The 2012 supernatural horror movie “The Possession” was a departure from the usual venue of religious horror movies, focused on supposed real life encounters with a dybbuk contained in a wine bottle cabinet.
According to Kevin Mannis’ posting on Yahoo! Voices, entitled “The Dibbuk Box A.K.A. The Haunted Jewish Wine Cabinet”, the wine cabinet was a present that no one wanted because of the insidious spirit living inside of it. He writes that he bought the box in 2001 at an estate sale in Portland, Oregon from the granddaughter of a Polish woman named Havela, who had moved to Spain after escaping from a Nazi concentration camp. Havela had bought the box in Spain and brought it to the United States upon immigration. The granddaughter warned Kevin that it had never been opened because there was a dybbuk inside.
As soon as he brought the box into his shop, strange things allegedly took place. He placed it in the basement of his furniture shop. He left to run errands but returned soon after because a female employee called him and told him that “someone was in my workshop breaking glass and swearing” (Yahoo! Voices). He returned to find no intruder, but all of the lights in the basement busted. Soon after, he opened the box. Inside he found:
[One] 1928 U.S. Wheat Penny; [one] 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
The decision to give the both to his mother as a birthday present ultimately proved disastrous. On Halloween, his mother came to the shop. Kevin gave her the box. He writes that within five minutes that his mother had a stroke. In the hospital, his mother indicated she did not like the gift.
He tried to give the box to family and even tried to sell it, but recipients, too, felt the box was somehow cursed. Kevin gave the box to his sister. She returned it within a week, claiming the box opened on its own. He gave it to his brother and sister-in-law. They returned it in three days, complaining it smelled of either blooming jasmine flowers or feline urine. He gave the box to his girlfriend. After only two days, she asked him to sell the box. He sold the box to a middle-aged couple that same day. He writes that:
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. (Yahoo! Voices)
Soon, he was being plagued by seemingly supernatural occurrences, forcing him to once again try to sell the box. With the box in his home, he began to have reoccurring nightmares of being beat by an “old hag” (Yahoo! Voices). So, he put it in a storage shed. Soon after, he began experiencing electrical problems and claimed to see shadow people out of his peripheral vision. He decided to sell the box on EBay.
The Jewish Daily Forward 02/13/2004 article titled “A Box Full of Bad Luck: Haunted Wine Cabinet Goes to Highest Bidder” by Max Gross writes that the winner of the auction had similar supernatural occurrences that prompted him to sell the box on EBay, as well. Iosif Neitzke, a student at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, revealed in the description of the box that it was slowly ruining his life.
For starters, Neitzke blames the box for sleeping problems, car trouble and light bulbs burning out throughout his home.
Then there are the more unusual issues: “I’ve started seeing things, sort of like large vertical dark blurs in my peripheral
vision,” Neitzke wrote. “I smell something like juniper bushes or stingy ammonia in my garage often, and I have no idea what
“Most disturbingly, last Tuesday… my hair began to fall out,” his item description continues. “Today (Friday) it’s about half
gone. I’m in my early 20s, and I just got a clean blood test back from the doctor’s. Maybe it’s stress related, I don’t know.” (The
“Jason Haxton, Director of the Museum of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri” (Wikipedia) won the auction and added the box to his museum, but soon began experiencing paranormal phenomena. As the Entertainment Weekly 09/07/2012 article “Little Box of Horrors” reveals:
Soon the Haxtons started experiencing an array of inexplicable phenomena. The house grew cold and stayed that way no
matter how high they jacked up the heat. One day Haxton and his son watched a shadow expand and drift across the floor even
though the room was brightly lit. But what really scared Haxton was his health. He developed vision problems and found it
difficult to swallow. He also periodically broke out in head-to-toe welts that would suddenly vanish and reappear. ''I've never
The article goes on to say that Jason got in contact with the original buyer, Kevin, and they learned about the history of the box. Kevin said that he had gotten in contact with Sophie, Havela’s cousin, and that she told him:
. . . in '30s Poland and how Havela had attempted to capture a spirit to help the Jews fight against the Nazis but instead had
allowed a malevolent entity to enter the world. According to Sophie, Havela had been unable to contain the spirit, and Sophie
claimed that many of the disasters of the second half of the 20th century were the work of this entity. Sophie also told Mannis
that Havela had ultimately succeeded in imprisoning the spirit in the box — which was now residing in Haxton's spare room. (
The article continues by saying that Jason’s health was declining, so he decided to try to put the dybbuk back in the box. He was developing hives and even coughing up blood. The Wikipedia webpage “Dybbuk Box” states that after this, Jason spoke with Rabbis who instructed him on how to put the dybbuk back into the box. The Entertainment Weekly article, however, says that he performed a “Wiccan cleansing ceremony” (Entertainment Weekly) and invoked the Greek goddess of thresholds, Hecate, to return the dybbuk back to the box. He “placed the box in a container he'd made of acacia wood and gold leaf — the same materials used to construct the Ark of the Covenant, according to the Bible” (Entertainment Weekly), and placed it in a secure, secret location.
With the fanfare surrounding the movie, if the box goes up for auction again, it is sure to sell for a hefty price.