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11 (Supposedly) Haunted Things Put Up for Sale on eBay

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by Jenny Morrill

Everything on eBay has a backstory, and sometimes, it's a pretty spooky one—at least according to whoever is trying to offload the item. Everything is more interesting if you add ghosts, especially when it comes to bras, jewelry, and Ziploc baggies. Here are just a few of the supposedly haunted items we found that have sold or are selling on the auction site.

1. ANGUISHED MAN PAINTING

An oil painting of a screaming man
HVERAFUGLAR, eBay

The seller of this oil painting describes it as a "horrific paranormal portrait." The artist is unknown, but according to its owner, the artwork may be responsible for a number of spooky goings on around the house. "Since owning this painting, I have experienced a number of strange paranormal events that cannot be easily explained," the seller writes in the listing. "These include hearing disembodied footsteps from elsewhere in the house, the sound of bird song appearing out of the air in the living room, and finally, observing a heavy metal door latch lift by itself and the kitchen door open by itself." Even if you don't need a haunted painting for yourself, "it could make a great gift for a less-than-loved one," the listing suggests.

2. SEXY SPIRIT BRA

A white strapless bra
TONYA_ROSE, eBay

This bra reportedly contains the "spirit of a sexy woman," and wearing it will allegedly ensure not just great support, but a constant stream of admiration and gifts. Made in the 1950s, it's a size 32A, so you've got to be rather petite to harness its powers. But some of its benefits can be enjoyed even if you don't plan on wearing it. You can "place the bra by a lit white candle to see her spirit in full body apparition," the seller notes, and if you break out a red candle, you can have an erotic encounter with the spirit, according to the seller. That certainly sounds scary.

3. THE MYSTERIOUSLY SMELLY PHOTO

A historic daguerreotype is open to show a man in a suit.
THE_ASYLUM_ATTIC, eBay

This historic daguerreotype is reportedly inhabited by a “Victorian gent” named Martin. It was initially found in the eaves of an attic, and its owner would bring it out for guests to see. Eventually, people began to notice that “certain smells would mysteriously appear and just as mysteriously disappear—such as the scent of roses and cigar or pipe smoke, or even the odor of smoke from a wood fire,” the seller writes. When questioned with a Ouija board, the spirit inside “was sometimes talkative and even playful, but other times reticent." But some spooky things started happening in the house, like objects disappearing or being moved, and "footsteps and whispers faintly heard.” These strange goings-on became more frequent, until finally, the image was removed from the house and sent to a collector “who reports some continued activity.”

4. THE RING OF A GENIE QUEEN

A ring with a red stone emits a mysterious vapor
HOODOOHOUSE, eBay

The seller of this ring claims it contains the spirit of Micilia, an “omnipotent genie queen" who—just for the record—"has given permission and requested that we use her name in her listing here on eBay to help find her next master.” At least you can be sure she'd be friendly. Micilia isn't the worst spirit to keep around—she communicates telepathically and can grant unlimited wishes.

5. HAUNTED DONKEY

A small decorative brown jug with a donkey pulling it is set on a checkered tablecloth.
GRIFFEY911NY, eBay

This small decorative juice container has a surprisingly spooky backstory. According to the owner, it spontaneously fills up with water. The inherited piece of kitsch has been exhibiting the odd behavior for years, since the owner was a child. At first, they suspected that their grandmother, who owned the item at the time, was filling it with water, but once she died, they discovered that there was something else at play. One night, the seller knocked against the jug by accident, and noticed it sounded like it had liquid in it. “When I investigated I found there was indeed water in it,” they write. “I thought maybe it was a mistake,” they explain, but it has happened sporadically ever since. Writes the seller: "I'm not scared or anything but I'm just not into this type of stuff. I wish my nana well in the afterlife but just not for me."

6. THAI DJINN MASK

A Thai mask in front of lit candles
RAINBOWS*AND*FAIRYDUST, eBay

The person selling this mask claims that they personally witnessed a witch in Thailand capture a djinn (or genie) in it. Among the mask's alleged talents are the ability to bring the owner riches and the ability to keep vampires away. Both are useful skills, but they come with a price—you must make offerings of food and drink to keep the djinn happy. Not to mention the fact that for the first month you have to meditate on his name three times a day for 20 minutes each.

7. WITCH'S DYBBUK BOX

A wooden box with a classical piece of art depicting nude women on top
MAB_22, eBay

In Jewish lore, a dybbuk is a restless spirit that has the power to possess a living person. You might be familiar with the concept from the 2012 horror flick The Possession, which was inspired by the real story of a wine cabinet—supposedly haunted by a dybbuk—sold on eBay in the early 2000s. (It’s now owned by paranormal investigator and TV star Zak Bagans.) Since that initial haunted offering, more boxes reportedly haunted by malicious dybbuks have begun to surface online. 

