THE TINA RESCH CASE - 1984

In 1984, a Columbus, Ohio family was plagued by another case of poltergeist phenomena and in spite the claims of skeptics, many researchers believe this was a classic case of genuine activity... at least for a time.

John and Joan Resch first attracted publicity in late 1983 when a reporter from a local newspaper, the Columbus Dispatch, came to their home to chronicle the couple’s extraordinary work with foster children. Over the years, the couple had taken in more than 250 homeless and disturbed children. At the time the article was written, the family consisted of John and Joan, their son, Craig, their adopted daughter, Tina, and four foster children.

Five months later, the Resch family would be in the news again. Apparently, their 14-year old daughter Tina had become the focus for a strange and very frightening series of events. On a Saturday morning in March 1984, all of the lights in the Resch home suddenly went on all at once, even though no one had touched a switch. John and Joan assumed the incident had been triggered by a power surge and they telephone the local utility company. It was suggested that they call an electrician, which they did. An electrical contractor named Bruce Claggett came to the house, thinking that it was merely a problem with a circuit breaker. He was unable to keep the lights from turninff on. Claggett even tried taping the light switches so that they stayed on. Closet lights which operated with a pull string would be turned out, but seconds later, the bulbs would be glowing again. Claggett finally gave up, unable to explain what was going on.

By evening, stranger things were being reported like lamps, brass candlesticks and clocks flying through the air; wine glasses shattering; the shower running on its own; and eggs, rising out of the carton by themselves and then smashing against the ceiling; knives were flying from drawers; and more. A rattling wall picture was placed behind the couch, only to slide back out again three different times.

As the weekend wore on, a pattern began to develop. The intensity and focus of the activity seemed to be Tina, who was even struck by a number of the objects. A chair was seen tumbling across the floor in Tina’s direction and it was only stopped from hitting her because it became wedged in a doorway. The fact that Tina was the object of the activity is important. Family members, neighbors and unrelated witnesses actually saw Tina being hit and smacked by flying objects, which came from parts of the room where she was not located!

Near midnight on Saturday, the Columbus police were summoned to the house but there was nothing they could do. The only respite from the strange events came on Sunday, when Tina left the house for church and then again in the afternoon when she went out to visit a friend. On Sunday evening, three elders from the Mormon Church had been summoned by a relative and, laying their hands on Tina’s head, attempted a prayer blessing to dispel the force which was creating havoc in the house. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.

By Monday morning, the house was a wreck and literally dozens of reliable witnesses, including reporters, police officers, church officials and neighbors, had reported unexplained phenomena in the Resch home.


While he was there, a picture flew from the wall in front of him and his own tape recorder flew over seven feet under its own power. Roll was convinced that RSPK was at work.

During an interview, a photographer snapped a photo of the telephone in action and was printed in the newspaper the following day. The publication of the photograph touched off a media furor. Television crews and newspaper reporters from across the country descended on the Resch home, all hoping to witness some other manifestation of the supernatural. The newspaper reports also gained the attention of parapsychologist William Roll, who flew to Columbus to see the events first-hand.


Skeptics weren’t so sure and wisely began investigating the other photographs on the roll of film shot by the photographer on Monday morning. In one of the photos, Tina’s hands had clearly been in a position to have manipulated the telephone cord and base. Soon, there was other damning evidence as well. During an extended visit by television reporters, a camera that had accidentally been left running recorded the girl grasping a table lamp by its cord and jerking out toward her. At the same time, she let out a cry of horror.

When confronted, Tina admitted that she had faked some of the later phenomena. She explained that she had been bored by the lengthy interviews and irritated by the constant attention. She hoped that the press would leave once they got their story. For the skeptics, the film and the confession were proof positive that the poltergeist had been Tina all along.

Yet not everyone shared that view, including the majority of the supposedly skeptical journalists. Many of them remained sure they had witnessed genuine, unexplained activity. They also pointed out that the skeptics had conveniently forgotten (and isn’t that normally the case?) about the scores of witnesses who would swear that activity had been directed toward Tina, not originating from her. William Roll, a trained scientist and observer, was also convinced of phenomena that he witnessed. He conceded that he had not been observing Tina under "controlled conditions", but continued to assert that Tina seemed to have demonstrated authentic RSPK.

What caused the manifestations? Researchers believed that it was a case of repressed anger and anxiety seeking release. Apparently, there had been recent problems at home over the fact that Tina, against the wishes of John and Joan, had recently been searching for her natural parents. Also, Tina’s best friend of two years had ended their friendship just two days before the events began. All of this apparently combined to create an outward transference of energy. How exactly? We may never know.

For those who question whether or not, emotional problems can cause poltergeist-like activity to take place should look at what happened to Tina after the TV cameras and reporters went away. According to a 1993 report, Tina, then 23-years old, was awaiting trial in Georgia for the murder of her three-year old daughter. The child had been badly beaten and had died from injuries to the head. What the outcome of the trial was, and whatever became of Tina is unknown.




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