Research Position Statement - Media Resource Page
This page was created to express my position on the Tina Resch case which involved claims of spontaneous telekinesis on a large scale in the mid 1980s in the United States (some researchers may prefer the term psychokinesis to describe these events, which is also accurate). Tina's married/divorced name is now Christina Boyer. She prefers the name Christina today.
In remembrance, William G. Roll, age 85 (1926 - January 9, 2012) obituary.
|Frame 25. Tina Resch on March 5, 1984, age 14, during a spontaneous telekinesis event. Tina is recoiling her hands, not directing paranormal power. The phone and other objects in the house are reported to have taken flight at different times in front of witnesses or in other unoccupied rooms of the house while Tina was with witnesses. There are more photos of Tina and quotes by witnesses in the book "Unleashed." The above photograph was distributed worldwide by the Associated Press at the time.|
|"Tina was facing me and I saw her hands. It really shook me up because I couldn't explain what was going on." — Lee Arnold, Tina's Child Services government caseworker.|
Frame 32. Lee Arnold, a Franklin County, Ohio, Child Services caseworker sitting to Tina's right, watches Tina as two phones fly off the table in this later incident, one of many that day. Other witnesses, unseen, are directly across from Tina. Seated next to photographer Fred Shannon is Columbus Dispatch journalist Mike Harden, who also saw the phones fly on their own. The Resches bought a second cheaper phone because the first one was malfunctioning.
Photos: © The Dispatch Printing Company. Photographer: Fred Shannon, a Columbus Dispatch newspaper staff photographer with, at the time, 30 years of photojournalism experience.
Strange happenings unnerve family
by Mike Harden, columnist, Columbus Dispatch, newspaper account published March 6, 1984, (excerpt)
Small objects in the house had begun to move unaided by human touch: candles, lamps, wall hangings. Upstairs, the shower began running. The hands of clocks began turnning much faster than normal.
A RATTLING picture on the family room wall was placed behind the couch, only to slide out three times. ...
I JUST want it to stop," Tina said. Yet, as she spoke, a telephone near her leaped through the air. She replaced it not once, but half a dozen times. Each time as stunned vistors watched, it would again fling itself across the room. A cup of coffee flipped from a nearby table onto Tina's lap and then smashed against the fireplace. She moved to a love seat. An afghan on the floor lifted itself into the air and flopped over her. (more)
WHY I ENDORSE THIS CASE AS GENUINE
I wrote and co-wrote the dictionaries for two related billion dollar industries. I know the difference between fact and fiction. My last dictionary had over 5,000 facts in it. In reviewing the Tina Resch case, I examined evidence on both sides of the issue offered by witnesses and skeptics, including more photos than the two shown above. The witnesses in this case, apart from members of Tina Resch's adoptive family, are numerous and too significant professionally to dismiss (read the photographer Fred Shannon's description of some of his experiences in the Resch home in an excerpt from a 1984 article he wrote for Fate magazine further down this page). They said they were watching Tina when objects suddenly initiated movement and in some instances, holding on to her. They stand by their statements. I have also witnessed these types of spontaneous phenomena where stationary objects suddenly move by some unknown force of physics.
Tina's hoaxing: It is true that as an immature 14-year-old, Tina was caught pulling a lamp down in an effort to please the many reporters who were lingering frustratingly for hours at her home on March 8, 1984 (three days after the Fred Shannon photos were taken) hoping to see some spontaneous paranormal events and she was recorded doing it by a television station's video camera left running by chance (the station subsequently recorded over the videotape, not thinking it worth saving). Tina at the time said she was "just fooling"; that she was exhausted: "I was tired and angry. I did it so the reporters could have what they came for and leave." (Reader's Digest, December 1984, pages 141-145 "Poltergeist? Or Only a Teen-ager?" by Claire Safran)
A television station technician also claimed he saw, according to an interview with paranormal investigator James Randi, Tina's foot hit the leg of the family's kitchen table causing it to move suddenly and she laughed it off. However, another person from the same TV station told Randi that he witnessed three kitchen chairs suddenly move apart. My reaction to Tina's hoaxing? Okay, so Tina admittedly had a fun side to her. A little comedy streak. Tina, the stand-up comedienne. Bravo. But these bits of mischief by a 14-year-old — not an adult — do not then make irrelevant all the other serious evidence in the case, evidence of telekinetic phenomena for which Tina had no control over.
