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The Unicorn’s Secret

The Unicorn's SecretMurder in the Age of Aquarius

The harrowing tale of Ira Einhorn, who was Philadelphia’s leading 60’s hippie and 70’s New Age activist — supposedly a beacon for pacifism and good feelings. This all changed in 1979, when a search of his apartment for evidence related to the disappearance of his girlfriend 18 months earlier yielded her body, mumified in a trunk in his closet. Einhorn claimed frameup, and the powerful friends he had charmed over the years, politicians, scientists, businesspeople, and thinkers supported him. His lawyer Arlen Spector (now Senator Spector) won him a low bail. But before his trial, in 1981, he fled.

In Unicorn, I tried to get to the bottom of this story. It took me to some strange places, but I finally got my questions answers. In the process, I came to grips with some disturbing aspects of the counterculture I grew up in.

After the book was released, a lot happened, and The Unicorn’s Secret actually became part of the story. In 1988, spurred by revelations in the book, Philadelphia prosecutors interviewed a person I’d identified as possibly helping to support Einhorn’s exile, and she pointed them to his whereabouts, which were then in Sweden. But for a tipoff from someone close to that source, Einhorn would have been captured.

In the fall of 1993, Ira Einhorn went on trial en absentia for the murder of Holly Maddux, and was convicted. (Among the witnesses was a woman I first identified as someone Einhorn had asked to help him remove a trunk from his apartment – the day after the murder. ) In 1997, he was captured, living in the south of France with a new wife. For years, however, he managed to fight extradition. (All of this is covered by an afterward in the most recent edition of the book.)

In 1998, an NBC miniseries, The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer, was based on the book. Kevin Anderson played Einhorn and Naomi Watts played Holly.

Finally, Einhorn was extradicted. He was retried, this time in person, and once again a jury found him guilty. He is presently serving a life sentence in a Houtzdale, PA, prison.

The Unicorn’s Secret has fallen out of print, but are pretty easy to find on Amazon, etc..

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