I dont see what the fuss is all about on whether its historically correct or not. If its really that important to where you dont want to pay for it or cant, then just wait till it hits redbox, youtube, or some kind of bootleg website or something. All this complaining about hollywood and their advertisements is retarded. Just watch and enjoy or dont. :p

  7. I bought a beautiful irridescent dark stone for a necklace…. Then I was in a car wreck for the first time in 20 years…my van full of children sideswiped. I was holding my 8mth old baby at a pool and a stone broke beneath me and i plunged in the water having to toss my child so it wouldnt hit its head on the stone…all was ok thank God! Then I bleached my hair as usual…and it started turning to goo and falling off. I was mortified at all the BAD that was happening since I wore this stone. So I took it off and looked into the sunlight at it….and it posessed an upside down cross deep in the reflection. I got rid of it….and nothing horrible has happened since.

    1. An upside down (inverted) cross is used in the Catholic Faith. It is the Cross of Saint Peter and was originally a Christian Symbol. Has been used in recent history by so called Satanists.

  8. if a dark spirit can be attached to an object thereby affecting those who come into contact with it, then doesn’t it stand to reason that a benevolent spirit can be attached to an object? like a crucifix necklace, a scapular, or a rosary? or any other religious article? just something i was thinking about

    1. Spirits cannot be attached to things like that, but they can act in response to people’s doubts, fears & beliefs. The apostle Paul found that handerchiefs sent from him seemed to have remarkable results upon others. Peter at one point walked down the street and when his shadow fell across people, they were healed — a witness from God.

      However, if occultists entrust something to demonic spirits to participate in the lives of people regarding it, I would have to consider that to be something related to them more than to the innocent victim, who would not be involved in such behaviors. Also, if not under the protection of God as a Christian, you are sort of like a person walking in the rain without an umbrella for protection. Mike Wanrke, a former Satanist turned Christian, once mentioned that at a rock concert where there was a witch at the backstage entrance for a certain group, two young ladies/girls went to go in & one was turned away but the other allowed. The reason? The witch said that the one (not allowed) was either a Christian or had someone praying for her.

      1. I’ve often wondered if people who were “evil” so to speak, could sense goodness in souls. I wonder what it is that could repel them, I pray for my children and we are christians. I would like to see exactly what a true “witch” would sense if she were in a room with christians, atheists, occult followers, radical muslims, s@tanists, etc etc… i would be very curious to see if she could tell any of them apart. or at least be repelled by the christians or people who have others praying for them. there is great power in prayer.

    2. I remember meeting someone years ago whom I had a very strong “impression” about that he had some kind of satanic influence. As we talked, he started showing me things in his notebook, and in the notebook he also happened to have a lot of occultic & satanic style drawings. He mentioned that he’d kind of been interested in that stuff for awhile.

      Conversely, at a time when I was trying to be especially close to God in my life, I was at a place where some vagrant people were, and this one guy started talking to himself & acting all weird as he walked around near me, just babbling bad things sort of out loud but not real loud. I know not all homeless people are that way, but this one seemed to be demon-possessed, IMO, and I suppose that it was set off due to my trying to walk closer to God. I did not have the confidence that I was going to be able to cast it out of him, however, for whatever reason. I Christians are supposed to be able to, but I’ve not done stuff like that even though I do have some rather radical demonstrations of demonic activity happen near me sometimes when trying to be closer to God at times. I think this would indicate the perception goes both ways, depending on how close a person is walking to one side or the other at the time or what God (or evil, on the other hand) chooses to reveal. I think God also has the power to hide things & people, too.

  9. another question: why didn’t they have the box exorcized or bury it on sacred ground like a church or synagogue or cemetarty?

    1. Hmm, I might wonder about that, too, or maybe sprinkle it with holy water, lol. Maybe the evil inside would melt like the wicked witch of the west in the land of Oz. – Heh.
      I don’t think Jews are all that into casting out demons, and most Americans aren’t either, even if Christians. We need to rediscover what real Christianity is I think, as we are missing it somewhere. Our version isn’t matching up to the biblical version so often.

      1. You should search through the books of Islam (or ask Google.com) … you’ll find much about Christianity -> look for the videos on youtube (ahmad deedat – أحمد ديدات). You might as well look for Jinn – جن (Devils – Demons – Spirits)

  10. Dark spirits usually can attach themselves to physical objects but benevolent spirits don’t really do that, according to research I have done on the subject. That’s one of the differences between beings of light and beings of darkness. Objects can be “blessed” but usually don’t contain a good spirit. Good spirits don’t normally show themselves as animals either though I’m sure they can, i.e. the Holy Spirit appearing as a dove. But most times, they just dont appear like animals, at least no where near as much as dark spirits do. But attaching themselves to objects is something that dark spirits seem to like to do. A human spirit, that may not mean any harm, can associate itself with objects that it might have liked while it lived, but I do not consider this a “benevolent” spirit just the same.

