Comprachicos is Unusual Stories and Confirmed Facts

History 2023

Table of contents:

Comprachicos is Unusual Stories and Confirmed Facts
Comprachicos is Unusual Stories and Confirmed Facts

Comprachicos is a complex Spanish neologism literally translated as "baby buyers" and mentioned by Victor Hugo in The Man Who Laughs. This name refers to hypothetically existing groups that allegedly changed the physical appearance of children, inflicting deliberate mutilation on them. The most common methods that were used in this practice included stunting by constricting the torso, muzzling faces to deform them, changing the shape of the eyes, breaking bones and joints. The resulting underdeveloped and crippled human species were doomed to lead a miserable, humiliating, but in some sense commercially profitable existence.

Pony in a mask

The man who laughs

At the center of the French writer's novel is the story of a young aristocrat kidnapped and mutilated by intruders in order to cut him a permanent evil grin. In the book of Victor Hugo, the compracicos are described quite exhaustively. But there is no real evidence of their existence. It's probably a hoax after all. Comprachikos - the very onesthe kidnappers to whom the article is dedicated.

Research the issue

According to a study by John Boynton Kaiser, published in the Journal of the American Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology, Victor Hugo has given us a fairly accurate picture of many salient details of 17th century England. The word "compracikos" is used to describe people who symbolize the savagery and barbaric customs of the past. Much of what today seems unimaginable in its cruelty, for the 17th century could have been an ordinary everyday routine. This is especially true for crime.


It is believed that the most common freaks created by members of the comprachicos gang are artificial dwarfs. There were a lot of them in Europe during the life of the writer. Many dwarfs worked as court jesters. According to the assumptions of some historians, children mutilated by comprachikos (photos have not been preserved) could be found in European cities of the 18-19th century.

Gang members boiled children's eyes, disfigured their mouths, broke bones, perhaps drove them crazy. Theoretically, in addition to circus freaks, they could turn out to be representatives of some extremely unpopular professions - cleaners, executioners, pickpockets, and so on. Due to the demand for dwarfs and other freaks in the royal courts, "manufacturing" them could be quite a lucrative business.

Depressed child

The Art of Making Freaks

According to the authors of the novels, the craft of intruders can be compared to the art of bonsai or Chinese woodcarving. Limiting growthchildren and inflicting serious injuries, they seemed to set the direction of their further development. Some children were brought by criminals to such a state that even their parents could not recognize them. With the help of various chemicals, the criminals managed to change the memory of their victims, causing partial amnesia.

Our days

The term "comprachicos" is a word very rarely used in modern language, except in references or references in urban legends. There is a story that has been around since at least the 1980s about a Japanese bride who vanishes while on her honeymoon in Europe. A few years later, her husband discovers that she was kidnapped, mutilated and forced to work in a freak show.

The word "comprachicos" has been used as a derogatory term applied to individuals and organizations that manipulate the minds and attitudes of children in certain ways in order to permanently distort their beliefs or worldview. Twentieth-century philosopher Ayn Rand, in her article Comprachicos, referred to the educators of her day as "the Comprachicos of the human mind." Her criticism was directed primarily at educational progressives, as well as elementary and secondary school teachers who she believed were using psychologically harmful teaching methods.

Circus of freaks

In popular culture

On Australian Drum and Bass Pendulum's 2010 album Immersion, one of the songs was titled Comprachicos. It sings about criminal manipulation and containment indevelopment.

The 2011 comic Batman & Robin 26 featured a villain whose father disfigured him after reading the notorious novel.

Young Hugo

Some details

Supposedly in Spain in the 14th and 15th centuries there really was an occult or secret society called the Comprachicos, whose mission was to kidnap and mutilate children for the selfish purposes of individuals.

Laughing man

The fact is that both Rand and Ellroy refer to Hugo in their works, but it is difficult to find any historical account of this sect. One can only try to find out what is the truth: was it a figment of the imagination of a French prose writer, a long-existing myth that he used when writing a work, or a real group that left an invisible mark on history.


The Comprachicos are also mentioned in Mike Parker's World's Greatest Freaks, which had a small section on this criminal community. It is likely that Parker also received information directly from the fictional story presented in the novel.

The dark story of the great French novelist awakens a morbid curiosity in people - many would like to know if such a group of hard-hearted "creators of freaks" ever existed or not. But the reader already knows the answer to this question thanks to the facts described in the article, which refer us exclusively to literary works that have nothing to do with real

Typical comprachikos


"Comprachicos" is a corruption of the Spanish word Compraquenos, which supposedly also translates to "child buyers". It is noteworthy that the writer specifically says that the comprapequeños (original Spanish word) did not steal their victims: they bought them from parents who were too poor to care for them, or even picked up abandoned babies.

Victor Hugo

As you research this topic, you may come across some interesting facts about Victor Hugo. To some extent, he was associated with the Freemasons and / or the Illuminati. Although the writer is not listed on Freemason websites as one of the famous members of any lodge, rumors of his involvement in secret societies persist.

Hugo was also an occultist and allegedly drew much inspiration (besides the tale of beauty and the beast) for his novel from a series of magical séances he personally participated in while living on the Jersey coast in England. This fact is definitely food for thought.

In addition, the writer was inspired by the Chinese art of making dwarfs. According to apocryphal legends, in China there was a custom that consisted of placing a child in a special vase. The kid grew up inside this vase, his body was deformed, completely repeating its shape. When the child reached a certain age, the vase was broken, and the freak resulting from this sadistic operation was used to entertain the Chinese nobility. Also exists"mass production" of crippled children in India, who are then used as beggars.


Although this grouping was most likely invented by the writer, the craft of comprachikos inspires horror and makes you think about the real analogues of this organization. Children abducted by comprachicos became real cripples, and if such a community existed, numerous witnesses would help to expose it. Or at least give us full details about him.

Besides, the legend of inhuman criminals excites the minds of our contemporaries. Many see them as an archetype of invisible conspirators who secretly control the fate of the world. They decide in advance which of the children will live and which will die. Who will spend a happy childhood, and who is destined to lurk in gloomy and cold casemates, waiting until some perverted aristocrat acquires them.

The photo of comprachicos does not exist, but very often they are depicted as mysterious masked people. Masks emphasize the fact of the unknown and mystery. Will the world know of their existence for sure?

Popular topic