Philadelphia Daily News, newspaper account published March 9, 1984
(excerpt) from United Press International wire service
A television camera filmed the hand of Tina Resch pulling a lamp off a table, throwing doubt on claims the teenager was the center of psychokinetic activity.
But even the newsmen who got the shot last night said 14-year-old Tina may have been trying to escape the unrelenting attention of reporters determined to stay at the Resch home until there was evidence of her story.
"We had the camera hooked up on wide angle, but she didn't know it was operating," said Drew Hadwal, with WTVN-TV in Columbus. "We left the house thinking we had recorded a bona fide psychic phenomenon, (of a lamp falling of its own volition), but when we replayed the tape at the station it clearly showed her reaching up to grab the lamp.
"I was seated at the kitchen table with Tina and all of a sudden the chairs spread out . . . I don't see how she could have sent them out in three directions like that," said Hadwal.
|Clockwise: 1. Tina Resch and parapsycholigist William G. Roll at the Resch home in Columbus Ohio, March 1984. 2, 3. Tina Resch participating in psychokinesis lab tests at the University of North Carolina October 19, 1984 (approx), several days before her 15th birthday, with parapsychologist William Roll and colleagues. Photos: William Roll.|
As for hoaxers and jokesters retaining their reputations . . .
In Operation Fortitude in World War II, the U.S. military set up inflatable tanks, trucks, and artillery units in Kent, England. They faked radio traffic and may have reported take-offs, flights, and movement of aircraft that did not really occur in an attempt to mislead the Germans about the size and location of Allied forces. We do not then dismiss the real tanks, trucks, artillery units, and radio traffic of World War II because the U.S. was also engaging in some self-serving hoaxing, for which the U.S. side probably had a good laugh.
Also, famous singers sometimes have to lip sync their songs due to temporary vocal cord problems and musicians pretend to play to prerecorded music onstage, on television, and in music videos, in effect hoaxing their claimed talent, simulating perfect instances of their works so as not to disappoint. No one then calls into question the evidence for the real performances recorded in a studio or the witnesses who were physically present and saw and heard it happen.
The esteemed scientist Carl Sagan wrote many serious nonfiction science books, but then in 1985 he proved that he was capable of making up scientific stories when his novel Contact was published, later made into a Hollywood movie. And while on the subject of movies, in 1994, esteemed paranormal investigator James Randi entered the world of makebelieve and pretended to be a fictional coroner in Beyond Desire, an R-rated thriller set in Miami's South Beach — and he was caught on camera doing it! He was also the originator/planner of two paranormal hoaxes of his own (Project Alpha, 1979, on a team of American scientists at the now defunct McDonnell Laboratory for Psychical Research in St. Louis, Missouri, and the Great Carlos, 1988, on the Australian public and media).
Remember that famous photograph of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Albert Einstein on his 72nd birthday sticking his tongue out and looking goofy for pestering news photographers who wouldn't leave until they got a picture of him? Einstein liked that photo so much that even he used it on his personal greeting cards to show his friends that he was not all serious.
So, my point is that the body of evidence of an individual's serious side should not be disregarded just because they also have demonstrated that they are capable of entertaining others or engaging in momentary acts of "just fooling." This was a 14-year-old who didn't understand the ramifications of such mistakes of judgment.
The 36 photographs:
According to James Randi's 1985 published report on the case, there are seven photographs out of 36 taken by Columbus Dispatch staff newspaper photographer Fred Shannon of the one or two phones in flight or just after they had taken flight and landed on the floor. Frames 24, 25, 30, 31, and 32 show the phone in flight or hanging out of view on the other side of the chair and in frames 12 and 29 the phone is already on the floor. In some of the frames, both phones are shown off the table, though it is not clear as to whether a force of spontaneous telekinesis affected the second phone or it was simply knocked off as the other one took flight. There were more instances that were not captured on camera.
