Tina Resch (pronounced "Resh"), 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 home drew significant news media interest, including extensive coverage by The Columbus Dispatch. A series of color photographs taken by photojournalist Fred Shannon, and published by the Dispatch, were purported to show Resch sitting in an armchair with a telephone handset and phone cord flying in front of her, from left to right. Resch's story, and Shannon's photography, were featured on a 1993 episode of Unsolved Mysteries.
Years later, Resch was convicted of being responsible for the death of her three-year-old daughter, Amber, and sentenced to life imprisonment. She entered an Alford plea in the case. Under such a plea agreement, the accused concedes that the prosecution has a sufficient case to win a guilty verdict at trial, but continues to maintain her innocence as a factual matter.
Alleged poltergeist case
Tina Resch was the adopted daughter of Joan and John Resch. Shortly after the fourteen-year-old Tina watched the movie Poltergeist, objects allegedly began to fly about in her own household. This phenomenon soon came to the attention of the The Columbus Dispatch, which published several photos purporting to show a telephone flying through the air.
Parapsychologist William Roll stayed in the Resch house to investigate the case and concluded there had been genuine "spontaneous psychokinesis". 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. Roll was granted access to the household but Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal investigator James Randi was refused. Despite this, Randi managed to investigate the case and suspected Tina had faked all of the alleged poltergeist occurrences. 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. Interestingly, 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."
The story also lost credibility when a video camera that had accidentally been left on by a visiting television station crew revealed 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. 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." 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. 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 anectdotal and thin, at best. The evidence against them is, in my estimation, strong and convincing."
Conviction and imprisonment
By 1992, Tina Resch had been married and divorced, was now known as Christina Boyer and had a three-year-old daughter named Amber. Boyer and David Herrin, her boyfriend of a few months, were arrested based on charges stemming from Amber's death on April 14, 1992.  While Amber was in the sole custody of Herrin at the time of her death, Boyer was charged with failing to seek medical attention for her daughter after an earlier fall which could have damaged the child's pancreas. 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 J. Skandalakis. In exchange for a sentence of life imprisonment plus 20 years - with the possibility of parole, commutation or pardon - she entered an "Alford plea", in which the defendant maintains her innocence but concedes that the prosecution has sufficient evidence to win a conviction. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution referred to Boyer as the "Telekinetic Mom" in some of its reporting on the legal issues in 1994.
Subsequently, the medical examiner at Herrin's trial for the same crime testified that the cause of Amber's of death "was the blunt force trauma she received to her head", inflicted shortly before her death; Herrin also admitted that he had sexually abused Amber on two prior occasions. Resch had 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.
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 reaffirms Roll's claim that Tina possessed telekinetic powers and asserts her innocence in the death of Amber.
- "Unsolved Mysteries: Episode #238". Retrieved March 27, 2009. Original U.S. airdate: May 19, 1993.
- Hines, Terrence, Pseudoscience and the Paranormal, Prometheus Books (2003). pp. 98-100. ISBN 978-1573929790
- Gordon, Henry, Extrasensory Deception: ESP, Psychics, Shirley MacLaine, Ghosts, UFOs, Macmillan of Canada (1988). p. 107. ISBN 978-0771595394
- Goode, Erich, Paranormal Beliefs: A Sociological Introduction. Waveland Pr Inc. (2000). p. 193. ISBN 978-1577660767
- Kurtz, Paul, A Skeptic's Handbook of Parapsychology. Prometheus Books (1985). p. 220. ISBN 978-0879753009
- Susan Horn, editor/publisher (January 20, 2008). Carroll Star News. Carrollton, Georgia USA: Georgia Rail and Press Company."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.
- "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.
- Couttie, Bob, Forbidden Knowledge: The Paranormal Paradox. Lutterworth Press (1988). pp. 60-61. ISBN 978-0718826864
- 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
- Kendrick Frazier. Science Confronts the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. pp. 152–. ISBN 978-1-61592-619-0.
- 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
- Randi, James, The Columbus Poltergeist Case: Part I. Skeptical Inquirer 9: 221–35. (1984–85). , 
- 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.
- "Magician believes Tina Resch created house monster". (Associted Press) Beaver County Times. Mar 15, 1984.
- "Paranormal events can't withstand close scrutiny, researcher says". The Milwaukee Journal. May 31, 198. Retrieved 14 November 2013.
- Roll, William and Valerie Storey, Unleashed: Of Poltergeists and Murder: The Curious Story of Tina Resch, Simon & Schuster (2004). ISBN 978-0743482943
- Skeptic's Dictionary on poltergeists and Tina Resch
- Tina Resch - Columbus Poltergeist A research article with photos from the 1984 paranormal case.
- Tina Resch / Christina Boyer legal case