Tina Resch

Last updated

Tina Resch (also goes by Christina Boyer, born October 23, 1969) was a central figure in a series of incidents that came to be called the Columbus poltergeist case. In 1984, alleged telekinesis events at her Columbus, Ohio home drew significant news media interest. A series of color photographs taken by photojournalist Fred Shannon, and published by The Columbus Dispatch , were purported to show Resch sitting in an armchair with a telephone handset and phone cord flying in front of her. Resch's story, and Shannon's photography, were featured on a 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries . [1]


Skeptics and debunkers pointed out that much of the proclaimed evidence was anecdotal and thin and declared the case to be a hoax. [2] [3] [4] Paul Kurtz wrote that Resch was "a disturbed teenager" who faked poltergeist phenomena because she "craved attention". [5]

Resch was married and divorced twice, and had a child named Amber Boyer. In 1994, facing a potential death penalty if she agreed to go to trial before jury, Resch instead accepted a plea bargain with prosecutors to being responsible for the death of her three-year-old daughter that had occurred while the daughter was being looked after by her boyfriend, and she was sentenced to life imprisonment. [6]

Alleged poltergeist case

Tina Resch is the adopted daughter of Joan and John Resch, who were physically abusive to her. [7] [8] The Resches were well known in Columbus, as they were foster parents who had helped care for 250 children prior to 1984. [9] When she was 14, Tina watched the movie Poltergeist , and shortly afterward the family reported seeing objects fly around their house. [10] Reporter Mike Harden of The Columbus Dispatch was asked to assist the family, and involved photographer Fred Shannon. [9] The Columbus Dispatch interviewed Tina, and later published several photos purporting to show a telephone flying through the air. [2]

Parapsychologist William Roll stayed in the Resch house to investigate the case, and claimed that there had been genuine "spontaneous psychokinesis". [11] Roll, however, never observed any object move by itself. In one incident, a picture fell from a wall in an upstairs room where Tina had been alone half an hour before; Roll was facing away from the picture when it fell. [8] [11] James Randi, an investigator for the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal was refused access to the household, [12] but investigated the case and suspected Tina had faked the alleged poltergeist occurrences. [13] According to Terence Hines:

The Resch poltergeist turned out to be so elusive that no one ever actually saw a single object even start to move of its own accord. This included the newspaper photographer, who found that if he watched an object, it stubbornly refused to budge. So he would hold up his camera and look away... One of the photos obtained in this way was distributed by the Associated Press and touted widely as proof of the reality of the phenomenon. Examined closely, the photographic evidence in this case strongly suggested that Tina was faking the occurrences by simply throwing the phone and other "flying" objects when no one was looking. Randi's careful analysis of the other photos, many unpublished, of Tina and her flying phone strengthen the conclusion that she was faking. The editor of The Columbus Dispatch, Luke Feck, embarrassed by the revelation that he and his paper were taken in by so obvious a fake, refused Randi permission to print the photos he had given him earlier, in an apparent attempt to suppress the evidence of Tina's trickery and the newspaper's credulity." [2]

In a later incident, a visiting television crew inadvertently left a video camera on, which caught footage of Tina deliberately knocking over a table lamp, then screaming as if in fright, an event that had previously been ascribed to the poltergeist. When confronted with the videotape, Tina claimed she had done it to get the reporters to leave. [11] [14] Randi characterized the situation as a hoax by an adolescent girl seeking attention, saying, "examination of available material indicates that fraudulent means or perfectly explainable methods have been employed to provide the media with sensational details about an otherwise trivial matter." [15] Randi examined a roll of photos taken by press photographers and said that they showed the girl's foot hooked beneath a sofa that had purportedly moved by itself, and that the glass in a picture frame that allegedly shattered on its own while in her hands was already broken before she ever picked it up. [16] His conclusion of the case, as he reported in Skeptical Inquirer, Spring 1985, was as follows:

