On September 11, 1977, Paul Herre heard a very loud thumping on the ceiling of his apartment — “like somebody being bounced against the floor.” This was instantly followed by a “blood-curdling scream.” Since he lived in a “college neighborhood,” and such things were not terribly uncommon, and since the “uproar” did not continue, he did nothing and thought no more about it. After all, the upstairs neighbor, Guru Ira Einhorn, always had strange visitors and activity in his apartment. He was also always fighting with his girlfriend, Holly Maddux.
Later, the same day, Ira went for a drive with Jill and Sharon, two young women, just out of high school, who had been given Ira’s name as a contact in the world of the paranormal. Ordinarily, they came to his apartment for sessions in which Ira supposedly taught them “psychic arts” such as meditation or astral travel. But, on this particular day, instead of having a “session” in Ira’s apartment at 3411 Race Street, Ira suggested a drive in Jill’s car to the West River Drive along the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. According to Jill, Ira “seemed like he had a sense of urgency. He said he wanted to ask us something.”
“I’m in some really, really deep trouble,” Ira told them. “I’ve got a steamer trunk that has some very, very valuable documents in it. They’re documents that belong to the Russians, and I need to get rid of it.”
He wanted them to put the trunk in Jill’s car and take it and dump it in the river.
“He almost had us convinced to get this thing [and do it]. Sharon and I were looking at each other, like, this is really weird. I mean, why did he want to get rid of something like this?”
As it turned out, the trunk wouldn’t fit in Jill’s car, so the project was abandoned.
The next day, September 12, Bea Einhorn, Ira’s mother, received a call from Ira saying: “Mom, I’m upset. Holly didn’t come home last night. She didn’t take anything. She didn’t have any money. Where is she?” Bea ran through the list of places he ought to have checked such as hospitals, friends and so on, and Ira assured her that he had made all such inquiries. According to his mother, Ira was panic stricken and as emotional as she had ever heard him.
As it happens, Ira had not called any of Holly’s friends. He had not even called her place of employment — her “destination,” according to him, when he last saw her. And while he was not calling her friends to express concern about her, some of her friends were calling him and Ira was telling them not to worry, there was nothing unusual about Holly’s disappearance!
On September 14, one of Holly’s friends, Saul Lapidus, who had expected her in New York, asked Andrija Puharich, a mutual friend of his and Ira’s, to intercede and try to get information from Ira about Holly’s possible whereabouts or plans. Puharich reported that “[Ira] didn’t want to talk about Holly, and he shut me off. He was very terse. He wasn’t trying to be communicative at all. He just said she left. So I told Saul, and Saul said, ‘My God, I bet she’s been killed.’ At this point I said, ‘Come on, Saul. You know Ira wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
Several hours later, Ira told friends of his and Holly’s that he had received a call from Holly, affirming that she was fine and that she wanted to be left alone. She would call in a week, he reported. He asked them to pass this information on to Holly’s friend, Saul, in New York.
However, Ira didn’t share this purported message with his mother, who he had already upset greatly with his “concern.” Nor did he share this information two weeks later when he described his worry and concern about Holly’s whereabouts to two friends. Sitting in a restaurant, Ira told them that Holly had left, and that he had never heard a word from her since!
So, which was it? Was Ira upset and worried? Or was he in touch with Holly and assured in his own mind that she was fine? It seemed that it was only the people who were concerned about Holly and inclined to try to find her who were treated to the story that she had called and was okay, so as to put them off from looking. Those who were willing to accept her disappearance as just the way things were, were treated to the story that Ira was concerned and in need of sympathy.
That autumn of 1977, Paul Herre and Ron Gelzer, the occupants of the apartment beneath Ira’s, were about to start their senior year at university. Paul went away on September 20 to attend a wedding, and it was that weekend that Ron Gelzer first noticed the odor. It came from a closet in the kitchen. Gelzer, a biology student, reported that his first impression was that it “smelled like blood.” He tried to track the source of the odor, and lifting a transom in the ceiling in the closet, saw what looked like water. He went outside to view the upper story and try to determine what was directly above the closet that could be possibly be leaking. It was Ira Einhorn’s porch. Gelzer went to Ira and asked him if he knew of anything that could be leaking on his porch. An unruffled Ira said that there was nothing as far as he knew.
On September 26, after Paul Herre had returned from his trip, he instantly was assailed by the “gross smell” that pervaded his and Gelzer’s apartment when he walked in the door. It was sickening and overwhelming in the kitchen. He described is as being much stronger and a lot less tolerable than the smell of human excrement.
Unable to long endure the stench, Herre went to the elderly property managers who lived in an apartment behind the building to complain. They told him that they were suffering from the smell also. It was so bad they couldn’t even eat in their own kitchen. They suggested that if Herre could find the source and clean it up, they would reimburse him.
Herre, Gelzer and a friend, Stephanie DeMarco armed themselves with cleaning supplies and ventured into the kitchen on a search and destroy mission. By now, even going in there was an act that required a strong stomach. DeMarco joked around that it smelled like a dead body, but Paul Herre scoffed at the silliness of such an idea. Herre was elected to enter the closet. He looked up at the transom and pulled it open. In the space between the floors he saw a brownish stain that had come through a crack in the ceiling plaster. It was almost dry. He determined that it was the source of the odor and he attacked it with ammonia. After everything had dried, the odor was still there. He tried pure Lysol, straight chlorine bleach, and nothing killed the odor. Finally, he painted the area to try to seal the odor. That didn’t work either. The trio realized that they needed to get creative, and so they just simply stuffed the area between the floors with Odor Eaters. Problem solved for the time being.
A month later, a heavy rain fell and the ceiling began to leak. The odor returned, but by now they had the drill down. Cleaning, painting, stuffing with Odor Eaters. Eventually, after many months, the odor faded, even if it was still faintly detectable in or near the closet as long as Herre and Gelzer lived there.
The property managers opined that the problem was rotting wood. Herre convinced himself that it must be a squirrel that had been trapped and died between the floors. He even went outside with a tape measure on one occasion to determine exactly where the carcass might be lodged. What he discovered was that a closet on Ira Einhorn’s screened porch was exactly above the closet in his kitchen.
The following summer, for the first time in Einhorn’s seven years of residence at this apartment, he did not sublet the apartment for the summer when he went on his travels.
In September of 1978, after more complaints about the persistence of the odor, the owner of the building ordered some work done over Ira Einhorn’s porch to fix the possible leaks that might be contributing to the problem. The roofer hired to do the work reported that the roof over the porch had originally been tarred in early 1977. It was a year later that he received the complaint from the owner about the odor. He thought it might be stagnant water that had leaked in through a crack in the tar. The firm re-tarred the roof. As soon as he learned that work was to be done, Ira contacted the owner and complained about the repairs that might possibly disturb his things. The owner, accustomed to Einhorn’s demands for privacy, didn’t think the complaint too unusual. Ira specifically instructed the repairmen not to go near the closet on his porch.
Meanwhile, the family of Holly Maddux, worried by the lack of regular contact which had always been her habit, called Ira on October 4, to try to find out what might be wrong. Ira reportedly said: “I was about to call and ask you.” Ira told Mrs. Maddux that Holly had been in Philadelphia for a few days in early September, and then just “took off.” Holly’s mother mentioned that it was her understanding that Holly was going to move into a new apartment, and had given them the address, but she was not responding to the mail that they had sent her there. Ira told Mrs. Maddux that he wished she would stop that because he was “tired of collecting Holly’s mail.”
