Thursday, August 30, 2012

Paranormal Witness - EP 204 Recap

Dybbuk/ דיבו  - A malevolent or demonic spirit in Jewish folklore

Kevin Mannis is an owner of an antique store in Downtown Portland and collected small, unique items that he could retail. The best place he said to find them was at garage sales, state sales and auctions. He went to a family garage sale to search for more lost treasure for his store. Some of the items that intrigued him were a steamer trunk, a sewing box, and a wine cabinet and so he purchased them for his shop. The wine cabinet turned out to have belonged to a grandmother who was a Holocaust survivor. One woman saw what he purchased and said "I see you bought the Dybbuk box”. Kevin, being Jewish himself, knew what the term “Dybbuk” meant and explained it was a term used to scare children (“don’t do that or the Dybbuk will get you!”). The woman said they never mentioned about the box and whenever they did, the grandmother would spit between her fingers three time and said it was never to be opened. The story, in Kevin’s opinion, was just another piece of Jewish folklore. 

Kevin and his haunted discovery
Kevin went back to his shop with his new treasures and took them down to the basement. He examined the box and noticed a brass hasp with brass padlock on the wine cabinet. Kevin used a screwdriver to bend the hasp of the lock. When he did this, the doors opened by themselves. He figured it was a mechanism. A couple items were inside; there were 2 pennies from the 1920s, a candlestick with a “fat pear shaped body”, a small wine goblet and a statue out of granite that had "Shalom" carved into it in Hebrew, along with 2 locks of hair. Kevin figured they were items kept in there for sentimental reasons and didn’t think much more of it. Jane, one of Kevin’s employees, took over the shop one day while Kevin left the shop to run errands and left the box in the basement. While Jane was cleaning up the basement, she felt a sense someone was watching her. She explained she’d been in the basement many times but never felt anything like that until then. The phone rang and Jane picked it up. During her call, the light she switch she turned off turned back on. She heard what she described as glass breaking. She saw a chair fall in front of her. Panicked, Jane immediately called Kevin and was yelling at him to come back. Kevin picked up and she told him it heard like someone had a baseball bat and breaking glass and other items. When Kevin suggested she call the police, the phone call died. Kevin was scared to death for her and assumed it was a burglar/robber. Kevin went straight to the store and into the basement. He noticed the rod iron gate was locked which was odd because he didn't lock it. He opened it up and turned on the lights. He flips the switch and the lights wouldn't go on. So he got a flashlight. He noticed that all the light bulbs in the basement had been broken. He noted there were ten 4-ft flourescent fixtures and they all were broken. When he finally found Jane, he saw she was extremely upset, cursed at him, and left the store. She never came back. At this point, Kevin didn’t know what to really make of the situation. 

On October 28, 2001, it was Ida’s birthday; Ida was Kevin’s mother. Ida came into the shop quite early before opening. She sat down on one of the pieces of furniture in the shop as Kevin presented her with a birthday gift. It was the cabinet. Ida was rather perplexed at the gift and mentioned she had received strange gifts in the past but nothing like this….she actually felt the box “stare” back at her. Kevin went to take a phone call, leaving Ida alone with her gift. Ida inspected the box when the doors of the wine cabinet opened up by itself. “It was just like a cold breeze coming out...I can't describe it,” Ida recalls “It felt just pure evil.” Ida immediately began to feel numb and terror take over her body. “I couldn't run away or get mouth contorted and my eye pocketed. I knew I was having a stroke!" Ida then wondered if she would take one more look at Kevin before she passed on. She sincerely felt she was dying. Kevin then came back to his mother to immediately find out she was suffering a stroke. He called the paramedics and when they arrived and were checking on her, Kevin noticed a look of pure terror in her eyes. “She was pleading to say something, to get something out" he said. Ida wanted to desperately tell him to get the box out. “If it did me a stroke, what would it do to him?” she explained. 

Paramedics rush to the aid of a terror-stricken Ida
Thinking back, Kevin sheepishly explains, “Maybe I should’ve picked a better gift. I never thought that it was something more than a small box!” Kevin immediately knew that all the events that occurred to Jane and his mother were stemmed from the box. Kevin then sold the box to an old couple, thinking he got rid of it. But time went by and he found it at the front door of the store with a note on it saying “there’s an odd darkness to it”. Frustrated that the box was back in his possession, Kevin stored it in a storage unit. But then, Kevin began having reoccurring dreams that he described as “being with someone that was pleasant to me…” But then, this pleasant person he was with would slowly morph into what he describes as “the most gruesome, evil looking hag that he ever seen”. That hag would then begain beat him. When Kevin woke up, he realized he was covered in bruises. It happened every single night. That moment, he knew that the box was cursed and wanted to get rid of it. Kevin decided to sell the box on Ebay and didn’t forget to disclose the experiences that happened to him when he had the box. Kevin was hoping that someone who dealt with the Occult would see it, purchase it and properly dispose of it. 

