Recap

08.30.14

The Best of the Beast, Aug 25-31: High Schools, Houdini and Hip-Hop Jihadists

The year’s best high schools in America, ghost hotels in the Catskills, and sexual slavery in an ISIS prison. Here’s our best work from this week.

Top High Schools of 2014

We used six indicators culled from school surveys to compare public high schools in the U.S., with graduation and college acceptance rates weighed most heavily. Other criteria included: college-level courses and exams, percentage of students with free or reduced lunch, as well as SAT and ACT scores—another mark of how well a school prepares students for college. The full results are below. School entries with icons indicate the school ranked in the top 100 of that category.

The Silent Shame of HPV
By Emily Shire


HPV is the most common STD in America, but we still aren’t talking about it. Part of it is the shame associated with the virus, and part of it is the lack of education.

Get a Piece of Houdini Before He Disappears
By Nina Strochlic


A death-defying magical box. Handcuffs. A scrapbook kept by the magician himself. Eighty-eight years after Harry Houdini’s death, his mystery and legend persist…and are now for sale.

The Ghost Hotels of the Catskills
By Bandon Presser


From Dirty Dancing to plain dirty: Sullivan County—100 miles from New York City—once had more than 500 resorts. Today, all that remains of these Jewish holiday centers is a constellation of derelict buildings.

ISIS, Hip-Hop Jihadists and the Man Who Killed James Foley
By Christopher Dickey


Whoever killed James Foley likely thinks he’s serving a noble cause. But it’s not his God, it’s his ego that tells him so.

Rape and Sexual Slavery Inside an ISIS Prison
By Ford Sypher

Held by the terror group, women and girls as young as 14 who are not sold as wives are subjected to rape and torture. One woman is trying to buy their freedom—but time is running out.

A Shooting on a Tribal Land Uncovers Feds Running Wild
By Caitlin Dickson


Inside the Tohono O’odham Native American Nation in southern Arizona, Border Patrol agents wield deadly force on unarmed Americans with near-impunity.