Whoa! That was COLD!
Two weeks went by, and other members of Holly’s family who normally heard from her regularly began to call the Madduxes to try and find out what was going on, since they had not heard from Holly. On October 20, Liz Maddux called Ira Einhorn again, with a list of questions in hand so that she would not be sidetracked by Ira’s diversionary tactics.
Mrs. Maddux: When did she leave Philadelphia?
Ira: Three or four weeks ago. She went to the store and didn’t come back. Actually, I was in the bathtub when she left. When she didn’t return, I called everyone we knew and checked with the police and the hospitals, but no one knew anything. I talked to a friend of hers.…
Mrs. Maddux: Joyce Petschek?
Ira: Yes. You know, she has houses all over so I had a hard time getting in touch with her, but I finally did. She told me not to worry, that I might not hear from Holly for three or four months. I don’t know if she meant Holly might just go off for a while or if she knows where she is and won’t tell me. I’m the last one she’d tell.
The Madduxes didn’t get much from Ira, but we notice that, again, the story has morphed. Now it is not that Holly called Ira, but that he called a third party who told him that she had heard from Holly, who said “not to worry.” Did he really think that no one would ever check it out and compare these stories? Obviously he didn’t consider that as a possibility.
The Madduxes tried several approaches to discovering what happened to Holly, finally contacting one of Holly’s friends, Lawrence Wells, in Tyler, Texas, Holly’s home town. He was an assistant U.S. attorney, and the one who officially reported Holly missing to the authorities in Philadelphia after a check of the hospitals and morgues produced nothing. He also alerted Interpol that she was missing, and then called Ira Einhorn himself. He was given the same story about the bathtub scene. Wells didn’t buy it, and called the Philadelphia police directly and spoke to a detective who promised to look into the matter.
Detective Lane conducted a few interviews, speaking to Holly’s doctor (Holly was diabetic), as well as her therapist, Marian Coopersmith, who assured him that Holly was not suicidal. Holly had $21,000.00 dollars in the bank that had been untouched since her disappearance.
The police detective paid a visit to Einhorn, where Ira told him the bathtub story. However, he also told him the “Holly called me” story, stating that she had told him “I’m okay. Don’t look for me. I’ll call you once a week.” He then said that when she did not fulfill this promise, he began to get worried. His explanation to the detective, as to why he did not report her missing to the police, was that he had been told that since she was an adult, she didn’t qualify. This was correct, and the police investigation ended.
In January 1978, the Madduxes contacted R.J. Stevens, the former chief of the Tyler FBI bureau, who had just retired to open his own private investigation business. Stevens contacted Joyce Petschek, who replied by letter stating that she did not know where Holly was, and suggested that the Madduxes contact Marshall Lever, about whom she said: “He is a transmedium and perhaps could do a transmission for you as to Holly’s whereabouts.”
The Madduxes did not want to leave any stone unturned, so they did contact Lever. He told them that he was about to go on a trip and he would get back in touch. But, he never did. Some “transmedium.”
Stevens decided that he needed somebody in Philadelphia, so he contacted another former FBI guy who also was now working as a private investigator: J. Robert Pearce. Pearce did not normally deal with missing persons cases, but as a favor to another former FBI guy, he agreed to take the Holly Maddux case.
Stevens flew to Philadelphia in March of 1978, and the two of them reviewed what they had and made plans to interview Ira face to face. They called to make an appointment. Ira declined. He was too busy organizing Sun Day, an environmental “event.” Stevens was persistent and Einhorn just told him that he had no love for Holly’s parents — and that, in fact, getting away from her parents was the main reason she had disappeared! (Standard psychopathic trick! Blame the victims.)
Stevens pointed out to Einhorn that Holly had not just cut off contact with her parents, but with all her friends and Ira himself. Ira acknowledged this, and said that Holly simply wanted to transform her life by cutting all her ties.
Stevens argued that her parents did not intend to interfere in her life, they merely wanted to know that she was alright. Ira replied that he still would not cooperate since Holly did not want to be found. However, he did tell Stevens the bathtub story with the “Holly called me and said she was alright” variation.
Stevens and Pearce, experienced “G-men,” discussed Ira’s evasiveness and his unwillingness to assist. They could see no reason for someone who had been so close to Holly, someone who claimed to love her, to be so reluctant to help an investigation for the purpose of merely assuring her parents that she was alright. The fact that Ira refused to help, even while admitting that he knew no one who was in touch with Holly, including himself, was highly suspicious. At that moment, as Steven Levy recounts in his book The Unicorn’s Secret, Ira Einhorn became a suspect.
Stevens had to return to Texas, so R.J. Pearce continued the investigation in Philadelphia. He decided to approach the whole matter as if it were a “fugitive” case, develop contacts with people who knew her, and find out who saw her last and when and under what circumstances. After interviewing Ira’s parents, who were baffled that Ira would not cooperate with helping to establish that Holly was alright, Pearce interviewed the property managers at 3411 Race Street. They loved Holly, but didn’t like Ira, saying that he was strange. They weren’t sure what he did for a living, saying that he was a guru/consultant about UFOs or something. When Pearce asked if they thought that Einhorn would harm Holly, they admitted that they had thought of this and discussed it, but had discarded it since Ira had such a widespread reputation as an advocate of nonviolence.
Walking back to the front of Ira’s building, Pearce rang Ira’s bell and was buzzed in. Before he had climbed the stairs, Ira came to the door and wanted to know who the visitor was. Pearce described the encounter in a report reproduced in Steven Levy’s book:
He appeared to be dressed in a kind of silk kimono affair. He didn’t completely open the door, and I couldn’t see how he was attired completely. His eyes are noticeably blue, he has a stocky build, full beard, light brown in color, and rather long hair matching in color. He appeared calm. From what little I could see into the apartment, I didn’t think it was heavily furnished, but it did appear orderly. Ira Einhorn was emphatic that he would not “help Holly’s parents.” He did say he did not know where Holly is but claimed that if he did know, he would tell [me]. (Levy, 1988)
Pearce next spoke to a number of Philadelphia officials in law enforcement, one of whom was George Fencl, who knew Einhorn and had recently been in contact with him as a consequence of the Sun Day shindig. Pearce asked him to have a chat with Ira, and Fencl did so. The result of this talk was that Ira again made it clear that he had no desire to help anyone find Holly. He also commented to Fencl that this matter was getting an unusual amount of attention for a routine missing persons case — a detective, and ex-FBI man, and now a police inspector. The implication was, of course, that the attention was focused on Ira, and not simply because Holly was missing. Fencl asked him to just help straighten it out and Ira promised he would. A few weeks later he called Fencl and told him that, after discussing it with all his friends, it seemed that Holly was “out of the country.” He said he would do some checking himself when he was abroad later in the upcoming weeks.
George Fencl relayed this promising information to Pearce who then asked him: “Would Ira Einhorn harm Holly Maddux?” Fencl admitted that Ira was strange. “He would write you a letter to set up a meeting and a week later just walk in your office unannounced. But everyone knew Ira Einhorn advocated and practiced nonviolence and the police inspector had no evidence to the contrary.”
As Pearce developed leads, he talked to an acquaintance of Holly’s who had chatted with her while she was at Joyce Petschek’s house on Fire Island, in the weeks before she disappeared. In late August of 1978, this individual told Pearce that Holly had told him that she had broken up with Einhorn permanently and there was a new man in her life, Saul. He then told Pearce about Andrija Puharich.
