Real Name: Tina Resch
Case: Unexplained Phenomenon
Date: March 1984
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Details: Tina Resch was born on October 26, 1969 in Columbus, Ohio. Ten months later, her mother brought her to the hospital and then disappeared. That same day, Tina was placed in the home of Joan and John Resch, longtime foster parents who had cared for over 250 children. Although the Reschs had five children of their own, they adopted Tina. She was a happy child with a bubbly personality. However, sometimes she "boiled over". At the age of eight, she was diagnosed as hyperactive and placed on medication. Teachers told her parents that she was throwing erasers, pencils, and causing a scene. Interestingly, the teachers never saw her throw the items, but they were certain that she was behind it. Tina claimed that her teachers made a big deal about taking her out of the room and giving her her medicine. The other students made fun of her and called her "crazy".
The cruelty at school only worsened. Her parents finally took her out of school when the other students actually tied her up and taunted her mercilessly on the playground. She did her school work at home and had a private tutor. Initially, things went well; Tina thrived at home and enjoyed helping take care of the foster children. However, subconsciously, she was under a great deal of stress. She spent almost her entire time at home and rarely left the house.
One Saturday in March of 1984, Joan was washing dishes when she noticed her analog clock spinning out of control. The lights in the kitchen began turning on and off by themselves. At first, she assumed that Tina was pulling a prank. Then, the TV and microwave turned on by themselves. After that, the garbage disposal started up on its own. Tina tried to turn the TV off; the picture and sound were still there. When she unplugged it, it still was working. In the laundry room, the washing machine started spinning quickly on its own. Joan then believed that power surges were affecting the appliances in the home.
When John returned from running errands, things were still running haywire. Joan told him about everything turning on by itself. He decided to call electrician Bruce Claggett. Bruce heard a loud howling sound through the phone; he could barely hear what John was saying. When Bruce arrived, he went to the main breaker box, took the cover off of the fuse box, inspected the breakers, and made sure there weren't any "hot spots" or "loose joints". He could find no explanation for what was occurring in the home.
As soon as Bruce walked outside, the activity began to act up again. A light and its switch apparently turned on by itself. Bruce, however, suspected that Tina was pranking them. He decided to test it by putting tape on all of the light switches in the living room. He and John then went back to the switch by the front door. However, they waited in the wrong place; the hall lamp turned on by itself and the tape holding its switch down was gone. Bruce was unable to explain what happened. He left soon after.
Later that day, more unexplained occurrences affected the Resch home. As John fed one of the infants in her high chair, the chair began to move on its own. At the same time, Tina was "pushed" out of her chair and thrown onto the floor. Seconds after that, a glass was thrown across another room. Within a few hours, the room was full of broken glass. Coasters and other objects were also scattered on the floor.
With no end of the havoc in sight, Tina decided to go out for a walk. Suddenly, everything inside the home stopped and seemingly returned to normal. Joan began to wonder if other things that Tina got blamed for during her childhood were actually out of control, such as the erasers and pencils being thrown in her classroom. That night, when she returned home, it became clear to her that she was at the center of whatever was plaguing her home. She recalled waking up and seeing the time on her clock move on its own.
The next morning, the same activity continued. More glasses were thrown from counters. Eggs sitting in the carton were thrown onto the ceiling. When Tina put the eggs back in the refrigerator, one somehow passed through the door and splattered on a nearby wall. The Reschs suspected that a demonic entity was causing the problems in their home. Their minister attempted to cleanse their house and Tina herself of evil spirits. Tina became convinced that something evil was possessing her. When the Reschs and their minister went into the living room, a couch moved forward and hit the minister in the leg. He told them that there was nothing else he could do.
The bizarre occurrences and Tina's physical condition worsened. Doctors, however, could find nothing wrong with her. Desperate for help, Joan called reporter Mike Harden, who had earlier done a story on the Resch family. He brought along photographer Fred Shannon. Tina, Mike, and Fred went into the living room to talk. Suddenly, an afghan that was laying on the floor lifted up and covered Tina over her head. Fred brought his camera to his face and kept his finger on the triggering, hoping to take a photograph of poltergeist activity.