The evidence for the validity of poltergeist claims in this case is anecdotal and thin, at best. The evidence against them is, in my estimation, strong and convincing. [13]

Conviction and imprisonment

Tina Resch married and divorced twice, changing her name to Christina Boyer, and had a daughter named Amber. [6] In April 1992, at the age of three, Amber was found dead, suspected to have been beaten to death. [17] [18] Boyer and David Herrin, her boyfriend of a few months, were arrested and tried for the murder of Amber. [6] Tina was not present at the time of the death of her daughter, who had been left in Herrin's care at the time. The medical examiner at Herrin's trial testified that the cause of Amber's death was "blunt force trauma she received to her head", inflicted shortly before her death, [6] and both Tina and Herrin blamed each other for the injuries. [19] Even as the Unsolved Mysteries segment about Tina premiered on May 19, 1993, Boyer was sitting in jail and awaiting trial. [20] [21] At the time, the Unsolved Mysteries segment made no mention of the criminal charges against Tina. [21]

Tina was charged with aggravated battery, and in October 1994, rather than face trial and the possibility of a death sentence, Boyer agreed to a plea bargain negotiated by her attorney and District Attorney Peter Skandalakis. [6] [22] She entered an Alford plea, in which she pleaded guilty while maintaining her innocence. [23] Tina received a life sentence plus 20 years, with the possibility of parole. David Herrin was convicted of cruelty to children, and sentenced to 20 years. He was released from Dooly State Prison on November 16, 2011. [22]

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to Boyer as the "Telekinetic Mom" in some of its reporting on the legal issues in 1994. [23]

In 2004, William Roll collaborated with writer Valerie Storey on a book entitled Unleashed – Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch. The book claims Tina possessed telekinetic powers and was innocent in the death of Amber. [24]

Since 2008, Boyer has been incarcerated at Pulaski State Prison in Hawkinsville, Georgia. [6]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">James Randi</span> Canadian-American magician and skeptic (1928–2020)

James Randi was a Canadian-American stage magician, author and scientific skeptic who extensively challenged paranormal and pseudoscientific claims. He was the co-founder of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), and founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF). Randi began his career as a magician under the stage name The Amazing Randi and later chose to devote most of his time to investigating paranormal, occult, and supernatural claims. Randi retired from practicing magic at age 60, and from his foundation at 87.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Poltergeist</span> Ghost that causes physical disturbance

In German folklore and ghostlore, a poltergeist is a type of ghost or spirit that is responsible for physical disturbances, such as loud noises and objects being moved or destroyed. Most claims or fictional descriptions of poltergeists show them as being capable of pinching, biting, hitting, and tripping people. They are also depicted as capable of the movement or levitation of objects such as furniture and cutlery, or noises such as knocking on doors. Foul smells are also associated with poltergeist occurrences, as well as spontaneous fires and different electrical issues such as flickering lights.

A haunted house, spook house or ghost house in ghostlore is a house or other building often perceived as being inhabited by disembodied spirits of the deceased who may have been former residents or were otherwise connected with the property. Parapsychologists often attribute haunting to the spirits of the dead who have suffered from violent or tragic events in the building's past such as murder, accidental death, or suicide.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Psychic surgery</span> Pseudoscientific medical fraud

Psychic surgery is a pseudoscientific medical fraud in which practitioners create the illusion of performing surgery with their bare hands and use sleight of hand, fake blood, and animal parts to convince the patient that diseased lesions have been removed and that the incision has spontaneously healed.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Borley Rectory</span> Building in Borley, Essex, England

Borley Rectory was a house located in Borley, Essex, famous for being described as "the most haunted house in England" by psychic researcher Harry Price. Built in 1862 to house the rector of the parish of Borley and his family, the house was badly damaged by fire in 1939 and demolished in 1944.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Harry Price</span> British psychic researcher and author (1881–1948)

Harry Price was a British psychic researcher and author, who gained public prominence for his investigations into psychical phenomena and exposing fraudulent spiritualist mediums. He is best known for his well-publicised investigation of the purportedly haunted Borley Rectory in Essex, England.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Enfield poltergeist</span> Claim of supernatural activity