R.J. Pearce, an ex-FBI guy, knew nothing about the “colorful history” of Puharich. As it happened, Puharich’s three-story house in Ossining, New York, the headquarters for his “mind-blowing experiments of the Space Kids,” had just recently burned down. The police had ruled the case arson.
Pearce dispatched another former FBI agent, Clyde Olver, to investigate the burning of Puharich’s house, in order to determine if there might be any connection between that and Holly’s disappearance. Puharich was rumored to have fled to Mexico, but the neighbors had plenty to say about the “strange goings on” at Turkey Farm. They said there were people coming from all over the world for “unspecified, and possibly unnatural experiments.”
Olver tracked down three of the “Space Kids” who had been living at Puharich’s before the house burned down. They were, apparently, feeling pretty badly treated by Puharich because he had just up and disappeared, abandoning them. However, they did know Ira. In fact, they mentioned that they had seen him quite recently: A day or two after the fire, Ira had appeared out of nowhere, promising to recruit an investigative reporter to look into the fire.
I must admit that reading this item raised a huge question in my mind. I started to wonder exactly when Ira Einhorn began to propose the idea that someone was out to get him, that the work he was doing was dangerous? When, exactly, did the assembly of obviously gullible people with whom Ira hung out, begin to think that they were all playing some kind of exciting and dangerous “cat and mouse” game with the “shadow government?” Who came up with that idea? Who promoted it? It occurred to me that it would be very handy for all of that group who hung around with Puharich to think that somebody was really after them — which they would naturally think if Puharich’s house had been torched. That idea, of course, would lend great credibility to Einhorn’s own claims that he was “framed.” It would be a very convincing emotional shock to all his friends and would incline them to believe Ira and support him.
In fact, that is a standard ploy of the psychopath: To actually instigate sabotage of some sort so as to create the image of being attacked, stalked, or in some kind of danger, so that they can engender sympathy and support by their “brave and stoic endurance” of their troubles. But again, the clue is that the words and actions are out of sync.
Did Ira Einhorn burn down Andrija Puharich’s house in order to put Puharich’s supporters in a shocked and confused frame of mind, so that they would be more susceptible to believing his claims about being framed? After all, it was in March that Ira was first approached by Stevens and Pearce. It was after that when Fencl talked to Ira and Einhorn made his comment about the unusual amount of interest Holly’s missing status was attracting. Did he then begin to build up the tension of the idea of being stalked by nefarious groups, and did he then begin making plans as to how he would “confirm” this impression? Was the burning of Andrija Puharich’s house part of his plan to convince the people of “wealth and taste” who had supported their “paranormal” interests, that the experiments undertaken by Puharich were “dangerous,” and that Ira was also in danger? Could Ira have burned down Puharich’s house to create the impression that he was “next on the list” of those to be stalked and dealt with? Could he have been influential in convincing Puharich himself of these ideas, so that he would promote them to his supporters? Was this also designed to set their backs up against the authorities who might later wish to ask questions about Holly’s disappearance? Such as “ex FBI agents” who Ira already knew were asking questions? And after the burning of Puharich’s house, Ira shows up one or two days later and promises to recruit an investigative reporter?
The rumors about Puharich and his possible government-connections-turned-sour had run rampant for years. But was any of that really true?
Clyde Olver contacted the arson investigator for the insurance company with the policy on Puharich’s house. The investigator had concluded that a would-be psychic researcher, spurned by Phuarich, was the main suspect. This suspect had once left a statement on Puharich’s answering machine such as, “I don’t know what’s happening to me! I’m going crazy!” He had appeared at the Turkey Farm one day and demanded that everyone listen to his personal problems. One of these problems was, as he explained it, harassment by extraterrestrials. (Levy, 1988)
The insurance investigator had interviewed Puharich on August 15. He confirmed that Puharich was, indeed, a “medical doctor who had authored several books, an expert in paranormal phenomena.” Puharich had also provided to the insurance company the necessary information about his income sources: a $10,000 grant from a Baron DePauli, $15,000 from Dell Books as advance on a book about Tesla; $50,000 for the rights to a movie about Uri Geller, and between 50 and 70 grand for his scheduled lectures.
The insurance investigator thought that Puharich was a nutzoid. “It is noteworthy to mention that Puharich stated he has observed numerous UFOs and has communicated with extraterrestrial beings.” Puharich was in Los Angeles when the fire occurred, but he suggested to the insurance investigator that the strange behavior of the guy ranting about being harassed by UFOs was not unusual; instead, he pointed out that the fire was very likely started by the CIA as a “warning” to him because he (via Einhorn) had been circulating evidence of Soviet experiments in psychic warfare.
Now, let’s stop and think about this for a minute. I want to get this straight: Puharich, Einhorn, and many others since, have promoted the idea that the CIA is after them because they are circulating information about the Russian threat in terms of psychotronic warfare. Here we have Puharich talking to an insurance investigator, for God’s sake, who might just as likely have thought that Puharich himself was crazy and burned down his own house based on such loose talk. Why in the world would anybody who was truly rational talk to an insurance investigator this way?
It reminds me of the time I had an insurance appraiser come to the house after we finished some construction work. I was having the fidgets worrying about this person coming in my back room where the psychomantium was. How was I going to explain a black tent to an insurance appraiser? What if they decided we were so weird that we had to pay higher insurance premiums? After all, nobody really knows all the secrets of how actuaries come up with insurance rates. Everybody who has had experience with insurance companies knows that you want to seem as “normal” and “in the middle” as possible. Well, since I also used the room for my microfiche viewer, I just moved it to a prominent position in the middle of the room and didn’t say anything. The appraiser asked what kind of stuff I was viewing, and I just told the truth — genealogy records. That was “normal.”
So, back to Puharich: Here he is talking to an insurance investigator, the person who has the power to authorize or withhold payment on his claim, and he was saying things like that? I’m sorry. Puharich may have been a genius, but this single incident makes me question his grip on reality.
I’m having a hard time with another thing here: What happened to the fact that, during that period of time, the US government was pretty busy promoting the idea of the “Russian Threat?” If that is the case — and it is, historically speaking — why in the world would the CIA object to the circulation of ideas that the Russians were doing us dirty by turning our brains to jello with their psychic experiments and ELF waves? I mean, after all, that would fit right in with their own view. Why would Ira Einhorn claim that the CIA and the Russians were mad at him? Oh, of course. Because they would not be expected to show up at his trial and deny the charges. With psychopathic lies, everything has to be so double and triple reversed-covert that nobody will ever be able to get to the truth of the matter. You know, “This tape will self-destruct in five seconds, if you are caught, the State Department will deny all knowledge of your mission” type of thing.
Well, just some things to think about. Now, back to Ira and Holly.
After interviewing many witnesses and writing up the report, Pearce was convinced that Holly Maddux had been murdered by Ira Einhorn. From January 3 of 1979 until March, Pearce tried to get action from the Philadelphia police. The detective assigned to the case, Kenneth Curcio, was singularly unresponsive. J. R. Pearce went over his head and spoke directly with the Police Commissioner on March 7, 1979. A new detective was then assigned to the case, Michael J. Chitwood.