After about twenty minutes, Fred's arms became tired, so he set the camera on his lap. Suddenly, the phone next to Tina was thrown across her and landed on the floor next to her. Fred was able to quickly take a photograph (shown to the right) as the phone went across her. It appeared that whatever entity was in the home did not want its photograph taken. Mike noted that he did not see Tina throw the phone or do anything to cause what happened.
The photograph became famous and Tina quickly became a media sensation. Several reporters descended on the home, many of them skeptical. One of the reporters and his crew caught her in the middle of "hoaxing" an episode. Tina claimed that the reporters told her mother that they would not leave unless they "saw something". She then decided that she would knock over a lamp and blame it on the poltergeist.
When she explained her reasoning, many still believed her. Mike called in noted parapsychologist Dr. William Roll to investigate Tina and her apparent "psychokinesis" which involves moving objects with one's own mind. Dr. Roll claimed that for the first three days he was there, nothing happened. Then, on the fourth day, he and Tina were in her room when a mug was thrown across it. He noted that she was far enough away that she could not have had any contact with the mug. He now believed that something real was happening in the home.
During another incident, Dr. Roll heard a crashing sound behind him in the master bedroom. They went into the room and found a painting laying on the floor. As they tried to put it back up, his tape recorder was thrown across the room. Then, a pair of pliers they were using were also thrown across the room. Dr. Roll was convinced that the home needed to be investigated further. He also believed that Tina needed some help and counseling. She went with him to North Carolina for testing.
Dr. Roll believed that Tina was unusually susceptible to electrical energy. A magnetic storm in the earth's atmosphere may have triggered an ability to inadvertently manipulate the physical environment. He believed that the occurrences in the Resch home represented Tina's inner turmoil. Joan believes that the energy in Tina kept building up until it "exploded".
Tina's symptoms and the psychokinetic occurrences eventually subsided. However, her emotional scars remain. She fears that people will continue to judge her for her "craziness" and alleged abilities.
Extra Notes: This segment first ran on Unsolved Mysteries in the May 19, 1993 episode. The incident is known as the The Columbus Poltergeist.
Skeptic James Randi claims he was refused by the Resch family from taking a look at the activity.
Results: Unresolved. Tina later married and divorced twice, changing her name to Christina Boyer. Sadly, both of her husbands were violently abusive towards her. She also had a daughter named Amber Boyer. In 1992, three-year-old Amber was found dead from apparent physical abuse. The injuries occurred while she was being watched by Tina's boyfriend David Herrin. The two were arrested and charged with Amber's murder.
At the time her segment aired, Tina was in jail awaiting trial. In October of 1994, she entered an Alford Plea to aggravated battery and was sentenced to life in prison plus twenty years. Despite being the one to cause Amber's injuries, Herrin received only a twenty-year sentence and was released in 2011.
Skeptics have claimed that Tina was a "disturbed teenager" who faked the poltergeist activity because she "craved attention". It was noted that the Resch family had watched the movie Poltergeist shortly before the occurrences began. Also, her adoptive parents allegedly beat her as a child, which also could have caused her to have behavioral problems and a need for attention. The recent events in Tina's life has led many to believe that the events in the Resch home were hoaxed.
Tina's foster mother Joan died in 2007. Fred Shannon passed away in 2007.
- Tina Resch at Wikipedia
- Tina Resch at Murderpedia
- The Columbus Poltergeist at Skeptoid.com
- The Christina Boyer Legal Case
- Magician believes Tina Resch created 'house monster'
- The Columbus Poltergeist: How a 14-year-old may have bamboozled media
- Mother pleads guilty in fatal beating of girl
- 'Psychic' mom gets life for murder of toddler
- The real story of Christina Resch Boyer: Did a "perfect storm" of events lead to life imprisonment?