9 (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. 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.

9. 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.

7 Very Victorian Ways to Die

A circa 1860s lithograph titled "Fire: The horrors of crinoline & the destruction of human life."
A circa 1860s lithograph titled "Fire: The horrors of crinoline & the destruction of human life."

In the 19th century, the Grim Reaper was seemingly around every corner. A glass of water, a beautiful dress, or a brightly colored piece of wallpaper could all spell your doom. Poor sanitation, dangerous working practices, and widespread poisons meant that even those in their prime of life were not immune to sudden death. Thankfully, today's scientific advances—and better regulation—have massively improved life expectancy, although some of these dangers still lurk.

1. Flammable Fashion

In the 1850s and '60s, the trend for huge crinoline skirts boomed. These large structured petticoats covered with fabric gave the impression of a voluminous skirt, whereas previously, the look had been achieved by wearing numerous layers of skirts, which was both hot and cumbersome. Crinolines became popular in part because they were light and easy to maneuver.

There was, however, a downside to their design—crinolines, often made of diaphanous materials such as silk and muslin, were highly flammable. Numerous newspapers reported on the scores of women who had the misfortune to get too close to a naked flame. Fanny Longfellow, wife of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, died in 1861 after her dress went up in flames when a lighted match or small piece of paper fell on her. Longfellow himself attempted to extinguish the flames, but his wife's skirts were so flammable it proved impossible to save her life. Another sad example was Archduchess Mathilde of Austria, who in 1867 is said to have pulled the classic teenage move of hiding a cigarette from her father behind her back and inadvertently set her dress ablaze.

Newspaper reports abounded with editorials on the perils of flouncy fashion, and offered various solutions (sometimes perhaps in jest). The Tablet in 1858 recommended, “We would … suggest that every lady wearing a crinoline, should be accompanied by a footman with a pail of water.” Needless to say, this was not a practical solution, but trends soon moved away from crinolines and the threat of fire lessened.

2. Opium Overdoses

A satirical engraving of an unscrupulous chemist selling a child arsenic and laudanum (tincture of opium)
A satirical engraving of an unscrupulous chemist selling a child arsenic and laudanum (tincture of opium)

Quieting fractious babies has always proved a challenge, but in the 19th century a seemingly wonderful solution was offered: opium. Tinctures of opium, such as Godfrey’s Cordial, were widely used as method to soothe sickly or teething infants. Although it might seem horrifying by modern standards to drug children into listlessness, in the 19th century opium was an extremely popular medicine and, before the days of aspirin, was commonly used as a painkiller and sleeping aid.

Godfrey’s Cordial was especially popular among working-class mothers who often had to return to work soon after the birth of a child. It became not uncommon to dose babies with Godfrey’s to make sure the child remained in a stupor until the mother returned from work. Unfortunately, accidental overdoses were frequent—in 1854 it was estimated that, in Britain, three-quarters of all deaths attributed to opium were of children under 5 years old. Fortunately, better regulation has meant that children’s medicines are now tightly controlled today.

3. Cholera Contamination

Many of us take it for granted that we can turn on the faucet and drink a glass of clean water. However, in the 19th century, as the populations in Europe and America ballooned and increasing numbers of people moved to cities, the infrastructure struggled to cope. Many slums had open sewers in the streets and an unreliable water supply, and communal wells and water pumps were often contaminated with raw sewage. This meant that water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhus became rife.

The cholera outbreaks of the 19th century originated in India, but with the growth of global trade networks it soon spread around the world. A pandemic around 1832 ensued when the disease reached Britain and America for the first time. Several other pandemics swept the world, killing 23,000 people in Britain in 1854 alone. Physician John Snow mapped the cases of cholera in London's Soho that year, and traced the cause to a single water pump that was located near a cesspool. The pump was removed, and cholera cases dropped dramatically. As scientific understanding of the spread of water-borne diseases improved, public water supplies were cleaned up, and the last documented cholera outbreak in the U.S. was in 1911.

4. Arsenic Poisoning

A jar of poisonous Paris Green
Chris goulet, Wikimedia // CC BY-SA 3.0

Colorful green wallpaper was the height of fashion in the Victorian era, largely spearheaded by pre-Raphaelite artists and designers. The green pigment often used, known as Scheele’s Green, had first been developed in 1775 by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele, and the key to its vibrant shade was the use of arsenic. Although arsenic was known to be poisonous if eaten, at the time it was thought to be safe as a color pigment.

In 1862 an investigation was carried out after several children from the same family sickened and died within weeks of each other in Limehouse, London. Dr. Thomas Orton investigated the case and concluded that the children had been poisoned by the arsenic in their bedroom's green wallpaper. Arsenic coloring was also used for dresses, hats, upholstery, and cravats. The poison was sprayed on vegetables as insecticide, and even added to beer. Restrictions on its use in food and drink were only added in 1903. Today, historic houses have had their arsenic wallpaper removed, and arsenic-dyed clothes in museum collections are generally kept safely behind glass.

