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James Randi Educational Foundation

An Encyclopedia of Claims, Frauds, and Hoaxes of the Occult and Supernatural

Introduction | "R" Reading | Curse of the Pharaoh | End-of-the-World Prophecies

Index | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y | Z

Columbus poltergeist In early 1984, newspapers around the world reported that genuine poltergeist phenomena were being experienced in the presence of a fourteen-year-old girl in Columbus, Ohio, named Tina Resch. The Columbus Dispatch newspaper followed the titillating story for a week, during which flying telephones, loud percussive noises, swinging and falling lamps, and other events were troubling Tina's family.
      Upon investigation, it was discovered that the girl was an adopted child who wanted to discover her true parents, and she used the media attention to plead for that information. A video camera from a visiting TV crew that was inadvertently left running recorded Tina cheating by surreptitiously pulling over a lamp while unobserved. The other occurrences were shown to be inventions of the press or highly exaggerated descriptions of quite explainable events. Descriptions given by parapsychologist William Roll, who specializes in poltergeist investigations and had examined the situation in person, turned out to be of quite impossible sequences.
      The case of the Columbus Poltergeist faded away after a few months and is not now seriously discussed. In 1994 Tina Resch was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of her three-year-old daughter.

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