Yes, until recently, you could say fugitive Philadelphia charlatan – guru Ira Einhorn – convicted in absentia for the 1977 trunk murder of his girlfriend Helen “Holly” Maddux – was a Hitler of the Heart, the anti-Mumia, guilty but inexplicably living free.
Ira as ?ber mensch … not bound by the laws that govern ordinary mortals.
Though Ira actually slit his own throat earlier this summer in France as a publicity stunt in an attempt to defer, or was that defy, extradition to the United States, this July, Philadelphia’s “tough cookie” District Attorney Lynne Abraham eventually achieved her public relations triumph for American “justice.”
And so the rancid-smelling former hippie Peace and Love candidate for mayor of Philly was finally shipped back here last month like a trussed cochon (pig) from France – where he had been living uxoriously like landed gentry in a bucolic wine country Moulin, bankrolled by the parents of his worshipfully adoring knockout redhead Swedish wife Annika Flodin – and they served him, for his first prison breakfast at Graterford, French toast!
The controversial DA needed Ira, and she needed him badly. For one, he’s a white man, and her unrelenting pursuit of him during the years of his flight conveniently deflects accusations she’s a racist – criticisms of her continuing pattern of alleged bias against, and insensitivity to, the rights of African-American defendants – not just in high-profile murder cases like Mumia Abu-Jamal’s, but a string of other perhaps unjustly accused “brothers” with questionable verdicts.
Ira, the arrogant, egomaniacal university monster and perversely alluring sexual fascist who became the Butcher of Powellton Village, had originally fled America after authorities found his former cheerleader girlfriend Holly’s partially mummified corpse stuffed inside a steamer trunk on his porch – she had been bludgeoned to death – her skull fractured in a dozen places.
You just knew the Age of Aquarius was truly over when the hippie guru, one of its most visible emissaries, was charged with an awful crime of killing his girlfriend apparently because she finally decided to try to leave him. As I’ve speculated about this crime previously, “And if it’s true Ira bullied Holly into doing sex scenes with another woman for the home movies he had started to make for his own titillation, was that why she planned to run off with some other man? Oh, Holly was no Marilyn, was she … ?”
I first bumped into Ira Einhorn when I was a college freshman and he was an English instructor, before he reached the height of his smelly Hippie Guru studliness, King of the Hippies, a paunchy paragon of Radical Chic, Mr Peace-and-Love-and-Flower-Power-Personified, a pot-smoking, LSD-popping, sex-happy, counterculture activist. Poet-in-residence of the Penn Physics Department. Philosopher. Psychic phenomenologist. Launched a local Earth Day celebration. Even was a fellow for one semester at Harvard’s prestigious Kennedy School of Government. New-Age net-worker with CEOs and rocket scientists and whiskey heiresses and rock stars like Peter Gabriel. Sold them informational blueprints of the future.
Lately, the 61-year-old Einhorn looks like his own ghost. Stocky and grizzled, he’s 50 pounds lighter than his guru days. Though his dark hair has turned snow-white, his biblical patriarch’s beard replaced by a goatee, his blue eyes undimmed, recent photographs show him throat-bandaged, hair poking up in a Dilbert horn, truly maniacal. Yet during his mostly idyllic days in France, he resembled a nearly prosperous burgher in a Truffaut film, relishing simple peasant pleasures of good crusty bread, robust wine, tangy cheese, fresh p?t?, a loyal woman and being left alone by a carnivorous international press.
After a stormy five-year relationship with “The Unicorn,” Helen “Holly” Maddux had been missing more than a year, when – Chandra Levy’s parents, take note – Holly’s family hired their own detective. As for Ira, he claimed she simply went to buy some tofu and sprouts at the food coop and never returned. Then Holly’s 37-pound partially mummified corpse was found decomposing in a padlocked steamer trunk after neighbors complained of an ungodly stench – icky fluid oozing down the walls, grisly and dark as something out of a Coen Brothers flick.
“You found what you found,” the Hippie deity stonewalled to Detective Michael Chitwood about the pathetic remains of Holly’s body found on March 28, 1979. Ira insisted he was the innocent victim of an international CIA plot, framed maybe because of his rumored deep involvement in Mind Control projects for U.S. Intelligence. Ha! More gibberish he used to transfix his followers.
But Holly’s friends and family knew different: she was finally about to leave him. “Violence,” he wrote long ago in his journal, “always marks the end of a relationship.”
This past July 24, right after Ira’s return to the Cradle of Liberty, I get one of the sleaziest, disgusting, and most opportunistic pieces of e-mail I’ve ever received, rife with misspellings, nauseatingly captioned: “Philadelphia Babylon: The Holly Maddux Sex Films.”
Dear Marilyn [sic]–
You may remember having spoken to me some years ago re. literary
opportunities in Philly; I think it was [–– –––] at DC Comics who
hooked us up….Ironically, I did end up in the Philly marketplace, as the
co-writer of two articles for the late lamented Seven Arts…
In any event, I read with fascination your reminiscences of Ira “The
Uniconr” [sic] Einhorn; indeed, I have read everything published online and
in the Philly papers on this singular if murderous individual, and
found your memories to be a unique contriubtion [sic] to the bourgeoning [sic]
ourvre [sic] of Unicornian [sic] studies.
As a veteran of America’s most beloved tabloids–as well as more
“legitimate” venues such as Newsday, New York mag, the New York Post and
the now-vanished Spy– my reportorial radar was particularly pinged by
your mention of the sex film into which Holly Maddux was coerced by
Einhorn. I was wondering if you had any further details on this
bombshell revalation. [sic] Specifically: does this film still exist?
Naturally this artifact would open a higly [sic] revealing window on the life
and times of not only Einhorn and Maddux, but the secret history of
Philadelphia counterculture as well.
Any insight or information you could afford me on this crucial aspect of
the Maddux/Einhorn affair would be greatly appreciated.
My return e-mail to him was something like:
Hello. This following quote is not for publication. I have no further knowledge of these. I think this is a really sleazy request you’re making. Shame on you. Sounds like you’re well on your way to making a fortune!
For Ira, the media was just one more thing to manipulate. After he was discovered living in France at the end of the past decade, he wasn’t at all shy about his situation. In 1999, he posed nude for Esquire and thumbed his nose at U.S. law enforcement officials. Then he announced he was looking for a reporter to tell his story – his true story. How positively Ira – always needing control. That is, he sought a writer who can explain to the world how Ira Einhorn was innocent of killing Helen “Holly” Maddux in 1977.
Ha! I guess he’s still looking.