Classic Columbus Ghost Stories: The Columbus Poltergeist

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly
Columbus Dispatch photographer Fred Shannon's famous photograph of Tina Resch at home, a telephone seeming to fly across her lap of its own accord.

In 1984, a flying telephone and other disturbances at the home of John and Joan Resch captured the curiosity of the entire country.

The Resches' daughter Tina, then 14, seemed to possess telekinetic powers that caused objects to move of their own accord, sometimes violently. Her parents, at a loss for what to do, calledColumbus Dispatchreporter Mike Harden, whom they knew because he'd written about them before. Harden visited the Resches with photographer Fred Shannon and began to write about Tina and the bizarre happenings around her. The glass of a framed picture appeared to shatter in her hands. A lamp flew off a table next to her. And, most famously, a telephone appeared to fling itself across her lap in a photo caught by Shannon.

You might predict how this story goes: A horde of ghost hunter types, skeptics, clergy and onlookers descended on the Resch home. Eventually they were turned away, and the "Columbus poltergeist" faded in an irreconcilable cloud of belief and skepticism. This story has a sad ending, very much real: That 14-year-old girl grew up to be Tina Boyer, who lived a difficult adolescence and adulthood until she was convicted in 1994 for her part in the beating death of her toddler daughter, Amber. Boyer is serving a life sentence in Georgia state prison for the crime.