  11. That is all very interesting, but sounds a lot like real demons trying to put something over on people.

    You see, there are real demons. I’m aware of that due to conflicts I’ve witnessed personally. However, what demons want in part is to distract people from their only chance of Salvation: God & Jesus Christ. Evil spirits push hype about how powerful they are & that everyone is helpless against them, which to an extent, is so: mere people are not as powerful as demonic spirits, which are fallen angels.

    God the Heavenly Father, Who made mankind in His own image, has paid in blood through His eternal Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem mankind — whomever believes in Him. Imagine some nerdy helpless pedophile pervert trying to rape some hulking, cage-fighting, Navy SEAL warrior’s precious little pre-K child …and not getting smashed if Daddy is around or finds out, and that’s the scenario. Demons don’t have enough to deal with a God that can obliterate them & make them wish they were eternally dead & under the biggest rock they can find in order to stay away from Him. All they can do is trick people into hopefully not realizing how much God loves them & into thinking no thought of God or Jesus Christ ever coming into the equation at all. Then, they only have to contend with mere puny humans (as the Hulk might say it).

  12. Im seeing it opening nite….. oh ya my house was haunted so i moved to a diffrent house i still feel like something fallowed me >:/

    1. I had a terrifying experience with ghosts when i was 7. I saw the spirit of a lady in a white gown walk through my bathroom. I saw the movie The Possession and it was cool. I am not afraid of spirits but am rather fascinated. Someetimes in my new house ,my Grandpas old house, i feel like the presence i saw at the other house is watching me, and i cant shake the feeling it wanted me to help it. I am 12 now.

      1. What you may not realize is that spirits can be very deceitful & have hidden agendas. What you think you saw or experienced may not be the true reality. Remember, Satan can appear as like an angel of light to deceive Christians, so various spirits can be highly treacherous. It’s nothing to mess with. You don’t sound very religious, & I gave up on mere religion years ago. Mere religion doesn’t work in spiritual reality. You have to deal with the realities, and that’s what Jesus Christ & his apostles & disciples in the biblical church was doing long ago. Most churches even, these days, haven’t got the faith or closeness to God to deal with this kind of reality it seems, although some do believe in prayer & praise & worship of God, which is also powerful. If you get to where you can’t deal with it, start praying & ask God to help you find some people that have strong faith & can intercede for your situation.

  13. I wonder if the similar dreams could all be a warning that the then-current owner of the box was not “approved of” and that some evil spirit/s intended to cause even their closest friends & confidents to betray them, as retribution.

    It is also interesting as to the two odors mentioned: cat urine & jasmine. Could one be a sign of disapproval & one a sign of affection? Since there were two pennies & two different locks of hair (different colors), I suspect that could relate to two different spirits…combined into one “situation” (-the single candlestick with multiple octopus legs?). Hmm, intrigueing.

    As for the huge shadow and other mention of shadows moving about in the original account of the seller of the box on Ebay, that would fit with evil spirit activity. I met a man who told me about a situation with something of demons like “rats” scurrying about in a room. I also recall a situation where I sensed so strongly – almost like seeing but not seeing – a dark figure lurking nearby on one occaision, but it left as I sought God about it and rejected the evil & the fear of it. Demonic manifestations also become more noticeable, IMO, when in a heightened state of spiritual awareness such as prayer & fasting…or walking very closely with God & Jesus Christ.

    The electrical aspect is also interesting. People are brought back to life using electical shocks…or can die due to them. Considering the blown-out lights, smoke-detector going off (then cat urine smell indicating demonic activity), it is thought-provoking to think of spiritual beings as having electrical-stimulating ability &/or properties. Of course, this could all be bogus hype intended long ago as a movie or book-selling gimmick, too. So, is it real or is it hype? At any rate, I think it is best to trust in God, trying to develop a good & real relationship with God & Jesus Christ; then, if trouble of this sort ever happens, you would have a Most-Powerful Friend to call upon for help. Scripture says that “The Angel of the LORD encamps round about them that fear (revere) Him, and He delivers them.” (Psalm 34:7, the Bible).

  14. One more note: the Bible also mentions that “fear has torment” and that “perfect love casts out fear”. ( 1 John 4:18) It is said that “God is Love”, too, and Jesus mentioned that “…if you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father (God)”…

    1. the info you provided about Kevin mannis’ mother was incorrect…she has recovered completely….also, not everyone who purchased the box returned it “within days”…the college kid had it for months and even kept an ongoing blog about how it was affecting him, which led the box to its current owner… the curator of that same college’s museum, who has hidden the box.

  15. I like this article. Especially the link to the interview with Mr. Haxton. For those that are “curious”, the inscription in stone inside the box is etched in hebrew and says ‘shalom’. The inscription on the back of the box is also in hebrew and the carved out letters read from Deuteronomy chapter 6 verse 4, which says, “Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one.” This is prayer within the offices of Judaism, and the response, “Blessed be the Name of His glorious kingdom for ever and ever.” Chapter and verse are practically the creed of Judaism. There is only One God.

