On the night of Halloween Zak Bagans and his 'Ghost Adventures' team embarked on a live four-hour special, during the broadcast he promised to open his infamous dybbuk box on live television.
After a great deal of hype and build up, Zak decided not to open the box due to fears for his health. The box is housed in a "protective case" in Zak's Las Vegas occult museum, the location of the live special. The cursed antique box is believed to have a dangerous spirit attachment and has been described as "the most haunted object in the world."
The live special was broadcast with a warning to viewers, "the following programme contains disturbing content and shocking images. Those who suffer from anxiety, panic attacks or heart conditions should view at their own risk". Towards the end of the show, the celebrity ghost hunter got down to the business of opening the box.
The dybbuk box was nothing more than a family heirloom. It had belonged to a woman who originally made and sealed the box after World War II, but in 2001 her granddaughter sold it on. She warned that the box was supposed to contain a dybbuk, which in Jewish folklore is a restless, usually malicious, spirit believed to be able to haunt and even possess the living.
Zak paid tens of thousands of dollars to obtain the haunted artefact from its previous owner, who had been so terrified of the box that he kept it inside of a military grade box buried in the ground. Once in Zak's possession, the box was placed on display in his museum, where it's been blamed for a black cloaked figure seen moving through closed doors in the room it's displayed in.
Zak has been too terrified to open it, but planned to overcome his fear on live television last night, but when the moment came, the paranormal investigator couldn't go through with it.
The action began after Zak and his fellow investigator Aaron Goodwin had a bizarre argument on camera about going into the room. Zak then calmed himself down and said "we're in the dybbuk box antechamber, this is the big moment," but he was cutoff mid-sentence by more bizarre dramatics from Aaron.
Two of the crew started playing with a special camera, designed to map out human forms on the screen, while Zak and Aaron continued to argue in the doorway - all four talking over each other very unprofessionally. Eventually, he continued, "this is the dybbuk box behind me. Out of everything in this museum, this is the item that has effected me the most."
He then confessed, "I'm going to be honest with you, I'm very very sorry for everyone that's watching this right now that wants me to open it, because I'm unsure at this moment."
Eventually, Zak walked towards the box with Aaron cowering outside of the antechamber. Aaron said, "I've never in my life felt this, crazy energy like this." Zak then composed himself and told viewers, "I'll take it one step at a time and I'm not guaranteeing that I'll open this dybbuk box. I just want to see what happens, one step at a time."
Zak instructs Aaron that he's not going to allow him to touch the box due to his heightened mood and fear levels, he then says that the first step was to remove the box's glass protective case. Together with Billy, they carefully lifted the case off and exposed the cursed box to the room.
With the case removed, Zak approached the haunted item and addressed it, "the entity that you are, that is in this box, I know you have the power to come out of the box. I have seen you. I have connected with you and what you let me feel a few months ago...", he then tailed off, "well, I'm not going to say that, I don't want to empower it."
The event Zak is referring to from a few months ago occurred when singer-songwriter, Post Malone, visited Zak's museum. During his visit Zak removed the protective case and touched the box, before touching the rapper on the shoulder.
Zak now believes that Post Malone has been cursed by the dybbuk. Since his visit, Malone has been involved in an emergency landing in his private jet, his car was involved in an accident, and armed robbers targeted a home in San Fernando they believed to be his.
Viewers were then kept in suspense while the show cut to an ad break. When they returned, Zak said "there was two minutes there where I had absolute heat on my hand, I couldn't move it." His hand was now back to normal, and Zak said "let me touch it, let me at least touch it."
A very stressed Aaron then said, "I don't think we should do this." Zak agreed, "I don't either," but Aaron started becoming more and more agitated and reported feeling unwell, "I feel like I'm just going to black out." Zak interrupted Aaron and called him over, the camera spins around and we see Zak with his hand hovering inches above the dybbuk box. Zak says "grab my hand."
It's a little odd that a few minutes ago Zak was telling Aaron not to touch the box and now, with Aaron in an even more negative and fearful state, Zak is trying to encourage him to come near and potentially curse him in exactly the same way as he had with Post Malone. This completely undermines Zak's earlier warning about taking this seriously, he'd said "this is not a joke."
