Variations: Gilgul ("clinging soul")
The concept of the dybbuk first entered into Judaism by means of the mysticism that was practiced in the eighth century. Jews were forbidden to practice the art of mysticism for fear that it could weaken one's faith. However, by the twelfth century mysticism was an accepted part of the Kabbalah, and by the sixteenth century, mysticism was completely embraced.
The dybbuk ("cleaving"), an evil and restless vampiric spirit, was said by some sources to be one of the children born of LILITH; others say that it is created through an act of sorcery. Earliest beliefs in the dybbuk claimed that it was a demon, but later that origin was changed to be the soul of a person attempting to escape final justice. Its description remained the same, that of a hairy, unclean, goatlike demon (see HAIR).
For the dybbuk to survive, it must gain entry into a human body. It may allow itself to be breathed in through incense or it may embed itself in a piece of food about to be eaten, but typically it will make its own way into the body, by force if necessary through the nostril, although any orifice will suffice. Once it has gained access, the dybbuk will possess the person and begin to feed off the person's life-force, taking up residence in one of the pinky fingers or one of the toes (see ENERGY VAMPIRE).
While it is in the body, the dybbuk will drive the person to consume candy and other such treats, as it has a sweet tooth. The person will begin to tire and soon fall ill. They may even develop a twitch and start to vomit a foamy white substance. After a little while the dybbuk will start to cause mental illness, and with the person weak and broken down, the dybbuk will become the dominant personality. Eventually the vampire will leave the body, as it can only stay inside a person for a limited time. The possessed person may possibly be saved by a rabbi who has the specialized training to perform a complex ritual to drive the dybbuk away.
Amulets made of wax or iron may be worn orhung in the home to ward it off. Repeating certain ritual incantations may work as well. Red ribbons and GARLIC tied to a baby's crib will protect a child. Leaving almonds, candy, raisins, and the like for the dybbuk to find will cause it to leave a baby alone as well.
When not possessing a person, dybbuk live in caves, dust storms, whirlwinds, and buildings that have been abandoned for some time.
Source: Dennis, Encyclopedia of Jewish Myth, 72­73; Loewenthal, Religion, Culture and Mental Health, 119­ 20; Mack, Field Guide to Demons, 241; Schwartz, Reimagining the Bible, 72­77

Encyclopedia of vampire mythology . 2014.

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