The image above is of a young girl named Tina Resch. She was the subject of an infamous poltergeist case whose main investigator was the acclaimed parapsychologist William Roll. Tina was an adopted young child who seemed to express pent-up anger and be under tremendous amounts of stress. Combine those two things with a pre-pubescent teenager and you have the recipe for a possible poltergeist. Or so the theory goes.
Tina was that child. She was under stress at school, being taunted and disciplined on a constant basis. Everywhere Tina went, electrical appliances went haywire when she was near and objects seemed to move when she was a few feet away. The photograph above became famous when it was printed by The Columbus Dispatch newspaper and said to show the poltergeist activity in action, as a princess phone was photographed flying past Tina, as she jumps back in a surprised manner.
The case does have some flaws though.
When a television crew, who was filming some footage for an upcoming segment on Tina, left their equipment running they had captured Tina faking some of the phenomena. When confronted, she confessed and said that the reason why she did it was just to get the film crew out of the house. Regardless of Tina being caught red-handed, there were several witnesses, including William Roll, who witnessed objects moving even when Tina was nowhere near them.
I’m currently reading a book by Michael Clarkson called “The Poltergeist Phenomenon” and in it, he briefly mentions the Tina Resch case. The book details most of the theories out there about the poltergeist phenomena and its agents. The case had gained some attention in the 80s when Unsolved Mysteries did a segment on Tina Resch, but after Tina had gone through puberty it seemed like the poltergeist activity ceased.
Although the perils of the poltergeist were gone when Tina entered womanhood, her life would ultimately end up spiraling out of control. In 1992, Tina was arrested along with her boyfriend for the death of her 3 year old daughter.
Tina Resch (pronounced “Resh”), born October 23, 1969, achieved some fame during what the media called the Columbus Poltergeist case. She was an adopted child, and in 1984 unexplained events of alleged spontaneous telekinesis at her home were covered extensively by news media. The coverage included a series of color photographs that were taken by newspaper photojournalist Fred Shannon of The Columbus Dispatch of Columbus, Ohio, USA, which showed her sitting in an armchair with a telephone handset and flexible cable in flight in front of her from left to right. Tina’s story, including the now-famous photograph, was featured on a 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
The story lost some of its credibility when a video camera that had accidentally been left on by a visiting television station crew revealed Tina knocking over a lamp, an event that had been ascribed to the poltergeist. Tina claimed she had done that to get the reporters to leave. James Randi accused the Resches and parapsychologist William Roll of denying him a look at the phenomena.
In 1992, as an adult with the divorced name of Christina Boyer, she was jailed, along with a boyfriend of only a few months, for allegedly being responsible for the death of her three-year-old daughter, who was in the sole custody of the boyfriend at the time. She did not have a trial, but in October 1994 accepted a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of a death penalty. She passed a polygraph examination indicating her innocence less than 24 hours before her plea hearing, and questions have since been raised concerning her convictions on the two counts in her indictment, for which she was sentenced to life plus 20 years in prison. The type of plea she entered is called an Alford plea, one in which the defendant maintains their innocence but accepts a lesser sentence imposed to avoid the possibility of a harsher one, which in Ms. Boyer’s case would have been death. The prosecutor in the case representing the State of Georgia was District Attorney Peter J. Skandalakis of the Coweta Judicial District.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper gave her the title “Telekinetic Mom” in some of its reporting on the legal issues in 1994. In 2004, a book about the case Unleashed – Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch by Roll and writer Valerie Storey was published which shed some light on the family’s and paranormal investigators’ side of events.