Two of the photographs show a six-year-old female child, Lisa, standing to Tina's left on the other side of the phone table. She was one of four foster children living temporarily in the Resch home at the time. In one photo (frame 24) she is watching Tina just as the phone flew and hung over the chair's armrest on Tina's right and in the other (frame 12) she is looking at the photographer just after the phone had hit the floor. All this young girl had to do was to announce to everyone in the room: "I saw her throw the phone!" and it all would have been over, but she did not. On the contrary, in the book Unleashed she is quoted as supporting the PK phenomena in the house.
Tina was not the one who called in journalists to investigate. Her adoptive parents did. Tina's adoptive father, John Resch, died in 1987 and her adoptive mother, Joan Resch, in 2000. The Resch's were well regarded in the community and by the local government for providing a foster home for children in need. Over a 31 year span, they cared for over 250 foster children. They were a stable, altrustic couple not prone to wild beliefs. Like many parents, they had had plenty of experience over the years with children under their care whose only goal was to seek attention, which is what skeptics have alleged was Tina's goal. Strange things were happening — objects crashing, lights going on and off — in empty rooms of the house while Tina was in their presence.
John and Joan Resch finally came to the conclusion that what was happening went beyond a normal explanation, beyond the way the laws of physics normally function. Tina would have had to have been a highly skilled child sleight-of-hand artist with much practice, setup time, and accomplices to have perfectly pulled off flying phone after flying phone incident (seven photographed) in front of witnesses and the many other events in the home and elsewhere while undergoing testing.
Of course, if a detractor's goal is to advance the position that all the witnesses must be lying, mistaken, or incompetent because that is far easier to accept than the laws of physics being amended with new information obtained outside of a white-coated scientist's laboratory, then nothing will satisfy. I believe the witnesses in this case are being truthful and sincere and witnessed extraordinary instances of extremely rare scientific phenomena. I believe a serious opportunity for the advancement of science and human evolution was lost in the mid 1980s in the disparaging and disposing of the Tina Resch case by skeptics.
After careful consideration, then, my position on this case, apart from the misguided hoaxing element, is that it is genuine. Something profoundly different about Tina Resch's physiology and mind during a period in her teenage life, and to some extent in later years, allowed events of macro-spontaneous telekinesis to take place in her presence, likely directed by her subconscious. Whatever it was in her physiology that caused these events as a teenager became dormant as she grew older.
Looking at this in terms of being a branching-out event in human evolutionary biology, I believe she was and is an emerging member of a new subspecies of human being beyond our current Homo sapiens sapiens, a new subspecies to which I have given the name Homo sapiens kinesis. She is, in other words, in my opinion, an evolutionary genius, a one in a billion human representing profound evolutionary change.
It is sickening to know that a woman in whose physiology resides scientific secrets that could one day allow us or our descendants to live the life of gods is wasting away in prison in the state of Georgia in the United States. Find out about the legal case here.
The Photographer Fred Shannon in His Own Words
Excerpt below from: Fate magazine, September 1984, pages 62-68 "Photographing the Poltergeist" by Fred Shannon. (The article describes more events witnessed by Mr. Shannon than mentioned here. The September 1984 cover art descibes the article in the issue as "Photographing the Columbus Poltergeist")
See the cover here: http://fatemag.com/store/product/1984-09/
In his own words: Columbus Dispatch newspaper photographer Fred Shannon. He accompanied reporter Mike Harden on March 5, 1984 to the Resch family home.
"Mike and I sat down on the couch and Tina positioned herself on the love seat. On the floor in front of her was a colorful afghan which the Resches had told us once rose off the floor and landed on Tina, covering her up. Within a very short time of Tina's sitting down, we saw precisely that same event take place. I took a picture of Tina with the afghan over her. ...
[The afghan photograph appears in the book Unleashed. He describes the flying phones next.]
"I sat for 20 minutes with the camera up to my eye and nothing happened. But when I put my camera down from my face so that I wasn't immediately ready to take a picture, just like that — bingo! — the phone went flying through the air. ...
"So I proceeded with my strategy. I brought the camera to my eye. I had everything all set. With my finger on the trigger I stared at Tina for about five minutes. Then, without ever taking my eye off her, I brought the camera slowly down to my waistline. It was still pointed in her direction and my finger was on the shutter, but I let my head turn slowly toward the kitchen, where the Resches were talking with some visitors. I was waiting for something to move, all the while pretending that my atention was elsewhere. ...