Chitwood was a controversial “Dirty Harry” kind of guy who never even carried a gun, yet had been castigated as a “brutal inquisitor of homicide suspects” by a journalist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, resulting in his removal from the homicide division. In a plot right out of a movie, the Einhorn case was his first homicide assignment after being reinstated in the good graces of the department, because of his work in recent hostage negotiations. Chitwood read Pearce’s reports and also knew: Ira Einhorn was a murderer. He went to work to verify the information so he could draw up a search warrant.
Chitwood visited the city coroner and described to him the problem of the odor coming from Einhorn’s closet. The coroner, Halbert Fillinger, told Chitwood, “When you go to Einhorn’s apartment, you’re going to find a body there.” Chitwood simply could not believe such an idea. Nobody in his right mind would keep the body on the premises. He was convinced that blood had been spilled, that it had soaked through the floor during a short period of time when the body may have been temporarily concealed in the closet, but that surely the body would be gone by now! After all, it had been 18 months. All he wanted was a search warrant to go in and take out the floor and submit it for testing to determine the presence of human blood and proteins. That was the most he was hoping for in the way of evidence.
On March 28, three weeks after being handed Pearce’s findings, Michael Chitwood, Captain Patterson, three men from the Mobile Crime Unit, and two techs from the chemical lab, armed with crowbars, power tools, cameras, and a warrant, rang Ira Einhorn’s buzzer at 3411 Race Street.
It was ten minutes to nine o’clock and Ira Einhorn was still sleeping. He grabbed a robe and pressed the button to unlock the outside door. Chitwood and company were still climbing the stairs when Einhorn opened the door to his apartment and peered into the vestibule. He stood there in his opened robe, naked and exposed, exuding the repellant body odor for which he was notorious. (Ira believed he was a “godlike” being, and therefore, mere mortals ought to drink in, savor, and appreciate his bodily secretions.)
Detective Chitwood identified himself and told Ira that he had a search-and-seizure warrant. Einhorn laughed. “Search what?”
Chitwood was meticulous. There were going to be no mistakes here that could later invalidate the search warrant. He handed it to Einhorn and asked him to please read it carefully. It was 35-pages long. It basically said that the police had permission to search Einhorn’s apartment for any evidence relating to the disappearance of Helen (Holly) Maddux.
Einhorn told the policemen his much repeated story, that he hadn’t seen her since September 1977, when she went out to do some shopping and didn’t return. Einhorn was very calm and just asked if he could get dressed. “Certainly,” he was politely told by Michael Chitwood.
A few days later Einhorn told a reporter:
My reaction was, what is this all about. And of course, I have very good control of myself. I immediately gave myself an autohypnotic command — just … cool it. Cool it and watch this as carefully as possible, which is what I did. Which to them translated into as my being nonchalant, but I was just being totally observant. Because I’ve been through [tough situations], I’ve faced guns, I’ve faced the whole thing. So if you don’t act quickly, you can make a mess. I was not about to do anything. So I observed, literally, when they marched to the closet on the back porch.
The team of policemen had no real interest in the rest of the apartment, though Chitwood noted he had never seen a place with so many books. They went straight for the closet. The closet had a thick Master padlock on it and the detective asked Einhorn if he had a key to the closet. Ira said he didn’t know where it was.
“Well, I’m going to have to break it [the lock],” Chitwood said.
“Well, You’re going to have to break it,” Ira responded.
The photographers from the Mobile Crime Unit photographed the locked door. Then Chitwood broke the lock with a crowbar, and the door was photographed again.
The closet was 4.5-feet wide, 8-feet high, and just under 3-feet deep. The two-foot-wide shelves were jammed with boxes — some of which were marked “Maddux” — bags, shoes and other odds and ends. On the floor was a suitcase with the name “Holly Maddux” on it. Behind the suitcase was a black steamer trunk.
The interior of the closet was photographed before Detective Chitwood began removing the items one by one. As they were taken out, they were individually photographed and then examined. The boxes contained such things as kitchen items, clothing, schoolbooks, papers, etc. The suitcase contained clothing, and several letters to Holly Maddux that were more than two years old. Holly’s handbag was in a box sitting on the trunk. Inside the bag was her driver’s license and social-security card.
Detective Chitwood noted an unpleasant odor as he continued to remove the items from the closet one by one, pausing for the photographers to record every move, every article. Ira had been walking back and forth between the main room of the apartment and the closet repeatedly while all this was taking place, and Chitwood later said that he thought he could sense fear rising in Einhorn. Einhorn himself would later say that he was merely in a “meditative state” — observing — and that he was coming to the idea that this intrusion was connected to his “efforts to disseminate crucial information about top secret things like psychotronic weapons.”
At this point, Michael Chitwood was ready to open the trunk. It was sitting on a piece of dirty, folded-up carpet. It measured 4.5-feet long, 2.5-feet wide, and 2.5-feet deep. It was locked. Again, Ira was asked for the key, and again he said he didn’t have one. The trunk was photographed before and after the lock was broken. The odor assailed Chitwood as he opened the lid of the trunk. He asked for rubber gloves.
On top, inside the trunk, were newspapers. The latest date on them was September 15, 1977. Underneath the newspapers was shredded foam-rubber packing material and wadded-up plastic shopping-bags. Chitwood began to scoop out the shredded foam. After three scoops he saw something — a wrist and five fingers — shriveled and dark like rawhide.
The coroner had been right. Detective Chitwood followed the hand down the arm to a cuff of a plaid flannel shirt, and then he backed away from the trunk. Pulling off his rubber gloves, he instructed one of his men to call the medical examiner. He went to the kitchen to wash his hands, and standing there was Ira Einhorn, maintaining his cool.
“We found the body. It looks like Holly’s body,” he told Ira.
“You found what you found,” said Einhorn.
At that moment, Detective Chitwood noticed some keys hanging from hooks on the wall in plain view. “What are these for?” he asked Ira. Ira said, “Maybe they fit the locks that you just broke.” Chitwood took them and tried them in the locks. They fit.
Going back to the kitchen, Chitwood asked Ira, “Do you want to tell me about it?”
Chitwood read Ira his Miranda rights. When he came to the part about the right to remain silent, Ira said, “Yes, I want to remain silent.”
By this time, the medical examiner, an assistant district attorney, more homicide detectives, and J.R. Pearce had arrived. Cameras were flashing, power tools were being revved up to cut out the floor where the trunk had stood, and more search warrants were arriving authorizing more areas to be searched and more evidence to be retrieved. Through it all, Ira Einhorn was in a state that has been described as “eerie languor.” He gave no resistance.
In deference to his prominence as a public figure, he was not handcuffed before he was escorted to the official car for transportation to the holding facility, where he was booked for the murder of Helen (Holly) Maddux, aged 31-years old.
The medical examiner described the cause of death as “cranio-cerebral injuries to the brain and skull. There are at least ten or twelve fractures and maybe more.” Her skull was broken under the left eye-socket; there were a series of breaks in the skull on the left side, and several broken and depressed broken places in front of her right ear; the right frontal bone of her forehead was smashed; and there were more breaks around the orbit of the right eye. Holly’s lower jaw was broken so badly that part of it was driven into her mouth. According to the medical examiner, “the holes in the skull are so big you can’t define how many times one area had been struck,” presumably with a blunt object such as a lamp or a bottle. Six was the minimum number of blows, but there were likely more than twice that many.
In other words, Holly Maddux was probably already dead while Ira continued to vent his rage on her, like a crazed 270-pound gorilla stomping on a rival and beating its chest. (No insult to gorillas intended. They are probably far more civilized than Ira Einhorn.)