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It was the year 2003 in Kirksville, Missouri when Brian and his roommate Sam, both college students, saw a post on Ebay of a haunted box and how the owner was experiencing unusual, dark phenomena with it. Brian didn’t want to spend money on something that could possibly be a hoax. Sam thought differently and ended up purchasing the box. Brian would come to find out about this about 3 weeks later when in the middle of June, Brian came home after lunch and opened up the front door which went into the living room. The living room had a stench of urine and in the middle of the living room was a boxed ripped open with packaging peanuts everywhere. Brian was infuriated over who could make such a mess and who would urinate in the living room. Brian goes in the kitchen and sees the wine box on the table. Brian later on laughs that Sam purchased it. Sam, amused by the supposed “haunted” box, slept with the box in his room. Sam recorded his experiences in a personal blog. About 2 weeks passed and nothing happened so they put the box in the middle of the living room. One night, the boys were throwing a party and Sam and Brian were joking to everyone how it was haunted and decided to open it in front of everyone. Brian and Sam open it and jokingly stick a girl’s arm in it. The girl became very upset and was concerned for her safety. Brian and Sam just laughed it off. But what would happen afterwards was no laughing matter. 

You know this won't end up well....

Brian and Sam began experiencing unusual things with electronics. Their laptops would crash, along with the Xbox, toaster, TV, and watched. Brian would see one of the roommates at school have unusual bloodshot eyes. Dozens and dozens of bugs were crawling all over the living room, the bathroom sink, the wall and the mirror. Over the summer and into the fall, Sam became much more reserved. It went as far as his hair falling out.  Sam put the box on Ebay and wanted to get rid of it. 

It was February of 2002 when the box eventually caught the attention of Jason Haxton, who was the director of the Truman State University’s Museum Osteopathic Medicine. Jason was always on the lookout for objects he could figure out and solve like a puzzle. Jason would read Sam’s personal blog regularly and became fascinated with his experiences with the box and wanted to buy it. The bid for the box went from $45 to $280. Jason’s expensive bid sealed the deal. 

Jason examining the box
When the box arrived, Jason took it up to his office after campus closed down for the night. Jason was very aware about the illnesses and infections that seemed to occur to people who were in the box’s presence so he put on gloves to make sure when he touched it, he wouldn’t get contaminated. He then examined it and detected a “glow”. The “glow” was detected candle wax dripped down on the box. He felt it was a box used for rituals. The moment before opening the doors, Jason wondered what would happen if he opened the doors...but when he did, he felt nothing and wondered about the artifacts in the box. He figured it was just a box full of historical, sentimental pieces. But within days after Jason’s inspecting the box, the museum was thrown into a whirlwind of chaos. Computers were crashing and valuable information and data were being lost. The light bulbs around the box begin to burn out. The staff felt a decrease in energy and felt sudden illness. Jason then knew he had to take the box out of the museum. Jason locked it in the trunk of his car. Jason didn't want to take it home but he felt he had no option as it was affecting the livelihood of the staff. That night, he felt restless but eventually fell asleep; he would have dreams of old women and their face would dissolve into these "ghastly injuries" as if the face was being torn and ripped. Jason would go back to sleep and it would happen again. Jason would wake up and his eyes would be bloodshot red. Things in Jason’s life were taking a turn for the worse. One night, Jason and his son were watching TV when all the sudden, his son calls for him. Jason and his son see what Jason describes as a “misty, black flame…this black mass". Jason had already explored the scientific side of the box and still couldn't find the reasoning behind it all. Jason felt if this box had something trapped and he released it, he felt he had to seal it back in. Jason had property he had rented and took the box over there. He felt the basement area of this property was the best place to isolate the box away from everyone, from him and his family. 

Jason took a warm bath, hoping to relieve his body of whatever it was that attached itself to him as a result of the box. Meanwhile, his wife was doing the laundry downstairs. All the sudden, Jason felt something tear inside of him and a "jelly substance" like mucus came out of him. It was something he didn't recognize and Jason was in disbelief. At this moment, outside the bathroom door, his wife is yelling at him about poison ivy and the jeans she just washed. Jason opens the door and discovers his wife is covered in “watery blisters with blood broken” out all over her arm. Jason needed to find the owner of this box and resolve this issue. Jason contacted Kevin back in Portland and Kevin picked up the phone, only to hang up because he somehow knew it was about the box. The phone rang again and when Kevin picked it up, Jason urged him to talk to Jason. Within a few minutes of talking to Kevin, Jason knew he wasn’t alone in his experiences with the box. Jason and Kevin decided to team up and figure out how to dispose the box. 

