Orphan’s Story

Horror Books

 Date of Discovery

This manuscript was originally written between 1608 and 1615 by Martín de León y Cárdenas, a Spanish Augustinian traveler. Throughout history, multiple people have tried to have the manuscript printed but ultimately did not have success until recently.


Orphan’s Story or Historia del Huérfano

Physical Description

The first draft was a 328-page manuscript slightly yellowed, slightly worn and aged, and missing a few pages. It is hand-written in a decorative style reflective of the Golden or Imperial age.  The new age print takes on a more modern bound look, featuring artwork from the original manuscript on the front, yet a rather plain book front past that.


The original manuscript was dated back to the Golden Age of Spain, around the 1600s

Mythology & Lore

This story was about a Granada orphan who traveled to the Spanish empire in the Americas to seek his fortune. Along the way, the protagonist spends time in the high society of imperial Peru, the slave-filled mines of Bolivia, as well as witnessing Sir Francis Drake’s assault on Puerto Rico in 1595.

It was first set to appear in 1621 under the pen name of Andrés de León but never made it to the press due to the presidential atmosphere at the time in Sicily. The manuscript then sat in the Hispanic Society of America until 1965 when a Spanish academic, Belinda Palacios, rediscovered it. Palacios learned many attempts to publish The Orphan’s Story had happened, giving rise to rumors that malevolent energy lurked among the almost 400 pages causing the people working on it to die. In an interview with The Guardian, Ms. Palacios commented on the reported deaths “One from a strange disease, one in a car accident and another of something else.” Palacios also heard from other Professors she was working with to publish the book, one specialized in colonial letters from the Andean regions and Mexico, who was named Raquel Chang-Rodriguez. Chang-Rodriguez’s letters describe how Antonio Rodriguez Monino and William C. Bryant both died before finishing their editions of the book and is why the manuscript is believed to be cursed or bewitched.

Modern Pop-Culture References

Books & Literature

Is there anything we missed about The Orphan Story? Let us know in the comments section below!


Join "The Horror List" for Weekly Horror in your inbox

Join The Horror List