I Bought A Real Cursed Dybbuk Box On eBay
April 18, 2019 6:00 AM ‐ Paranormal
This article is more than three years old and was last updated in February 2022.
If you're interested in the paranormal, then you can't fail to have heard about the phenomenon of dybbuk boxes. As someone who is interested in the paranormal I've been wanting to get my hands on one to see if they live up to the reputation as being incredibly paranormally active and even violet objects.
A dybbuk box is said to be a box which contains an evil or malevolent spirit, or even a demon. A genuine dybbuk is usually very old, often an antique wooden box which is sealed using melted wax to keep whatever's inside from getting out.
I'd casually searched eBay for dybbuk boxes a few times, knowing that an auction site is actually the worst place to buy such an artefact. The listings were always full of boxes that were clearly fake imitations of dybbuk boxes.
Then one Saturday, I was inspired by a visit to the Haunted Antiques Paranormal Research Centre in Hinckley to seek a haunted antique of my own and once again found myself on eBay searching for "dybbuk". This time I found something very interesting, an item for sale with the title "Dybbuk Box Found Under Oak Tree With 1900s Letter". The item's listing had some interesting photos and an intriguing story attached. This item's description was as follows...
Dybbuk Box Found Under Oak Tree With 1900s Letter
I discovered an oak tree near my home with a very odd looking wooden sculpture. Below the tree were some stones that looked out of place, so I got a spade and dug up the area. I wasn't sure what I would find, but I REALLY didn't expect to find this box! After having had lots of discussions with friends and others on a facebook page, I have decided I don't want to keep the box and letter, but I also don't know what to do with it... thought I should sell it as it seems so old.
Anyway, some say it has something to do with fairy magic, others say it's just a prank, some say it's good luck others say bad luck. I found the box as it is shown in the pictures, but also found a letter wrapped in some really messy plastic type of wrapping material, a bit like cling film. I think the letter is from a German solider or to a solider... I can't quite work it out. All the writing seems to be in German. I found this box and letter under a tree in North Wales in an ancient forest in Snowdonia! No where near Germany.
A little background on the area where it was found... the closest building is a "neuadd" which is Welsh for hall/town hall. The particular property closest to the find has been a neuadd for nearly 400 years. The building I am told has been used for religious purposes also. Not a church, but was used for gatherings where people would sing etc, maybe there is a link?
All I know for sure, is the box is old and contains something as it rattles, but I don't know what. The box is completely sealed with wax. There is also a crest/seal in wax with a possible family crest printed in it, there is a clear image of a tiger or big cat.
I hope this box and letter find a home with someone who has a better idea about these things than me. I wasn't sure what to price at so happy bidding.
There were a few things about this box that made it appealing. Firstly, it looked pretty genuine and the fact it came with an old letter backed that up. The story was also a major plus point, as was the photo which showed the weird wooden sculpture attached to the base of an old oak tree. I could also see that the seller hadn't sold any other boxes, so this wasn't a scam he was regularly pulling.
The eBay auction was due to end in a few hours time, which was another reason to put in a bid. I messaged my friend Charlene from Paranormal Hauntings, who's a bit of an expert on the topic and the owner of a dybbuk box herself. Oddly Charlene said she'd also seen the listing and had been drawn to it herself. This seemed like another coincidence or sign to take a gamble and encouraged me to put a bid in, she actually got me quite excited about owning it.
I did the classic eBay snipe purchase. I waited until the final few seconds of the auction and put in quite a high bid to ensure I won. Luckily the final price wasn't as high as my maximum, but still it was enough for a box which could have turned out to be nothing more than a fake.
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It's fair to say the the eBay user was an A+++ seller. The item arrived on time and safely, and my investigation into the box could begin.
I was pretty quickly able to verify a lot of the seller's story. First off I did a reverse image search on Google and found that the photo of the tree seemed to be an original image that hadn't been used anywhere else online before, adding to the item's validity. The one place the photo has been used was on a Facebook group, which the seller had mentioned in the eBay description.
