Tina Resch had had a pretty rough start of things. In 1969, at only 10 months of age her mother abandoned her at a hospital, and she was soon placed with a foster family in Columbus, Ohio, by the name of John and Joan Resch. Things were fairly normal at first, but Tina began to display temper tantrums and was disruptive at school, allegedly throwing things when no one was looking, although she denied this. Tina became the subject of merciless bullying at school, so the Resch’s had her take home schooling. It was from here that the girl’s personality would change, going from cheerful and outgoing to morose and despondent, with Tina rarely ever leaving the house. All of this was made worse by alleged abuse by the strict, authoritarian Resch’s, and in 1984, when she was 14 years old, things would begin to get strange. This would begin a rather bizarre odyssey with the paranormal, which was studied in depth by some professionals in the field but which remains unexplained.
By all accounts it all started rather suddenly. One day Joan Resch was making a meal in the kitchen when all manner of strange phenomena played out right before her eyes. The lights began to flicker and turn on and off, the clock hand began to spin backwards, and the microwave turned on by itself, as well as the TV. Joan tried to turn them off but they would not, even when she allegedly unplugged them. Not long after this, the washing machine similarly turned on by itself, and Joan thought it must be due to power surges. Before long the phenomena had spread to the whole house, lights flickering and electronics turning on and off all over the place, and this was still continuing when her husband came home from work to witness it for himself. Still thinking that it was some problem with the electrical system, they called in electrician Bruce Claggett to take a look, but not only did the phenomena stop while he was there, but he could find no problem at all with breakers or wiring in the home.
After this, things escalated in intensity. Objects would allegedly topple over or go flying across the room, furniture would move across the floor, and most of this seemed to happen when Tina was around. In fact, Tina seemed to be the target of much of it. On one occasion she was pushed from her chair, and objects often seemed to be aimed by unseen hands to be hurled right at her. One day in particular the entire kitchen seemed to attack Tina, with glasses flying all over the place to smash against the wall and floor, eggs floating through the air or catapulted across the room, and plates tossed around like frisbees. When Tina ran out of the house in terror, it all suddenly stopped, further affirming that it all seemed to gravitate towards her. The activity continued, and ended up catching the attention of a reporter named Mike Hardin, who went to investigate with photographer Fred Shannon, and the case would get more bizarre still.
Hardin would report that as soon as he arrived at the residence an afghan rug lifted up and fluttered over to Tina to sit on her head. Shortly after this, a phone popped off its stand to jump into Tina’s lap and go clattering to the floor, which Shannon was able to photograph as it happened, but mostly these strange occurrences would only happen when his camera was not at the ready, as if whatever was causing it did not want photographs taken. It was all eerie enough that Hardin contacted the prominent parapsychologist William Roll, who came to stay at the house for a few days. Roll also claimed that objects did indeed move and fly across the room, but oddly it only ever seemed to happen when no one was actually looking at the object in question. If one were to look away from the object it would move or fall over, but never an object that was actively being watched. This seemed to be the case every time Shannon tried to get pictures and some sort of photographic evidence for what was going on, which started to make people suspicious. A lot of people were saying that it was just a prank being carried out by Tina herself, and Terence Hines, a professor of psychology at Pace University, New York, has said of this:
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.
Nevertheless, Roll became convinced that this was a genuine case of what he called “recurrent spontaneous psychokinesis,” which basically means that Tina was unknowingly lashing out with psychic energy to cause the phenomena, hence why it mostly happened around her. He requested a neurological exam for the girl, but doctors could find nothing physically wrong with her. In the meantime, the case was getting so much media attention that a team of skeptical investigators from the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, including the famous paranormal debunker James Randi, was put together to do their own investigation. However, for some reason Randi was denied entrance into the house, which derailed the whole thing, and ultimately the skeptical investigation wasn’t carried out, increasing suspicion that this was all faked. Randi would spend a lot of time poring through the case and looking at the photos that Shannon had actually managed to take, and came to the conclusion that it was a hoax or prank being perpetrated by Tina. Randi said that one photo clearly showed Tina’s foot hooked around the leg of a table. He would say it was all a hoax, helped along by Shannon and Hardin, who he accused of sensationalizing the story and misrepresenting the facts in order to paint a spooky narrative. Randi would say:
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. I met with [Shannon] and pointed out the errors in his account of the event, but he persisted in his determination to rashly misrepresent the entire situation. The case against his version is devastating indeed. During one of his public appearances, I was able to demonstrate my proof; he still persisted. Even Dispatch reporter Mike Hardin, who covered the story in the company of the photographer and managed to overlook considerable evidence that did not serve the preferred storyline, could not support the hyperbolized and highly colored version that the photographer offered. This version was presented to readers of Fate magazine in a lengthy account that greatly pleased the gullible.
Despite this, Roll was convinced that this was a very real unexplainable, paranormal phenomenon, especially since objects were often moving or being thrown even when Tina was nowhere near them. He would study Tina Resch for a full 8 years, often bringing her to be tested and examined at his parapsychological laboratory in Georgia and never finding any evidence of trickery. He also discovered that Tina was unusually susceptible to electrical energy, concocting a theory that a magnetic storm in the Earth’s atmosphere had unlocked psychic powers within her. Sometime during all of this, the poltergeist activity began to decrease in intensity and frequency until it stopped altogether.
Tina Resch would go on to be married and divorced twice, and had a child named Amber Boyer. In 1992, 3-year-old Amber died, suspected to be due to physical abuse carried out on her by Tina’s then boyfriend, David Herrin. Herrin and Tina were arrested and charged with murder, giving them a potential death penalty. At the time, she had a lot of support from Roll, who convinced her to finally make a plea bargain, pleading guilty in exchange for a reduced sentence of life plus twenty years with the possibility of parole. Oddly, Herrin, who was suspected to be the one who had dealt the killing blow, only got 22 years with a possibility of early parole, and was released on November 16, 2011. It is a tragic footnote to the story, yet through it all she has insisted that the story is completely true, and we are left to wonder what to think. Could trickery possibly explain all of the phenomena, or is there perhaps something truly unexplainable going on here? Could this have been ghosts or some strange powers of the mind? Sadly, Tina Resch has basically stopped talking about it all, leaving it to swirl about in the realm of speculation and debate.