The reader, having read the facts of the case — the report of the thud and scream, the attempt by Ira to dispose of a trunk, the terrible odor coming from his apartment for many months, his contradictory claims and statements to friends and family, his concerns about the closet where the body was found (of which there were many other notable examples in Levy’s book), his failure to follow his habit to sub-let his apartment in the summer, even his little obstructive lies about the keys, and finally, the fact that the body was in his closet — knows that Ira Einhorn murdered Holly Maddux, stuffed her body in a trunk and, when one feeble attempt to get rid of it failed, returned it to the closet no later than September 15.
Anybody with two neurons in contact with one another would come to the same conclusion.
But, that is not what happened. Droves of people — public figures, people of wealth and taste, intellectuals — came to support Ira and declare that it was utterly impossible to even consider that he would harm a fly, much less Holly, whom he loved with all his heart.
Nobody seemed to pay attention to the curious fact that Ira was not the least upset that the body in the closet might be Holly’s. Interviewed in jail by Howard Shapiro for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Einhorn went on the record saying:
“I have been outspoken all my life, but never have I been violent. I want to be very direct about this. I did not kill whoever was supposed to be in there. I am not a killer. I do not know if a body got in there — if it was a body.”
Then he declared that he “still loved Holly.”
I want the reader to stop for a moment at this point and think about all of the above. Imagine that there is someone you love, someone who you have said is the “love of your life.” Maybe even imagine it is your child, if it is easier to get the proper “feeling” that way. Now, imagine that this person has just disappeared. Keep imagining. Imagine that you are innocent of any harm to the person. You can even imagine that you are convinced that certain nefarious groups may be “after you” for some reason, so you already have the idea that you could be a target for any number of “arranged problems.” Forget any other details about Ira’s case, the scream, the horrible smell of rotting flesh, the odd behavior about the trunk and the closet. In your scenario, none of that happened. You are a target of evil organizations and your loved one just disappeared, and you are worried. Really worried. What would you do? What actions would naturally result from such a situation?
If you suspected that you had been targeted by some secret gang, what kinds of actions would you take to discover if harm had come to your loved one? Would you refuse to cooperate with the investigator hired by the family of the one you love? Even if you didn’t like the family? In such a situation, even people who don’t really like each other generally will unite in the common goal of assuring the well-being of someone they both love. What kind of investigations would you undertake on your own?
I bet you can think of all kinds of things that Ira never did. In fact, there are a number of movies and stories about people in exactly such situations who have made heroic efforts to find a loved one at great risk to their personal safety and reputation. Because of love.
Well, for whatever reason, in spite of the fact of his declared great love for Holly, Ira did nothing. Oh, sure, he claimed he took certain steps, but no one supported his claims. None of the people who he would have been expected to contact to find out Holly’s whereabouts were ever asked by him if they had any ideas or had heard anything. His story about a call from Holly was only used to obfuscate those who suspected foul play. He said he loved her, but his actions did not match his words.
But, getting back to our hypothetical scenario: Imagine that you are just sleeping in your bed, after two years of worry and searching for your lost loved one, and the police show up at your door suggesting that the solution to the problem might be in your closet. (Yeah, I know, this is stretching our imagination a bit, but keep trying.) Anybody who really loves somebody, who has really worried about that person, even if they are incredulous at the mere suggestion that their own closet may hold the answer, is certainly not going to obfuscate the issue of the keys. You are going to want to know why anybody would think that the answer is in the closet. Heck, maybe you haven’t looked in the closet for years. And, as Ira claimed, maybe you do suspect that something might be arranged by shadowy groups to set you up because of your “radical work.” Is that going to diminish the feeling you have for your loved one? Is that going to interfere with your desire to leave no stone unturned that may lead to a solution of where the loved one may be found? Of course not.
Okay, next imagine that the trunk has been opened and — to your complete astonishment — a body has been found. A trustworthy individual who would be considered to know what he was saying when he announced that a body has been found, has just told you that a body is there, and that it looks like your beloved one. Keep in mind, the suggestion has been made that this is someone you love with all your heart. Someone that you have been trying desperately to find for almost two years. Keep in mind that you suspect that someone may have been after you, to harm you, and it may be that this harm was done to your loved one in order to get to you. As much as you don’t want to think that your loved one is dead, you have to know! Are you going to just stand there after a detective has said, “We found a body, it may be your loved one,” and just answer “You found what you found”?!
Then, even if you are not allowed to rush madly to the closet to see with your own eyes, but instead, are arrested for murder, are you going to just say, “Yes, I want to remain silent?”
Now that your beloved has at last been found, are you going to immediately grant an interview with a journalist in which you tell the journalist that you know who murdered your loved one, but that you aren’t going to say who did it to “set you up.” Are you going to follow this with: “I did not kill whoever was supposed to be in there. I do not know if a body got in there — if it was a body”?!
What we are looking at is a classic display of the psychopathic personality. He claimed to “love” Holly, yet in all the material I have reviewed about the case, other than repeating that he “loved Holly,” there is not a single expression of grief or anguish. He knew the word “love,” but clearly did not know what it meant. Oh, sure, he knew how to “act out” love in ordinary ways, but he had never had anyone to observe who was in the situation he found himself in, so he had no “model” to ape in order to produce the appropriate responses. This is the weakness of the psychopath. All their “emotions” are “acting,” and they can only act based on what they learn from others. Even if they have produced, momentarily, an appropriate display, something about the way their mind works makes them unable to sustain it. They are so focused on themselves, that they simply cannot abide attention being diverted to anyone or anything else, and will unconsciously give themselves away.
Oh, indeed, others noted Ira’s coldness, and Ira explained it as being his great “control” — that he had faced so many difficult situations that he gave himself an “auto-hypnotic suggestion” so he would be calm. But that was only after it was pointed out how odd his behavior appeared to others.
Those who doubted him had their doubts thrown back in their face on the platform of his public persona. The very idea that they would doubt him became an implied moral failing on their part!
“This is a time of testing. I try to learn from every situation. Now I’m going to see if my friends believe in me. I think that they do. I know that many people will help. I know that many will refuse to believe what’s being said. These people know me. They’ll stand by me. I’m sure of it.”
And, of course, with such a challenge thrown out there, they did.
Curiously, Einhorn’s choice of legal counsel was Arlen Specter, the strategist who conceived the controversial “single-bullet/lone assassin” theory regarding the death of John F. Kennedy. Einhorn was a very vocal critic of the Warren Report and held the single-bullet theory in complete contempt. A mutual friend of Einhorn and Specter suggested Specter as counsel, and Einhorn tossed aside his previous scruples and said “Yes!” If Specter could convince the world that a single assassin had murdered JFK, he could convince the world that Holly got into Einhorn’s closet along with all her things, completely unbeknownst to Ira.
The first objective was to secure a low bail. Bail hearings are held to determine whether or not the suspect should be considered reliable enough to be released on bail until tried. Witnesses are brought in who will attest to the fact that the accused is of such good character that they will abide by the law and show up for their trial.
The first character witness for Ira Einhorn was Stephen J. Harmelin, an attorney with a prestigious law firm. He had known Ira since high school, and he described his character and reputation as “excellent.”
The assistant district attorney, Joseph Murray hoped to uncover indications that Einhorn might leave the country rather than face a trial. His first concern regarding this was Einhorn’s income. There had been years of speculation about just how Einhorn did make his money, even though it was obvious that he lived very frugally and didn’t need much. He did, however, travel a great deal and engaged in activities that might be thought to require goodly sums from time to time. Where was it coming from?
