The Dibbuk Box
By Jason Haxton
Truman State University Press, 192 pages, $19.95
Yiddish revival? That’s so 2011. This year is all about the Dybbuk revival. That is, insofar as a disembodied spirit can be revived, and monetized.
So far the Dybbuk revival includes a book (“The Dibbuk Box”) and a movie set for summer release (“The Possession”). Both are about the same dybbuk, or rather, the more Google friendly “Dibbuk.” This “Dibbuk” may or may not be trapped inside an ordinary looking wine cabinet. And the Dibbuk’s story may, or may not, be true, depending on what your definitions of “true” and “Dibbuk” are.
Back in 2004 the Forward’s Max Gross covered the story of a supposedly haunted Jewish wine box for sale on eBay. A Missouri student, Iosif Neitzke, had purchased the wine box from Oregon antiques dealer (and aspiring filmmaker) Kevin Mannis. Neitzke claimed that upon receiving the wine cabinet his health, and his life, immediately took a turn for the worse. So the haunted wine box went back on eBay, complete with spooky back story and warnings ominous enough to draw thousands of would-be purchasers looking for a brush with darkness. Jason Haxton, a Missouri medical museum curator, and now author of “The Dibbuk Box,” bought the kabbalistic curio from Neitzke and has been curating its legend ever since.