I was able to find that post. The photo had been uploaded by someone called Rob, but the discussion wasn't about the dybbuk box, just the wooden structure on the tree. The post read: "why would someone bang big nails into a tree then construct a wooden statue below by a big oak tree? My friend found this tree and we don’t know why someone has done it. I've not come across a cross raised up like that. What's your take? Please help."
The fact this posting said "my friend" found it meant that it wasn't actually the eBay seller himself who had posted it, but there was a screen grab of the post on the eBay listing which said "you and 98 other like this". This told me that the seller's name must be in the list of those that had liked it.
The eBay username of the seller was Tomtom91, so I scrolled through the list of names looking for someone called Tom. I found one and clicked on to his profile. I found that Tom was an artist from a small town in Wales, about a 20 minute drive from Snowdonia where he claimed the box was found. I was feeling quite pleased with my investigative skills until I later realised my PayPal receipt said I'd sent a payment to Tom Walton - but still, this was double confirmation that the item had really come from the area it was claimed to have.
Next I turned my attention to the box itself. It did look authentic, there was mud engrained into the wax which made it look like the box had genuinely been buried, but when you have something in your hand you notice a few things you can't pick up on from a photo. Most notably was that the lid of the box isn't solid wood. By lightly applying pressure it depresses revealing it to be some sort of card. If the box had been buried for a long period of time then the cardboard would have perished.
Furthermore, I was able to find similar boxes for sale on eBay with a similar pattern printed on to a card lid.
This find might seem pretty damning and make it sound like the end of the story. But remember, there's no way of knowing how old this box is or how long it has been buried. It doesn't necessarily need to be as old as the letter and it may not have been buried at the location it was found for all that time.
If the box had been under the tree since 1900, it's unlikely that is has never been stumbled upon before, especially with there being a wooden symbol marking its location. This suggests that it had been recently placed there. The letter it was buried with has come from Europe, but isn't necessarily of the same origin as the box.
There's nothing to say that this box couldn't have been made just weeks ago and buried along with an old letter. I also can't rule out the possibility that someone had tried to created a genuine dybbuk by trapping something sinister inside, perhaps something that relates to the letter. After all, the accompanying letter definitely was genuinely old.
The letter was stamped with the date 1900 in the Polish city of Bromberg. As the eBay listing stated, the letter is written in German. I managed to find another example of a letter from this year with the same postal mark on it online, and it's a pretty good match.
I needed to dig a little deeper. I thought it was time to contact Tom, the eBay seller. As I'd seen him interacting with the post about the box on Facebook, I sent him a direct message there. I decided to start the conversation with praise rather than accusations. I said, "hey Tom, hope you don't mind the message out of the blue. But I bought a box from you on eBay last week and found this group from that listing. I did Google you before I bought the item and saw you are an artist, which is what convinced me to buy it as I was sure you'd have done a nice job with the box, which you have. It's a good little box with a great story."
We sent a few messages back and forth, I told him I write for Higgypop and that the box would be the subject of an article and he just opened up and told me the truth straight away. He confessed, "well, in all honesty, I do art tutoring with children aged 8-18. Two of my art students are into scary things, so I did the boxes with the students. They will be over the moon if one featured on your website."
So that was it, I had been duped and had bought a fake dybbuk box, but that was always a risk. I don't regret my purchase, it was fun investigating the box and Tom and his students really have done a good job with the box, which means I've ended up with a really interesting looking replica dybbuk box, which is now proudly displayed in my office.
That just leaves one question left to answer... what's inside the box? There clearly is something as it rattles when shaken. This is the one question that will remain unanswered, even though the box doesn't really contain an evil spirit, I like it and opening it would ruin a nice piece of paranormal art.
So, perhaps this story didn't have the ending you expected, but for me it's been an interesting insight in to the world of selling haunted artefacts online and a good exercise in rational thinking. You might say I'm a harsh skeptic for trying so hard to debunk the box, but remember, I was openminded enough to spend my own hard earned cash on purchasing it in the first place in the hopes that it was haunted.
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