Of course Aaron refuses and moments later got really overly excited by the fact that the words "moment complete" appeared on the screen of his ghost hunting gadget. How this is relevant or meaningful was unclear.
Zak then once again expressed his doubts about opening the box, blaming it on everything that has been going on in the museum that night, including a vigil with two witches in the basement and the energy of all of the guests. He said, "it's amped this place up on a level that we have not felt it before and I am so sorry, I am just not sure if I am wanting to open this up."
Zak then turned to a terrified Aaron and said "open it with me, I'll open it if you open it," further destroying the credibility of his previous concern to Aaron and the alleged dangers of the box. Zak added, "I don't like the feeling of this, but I'm sorry, this is just not worth it for my own health."
Then in a bizarre twist, Aaron says "dude, I just wanna open it."
Later in the show, Zak had called in Rabbi Shea Harlig, who has said he will be able to seal the dybbuk back in the box should Zak build up the courage to open it. Zak met the rabbi outside the dybbuk box room, but the rabbi wasn't as convinced by the haunted object's dangers as Zak was. Zak asked the rabbi about demonic possessions and it was clear that the rabbi didn't really believe but was humouring Zak.
Rabbi Harlig said, "not that much that I believe that they could have control of you," he added, "that may not be good with your script, but it's not my personal belief." By this the rabbi meant that his believes don't really fit with the narrative of the show and he is pretty much politely debunking the box, something I don't think Zak expected as he's a little speechless after and swiftly moves on. So swiftly in fact that the rabbi is unsure what's going on, asking "am I following you?"
Meanwhile, the rest of the team were joined by psychic medium, Chris Fleming and the man who invented many of the gadgets the Ghost Adventures team use during their investigations, Gary Galka. The gang are conducting a noisy a chaotic spirit communication session to try to determine whether to open up the box or not.
The investigators were using various gadgets including a spirit box and would randomly shout out and get overly excited when they heard something that sounded like "Satan". They then ask if they should open the box and get a response through a device that says "don't", they ask why not and the word "religion" comes through. This seems a little vague and irrelevant.
Zak then returned to the antechamber, presumably after a showdown with Rabbi Harlig. Zak claimed that prior to meeting, the rabbi said he understood about dybbuks and could reseal the box, but when he arrived didn't even seem to really believe demons existed. Chris says "there could be an entity that got to him, made him change what it was, to mess everything up".
Zak says, "now he's messed this all up, cuz if I open it, he was supposed to reseal it and then he was acting like he didn't know what to do." I think what has actually happened is that the rabbi totally got one over on Zak and the production team and tried to discredit him on live television.
After a lengthy discussion about the rabbi, Zak called it and asked everyone to leave, saying "I'm done with this, get out."
At the end of the show Zak chatted to the host Josh Gates about the incident. He told Josh, "I know what the dybbuk box has done to me, I know what it has done to others, I know what it has done to my friends. The coincidences of what they have gone through, the curse of it is too coincidental to ignore."
Sure, Zak might claim that opening the box is hazardous, but I think his bigger worry was opening the box and having NOTHING happen. Zak paid a lot of money for the dybbuk box and it is the centrepiece of his museum purely because of its haunted reputation. If the box was opened on live television and nothing happened, it would damage the credibility of the item and potentially effect the museum's ticket sales.
The box has actually been opened before, while it was in the possession of Jason Haxton. He brought the box on to Zak's television show, 'Deadly Possessions'. Zak had arranged to have the box placed in a containment room and its former owner Kevin Mannis entered the room alone and opened the box.
Upon opening it, the lights in the building started to flash, strange sounds were heard and most bizarrely, Kevin turned to face a wall, his demeanour and even his voice changed as he started to recite a strange story about a shadow man, "light from the hallway crept into my room, along with the shadow man too I assume." He then started speaking in tongues and making strange whistling sounds.
Anyone watching the live show on Halloween would expect a reaction similar to this, if not more violent, but of course this can't be guaranteed in the paranormal world unless you resort to faking things. So, I think it was better for Zak not to open it than risk opening it to an anticlimax. Television viewers are likely to be more disappointed by a dybbuk box that doesn't do anything than one that is too terrifying to even open.