Tuesday, April 23, 2013

"Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend": Meet Ira Einhorn, a.k.a. "The Unicorn"

"Earth Day co-founder killed, composted girlfriend": Meet Ira Einhorn, a.k.a. "The Unicorn":
NBC News story headlined
above lights up a dark corner of the
1960s' and '70s' countercultural carnival, one involving
Philadelphia's highest-profile hippie guru: Ira Einhorn, also known
as "the Unicorn," a preacher of love and flower power who was
convicted of killing his girlfriend in 1977 and stuffing her
remains in a trunk that he kept in his apartment.
Einhorn claimed to have helped create the first Earth Day
celebration in 1970 and emceed part of the day's proceedings in
Philadelphia's Fairmount Park. Others involved with the
say that Einhorn in fact played little to no role in
setting things up but commandeered the mic during the
Einhorn skipped the country
before his trial began and was found guilty in absentia in 1983. He
surfaced again in the late 1990s, living in France, which refused
to extradite him for years because officials there worried that he
might be given the death penalty. In 2001, he was
finally extradited and started serving a life sentence without
possiblity of parole.
However spurious his Earth Day connection, his case is a
must-read for anyone interested in the excesses of and bizarreness
of the broadly construed hippie movement and the sorts of
radical-chic enablers who help obvious sociopaths and psychopaths
avoid the law. I first read about Einhorn in a Philadelphia
Magazine excerpt from Steven Levy's excellent 1989 book,

The Unicorn's Secret
, which was published when Einhorn's
whereabouts were still unknown. Along with Hugh Pearson's

Shadow of the Panther
, a brilliant biography of former
Black Panther leader Huey Newton, and Ed Sanders' 1971 book on the
Manson murders, The Family, Levy's book is a fanastic,
evocative, and deeply disturbing examination of the horrible
excesses that were unleashed along with positive lifestyle
liberation during the Age of Aquarius.
HT: Twitter feed of Hot Air's Erika Johnsen.