5. Fatal Factories

By the 19th century, rapid industrialization across Europe and America had led to thousands of factories producing everything from fabric to munitions. Numerous adults—and children—were employed in these factories, providing ample opportunity for death and injury.

The cotton factories of Manchester, England, for example, could kill you in a number of ways. First, the air was thick with cotton fibers, which over time built up in workers’ lungs, causing breathing difficulties and lung disease. Then there were the whirling, grinding machines that might catch your sleeve or hair, dragging you into the loom. Children were employed to clean under the machines and retrieve dropped spindles because their small size allowed them to move about under the moving machines—but a trip or a loss of concentration often proved fatal. The huge number of accidents and deaths in factories eventually led to increased regulation—reducing working hours, restricting child labor, and making the machines themselves safer.

6. Sudden Spontaneous Combustion

Some Victorian scientists believed that alcoholism could cause spontaneous combustion. This idea caught the public imagination, and the theory was used by Charles Dickens in Bleak House (1853) to explain the death of the drunken rag and bone man Mr. Krook. In Victorian accounts, the victims were typically overweight and were heavy drinkers, and their bodies had seemingly burst into flame, leaving only their legs intact. Needless to say, the threat of spontaneous combustion was soon seized upon by the temperance movement, who used the supposed link to alcoholism to scare people away from the demon drink.

For example, The Anatomy of Drunkenness by Robert Macnish (1834) described the various types of drunk and devoted a whole chapter to the risk of spontaneous combustion. Macnish recounted a number of case studies, including that of Mary Clues—an inveterate drinker who was found almost entirely incinerated excepting one leg, while the room around her was more or less undamaged. Despite the widespread discussion of spontaneous combustion in the Victorian era, it's now generally considered highly unlikely if not impossible. Modern forensic science has in part explained the phenomena through the “wick effect,” wherein a body on fire produces melted fat that seeps into the clothes, causing a long, slow, self-contained burn that may look like the result of spontaneous combustion—but almost certainly began with an external source.

7. Pestilent Pox

Smallpox has been around for over 12,000 years. Europeans brought the disease to North and South America in the Age of Exploration, killing up to 90 percent of indigenous populations. Smallpox was still prevalent in the 19th century and killed about 30 percent of its victims. Those that survived were often blinded or badly scarred by the virulent pustules. To give some idea of the scale of fatalities, in just one year, 1871, over 50,000 people died of smallpox in Great Britain and Ireland alone.

In 1796 the English doctor Edward Jenner noticed that milkmaids who had caught cow pox appeared to be immune to smallpox. This led Jenner to create the world’s first vaccine. As with many new developments, it took a number of years for vaccination to catch on, but once it did the incidence of smallpox began to fall. In 1980 the World Health Organization declared the disease exterminated—the first virus ever to be completely eradicated world over—thanks to a sustained program of vaccination.

Australian Pals Claim to Have a 25-Year-Old McDonald's Quarter Pounder in Their Possession

PeJo29/iStock via Getty Images
PeJo29/iStock via Getty Images

What's older than Google, Netflix, and Tom Holland? A Quarter Pounder from McDonald's that's been traveling Australia for a quarter of a century. As 7News.com.au reports, the hamburger was purchased from a McDonald's restaurant in the mid-1990s, and roughly 25 years later it shows no signs of rot—a fact that's somehow more repulsive than the alternative.

Adelaide residents Casey Dean and Eduard Nitz bought the Quarter Pounder with Cheese in 1995 with their friend Johnno who was visiting from out-of-town at the time. Unable to finish the patty, Johnno asked his friends to hold on to it for him until his next visit.

He couldn't have guessed the implications of his request. After the meal, Nitz tossed the boxed-up hamburger into his cabinet at home where it would sit until he moved out. The Quarter Pounder remained in pristine condition, so instead of throwing it away, Nitz handed it off to his sister before going to live overseas. She ended up bringing it with her on various moves across the continent. Then, in 2015, Casey Dean became the official guardian of the indestructible sandwich.

As it nears its 25th birthday, the Quarter Pounder is still far from the nasty, moldy mess you'd expect it to be. That's because McDonald's hamburgers aren't very moist to begin with, so they dry out faster than they can decay. It's the same reason beef jerky can last so long; in other words, there are no mystery chemicals at play.

The same phenomenon can be seen in one of the last McDonald's meals ever purchased in Iceland. The unspoiled burger and fries from 2009 are currently on display at a small hotel in the country.

[h/t 7News.com.au]

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