"A few seconds later I saw a white blur out of the corner of my eye. ... The resulting photograph captured not only the flying object but the frightened expression on Tina's face as she reeled back to keep from being hit. ...
"One thing I want to emphasize: I am damned sure she did not throw those phones. From what Mike and I observed, I would say she couldn't possibly have thrown them — absolutely no way. We were sitting in a well-lighted room, we were looking right at her. When one of us was looking away for a moment, the other had his eyes on Tina all the time. Of course, as I've already noted, there were some things that took flight while she was nowhere near them — the candlesticks, for example. ...
"A little while later, Mike, Tina and I were standing in the middle of the room when a Kleenex box sitting on the same table as the phones took flight. The box was no more than 18 or 20 inches from my right leg. It went zip, just like a bullet, past me and landed on a lamp table to the immediate right of the sofa. When it hit that table, it didn't move or skid despite the speed it had traveled to get there; it stopped as if it had landed in glue.
"That was the last activity I witnessed in the family room. ..."
Excerpt below from: Creative Loafing Atlanta, Georgia, a free weekly newspapers with editions in other major cities in the United States, June 13, 1993, "Tina's World: Poltergeists and Prison" by Gregg Land. (The newspaper also did an earlier July 14, 1990 story on Tina, which I have not seen.) Website: http://clatl.com
Excerpt from the Atlanta edition of Creative Loafing, June 13, 1993:
Whatever the opinion of others may be, Shannon — a veteran news photographer who retired in 1988 after 33 years with the Dispatch — has no doubts about his experience.
"I know what I saw," says Shannon firmly. "I'll tell you on my mother's grave that it happened! This is real — those telephones and other things turned into projectiles. ...
Pressed as to whether he actually saw telephones begin to move, he remains adamant.
"Damn right, I did! I saw that phone leave the desk, and turn into a projectile. One time it hit her in the side so hard it doubled her over. I thought she'd broken a rib!"
— Unsolved Mysteries —
Episode #238 of the telelvision series Unsolved Mysteries did a segment on the Tina Resch paranormal case. It aired first run in the United States on Wednesday, May 19, 1993 as part of a two-hour episode that closed the fifth season. Here is the logline for the episode that appeared in the US print magazine TV Guide: (Note: seeking confirmation of this logline information if you have the issue.)
|This expanded season ender includes four bank robbery stories; a New York woman's search for the foster parents who cared for her briefly during her childhood; a Navy blimp that landed reportedly without a crew in the San Francisco Bay area during World War II; and reports of a Columbus, Ohio, girl's unusual brain-wave activity.|
The segment featured oncamera interviews by Dr. William Roll, Tina's mother Joan Resch, Columbus Dispatch photojournalist Fred Shannon, Columbus Dispatch journalist Mike Harden, electrician Bruce Claggett, and Tina, who was interviewed in the chapel of the jail where she was being held awaiting trial. Unfortunately, the segment is not available on DVD at this time, but it is viewable on television in syndication.
Cosgrove-Meurer Productions, Inc., the producer of Unsolved Mysteries, does offer other paranormal segments from the series on special DVDs (see their website) and it is possible if there is enough interest, the segment on Tina will be released on a future DVD. Some of the behind-the-scenes production activity involving Tina's and Dr. Roll's participation in the segment is discussed in Unleashed.
Media Contact (also use this address for the public to write and encourage them to release Tina's segment on DVD):
Cosgrove Meurer Productions, Inc., 4303 W Verdugo Ave., Burbank, CA 91505. Phone: 818-843-5600, Fax: 818-843-8585.
— Quotes by Skeptics About the Telekinesis Case ——
These are published statements on the Tina Resch spontaneous telekinesis case (Columbus poltergiest case) by the two most famous skeptics of the paranormal. They are listed in chronological order.
Paul Kurtz, founder and Chairman of CSCIOP (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, now called, since late 2006, The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or CSI):
"It is the considered judgment of Committee investigators that it is impossible to distinguish between what occurred at the Resch house and a simple hoax."
James Randi, founding Fellow of CSICOP, magician, sleight-of-hand artist, lecturer:
"Admittedly, our team was not able to conduct a proper investigation of the Columbus poltergeist case. We were barred from the house and we never interviewed the girl involved [Tina]. We could not trace one of two eyewitnesses to the photographed events [Lisa, a female six-year-old temporary foster child of the Resches], and the other witness [Ms. Lee Arnold] was forbidden to tell us what she knew."
