Real Name: Christina Elaina "Tina" Resch
Case: Unexplained Phenomenon
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Date: March 1984
Details: On October 26, 1969, Tina Resch was born in Columbus, Ohio. Ten months later, her mother brought her to a hospital and then disappeared. That same day, she was placed in the home of John and Joan Resch, longtime foster parents who had cared for over 250 children. Although they had five of their own, they adopted her. She was a happy child with a bubbly personality. However, sometimes she "boiled over". At age eight, she was diagnosed as hyperactive and placed on medication. Teachers told John and Joan that she threw erasers and pencils, causing a scene. Interestingly, they never saw her do so, but they were certain that she was behind it. She claimed that they made a big deal about taking her out of the room and giving her her medicine. Her schoolmates made fun of her and called her "crazy".
The cruelty at school only worsened. John and Joan finally took Tina out of there when her schoolmates 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; she thrived at home and enjoyed helping take care of her foster siblings. However, subconsciously, she was under a great deal of stress. She spent almost her entire time at home and rarely left there.
On Saturday, March 3, 1984, Joan was washing dishes when she noticed her analog clock's hands 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 did so. Tina tried to turn the TV off, but the picture and sound were still there. When she unplugged it, it was still working. In the laundry room, the washing machine started spinning quickly on its own. Joan then believed that power surges were affecting the appliances.
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 he arrived, he went to the breaker box, took the cover off, inspected the breakers, and made sure that there weren't any "hot spots" or "loose joints". He could find no explanation for what was occurring in the house.
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 pulling a prank. 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 one 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 house. As John fed one of the babies in her high chair, it 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 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 her 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 house. She recalled waking up and seeing her analog clock's hands move on their 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 them back in the refrigerator, one somehow passed through the door and splatted on a nearby wall. John and Joan suspected that a demonic entity was causing the problems in their house. Their minister attempted to cleanse it and Tina herself of evil spirits. She became convinced that something evil was possessing her. When John, Joan, and their minister went into the living room, a couch moved forward and hit their 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 done a story on her and John earlier. 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's 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 his 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 it went across her. It appeared that whatever entity was in the house 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 house, many of them skeptical. One of the reporters and his crew caught her in the middle of "hoaxing" an episode. A video camera recorded her pulling on a lamp shade and knocking it off a table. She claimed that the reporters told Joan that they would not leave unless they "saw something". She then decided that she would knock over the lamp and blame it on the poltergeist.
When Tina explained her reasoning, many still believed her. Mike called in noted parapsychologist Dr. William Roll to investigate her and her apparent "psychokinesis" - moving objects with one's own mind. He 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 too far away to have had any contact with the mug. He now believed that something real was happening in the house.
During another incident, Dr. Roll heard a crashing sound behind him in the master bedroom. They went in there 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 was also done so. Dr. Roll was convinced that the house 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 house represented Tina's inner turmoil. Joan believes that the energy in her 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 case first aired in the May 19, 1993 episode. It is known as the The Columbus Poltergeist. It was excluded from the Amazon Prime episodes.
Skeptic James Randi claims he was refused by John and Joan from taking a look at the activity. He concluded, based on evidence from other sources, that it was a hoax perpetrated by Tina.
Results: Unresolved. In 1986, Tina was kicked out of the Resch home. She later married and divorced twice, changing her name to Tina Boyer. Unfortunately, both of her husbands were violently abusive toward her. She also had a three-year-old daughter named Amber Gail Bennett. In 1992, she began dating twenty-eight-year-old David Herrin. On April 14, Amber was found dead in his trailer in Carrollton, Georgia. She suffered from blunt force trauma and also had other injuries which suggested she had been abused for several days. The fatal injuries occurred while she was being watched by Herrin. He and Tina, then twenty-two, were arrested and charged with her murder. Both claimed that the other one was responsible for her death.
At the time of the broadcast, Tina was in jail awaiting trial. In October 1994, she entered an Alford Plea to aggravated battery and felony murder. She was sentenced to life in prison plus twenty years. Despite being the one to allegedly cause Amber's death, Herrin was acquitted of her murder in February 1995. He was convicted instead of "failing to seek medical treatment". He received a twenty-year sentence and was released in 2011. Tina remains in prison; she was denied parole in 2019.
James Randi reviewed other photographs that Fred had taken of Tina. According to him, there was evidence in them that indicated that she had thrown several of the objects, such as the phones. He and other skeptics have claimed that she was a "disturbed teenager" who faked the poltergeist activity because she "craved attention". It was noted that John and Joan had watched the movie Poltergeist shortly before the occurrences began. She also had planned on searching for her birth parents at that time, which had caused arguments between her, John, and Joan. They allegedly physically abused her as a child and she was also allegedly molested by her foster brother. The alleged abuse is believed to have caused her behavioral problems and a need for attention. The later events in her life has also led many to believe that the events in the Resch house were hoaxed.
Joan and Fred passed away in 2007. John died in 1987, prior to the broadcast.
- Tina Resch on Wikipedia
- Tina Resch Website
- Tina Resch on Murderpedia
- The Columbus Poltergeist on Skeptoid.com
- The Tina Boyer Legal Case
- Publicity gives teen respite from series of bizarre events - March 11, 1984
- Magician believes Tina Resch created "house monster" - March 15, 1984
- The Strange Case of Tina Resch - March 26, 1984
- Exploring inexplicable powers of the human mind - April 29, 1984
- What paranormal entity was it that kept an Ohio family under siege? (Page 1) (Page 2) - August 7, 1984
- Does Tina Resch cause dishes to fly? Magician charges collusion - August 23, 1984
- Poltergeist's tricks on teen puzzle pros (Page 1) (Page 2) - September 2, 1984
- The Columbus Poltergeist Case - James Randi - April 1, 1985
- The Columbus Poltergeist: How a 14-year-old may have bamboozled media - April 9, 1985
- Team Attempts to Solve Ohio Family's Mystery - April 28, 1985
- Boyfriend, mother charged in girl's death - April 17, 1992
- Carroll case due in Floyd - October 21, 1994
- Mother pleads guilty in fatal beating of girl - October 25, 1994
- "Telekinetic" mom averts trial - October 25, 1994
- Tina Boyer's tragic trip ends - October 25, 1994
- "Psychic" mom gets life for murder of toddler - October 27, 1994
- "Psychic" Mother Gets Life in Toddler's Beating Death - October 27, 1994
- The real story of Tina Resch Boyer: Did a "perfect storm" of events lead to life imprisonment? - January 20, 2008
- The Unbelievably Sad, Strange Story of a Girl and Her Poltergeist - October 28, 2015
- Deliverance: Can a group of strangers prove that Tina Boyer is really a victim of injustice? - February 28, 2020