  16. That’s an intriguing story but isn’t it just as likely that such a box is carrying a disease that (conveniently) no one seems to have bothered to try to culture/identify? That could explain the insomnia, red eyes, hair loss, bruising marks, etc. It might not account for a stroke, however. But seriously no one else here thinks that a box that smells like cat urine and jasmine might have unhealthy attributes? As for electronics, those fail all the time. It could be bad wiring in the building for all they know.

    1. The problem I have with this article is the facts aren’t the same as on the show. Kevins mother is talking on the show which is a big miss unless she has improved since this was written in May. Also the show states the museum no longer has it and the box has been hidden for 7 years after he sought the help of Rabbis.
      Love the responses an story of this box, thank you for writing the article and sparking another adventure of interest in mystery.

      1. If you read the interview that I included Haxton himself says,”when Kevin’s mother received the box, she suffered a stroke leaving her partially blind, unable to speak and paralyzed.” This is directly from the man who currently owns the box. I haven’t seen the show so I can’t comment on that, very interesting though.

      2. Heh,…you all ever here the story of when the sons of Sceva, a Jaw, tried casting out demons after Paul the apostle had done it? They tried to cast them out in the name the Jesus whom Paul preached about. The demons in the person asnwered that they knew Paul & Jesus, and said ” but who are you”, then the demon-possesed person tore into them & sent them running from the house injured & afraid.

  17. I think this is going to selll very well in theaters. For 1 reason, its practicaly a thriller. I mean comon, blood, screaming, and demons? Classic horror movie. But i have to say, the artcle above realy pulled me in! i couldn’t stop reading until i was done with the whole thing. But is the story realy true? I’m not saying it’s false, but there have been hundreds of movies saying true story just to pull veiwers in. But still, I s would be very pleased to see this in theaters.

  18. My mom is dating this guy who has an older stepson from a previous marriage this stepson and his dad were plundering around in an area they shouldn’t have been and retrieved a cup and some jewelry. No biggie, pawned the jewelry but the shop didn’t want the cup. So, the son took the cup home and soon gave it to my mom. My mom had this cup in her possession a week and in that week: her water pipes burst (after they replaced them from when they burst that winter, and it was freaking 70 something degrees outside), her and her boyfriend received eviction notices, my moms car needed repairs (SUDDENLY), their hours at work were cut, and one of my moms dog died. Not only that but my kids went to her house over the weekend and apparently touched the cup and that was one of the worst weeks of my life. My kids were just uncontrollable, I had to have an ultrasound done because my midwife couldn’t find a heartbeat on my unborn child (turned up fine), my youngest was unusually whiny, and I was just amazingly irritable. There were a lot of other odds and ends things I can’t remember but I remember complaining to my mom on Friday about it and she told me what happened to her and we managed to put two and two together and discovered it was that cup. She ended up talking to the stepson and asked him did anything weird happen when you got the cup. He said that actually he lost his good paying job, his roommate went berserk and kicked him out, he couldn’t find another job, and his truck broke down. Needless to say we made him take it back where he found it and bury it.

  19. Thank you a bunch for sharing this with all folks you really realize what
    you’re speaking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =). We will have a link alternate arrangement among us

  20. I know of a item that is on my family’s old Australian farm that the aboriginals left it was in the middle of a circle of rocks that have carvings on them I won’t say what it is and I will never tell anyone where it is but it attributed to the most crazy experiences I’ve ever had .. It felt wierd going near it for a start when my dad and I found it …. my dad picked it up recognizing the object for what it was and explained to me what he knew 2 hours later he was bitten by a snake causing heart faliure which had the doctors scratching there heads because once they stabilised him there were no traces of venom anywhere in his systom ,Nightmares , seeing persons night and day in the shadows , for about a week for my father and I and to top it all off and for no reason at all after that day my farther and I both have a leaking left tear duct we have never gone near it again . Do you think it is the same kinda thing ?

  21. Hey Kevin!

    I read this post a long while ago, then saw the real interview with people involved in the Dybbuk Box(I’m used to spell it as Dybbuk). Try watching Paranormal Witness, Season 2 Episode 4. They covered the Dybbuk box, basically it’s a TV series (I highly recommend it, coming from a true horror fan, it’s got great ratings too). On each episode, the will interview the people involved in the incident, they will include real footages (if available) and they hire actors to re-enact the whole story. It’s like watching a 40 minutes horror movie, some are even better than most horror movies these days.

    Okay, so coming back to the Dybbuk Box episode, the owner of the antique store, the professor, etc. From watching the Dybbuk Box episode, I can see how they tied some of the real stories into the movie, they even interviewed the mother who had stroke (she is well now :D). Also, from the episode, you can see how the movie took inspiration from the gathered information and twist it to fit the movie which was about the family with the possessed daughter. I don’t want to spoil anything, but you’ll see what I mean :D Watch it yourself. I swear it’s good.

  22. There’s another movie, very similar to Possession, about roommates getting possessed item from internet auction. Does anyone remember title?

  23. Why didn’t he just throw it away? Why must you lob that one to me? You know there’s a Jewish joke in here somewhere. Lol I’m kidding

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