Asher Elbein

Asher Elbein is a freelance journalist and fiction writer based in Austin.
 

The Texotics

by | Mon, Jun 22, 2020 at 8:00 am CST
The Schluter House in Jefferson, Texas is rumored to be haunted.
Culture

The Ghosts of Jefferson

This East Texas tourist town calls itself “the most haunted town in Texas,” but its whitewashed ghost stories elide a complex racial history.

This East Texas tourist town has an economy built on nostalgia tourism, but its whitewashed ghost stories elide a complex racial history. * by Asher Elbein October 28, 2019 Some towns choose to remember, and some towns to forget. Jefferson, … Read More

Books

Invasive Species Have Reshaped Texas. Now What?

From parakeets to fire ants, nilgai to tamarisk trees, invasives have integrated into the state's ecosystems — and managing them means asking hard questions.

In March, I drove down to the Sabal Palm Sanctuary on the southernmost border of Texas, where Brazilian bougainvillea shimmers over the seasonal marshes. I was there to join local researchers in searching for native salamanders. But as we walked … Read More

nutria, gulf coast
Culture

Rats From a Sinking Ship

A new documentary chronicling a rodent’s invasion of the Gulf Coast is part quirky tale, part sobering climate change parable.

In 1938, E.A. McIlhenny — Louisiana naturalist, businessman and scion of the Tabasco hot sauce fortune — decided to give the fur business a gift. McIlhenny had been farming nutria, a large, semi-aquatic South American rodent. After ending up with … Read More

Culture

In Texas, One of the World’s Oldest, Weirdest Fish Finally Gets its Due

Long considered “trash fish,” alligator gar have patrolled Texas rivers for millions of years. Now this living fossil may finally be getting its due.

In Texas, One of the World’s Oldest, Weirdest Fish Finally Gets its Due Long considered “trash fish,” alligator gar have patrolled Texas rivers for millions of years. Now this living fossil is catching the attention of anglers, naturalists and TV … Read More

Big Bend -- Pete Gallego and Will Hurd district
Books

‘The Natural History of Texas’ Celebrates the State’s Lesser-Known Critters and In-Between Places

At first glance, the book appears to be a textbook. But it soon transforms into a welcome collection of oddities, a bestiary of the strange, unexpected and overlooked.

On December 7, 1941, two events coincided in a wholly unpredictable way. That the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor is household knowledge. Less well known is that a dentist — one Lytle Adams of Irwin, Pennsylvania — was driving home that … Read More

jellyfish juli berwald spineless
Books

A New Book on Jellyfish is Filled with Wonder and Climate Change Woes

Berwald pops between scientific conferences and labs, fishes for giant jellyfish off the coast of Japan and dives with a swarm in Israel.

Jellyfish drift. It’s practically their defining feature. Many creatures have hard parts of one kind or another; jellies are 95 percent water, and look it. Their bodies pulse with motion, from the slow contractions of gelatinous bells to the drifting … Read More

Culture, Features, The Issue

Field Notes from Santa Ana

A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump's wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life.

Field Notes from Santa Ana A visit to the crown jewel of the national wildlife refuge system, now under threat from Trump’s wall, reveals a harsh landscape teeming with life. The Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge is a 3.3-square-mile tract … Read More

Culture

Our Lady of the Underground

Whether you need love or money, safety or security, Santa Muerte is open for business—and business is booming.

Santa Muerte also protects those who work in darkness: cabbies and street kids, prostitutes and petty hustlers, cops and soldiers. Read More

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