“This spirit attached is very mischievous,” the seller of this dybbuk box writes, but will “become violent if tested or disrespected,” so they advise keeping the box in a trunk or glass case where it can’t be touched. It was reportedly found buried beneath an abandoned house where screams could often be heard “even though the house hasn’t been occupied in over 30 years.” The current owner doesn’t detail what violent events the box has unleashed—or how one might disrespect a wooden box—but it is a relative haunted bargain at just $75.

8. A "HIGHLY ACTIVE" RING

A silver ring inset with a large yellow stone
EARTHBOUND_6, eBay

According to the seller—described in the listing as “a small paranormal investigation society”—this stainless steel and stone ring is possessed by a ghost named Adain, and if you wear it or keep it close by, you’ll bond with the “highly active” spirit. The 19-year-old Adain supposedly died in a motorcycle accident, and now appears as light streaks or in visions. “He will turn lights on and off, close and open doors, [and] a faint smell of men's cologne can be [smelled] in the air when he is active,” the seller writes.

9. SHOES THAT GO TAP IN THE NIGHT

A pair of black leather girl's shoes
HAUNTED_HEARTS, eBay

Said to contain the spirit of a little girl called Lisa, these shoes were found by someone who was curating their late aunt's estate, tucked in a nursery closet alongside various Victorian clothes and toys. They suspected they were haunted, the seller writes, "since there was a lot of knocking in the nursery closet. If actually possessed, tap dancing might wake one up in the middle of the night!" The noise wasn't the only indication of the shoes' other-worldly nature. The house they were found in was rumored to be home to a number of ghosts, including that of a woman who had murdered her baby there in the 19th century and the spirit of a 9-year-old who died of sepsis.

10. THE SPIRITED SCREWDRIVER

A vintage screwdriver sits on a beige surface.
ANGEL031002, eBay

This reportedly haunted tool is, according to the seller, inhabited by the ghost of Xander, a 32-year-old who died after a car he was repairing fell on him. He appears as a “smokey white apparition” and you may hear him laughing and talking. “This is a very positive energy item,” the seller promises. Also, like any regular dude, he really loves TV.

11. THE HAUNTED ZIPLOC

A medium-sized clear plastic bag
RUSTY_RACCOON, eBay

Go ahead and banish stale bread to another realm. According to the seller of this $25 paranormal sandwich bag, the simple plastic pouch can restore or heal anything (and anyone). “There is no wrong way to use the haunted Ziploc bag of restoration,” the listing says, but it works best on snack foods: “The most effective way to use the bag, we have discovered, is to purify, decontaminate, revive, and give new life to food items such as Cheetos, sandwiches, pizza, chopped veggies, and granola.” The ad says it's haunted, but it may not actually involve a ghost. If you stick a lock of a loved one’s hair inside, it can “heal, resurrect, protect, or lessen the burden” of that person through some sort of interplanetary higher plane, the seller claims. The bags come in sets of three, six, and nine.

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7 of the Most Bizarre Ways to Die
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While most of us hope death comes with dignity and being surrounded by loved ones, there’s really no telling what fate may have in store. If you manage to avoid some of the most common causes of expiration—heart disease and cancer are statistically the most likely causes to interrupt your existence—there’s an endless series of lesser-known maladies and tragedies that could conceivably cause you to miss the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones.

1. DEATH BY NASAL IRRIGATION POT

A woman uses a peti pot to clear her sinuses
iStock

Neti pots, which are used to irrigate the sinuses of allergy sufferers, resemble teapots with a spout that allows water to be poured into one nostril and come out the other. Usually, the worst case scenario when using one is that you’ll make a huge mess and wind up with a sink full of snot-tinged water. But for two people in Louisiana in 2011, the pot facilitated the transmission of a brain-eating amoeba known as Naegleria fowleri. It’s believed the organism was transmitted by contaminated tap water contained in their residences, which they both used to fill their neti pots.

The amoeba, which is typically found in warm freshwater lakes, causes fatal brain swelling and carries a mortality rate of more than 97 percent—though infection is actually very rare. The fact that the deceased delivered it directly into their sinuses is what led to the fatal outcome. “Normally, it’s totally harmless, doing its own thing in the mud, eating whatever it finds there, going about its business, not bugging anybody,” Dan Riskin, biologist and expert on the Animal Planet series Monsters Inside Me, told Mental Floss last year. That changes when water harboring N. fowleri is violently shoved up someone's nose. That’s why you should never use anything but sterile water in your neti pots.

