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The Secret History of The World by Laura Knight-Jadczyk

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Adventures with Cassiopaea








Adventures With Cassiopaea

Chapter 33

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(Formerly (for more details on the case and for bibliography check The Crime Library web site)

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 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, friend, 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 the 14th of September, one of Holly's friends, who had expected her in New York, Saul Lapidus, asked Andrija Puharich, a mutual friend of his and Ira's, to intercede and try to get information about Holly's possible whereabouts or plans from Ira. 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 20th to attend a wedding and it was that weekend that Ron Gelzer 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 carcase might be lodged. What he discovered was that a closet on Ira Einhorn's screened porch was exactly above the closet in his kitchen.



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