Julia Pastrana was born in the 1830s in Mexico, severely deformed and covered in hair, then became an international sensation. After she died in 1860, her mummified remains became an equally public curiosity, and only now, 153 years later, is she finally resting in peace. Read it at BuzzFeed.
2. Invisible Child — The New York Times
There are more than 22,000 homeless children in New York City. Here’s an inside look at the life of one, a Brooklyn middle schooler named Dasani, and the increasingly unequal city she lives in. Incredible work by Andrea Elliott and photographer Ruth Fremson. Read it at The New York Times.
3. The Boy Whose Brain Could Unlock Autism — Matter
Researcher Henry Markram’s son Kai was born autistic. Obsessed with understanding how Kai understands the world, Markham has developed a new theory of the disorder that flips current understanding on its head. Read it at Matter.
4. The Manhunt — The Los Angeles Times
A serialized piece about the crimes and death of Chris Dorner. After being rejected by the police academy, Dorner committed a revenge double homicide; this is the story of authorities’ search for him. Read it at The Los Angeles Times.
5. The Lobotomy Files — The Wall Street Journal
A trove of old documents reveal that around 2,000 WWII veterans were lobotomized after the war in an attempt to treat depression, anxiety, even homosexuality. Michael M. Phillips tells the story of one veteran still haunted by the procedure. Read it at The Wall Street Journal.
6. What Kind of Monster Would Shoot Up His School? — Gawker
The day before Adam Lanza massacred Sandy Hook Elementary School, a high school senior in Oklahoma named Sammie Eaglebear Chavez spoke about committing a school shooting and was subsequently arrested. Camille Dodero examines his life and that supposed crime. Read it at Gawker.
8. Suspended Justice — Indiana Daily Student
An Indiana man came home to a horrific scene: his wife and two children shot dead. Police disregarded evidence to the contrary and tried him for the murders, a conviction that was finally overturned 13 years in prison and three expensive trials later. Read it at Indiana Daily Student.
9. Something Inside Us — Oxford American
In late 2008, a massive retention pond at a Tennessee Valley Authority burst open, spilling a billion gallons of toxic coal ash. They decided to ship 4 million tons of it by train to a small, poor, rural, mostly black community outside Uniontown, Alabama, once the proud front in the fight for civil rights. Read it at Oxford American.