2. CHOKING IN A COCKROACH EATING CONTEST

Cockroaches are piled on top of one another
iStock

Endurance and eating contests bring their share of peril. There was the case of the woman who died from dangerously low sodium levels after drinking too much water and holding in her urine for a 2007 radio promotion. Gastronomic athletes have died in an attempt to break hot dog eating records. But nothing compares to choking to death on cockroaches. According to CNN, 32-year-old Edward Archbold entered a bug-eating competition in 2012 that was sponsored by a Florida reptile shop. Archbold wolfed down a series of cockroaches and worms, only to find his airway blocked by the influx of their masticated body parts. The medical examiner ruled he asphyxiated on the bugs.

3. GRAPPLING WITH A VENDING MACHINE

A vending machine that offers a variety of options
iStock

Weighing anywhere from 500 to nearly 900 pounds when empty, and even more when fully stocked, vending machines are the closest thing we have to the falling anvils of the cartoon world. When a machine eats bills or fails to dispense Doritos, some people can become agitated enough to think that rocking the unit is a good idea. It isn’t. An estimated 1700 injuries occur each year as a result of tussling with these monuments to snack storage, with roughly four deaths attributable to the duels.

4. POOPING TOO HARD

A man strains while using the toilet
iStock

A fiber-rich diet and sensible cheese consumption should keep most people from enduring a most ignoble end. Straining to pass hard stool can result in something called defecation syncope, or poop-fainting. By holding your breath while bearing down to expel waste, the body’s blood flow is reduced. If you already have compromised arterial blood flow, the low blood pressure can trigger fainting or a heart attack. The University of Miami described two such cases in a 2017 paper. In postoperative hospital care, two patients experienced fatal cardiac events following excessive toilet straining.

5. DEATH BY LAUGHTER

A man laughs hysterically
iStock

Some of us truly can suffer consequences during Home Improvement marathons, though not in the way you’d expect. A 2013 paper published in the British Medical Journal offered a litany of possible consequences from laughing, from the minor (fainting) to cardiac events as a result of preexisting conditions. Infamously, a bricklayer named Alex Mitchell died in 1975 after getting the giggles while watching a BBC sketch show titled The Goodies. Mitchell had Long QT syndrome, a heart rhythm disorder that can be worsened by the exertion of laughing. He went into cardiac arrest and died. His wife, Nessie, wrote the show's producers, thanking them for making her husband’s final moments happy ones.

6. KILLED BY A ROBOT

A robot arm holds up a wrench
iStock

As technology improves, it seems inevitable that a robot will eventually stand trial for murder just as Isaac Asimov predicted. When that day comes, we may look upon late Kawasaki factory worker Kenji Urada as an early casualty. In 1981, Urada attempted to repair a robot at one of the company’s plants in Akashi, Japan. Urada failed to heed protocol, jumping over a fence rather than opening it—which would have triggered the machine to shut down. Instead, one of its massive arms pinned Urada to a nearby machine that cut up engine gears. Workers tried to intervene, but Urada was killed. A similar incident occurred in 2015, when a robot at a Volkswagen plant in Germany grabbed an employee instead of a vehicle part and crushed him to death.

7. FELLED BY AN ATOMIC WEDGIE

A man has his underwear yanked out of his pants
iStock

For anyone who has never attended public school, a “wedgie” is committed when an assailant takes a fistful of a victim’s underwear and yanks, causing the garment to become lodged in the buttocks. While uncomfortable, it rarely proves fatal. An exception came in 2013, when a McLoud, Oklahoma man named Brad Lee Davis had a physical confrontation with his stepfather, Denver Lee St. Clair. After a struggle, Davis took St. Clair’s underwear and pulled it up and over his head, causing the elastic waistband to stretch tightly around his neck. The constriction caused his airway to become blocked, and he expired. Davis accepted a plea deal in 2015. “I did a horrible thing when I gave him that wedgie,” he lamented to authorities. Davis received a 30-year sentence.

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Karl Walter, Getty Images
When the FBI Investigated the 'Murder' of Nine Inch Nails's Trent Reznor
Karl Walter, Getty Images
Karl Walter, Getty Images

The two people standing over the body, Michigan State Police detective Paul Wood told the Hard Copy cameras, “had a distinctive-type uniform on. As I recall: black pants, some type of leather jacket with a design on it, and one was wearing combat boots. The other was wearing what looked like patent leather shoes. So if it was a homicide, I was thinking it was possibly a gang-type homicide.”

Wood was describing a puzzling case local police, state police, and eventually the FBI had worked hard to solve for over a year. The mystery began in 1989, when farmer Robert Reed spotted a circular group of objects floating over his farm just outside of rural Burr Oak, Michigan; it turned out to be a cluster of weather balloons attached to a Super 8 camera.