Seeing red and dead....

The next day, Kevin drove back to the house where he purchased the box at the garage sale. When Kevin knocked on the door, the woman opened the door, and Kevin explained he needed to get information on the box. The woman demanded him to leave. As Kevin was ready to walk away, an old woman appeared at the front door and told Kevin “I know exactly why you’re here.” Kevin turned around and felt the old woman was drilling him with her eyes. The old woman’s name was Sophie, the cousin of the grandmother that had passed away. Sophie invites Kevin in the house and tells him the history of the box. Sophie explains that the grandmother’s named was Havala and tells Kevin the story of Havala and the box. Sophie and Havala lived in Poland prior to WWII and at the time, conducting seances was all the rage and acceptable among most. Havala made an ouija board out of woven cloth with the alphabet and numbers stitched in. She used a pendant to conduct the seances. During a seance, Havala and other women present contacted a spirit that started asking them to bring them over to the dark side, as if the entity wanted to take one of their souls. The women devised a ritual where they would be able to trap this entity in a box. Once Jason was informed of this story, he felt it was all true. “It was just too impossible to makeup,” he said. Jason then contacted a few Rabbis to get information on the best means to seal away the spirit and the box for good. The box was sealed away in a secret location and since then, no demonic activity has occurred….yet…..

Jane’s Notes; As far as scare factor goes, I still think last week's episode took the cake. But as far as subject matter goes, this episode has been the darkest as it covers demonic activity, which is something that can become very dangerous and as you can see, life-threatening. In my personal opinion, Ouija Boards are bad, bad news and during the Victorian era, seances and other forms of divination were very popular worldwide so what Havala participated in wasn’t unusual at the time.As for Jason Haxton, it was interesting to see that he noted that the box was used for “rituals” before finding out it was a box that was used in a séance. Personally, I liked Jason’s account of the story because while his occupation involves scientific research, he also seemed open-minded about the fact that whatever had happened could be paranormal and he was not afraid to admit that he misjudged the power of the box. I found a link that was from the Truman State University’s blog about the box and the media attention it has received. The link can be found here.

I also noticed on commercial break, there were trailers for the movie “The Possessed”. When I first saw the commercial awhile back, I rolled my eyes (no pun intended) and figured it was another hyped up Hollywood film taken from true events and overdramatized. Actually, the movie “The Possessed” is based off the cases surrounding the Dybbuk box;

A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child. (IMDB) 

I’m not usually one for hyped up, over-dramatized Hollywood horror movies but after finding out this disturbing information on the story surrounding the Dybbuk box, I might just have to take a peek at it and  view it for myself (with someone else with me so I have a lap to jump on during the scary parts…any volunteers?). Overall, even doing this recap, looking up more info on it and knowing what I do know now about the Dybbuk box (something I never heard of before) was slightly disturbing. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to Church, bless myself with holy water, then go home and put on “Big Ang” for some comedy relief! 

Picture Credit: Syfy, IMDB

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Carmela Corleone said...

LOL on the Big Ang clip! I can't believe I made it thru the whole episode! I had to tuck under my blanket a few times. I never heard of that Dybbuk box and don't care to ever again! Great recap! The next one looks even spookier!

Chiara Soprano said...

Loved your recap. These stories are fascinating. My mother and aunt told us various stories about spirits that lived with them when they were children and the things that would happen. I took it with a grain of salt. But they said the spirits were friendly and never did anything harmful. I did a speech on the stories when I was in college and got an A LOL

Anonymous said...

Thanks! :D I know growing up, I took stuff like that with a grain of salt. I'll be honest, if it has to do with "friendly ghosts" or even negative ones, I will jump all over it! But demonic activity and demonology is a whole other ballpark!

Interestingly enough, my grandma always told me about a ritual Croatians used to do...I think it was on All Saint's Day? Either way, what they would do is make a replica of the devil, hold a parade and then dump the devil in the ocean. Not to mention our house is covered in crucifixes and statues. If we had night terrors, she'd place holy water on our bed and bless it. Interesting to see how different cultures/religions have a perception of the Devil and protection against Demonic activity,

I wonder what they did with the items in the box though? It seemed as if the box was the culprit and I wonder if the spirit's energy was also stored in the items?