"Is this skeptical critique unfair to Tina? Perhaps she does have these marvelous powers and perhaps it is the skeptics' will to disbelieve that causes them to refuse to accept the testimony of others."
"My purpose was, and always has been, to give those concerned every opportunity to retract and/or correct their statements. They have all refused."
A Challenge to CSI
(since January 20, 2006)
The Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP; now called The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or CSI) judged this case to be indistinguishable from a "simple hoax" in 1984 (see quotes by skeptics above). Something simple should be very easy to duplicate.
I would like to challenge CSI to find a 14-year-old girl with a similar height (5'8" in 1984) and physical build as Tina who can grab and throw a phone (handset or handset and base) from a side table seven consecutive times in a similar setting in front of a similar number of close-proximity witnesses, some of whom are photographed looking right at the girl and do so perfectly each time without being caught grabbing the phone or phone/handset visually or on camera.
No practicing in front of the witnesses allowed, no second chances at grabbing and throwing, no having all the witnesses close their eyes or look away briefly (however, the photographer, who saw the phones fly also with direct vision, can intentionally glance away while holding the camera ready, as is documented in this case), no thread or threads holding up the phone or throwing the phone already held in the hand in recreation or simulation photographs (see photo of Paul Kurtz, Skeptical Inquirer, summer 1984, p 295, republished in Skeptical Inquirer, January/February 2013, page 6), and no "actor witnesses" as used by modern TV illusionists.
Seven times in a row. Perfectly achieved. If that cannot be done, then to a reasonable mind there is only one other likely explanation, one involving a genuine phenomenon of new physics: telekinesis, and the recording of a series of historic science photographs by a veteran newspaper photographer, accompanied by a reporter from the same paper recording the events with the written word.
— Photos taken by Columbus Dispatch photojournalist Fred Shannon —
On March 5, 1984, on assignment as a staff photographer for The Columbus Dispatch newspaper in Columbus, Ohio USA, Fred Shannon took a roll of, what I and others believe to be, 36 historic photographs in 35mm format at the Resch family home, including the famous flying-phone images on this web page. Fred Shannon retired in 1988 at age 67 after 33 years working at the Dispatch. Fred Shannon's family is known to have color prints that he took with him when he retired. Photos © 1984 The Dispatch Printing Company/New Media Investment Group Inc. The Dispatch Printing Company was sold to New Media Investment Group Inc., of New York in 2015.
December 1, 1998 article by Mike Walters on Fred Shannon in the Ohio State University student newspaper:
Obituary: Fred Shannon passed away on August 21, 2007 at age 86. An obituary and related article on Fred and articles on Tina can be found online in the archives of The Columbus Dispatch). Dispatch archives (July 16, 1985 to present).
— Offsite Links (independently operated) —"The Tragedy of Tina Resch"
Fortean Times magazine December 2004 article on the book Unleashed with excerpts:
Tina Resch: Unleashed
Newspaper articles on the poltergeist case in the Cleveland Public Library (title search results)
|About the author: James A. Conrad is co-author of "Filmmaker's Dictionary" (2000) with Emmy Award-winning producer Ralph S. Singleton and author of "The Model-Actor's Dictionary" (1988). He is also an American telekinesis researcher with full-scale laboratory research experience. For 15 years, from 1993 to 2008, he was a published member of a CSI-affiliated skeptics organization, a time during which he enjoyed the educational experience and interaction with numerous open-minded skeptics (yes, there are some). Contents copyright © 2006 James A. Conrad except where noted.|
How to cite this page:
Conrad, James A. The Tina Resch Spontaneous Telekinesis Case. Available online at http://jamesaconrad.com/Tina/Tina-Resch-Boyer-paranormal-case.html; accessed [month] [day], [year].
|This article was originally published on January 20, 2006, for a time at the address jamesaconrad.tripod.com/Tina/Tina-Resch-Boyer-paranormal-case.html. It was subsequently transferred to this dedicated domain. On January 13, 2016 it was redesigned and republished to make it more easily viewable on mobile devices. Photos were enlarged, inactive URLs revised, color was added to boxes, and a count-up clock was included.|