“What does he do for a living?” Murray asked.
His long time friend from high school wasn’t precisely sure. “My understanding is that he acts as a consultant for various institutions in Philadelphia.”
“My recollection is that he was doing some consulting work for the Bell Telephone Company. Mr. Einhorn seemed to be able to bring to the attention of corporate executives a kind of broad spectrum of information which they otherwise wouldn’t generally have available to them.”
Edward Mahler, a vice-president of personnel relations at Bell, was called upon to explain the relationship:
“We wish to be responsive to the needs of the community. In that context I was introduced by a friend to Ira, and we started our relationship. I became, as it were, the contact with Mr. Einhorn. I think I would dare to say we would meet two to three times a month.… We talk fundamentally about things related to the community. I would discuss with him things we were proposing, and he would respond to them. Then we’d talk, of course, about myriad things that had nothing to do with the telephone company.”
“And did Mr. Einhorn have contacts with other key executives at Bell Telephone?”
“Yes, he did from time to time.”
“Such as our president and former president.”
“How much was he paid as a consultant?”
“Nothing in cash.”
“What? In check?”
“No, nothing like that. No money changes hands.”
The judge, William M. Marutani, was so curious about this bizarre series of remarks that he proceeded to question the witness himself.
“Do I understand, Mr. Mahler, that you meet Mr. Einhorn say, two or three times a month?”
“And what would these be — you would happen to bump into each other?”
“No, no, no. Excuse me, Your Honor. Ira represented a group in the community that we did not hear from. Where it seemed to us he could represent their point of view. It was not one we could [otherwise] be aware of.… And at least that was the reason for maintaining regular contact.”
“Was this a public relations venture by Bell Telephone?” the judge asked.
“Oh, okay, community relations, Judge.”
“And Bell Telephone, with all its wealth, never gave him a dime?” The judge was obviously incredulous that the phone company even took Ira seriously.
“No sir, no sir. We did do one thing for him. I feel I should mention it to explain in part what went on. It seems that Ira represented the people in the community, like the professor you heard, the lawyer, the physicist, the futurist, and so on. [We] would reproduce articles that Ira would find, or others would find, and mail them to members of the group.… It was a service we performed, you could say, for Ira. He was very appreciative of it. But again, it was in line with our communicating with this broader network, Judge.
“What would be in it for people such as Ira to go to all this trouble?”
There was no answer that was obvious. Mahler knew that Ira had never wanted money. It was his declared purpose to just be a “networker.” Money did not motivate him. He claimed that he operated on a higher and grander system; he worked without pay for Planet Earth! That’s who Ira was.
Mahler was excused.
The parade of character-witnesses was long and illustrious, but the prosecutor pointed out that none of their protestations of Ira Einhorn’s “good character” made any difference. “This is a very serious case. A case that indicates planning, intention, all the earmarks of a very serious first-degree murder case,” he said. He then stated that Einhorn’s contacts, habits, access to money, and many travels, all might suggest that Ira would jump bail and disappear. He wanted bail set at $100,000, of which only ten percent needed to be posted.
Arlen Specter argued that this amount was excessive, claiming that the State had no direct evidence that Ira had killed Holly.
The judge made a classic series of remarks:
“Isn’t it a little unusual to have a dead body… in a trunk in one’s own residence? Doesn’t that raise some eyebrows…? Remember, I am not determining his guilt — indeed, I want to be candid with you. I think the Inquirer quoted him as saying he was framed. He well may have been as far as I am concerned. I mean, he’s not in his apartment twenty-four hours a day and somebody… who knows, strange things happen in life… you know, I wouldn’t want somebody to find my wife’s body in a trunk in my home, particularly if I lived alone. I think I’d be in hot water.”
That was the point. Anybody else, under just about any other circumstances, would have really been in the soup if a dead body were found in their closet, and the circumstances we have recounted were present. It would have been a sure thing that everybody would have thought they were guilty. In fact, there have been judges, doctors, attorneys, politicians, millionaires, and high-society ladies of the very type who were testifying to Ira Einhorn’s good character, found in far less incriminating circumstances who were not presumed innocent either by their friends, peers, or the public.
So why was Ira?
Why did Barbara Bronfman, wife of Seagram heir Charles Bronfman, step forward with the paltry four-grand necessary to post the remainder of Ira’s bail, after Judge Marutani had finally set it at $40,000? (Ira’s parents assumed the liability for the remainder.)
This is a very crucial question. We might assume that all of the witnesses to Ira’s character had a few neurons firing there in the old brain pan. We will allow that they probably did not know all the details that came out in the investigation. After all, the case had not yet been tried. All they really knew was that Holly’s body had been found in the trunk in Ira’s closet, and he was claiming he had been framed because his networking had made enemies.
I should like to point out that this “explanation” — that Holly had been killed to frame him — completely obviates Ira’s former claim that he had received a phone call from Holly saying that she didn’t want to be found. It also begs the question: If he really thought that there were “agents” out to get him, and he really was innocent, why didn’t he suspect that they might be responsible for Holly’s disappearance? And, if he thought that, why didn’t he make it his business to find out what had happened to her? After all, he loved her so much that two nights before she disappeared, he was on the phone to her repeatedly trying to get her to reconcile with him. When she told him she didn’t want to see him again, he threatened to throw all her possessions in the street. It was only in order to collect her things that Holly even went to see Ira.
Another question is: If there were agents of some dark conspiracy who were after Ira, and they were able to kill Holly, plant her body in his apartment under the noses of the neighbors in order to frame him, and do it so easily — why didn’t they just snuff Ira? After all, it was six of one and half-dozen of the other for him to be martyred by his own death, or martyred by imprisonment because he was framed. Surely, such agents — if they existed — didn’t think he would be quiet about being framed — if he was framed — and surely, if he was really framed, such agents would have assumed that he would blab whatever he knew that they didn’t want spread around, and therefore, framing him would have been seen as too costly. Because surely, if such agents really existed, they knew that by framing Ira, whatever information he was supposed to have possessed would have become a matter of public record in an ensuing trial.
The “Ira was framed to silence him” story just doesn’t cut it no matter which way you look at it. We already know, from our look at other cases, that when it is desirable to shut somebody up, it can be done so quick, so clean, so completely, that all this nonsense about “the CIA burned my house down,” or “the CIA tried to kill me 16 times,” or “the CIA killed someone else and planted her body in my closet to frame me so I wouldn’t talk about what they are doing,” is a complete load of hooey.
But this cock-and-bull story was believed by many, and everybody’s ethics were put on the line with Ira announcing to the press that “now he would know who his friends really are.” They showed up and got in line, and did the Einhorn dance, and forked over the bucks Ira needed without a single question.
So why? Why did seemingly intelligent and articulate people find it so impossible to think that Ira Einhorn could murder Holly Maddux?
Could it be, as some suggest, that his defenders were also part of some sort of conspiracy? Did they all know that Ira murdered Holly, but they were being instructed to get him out of jail and out of the country?
Nice try. But that would make a plain old liar and murderer out of Ira, which would then negate his “frame up” story, based on the whole deal about being involved in things that others wanted hushed up enough to frame him! Again, simple logic cuts through the confusion spread by Ira.
