The full story of the Dybbuk Box hoax

The Dybbuk Box—a cursed wine box that supposedly came to America laden with its owner's grim experience of the Holocaust—was one of the few straight-up paranormal "hits" in an era when the subject became laced with irony and meta. Books and a movie followed. Though sharply debunked in Skeptical Inquirer after a revealing social media post from the maker, Input got everyone—including the hoaxers—on the record to tell the full story.

Mannis says it wasn't money issues that motivated him, but relationship problems with his girlfriend and a host of other bad-luck events. He says he channeled all of that negative energy into his tall tale. "At the time I created the Dybbuk Box, it was during Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement," he writes in a Facebook message to me. "I created the box whilst praying and asking for forgiveness for all of the sins that I had committed that I knew about, and, perhaps even more important, the sins I had committed that I didn't know about."

Not everything about Mannis' story was fake, however. "I did give her the box on Halloween," he tells me, referring to his mother, who has since passed. "She did have that stroke."