The Enfield poltergeist was a claim of supernatural activity at 284 Green Street, a council house in Brimsdown, Enfield, London, England, between 1977 and 1979. The alleged poltergeist activity centred on sisters Janet (11) and Margaret Hodgson (13).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">William G. Roll</span> American psychologist (1926–2012)

William G. Roll was an American psychologist and parapsychologist on the faculty of the Psychology Department of the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, Georgia. Roll is most notable for his belief in poltergeist activity. He coined the term "recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis" (RSPK) to explain poltergeist cases. However, RSPK was never accepted by mainstream science and skeptics have described Roll as a credulous investigator.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mediumship</span> Spiritual practice

Mediumship is the belief in the practice of mediating communication between familiar spirits or spirits of the dead and living human beings. Practitioners are known as "mediums" or "spirit mediums". There are different types of mediumship or spirit channelling, including séance tables, trance, and ouija. The practice is associated with Spiritualism, Spiritism, and some New Age groups.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Andrija Puharich</span> American physician and medical and parapsychological researcher

Andrija Puharich — born Henry Karel Puharić — was a medical and parapsychological researcher, medical inventor, physician and author, known as the person who brought Israeli Uri Geller and Dutch-born Peter Hurkos (1911–1988) to the United States for scientific investigation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thoughtography</span> Claimed psychic ability

Thoughtography, also called projected thermography,psychic photography,nengraphy, and nensha(Japanese: 念写), is the claimed ability to "burn" images from one's mind onto surfaces such as photographic film by parapsychic means. While the term "thoughtography" has been in the English lexicon since 1913, the more recent term "projected thermography" is a neologism popularized in the 2002 American film The Ring, a remake of the 1998 Japanese horror film Ring.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mina Crandon</span> American spiritualist (1888–1941)

Mina "Margery" Crandon was an American psychic medium who said that she channeled her dead brother, Walter Stinson. Investigators who studied Crandon concluded that she had no such paranormal ability, and others detected her in outright deception. She became known as her alleged paranormal skills were touted by Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and were disproved by magician Harry Houdini. Crandon was investigated by members of the American Society for Psychical Research and employees of the Scientific American.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Joe Nickell</span> Skeptic and paranormal investigator (born 1944)

Joe Nickell is an American skeptic and investigator of the paranormal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ectoplasm (paranormal)</span> Substance in spiritualism

Ectoplasm is a term used in Spiritualism to denote a substance or spiritual energy "exteriorized" by physical mediums. It was coined in 1894 by psychical researcher Charles Richet. Although the term is widespread in popular culture, there is no scientific evidence that ectoplasm exists and many purported examples were exposed as hoaxes fashioned from cheesecloth, gauze or other natural substances.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Massimo Polidoro</span> Italian psychologist and writer (born 1969)

Massimo Polidoro is an Italian psychologist, writer, journalist, television personality, and co-founder and executive director of the Italian Committee for the Investigation of Claims of the Pseudosciences (CICAP).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nandor Fodor</span> British and American parapsychologist, psychoanalyst, author and journalist

Nandor Fodor was a British and American parapsychologist, psychoanalyst, author and journalist of Hungarian origin.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hereward Carrington</span> American psychic investigator and writer

Hereward Carrington was an American investigator of psychic phenomena and author. His subjects included several of the most high-profile cases of apparent psychic ability of his times, and he wrote over 100 books on subjects including the paranormal and psychical research, conjuring and stage magic, and alternative medicine. Carrington promoted fruitarianism and held pseudoscientific views about dieting.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Telekinesis</span> Influencing of objects without physical interaction

Telekinesis, also known as Psychokinesis, is a hypothetical psychic ability allowing an individual to influence a physical system without physical interaction. Experiments to prove the existence of telekinesis have historically been criticized for lack of proper controls and repeatability. There is no reliable evidence that telekinesis is a real phenomenon, and the topic is generally regarded as pseudoscience.

