Here are five stories we recommend this week. Visit our editors’ picks to browse more recommendations, and sign up for our weekly newsletter if you haven’t already:

1. The Texas County at the Center of a Dangerous Right-Wing Experiment

Melissa del Bosque | The Intercept in partnership with Type Investigations | October 12, 2022 | 3,479 words

Readers of this newsletter probably already know that I feel a great deal of despair about the future of America. Reading this excellent report by Melissa del Bosque did nothing to assuage my despondency. Del Bosque travels to a Texas county where officials are more or less invoking war powers to round up, prosecute, humiliate, fine, and in many cases deport people who cross the border. This isn’t something they’re legally empowered to do, but no matter. It’s a devastating, infuriating read, and there are two moments that made my blood run cold. The first is when an official says he wants to open “prosecution camps” (read the story to find out exactly what that means). The second is when armed militia members, eager to help county authorities on their mission, record themselves detaining a frightened migrant so that they can post the video online. “At one point,” del Bosque writes, “the Nicaraguan man asks for asylum and apoyo, or help. A militia member in an American flag headband responds, ‘Chicken?’ Finally, a Kinney County sheriff’s deputy arrives and takes him away.” The dehumanization, cruelty, ignorance, and performance of that moment is, I fear, a harbinger of our collective future. —SD

2. The $30 Million Lottery Scam

Jeff Maysh | The Atlantic | October 17, 2022 | 6,831 words

Who buys 500 identical lottery tickets for the same draw? You do if you’re Viktor Gjonaj and you think you’ve cracked the system. On June 18, 1981, Gjonaj bought 500 tickets with the same combination — 7-8-0-0 — in Michigan’s Daily 4 lottery, winning $2.5 million. It was the first time Gjonaj won big. He went on to win another $30 million before it all went south. But how exactly did Gjonaj achieve this when Michigan lottery draws came from ping pong balls pulled from a machine? In a story reminiscent of one of my all-time favorite pieces of narrative journalism — “Jerry and Marge Go Large” by Jason Fagone — Jeff Maysh profiles Gjonaj, introducing us to his spreadsheets and his system, explaining what motivated him to parlay numerical hunches into millions of Michigan lottery winnings. —KS

3. Our Haunted Apartment in Montreal

Nathan Munn | Popula | October 5, 2022 | 3,266 words

I hated scary stories when I was a kid. Hated urban legends, hated organ music, hated seeing or hearing anything I considered remotely frightening. (This was a very long list that included the “near, far” Sesame Street monsters, Lois Lane dangling from a helicopter in the original Superman, and my father’s acting debut as “The Running Professor” on an early-’80s public-access TV show called Haunted Indiana, in which he was chased through the woods by a malevolent spirit. Yes, really.) That was then, though; somehow, horror has become a mainstay of my genre fiction reading. Which may explain why I come to you now, in this season of all things spooky, bearing Nathan Munn’s presumably true tale of the questionable flat he leased 20 years ago. The piece follows the beats of the greatest hits, but it’s the specifics that make it work — especially the dream that came to Munn on one of his first nights in the apartment. Shudder. The unexplained phenomena come fast and curious, so even with the built-in assurance that Munn is writing this from a safe distance, you’ll find yourself wondering how the hell this building is still standing. Assuming that it is. —PR

4. Tuna

Katherine Rundell | Granta | October 18, 2022 | 1,774 words

I didn’t know that an homage to tuna was exactly what I needed to read today. In Katherine Rundell’s thoughtful essay at Granta — excerpted from her book, The Golden Mole and Other Living Treasures — she regales us with their strength, speed, beauty, and increasing scarcity. Despite how mighty tuna seem, this essay imbued me with a sense of precarity, not simply the increasing pressure on tuna as a species due to our insatiable appetites, but also the tingling uncertainty of life itself. “Atlantic bluefins swim in vast shoals of five hundred and more: to witness it, in all its speed and frothing water, is akin to seeing a migration of stampeding oceanic buffalo … each mating season, they return for the ‘broadcast spawning’: large groups of males and females simultaneously release eggs and sperm into the water in a hopeful cascade and leave them to fare as best they can. The vast majority of the ten million eggs a female produces a year will never be fertilised, but those that are will hatch two days later, barely the size of an eyelash. It’s an unusually precarious beginning for a life that can last forty years, if we, or a very few species of sharks and toothed whales, don’t catch them first.” —KS

5. Inside Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Great Wrexham Gambit

Tom Lamont | GQ | August 17, 2022 | 6,715 words

I once lived very close to Fulham football club. On Saturdays, when there was a home game, the streets would swell with fans, their faces shiny with sweat and blue shirts stretched tight over bellies expanded from an afternoon’s beer intake. They would happily shout chants — never deviating far from the classic “Ful-HAM, Ful-HAM!” The chanting shifted up a notch if they won, but whatever the outcome they seemed delighted to be out supporting their club. It looked fun, and covers the extent of my football knowledge, making it on par with what Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney knew when they decided to purchase Wrexham AFC. Fascinated by, if not fully comprehending, football leagues (where a team can freely move up and down different tiers depending on their performance), this glitzy pair was drawn to the rundown Welsh club, determined to boost it up. Tom Lamont explores the takeover in this lovely piece, conjuring some memorable visuals along the way. (I particularly enjoyed the image of the owner’s lounge, when, despite some valiant improvement efforts, the Hollywood stars arrive to find a broken toilet and beer pumps that are “only cut-out photographs of pumps.”) It’s a feel-good read, with Reynolds and McElhenney making up for their lack of knowledge with a pure enthusiasm that extends beyond the club to the town itself, a place so invested in the team that “it might be lifted, wholesale, by that team’s improving results.” The purchase has also inspired some more creative singing, and a new favorite has a rousing chorus of “Bring on the Deadpool and Rob Mc – El – Henney!“  —CW

Explore our recent Top 5 lists

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

Recommending great reads from Zack Stanton, Bryce Upholt, Charlie Warzel, Emily Stoddard, and Laurence Gonzalez.

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week, we feature stories from Tom Scocca, Giles Harvey, Chris Walker, Krithika Varagur, and N.C. Happe.

The Top 5 Longreads of the Week

This week features pieces from Sabrina Imbler, Natan Last, Lulu Miller and John Megahan, Casey Cep, and David Grimm.