Happy Earth Day! Here's the story of the eco-activist environmentalists don't like to talk about:
The first Earth Day event was held in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park and hosted by Ira Einhorn on April 22, 1970. Seven years later, police arrested Einhorn after discovering the half-mummified body of his ex-girlfriend in his apartment closet.
A self-proclaimed environmental activist, Einhorn made a name for himself among ecological groups during the 1960s and '70s by taking on the role of a tie-dye-wearing ecological guru and Philadelphia’s head hippie. With his long beard and gap-toothed smile, Einhorn — who nicknamed himself "Unicorn" because his German-Jewish last name translates to "one horn" —advocated flower power, peace and free love to his fellow students at the University of Pennsylvania. He also claimed to have helped found Earth Day.
But the charismatic spokesman who helped bring awareness to environmental issues and preached against the Vietnam War — and any violence — had a secret dark side. When his girlfriend of five years, Helen "Holly" Maddux, moved to New York and broke up with him, Einhorn threatened that he would throw her left-behind personal belongings onto the street if she didn't come back to pick them up.
And so on Sept. 9, 1977, Maddux went back to the apartment that she and Einhorn had shared in Philadelphia to collect her things, and was never seen again. When Philadelphia police questioned Einhorn about her mysterious disappearance several weeks later, he claimed that she had gone out to the neighborhood co-op to buy some tofu and sprouts and never returned.
It wasn't until 18 months later that investigators searched Einhorn's apartment after one of his neighbors complained that a reddish-brown, foul-smelling liquid was leaking from the ceiling directly below Einhorn's bedroom closet. Inside the closet, police found Maddux's beaten and partially mummified body stuffed into a trunk that had also been packed with Styrofoam, air fresheners and newspapers.
Einhorn was arrested but skipped bail and sought refuge across Europe for the next 23 years. After he was extradited from France, he stood trial where he claimed that his ex-girlfriend had been killed by CIA agents who framed him because he knew too much about paranormal military research. He was convicted and is serving out a life sentence.
Einhorn claims that Earth Day was his idea, but the EPA recognizes Sen. Gaylord Nelson as the official founder.
It's interesting that you never hear how one of the standard bearers of the modern-day environmental movement was a complete whack-job psycho-murder. Similarly, it's also interesting how Planned Parenthood supporters never acknowledge the sordid racist story of its own founder, Margaret Sanger.
Is anyone else noticing a pattern here?
(Protest photo: Michael J. Maicher, Temple University Libraries, diamond.temple.edu)