creepy stories Fear The Dybbuk: 12 Facts About The Soul-Sucking Demon From Jewish Folklore  

Lyra Radford
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Dybbuk myths come from Jewish folklore, where they are believed to be spirits of the dead who can take possession of a living human. Some members of the Jewish faith believe a dybbuk was once a living being, but now they are basically a ghost in limbo. In modern times, however, scary stories about dybbuks are usually presented as akin to demonic possession.

The word dybbuk translates to "cling" or "attachment" in Hebrew, so technically, dybbuk can refer to any otherworldly entity that latches onto a human, whether it be of a demonic nature or something that was once alive. In many dybbuk stories, the restless spirit attaches itself to a human host because it has unfinished business here on earth.

Jewish ghost stories and scary Jewish legends warn listeners about what leaves a person susceptible to evil. These beliefs can be traced back to ancient religious texts. Even the Bible makes mention of spirit possession and of Jesus performing exorcisms.

Since a dybbuk was once human, a rabbi may attempt to communicate with it, find out what it wants, and convince it to leave. The dybbuk can choose to remove itself at anytime, or its victim may be able to drive it away with a religious ceremony.

Study these scary Jewish myths and stories of the dybbuk to make sure you don't make yourself vulnerable to these otherworldly spirits.

Dybbuks Can Possess Lapsed Jews And Non-Believers

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Photo: TrinitroX/flickr/CC-BY 2.0

Getting lazy with religious practices or doubting the tenets of Judaism are apparently ways to leave yourself open to dybbuks. There is a myth that those who are doubtful about Moses crossing the Red Sea are opening themselves to dybbuk possession. And if you have sloppily-made mezuzah, you may as well throw down a dybbuk welcome mat.  

Dybbuks Use Humans As Vessels For Their Unfinished Business

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Photo: dbeck03/flickr/CC-BY-ND 2.0

In Kabbalistic tradition, a restless soul can become a dybbuk and latch onto a living person to settle its unfinished business. Some myths say dybbuks escaped from Gehenna (roughly equivalent to Jewish purgatory or hell), while others say dybbuks were flat-out rejected from entering Gehenna for committing serious offenses like suicide.

They Can Latch On To Objects As Well As People

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Kevin Mannis purchased an old wine cabinet from an estate sale back in 2003 and was plagued with paranormal activity since he brought it home. According to Mannis, it had belonged to a Holocaust survivor named Havela. When Mannis later offered to give the box back to Havela’s family, her granddaughter refused it and said it had been kept sealed up because a dybbuk lived inside it

Of course, Mannis had already opened it. Inside he found two 1920s pennies, a bound lock of blonde hair, a bound lock of dark hair, a small statue engraved with the word "Shalom," a golden wine goblet, a dried rose bud, and a candle holder. 

He suffered vivid nightmares after opening the box and decided to gift the cursed object to his own mother, who suffered a stroke right after receiving it. Mannis put the dybbuk box up for auction on eBay and since then it's made the rounds - and made quite the reputation for itself. 

A Truman State Student Bought The Dybbuk Box And Lost His Hair

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Photo: Ephraim Moses Lilien/via Wikimedia Commons

The infamous dybbuk box has changed hands several times since Mannis listed it on eBay. Everyone who has owned the box has complained of nightmares of an old hag and the smell of cat urine or jasmine flowers mysteriously wafting through the air near the box.

According to previous dybbuk box owner Losif Neitzke, in addition to horrific nightmares and strange smells, all the lights in his home began to burn out constantly and he began suffering hair loss. His hair literally fell out of his head for no known medical reason.