BY June 2003, [Kevin Mannis] had had enough and posted the box on [EBay]. The high bidder was [Iosif Nietzke], who, for $140, got the box, contents and -- presumably -- its ectoplasmic squatter. (Repeated attempts to reach Nietzke have been unsuccessful.)
When Nietzke posted the box for sale, [Jason Haxton] went for it. The day after it arrived in his office, Haxton says, "I woke up with my right eye looking like it had been poked." Other afflictions arrived, including fatigue, a metallic taste in his mouth and constant nasal congestion and a cough. Around the house, Haxton says he occasionally smells the signature odors of cat urine and flowers.
Haxton has been aided by Rebecca Edery, an Orthodox Jewish bookkeeper who lives in Brooklyn and whose father studied cabala. It was Edery who helped uncover the purpose of the box. "The two doors on the outside open up just like the Holy Closet," or Aron HaKodesh, a receptacle for Torah scrolls, Edery says. "And I saw round, metal hoops on the inside of the doors that would hold scrolls. This particular size is used when going to comfort the family of the deceased."