Keep Houston Press Free

A Monster in East Texas! Or Something Like That...

The Old Grey Lady doesn’t like to think of herself as sensationalist. She’s the newspaper of record and prefers to stick to sober facts and objective truth when covering a story. Except, of course, when that story takes place in the thick backwoods of East Texas. When writing about Texas, it’s just too hard to resist calling an aquatic fern a “

lake-eating monster

” in a headline.

Lake Caddo — home to Eagle’s drummer Don Henley — has been infested with a weed called Salvinia molesta, which, according to the Times, has the “ability to double in size every two to four days and cover 40 square miles within three months, suffocating all life beneath.” Sounds pretty bad, but “a lake-eating monster?” That’s the kind of headline that will get a story lodged on the 10 Most Emailed Articles for weeks.

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

Turns out the source for that quote was none other than Jack Canson, a former Hollywood scriptwriter who lives on Lake Caddo. One of Canson’s scripts — Seedpeople — happens to be about an alien monster plant that takes over a small town. “It’s your classic 1950s drive-in-movie-monster plant,” Canson confided in the Times.

So, a B-movie screenwriter becomes a source for a story in which a real-life phenomenon comes to resemble his idea for a bad horror movie. Is that even fit to print?

If you’re wondering more about strange goings-on around the Caddo region, check on this story about Henley’s efforts to reshape the place’s image. -- Russell Cobb

UPDATE: They don't call us Houstoned for nothing. We just remembered Richard Connelly actually used horror movie imagery when he wrote about Salvinia molesta a few years back. The title of Connelly's piece was "Killer Weed." How appropriate.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.