No, I am afraid the answer, on the psychological level, is far more prosaic than that: Ira Einhorn was quite simply a psychopath, a con-artist, a grifter, and all those people who lined up to cast their lot in support of him, intelligent and articulate though they might have been, were simply duped. They were suckers. They were victims of a psychopath.
Remember the guy described by Dr. Robert Hare, the psychopath who was on his way to public prominence and was then exposed as a fraud? The amazing thing about that case, which has elements that exactly mesh with the Einhorn case, was the fact that the very people he was duping jumped to his defense, one of them declaring that “I assess his genuineness, integrity, and devotion to duty to rank right alongside of President Abraham Lincoln.”
What many people do not seem to fully grasp is the fact that psychopaths are such good impostors that they can live their entire lives as phonies and never get caught. I am reminded of several cases where the evidence of the “secret” of the psychopath wasn’t revealed until after their deaths, in their papers and effects. Naturally, the friends and families were devastated and the repercussions weren’t too savory either. But, for the most part, except for a few people who have had certain experiences with the psychopath, who have seen the “man behind the curtain,” a psychopath dupes nearly everyone — and does it successfully.
Another important thing is the fact that a psychopath may spend years building up to a “coup.” Some of them display almost preternatural cunning in the way they stalk their objective. They can certainly make a big display of working very hard. They can be meticulous and scrupulous about fulfilling certain obligations, “keeping their word,” doing all the things that create a certain “image” of benevolence or kindness, or generosity. But there is always a pay-back. The smarter ones have learned to delay the “pay-back.” Some of them don’t ask for an “obvious” pay-back, rather they will use a connection to make another “hit.” They will associate with one “target” in order to get to another. When we say that psychopaths make their way by conning people into doing things for them, obtaining money, prestige, power for them, or even standing up for them when others try to expose them, it must be emphasized that this activity can be so subtle that only the most acute observer can detect the “glitches” in the program, so to say. They always have a “secret life” that is hidden from the public, and maybe even hidden from every single person in their “regular life.” In some cases, they may have revealed themselves only when they were very young, before they “learned” that their way of being is “different.”
The man in the case cited by Hare said: “These trusting people will stand behind me. A good liar is a good judge of people.”
Ira Einhorn said: “This is a time of testing. I try to learn from every situation. Now I’m going to see if my friends believe in me. I think that they do. I know that many people will help. I know that many will refuse to believe what’s being said. These people know me. They’ll stand by me. I’m sure of it.”
In both cases, and thousands upon thousands of others, exactly the same conditions prevail. A psychopath lies, and people believe him — on a scale that is almost impossible to imagine. The reason they are able to do this is very, very significant: They are able to do it because most people are gullible, with an unshakable belief in the inherent goodness of man.
But it goes even deeper. Not only do people believe them and take them at their word, when another person points out the “glitches in the program,” the believer will not just refuse to acknowledge it, they will refuse to investigate on their own! If the proofs are handed to them, and all they have to do is read them and think, they won’t do it! In some cases, they will read them, but will trust the psychopath who is lying when he is saying that the proof is all lies.
Just to give a concrete example of this fascinating phenomenon — a real-life example — let me describe this curious aspect as it has been observed in our own experience. In the case of Vincent Bridges and his coterie of followers, it has not occurred to them, for example, that six people who all know Frank Scott personally — some of them for as long as ten years — all have the same opinion of him. None of the Bridges gang have ever met him and have no long experience upon which to base an opinion. Nevertheless, they believe Bridges’ opinion, his claims that all of these six people are lying, because only he can possibly know the truth of the situation! Why? Because he has so repeatedly declared himself an “expert” that they must actually believe he is! The fact that every single one of his “expert credentials” was proven to be false makes absolutely no difference in the world. What is even more shocking is the extent to which the defenders of the psychopath will go, even committing illegal and unethical acts in his defense. In fact, this item might even be a key to identifying the psychopath: The extent to which people will go, acting in opposition to their own welfare, their own professed standards of ethical behavior, and even to their own detriment, in order to defend a psychopath. This may be a clue that the psychopathic reality is “communicable,” like some sort of disease.
A concrete example of this behavior is the fact that the very person who was obsessively checking Bridges’ credentials, Dr. Nellie Oleson (pseudonym) — the one who first brought to our attention the fact that there were serious questions to be asked about Vincent Bridges’s background — is now one of his staunchest supporters!
The fact is that even after we had expressed no real desire to pursue any serious questions about his background — we merely wished to have the free will to “not associate,” and that was that — Dr. Oleson repeatedly brought it up, adding one find to another, in what now can be seen as an obvious attempt to “stir the pot.” Not only that, but she was writing private emails to other members of our e-group, casting doubt on Bridges as an “expert” of any kind, seemingly in an effort to put pressure on us to — what? To investigate him? Or simply to be more and more antagonistic? It’s hard to tell. Nevertheless, what is crazier still, as soon as we had arrived at the opinion that Bridges was doing some serious “credential padding,” and we began to discuss Bridges privately in terms of Dr. Oleson’s findings about his lack of credentials; as soon as she was assured that we all had the idea firmly planted in our minds that Bridges was a liar and a cheat, she then flipped over to Bridges’ side and started doing the exact same thing with him!
What power did he exert over her? Because the fact is, Dr. Nellie Oleson did some things that not just violated our rights, and the rights of our group, but which were also ethically self-destructive and legally actionable!
Dr. Oleson, as a member of the Perseus Foundation, signed a confidentiality agreement that anything relating to any of our investigations that was discussed or shared in person, by phone, or email, that was designated “private,” was private. This was a clear necessity for a foundation that is set up to investigate backgrounds of other people and possible frauds on the internet, etc. Journalists cannot work without confidentiality. A confidential source has to be assured that they are dealing with a group that will hold the information private, even including their identity. This is a legal right of investigative journalism based on the necessity of being able to assure that information will be available even in cases when the informant has reason to fear the release of that information.
Now, keep in mind that Dr. Nellie Oleson is a professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Platteville, and would certainly be expected to be very familiar with how journalists work. However, after being ejected from our e-group for disruptive and aggressive behavior, to garner favor with Vincent Bridges, Oleson forwarded to him numerous private emails that had been copied to her from a confidential informant, as part of the beginning investigation into the Bridges matter. The informant had given his permission for her to read them, since she was a member of the Foundation with a confidentiality agreement on file. When they had been forwarded to her, they were marked as “private.”
However, not only did Dr. Nellie Oleson violate the confidentiality of a third-party confidential informant, she violated her signed confidentiality agreement with the Perseus Foundation. She also betrayed over 200 other people in our e-group and research team.
As an instructor at an institution of higher learning in this country, who not only claims to be informed about such matters, but is also hired to teach them — to set an example — we find that her behavior was not only irresponsible, it was highly unethical and illegal. I certainly would not want such an individual (especially considering other aspects of her “story”) teaching one of my children. What is more, in the world in which she proposes to operate — the world of journalism — this act has put her beyond the pale of serious journalists and writers. In short, she has shown that she cannot be trusted in a field where trust is paramount. Without journalistic confidentiality, no truth would ever be known.
She did this to “defend” Vincent Bridges. We see here a real live example of how people will even do things that are illegal under such an influence. If nothing else, the fact that this woman, with so much to lose, would commit so unethical, irresponsible, and morally reprehensible a series of actions proves the power of the psychopath to confuse and influence.