When the camera landed on his property, the surprised farmer didn't develop the footage—he turned it over to the police. Some local farmers had recently gotten into trouble for letting wild marijuana grow on the edges of their properties, and Reed thought the balloons and camera were a possible surveillance technique. But no state or local jurisdictions used such rudimentary methods, so the state police in East Lansing decided to develop the film. What they saw shocked them.

A city street at night; a lifeless male body with a mysterious substance strewn across his face; two black-clad men standing over the body as the camera swirled away up into the sky, with a third individual seen at the edge of the frame running away, seemingly as fast as possible. Michigan police immediately began analyzing the footage for clues, and noticed the lights of Chicago’s elevated train system, which was over 100 miles away.

It was the first clue in what would become a year-long investigation into what they believed was either a cult killing or gang murder. When they solved the “crime” of what they believed was a real-life snuff film, they were more shocked than when the investigation began: The footage was from the music video for “Down In It,” the debut single from industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails, and the supposed dead body was the group's very-much-alive lead singer, Trent Reznor.

 
 

In 1989, Nine Inch Nails was about to release their debut album, Pretty Hate Machine, which would go on to be certified triple platinum in the United States. The record would define the emerging industrial rock sound that Reznor and his rotating cast of bandmates would experiment with throughout the 1990s and even today on albums like The Downward Spiral and The Slip.

The band chose the song “Down In It”—a track with piercing vocals, pulsing electronic drums, sampled sound effects, and twisted nursery rhyme-inspired lyrics—as Pretty Hate Machine's first single. They began working with H-Gun, a Chicago-based multimedia team led by filmmakers Eric Zimmerman and Benjamin Stokes (who had created videos for such bands as Ministry and Revolting Cocks), and sketched out a rough idea for the music video.

Filmed on location among warehouses and parking garages in Chicago, the video was supposed to culminate in a shot with a leather-jacketed Reznor running to the top of a building, while two then-members of the band followed him wearing studded jumpsuits; the video would fade out with an epic floating zoom shot to imply that Reznor's cornstarch-for-blood-covered character had fallen off the building and died in the street. Because the cash-strapped upstarts didn’t have enough money for a fancy crane to achieve the shot for their video, they opted to tie weather balloons to the camera and let it float up from Reznor, who was lying in the street surrounded by his bandmates. They eventually hoped to play the footage backward to get the shot in the final video.

Instead, the Windy City lived up to its name and quickly whisked the balloons and camera away. With Reznor playing dead and his bandmates looking down at him, only one of the filmmakers noticed. He tried to chase down the runaway camera—which captured his pursuit—but it was lost, forcing them to finish shooting the rest of the video and release it without the planned shot from the missing footage in September of 1989.

Meanwhile, unbeknownst to the band, a drama involving their lost camera was unfolding in southwest Michigan. Police there eventually involved the Chicago police, whose detectives determined that the footage had been filmed in an alley in the city's Fulton River District. After Chicago authorities found no homicide reports matching the footage for the neighborhood and that particular time frame, they handed the video over to the FBI, whose pathologists reportedly said that, based on the substance on the individual, the body in the video was rotting.

 
 

The "substance" in question was actually the result of the low-quality film and the color of the cornstarch on the singer’s face, which had also been incorporated into the press photos for Pretty Hate Machine. It was a nod to the band's early live shows, in which Reznor would spew cornstarch and chocolate syrup on his band members and the audience. “It looks really great under the lights, grungey, a sort of anti-Bon Jovi and the whole glamour thing,” Reznor said in a 1991 interview.

With no other easy options, and in order to generate any leads that might help them identify the victim seen in the video, the authorities distributed flyers to Chicago schools asking if anyone knew any details behind the strange “killing.”

The tactic worked. A local art student was watching MTV in 1991 and saw the distinctive video for “Down In It,” which reminded him of one of the flyers he had seen at school. He contacted the Chicago police to tip them off to who their supposed "murder victim" really was. Nine Inch Nails’s manager was notified, and he told Reznor and the filmmakers what had really happened to their lost footage.

“It’s interesting that our top federal agency, the Federal Bureau of [Investigation], couldn’t crack the Super 8 code,” co-director Zimmerman said in an interview. As for Wood and any embarrassment law enforcement had after the investigation: “I thought it was our duty, one way or the other, to determine what was on that film,” he said.

“My initial reaction was that it was really funny that something could be that blown out of proportion with this many people worked up about it,” Reznor said, and later told an interviewer, “There was talk that I would have to appear and talk to prove that I was alive.” Even though—in the eyes of state, local, and federal authorities—he was reportedly dead for over a year, Reznor didn’t seem to be bothered by it: “Somebody at the FBI had been watching too much Hitchcock or David Lynch or something,” he reasoned.

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