Rita Goold was a British psychic and spiritualist medium from Leicester.

Anita Gregory was a German-born British psychologist and parapsychologist. Gregory was a lecturer at the Polytechnic of North London. She was a member of the Society for Psychical Research and conducted experiments with the British psychic Matthew Manning.


  1. "Unsolved Mysteries: Episode #238" . Retrieved March 27, 2009. Original U.S. airdate: May 19, 1993.
  2. 1 2 3 Hines, Terrence, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, Prometheus Books (2003). pp. 98–100. ISBN   978-1573929790
  3. Gordon, Henry, Extrasensory Deception: ESP, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, UFOs, Macmillan of Canada (1988). p. 107. ISBN   978-0771595394
  4. Goode, Erich, Paranormal Beliefs: A Sociological Introduction. Waveland Pr Inc. (2000). p. 193. ISBN   978-1577660767
  5. Kurtz, Paul, A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books (1985). p. 220. ISBN   978-0879753009
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Susan Horn, editor/publisher (January 20, 2008). Carroll Star News. Carrollton, Georgia USA: Georgia Rail and Press Company.{{cite book}}: |author= has generic name (help)"The real story of Christina Resch Boyer: Did a 'perfect storm' of events lead to life imprisonment?" A lengthy front page story with color photo in which the publisher calls for a reexamination of the legal case by the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles.
  7. Sady Doyle (13 August 2019). Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers. Melville House Publishing. p. 13. ISBN   9781612197920. OCLC   1104214645.
  8. 1 2 Couttie, Bob (1988). Forbidden Knowledge: The Paranormal Paradox. Lutterworth Press. pp. 60–61. ISBN   9780718826864. OCLC   17263288.
  9. 1 2 Dunning, Brian. "Skeptoid #448: The Columbus Poltergeist". Skeptoid .
  10. Wynn, Charles M. and Arthur W. Wiggins, Quantum Leaps in the Wrong Direction: Where Real Science Ends...and Pseudoscience Begins, Joseph Henry Press (2001). p. 99. ISBN   978-0309073097
  11. 1 2 3 Kendrick Frazier (27 January 2011). Science Confronts the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 152–. ISBN   978-1-61592-619-0.
  12. Nickell, Joe, The Outer Edge: Classic Investigations of the Paranormal, Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (1996). p. 118. ISBN   978-1117887708
  13. 1 2 Randi, James, The Columbus Poltergeist Case: Part I. Skeptical Inquirer 9: 221–35. (1984–85). ,
  14. Paul Kurtz (10 September 2013). The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 403–. ISBN   978-1-61614-828-7.
  15. "Magician believes Tina Resch created house monster". (Associated Press) Beaver County Times. Mar 15, 1984.
  16. "Paranormal events can't withstand close scrutiny, researcher says". The Milwaukee Journal. May 31, 1984. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
  17. "Mother pleads guilty in fatal beating of girl". Rome News Tribune. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  18. "Caroll Case Due in Floyd". Rome News Tribune. October 21, 1994. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  19. "Psychic Mom Get Life for Murder of Toddler". Daily News. October 27, 1994. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  20. Harden, Mike (15 May 1993). "Victim or Perpetrator". Scripps Howard News Service. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  21. 1 2 "'Mysteries' on Resch a Stumper Itself". The Columbus Dispatch (Home Final ed.). Newsbank. 23 May 1993. p. 03F. Retrieved 18 July 2017.
  22. 1 2 "Georgia Department of Corrections" . Retrieved February 24, 2014.
  23. 1 2 "Atlanta Journal Constitution "Telekinetic Mom" newspaper stories". October 25, 1994. Retrieved 2008-02-24. Articles on Tina Resch Boyer in the archives of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution published October 24, 1994.
  24. Roll, William and Valerie Storey, Unleashed: Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch, Simon & Schuster (2004). ISBN   978-0743482943