Two tales terminate....

James Randi --- Wizard ((no email))
Wed, 26 Oct 1994 11:05:00 -0400

First, the good news. Prometheus Books, leading publisher of skeptical
material, announced that the lawsuit brought against them and Victor Stenger
by self-styled "psychic" Uri Geller has been dismissed by Geller, who has
paid $20,570 to the defendants. This closes down the two-and-one-half-year
action "with prejudice" against Mr. Geller, which means that he cannot now
bring the same action anywhere else.
My congratulations to Prometheus Books on the successful conclusion of
this action. CSICOP Chairman Paul Kurtz commented that this result "shows
the importance of fighting for what you believe in."
With all those miraculous powers of the world's greatest psychic working
in high gear, how come the result of this action wasn't different? That's
one of those strange questions we just can't answer for you, folks! Unless,
of course, as some of those dreadful skeptics say, the "powers" don't
exist.....

Then the bad news. Tina Boyer (formerly Tina Resch) was the famous
"Columbus Poltergeist" who in 1984 made news all over the world when
telephones and other objects began flying all over her home, apparently by
spirit forces. I was invited, by the local press and by her parents, to
visit there and look into the phenomena. When I arrived I was turned away
at the door at the insistence of William Roll, a parapsychologist who
specializes in "poltergesit" claims, who had by then taken up residence at
the Resch home and was having a grand time hyperbolizing the events for the
media.
My investigation thus turned to the photographic evidence, and I managed
-- by scurrilous means -- to obtain copies of ALL the photos in the 36-
exposure frame taken by Fred Shannon, the photographer from the Columbus
Dispatch. In the other frames was the solution to the "mystery." The
Dispatch had chosen to ignore the evidence that was right before them, and
were daily running highly positive accounts that supported Tina's wild
supernatural claims.
She was discredited, though not to Roll, who continued to study her and
to encourage the hoax she had perpetrated.
On October 25th, 1994, Tina pleaded guilty in the beating death of her 3-
year-old daughter.
We must ask ourselves whether a proper investigation of the claims that
brought this woman to world attention, which might have deprived her of the
celebrity status that she attained through support by the "scientists" and
media who encouraged her, might have brought her to a healthier state of
mind and adult lifestyle. Such an unhappy child, discovering that she could
so easily manipulate the media, becomes an adult who is not in a position to
make appropriate choices in life.
Tina had already started her life in an awkward manner, being an adopted
child who wanted desperately to find her birth parents, was being blocked in
that attempt, and then pulled the "poltergeist" stunt to attract the media's
help. She used them -- and the parapsychologists -- but to no avail. To be
perfectly fair, the media and the parapsychologists used her, too. She went
from one disastrous situation to the other, finally to two marriages and two
divorces, then to the present sentence of life in prison for torturing and
killing her own daughter.
The blame for this tragedy must be shared by those who promoted the
media circus that Tina began.

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