This brings us to another aspect of the psychopath: The obsessive need to force their delusions on others and to force association. Mr. Bridges literally is consumed with the fact that we have refused to associate with him. He spends days and nights obsessing about us, our website, and every single thing we do or say. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s like he has no life at all except the life he draws from his followers in their endless feeding frenzy on each other’s opinions of the Cassiopaea Experiment, about which they know almost nothing! Bridges and Dr. Nellie Oleson will produce endless pages of text about their analysis of me, or about what we say or do, using either my own writings or Tom French’s article to diagnose my “psychosis,” or “megalomania,” or whatever is the personality glitch du jour. He intimates that he has had long and friendly talks with Tom, and suggests that they are “hermanos,” that they “both know” how “dangerous” I am. What he never mentions is the remark about Frank (and what may have been behind it) that Tom made in his article: “He was very excited, and when F*** got excited, he could be a little pushy. Laura did not mind. She adored F***; besides, the unwritten contract of their relationship allowed great leeway for pushiness.”
It certainly was that way. Pushy. Great leeway for pushiness, by the way. Noted in print by Tom French, who could not fail to note it, and who also could not fail to note that I was most definitely tolerating a lot from Frank. I truly adored Frank, and that was and is the only reason he continued with the group for as long as he did. This factor has also been noted in remarks by the six other active members of the group, some of which have been made public, others of which are reserved for legal and/or privacy reasons.
But this comment of Tom’s is ignored by Vincent Bridges, all the while he “uses” Tom based on a phone call during which conversation he attempted to convince Tom that I am a raving megalomaniac trying to start a cult — because we simply do not want to associate with him. Bridges tried to elicit from Tom French a “new opinion” of me, after filling him in with the sordid details of my life according to Vincent the “expert.” I guess he thinks Tom was born yesterday.
As it happens, Tom usually calls me on my birthday, as he has for the past seven years. We had a most interesting discussion this last birthday, you may be sure.
So, on the one hand, we have six respectable people, none of whom has ever even “fudged” their credentials offering information that is direct and factual — along with supporting evidence — about a situation, and the individuals involved.
On the other hand, we have a proven liar and manipulator declaring that everything we say and do is directed towards some sinister, nefarious purpose. He has nothing on which to base his statements other than just his say-so. So what we see is a very strange phenomenon that is quite similar to the situation surrounding Ira Einhorn. Not only is our “sin” the same as Holly’s — she refused further association with Einhorn — many of the people around them believed him and not the evidence. People didn’t just refuse to look at or consider the facts, they were quite simply unable to believe them. For Barbara Bronfman, it wasn’t until years later — and after she had given many, many thousands of dollars to support Ira in exile — that she suddenly was able to “see” him, and recoiled in horror at how she had been used and manipulated and deceived. So it seems that there is some possibility that some victims do eventually wake up. But many don’t, and I would like to know why.
Over and over again I think about those remarks of Leon Festinger about cognitive dissonance:
Suppose an individual believes something with his whole heart; suppose further that he has a commitment to this belief, that he has taken irrevocable actions because of it; finally, suppose that he is presented with evidence, unequivocal and undeniable evidence, that his belief is wrong: what will happen? The individual will frequently emerge, not only unshaken, but even more convinced of the truth of his beliefs than ever before. Indeed, he may even show a new fervor about convincing and converting other people to his view. (Festinger, 1956; this author’s emphasis)
But essentially, what we are talking about here is not anything like religious belief, or belief in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy — or are we? What is it about the psychopath that makes them able to induce belief so strongly that people will even undertake to do illegal things for them, to lie for them, steal for them, join them in libel, and cruel and hurtful activities against others? Is it a psychological weakness that drives people to prefer lies over truth? Or is it some power in the psychopath? Is there something going on at levels we do not perceive?
In the previous chapter we presented some of the ideas of psychology as to why such a phenomenon manifests, most of which relate in some way to the idea that people will go along with and support a psychopath, in the face of evidence that they have and are being conned, because their own ego structure depends on being right, and to admit an error of judgment would destroy their carefully constructed image of themselves.
I don’t think that’s necessarily the best explanation. I think that it has more to do with Hare’s remark that most people are gullible with an unshakable belief in the inherent goodness of man, and it is that which makes them vulnerable. Because they don’t lie, they cannot conceive of the level to which a psychopath will go to lie and create support for his lies. They have feelings and would never do such things themselves, and cannot conceive of a creature that does not have feelings. They just don’t get it that the psychopath is not a real human being.
But it has to go deeper than that, because not only do such people continue to support the psychopath, they become quite active in doing so. Even criminally so. This brings us to that remark of a victim of psychopathy we previously quoted: “The essential feature of Psychopaths is a Pervasive, Obsessive-Compulsive desire to force their delusions on others. Psychopaths completely disregard and violate the Rights of others, particularly the Freedom of Association which includes the right not to associate.”
The person must always, always keep in mind that “forcing” a delusion in the context of the psychopath may have nothing at all to do with what we consider to be force. For the psychopath, the issue is to get the person to believe a lie by using his cleverness, his inborn ability to “sniff out” weaknesses and play on them to gradually turn his victim around just like a masterful horseman. This brings us to the crux of the matter: Psychopaths view any social exchange as a “feeding opportunity,” a contest or a test of wills in which there can be only one winner. Here we have found a clue.
Not all victims of psychopaths suffer as Holly Maddux did. Not all “secondary” victims suffer as Holly’s family has. But as long as psychopaths continue to operate unrecognized, there is going to be suffering; if not you, then maybe someone you love. On what would have been Holly Maddux’s 50th birthday, her sister wrote:
“It has been a very long and painful 20 years since Holly’s disappearance and death, an emotional place that is not frequently visited despite the multitude of ways that my life was forever changed with Ira’s simple, selfish act. My siblings, their families and I miss Holly. Even though they can hear stories about her, Holly’s nephews and nieces will never get to know her as this absolutely wonderful and caring person. I hope no one else has to explain to children how and why someone much loved in the family is dead- trust me, it’s not easy and it forces young ones to face fear more intimately than they would ever dream of, and so early in their lives.
“I am now much older than Holly ever was, and I have no older sister to compare notes on life and growing up with, like we had just started to do when she was killed. My own philosophy on life, something to do with the grace of God and the beauty of life and the peace that comes with all of that, is continuously challenged when I hear of a similar situation — don’t think for a minute that the OJ Simpson trial was easy to be around! Bottom line, someone is killed and their beautiful life is a memory that it is now up to you — and the hundreds of others whose lives that one special person touched — to remember. Something is just not fair here.”
Holly Maddux had made a decision to no longer associate with Ira Einhorn. She said, “No thanks, I don’t want to hang out with you anymore.” She refused his delusion, and he completely disregarded and violated her right to choose who she would or would not associate with. He furiously and repeatedly bashed away at her head — the seat of the idea of refusal.
But such behavior does not just appear out of nowhere. If Ira was guilty of this, unless he just had a sudden fit of temporary madness, there must have been signs. How come nobody noticed? If there were signs, how come they were not remembered at the crucial moment when Holly’s body was found in Ira’s closet? What was the power Ira had over the minds of other people? How did it manifest? Again and again we come to that question: What is it about seemingly intelligent and articulate people that makes them subject to the delusions of the psychopath? Is it something in the person being duped, or is it some power the psychopath has that other people don’t?
We are going to look at that question. We want to know why. As Einhorn himself said during a 1971 mayoral campaign speech, “Psychopaths like myself emerge when societies are about to change.”