Fascinating. I tend to be extremely skeptical about such things, and certainly this convoluted tale is full of red flags and inconsistencies... but even though it's probably pure fiction, it's also creepy fun!
On the other hand: if we believe that the soul is immortal, as many of us do, and that there are indeed such things as ghosts... then it's not too great a stretch to imagine that someone who was evil in life might remain unenlightened in death, and linger as a "dybbuk" of some sort.
But back on that first hand again: science has found explanations for many seemingly paranormal events. There are physical conditions that cause hair growth that can make a person look like a werewolf. There are diseases that can cause what are often interpreted as religious "stigmata." There are mental conditions that cause horrific behavioral compulsions I don't even want to describe. And of course, there's always the possibility that the box does
have some sort of residue (despite the writer's belief to the contrary), and that it is poisoning those who touch it with radioactive particles or some other sort of toxin.
So I tend to think there is some sort of rational explanation for the events that seem to surround this dybbuk box. And that explanation may simply be the human tendency to perceive associations where none actually exist. For example, I went through a period about twenty years ago when it suddenly seemed to me that far too many people I knew were sick or dying. Upon reflection, I realized that it was only in my perception: I had gone from a life of virtual isolation into a job that made me part of a worldwide group of about a thousand people, so statistically, it was natural that I would suddenly become aware of many more people whose houses burned down, or who were fighting cancer or were in terrible car accidents. Still, until I reasoned through it that way, I did feel that something strange must be happening, and it was very unsettling.
So I think it's entirely possble that this little box has nothing to do with the tragic events in the lives of those who have been associated with it. Or, conversely, it may be that the kind of people who are particularly interested
in strange, eerie things like this -- and who therefore place themselves in contact with the box -- may simply, by their own nature, lead the sort of life that makes them especially vulnerable to tragedy.
Now: this story very forcefully reminds me of the book "Heart-Shaped Box" by Joe Hill, Stephen King's son, which came out a couple of years ago. Extremely similar, and I would even guess that Joe Hill may have been inspired by this "dybbuk box," if its story predates his book, which it appears to do. You might enjoy the book... he's darn near as good a writer as his father.
It also reminded me of a book I read just a couple of weeks ago, "Three Days To Never," by Tim Powers. That book also deals with Jewish paranormal traditions, and also delves into concepts of time-travel and practical application of psychic phenomenae.
Thanks for sharing this little oddity with us, Sabrina. This sort of thing is always fun to contemplate... but don't let it give you nightmares!