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==Caul vs. Amniotic Sac== I think "remnants" is the key word.

This article contradicts itself. At the bottom it says the caul is also called The Veil but then it says "Not to be confused with the remnants of the amnion or birth sac" which is exactly the definition previously given for caul.

So does the folk tradition hold that these are two different things? I'm confused.

I came to the same conclusion as the above unsigned comment, and I added the "contradict" template. I entered "amnion" in the Wikipedia search field and it redirected to "amniotic sac", exactly what the caul is supposedly made of. Art LaPella 03:10, 24 September 2005 (UTC)

"Not to be confused..." is the contradictory sentence that should be removed; the rest of that paragraph is redundant. I removed both to make the article self-consistent. B.Wind 10:04, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

The article still contradicts itself: "A caul ... is a thin, filmy membrane, the remnants of the amniotic sac," in the first paragraph, and "A distinction needs to be made in relation to the birth caul and the adhesion of the birth (amniotic) sac to the face or head of a child at birth. The birth caul, more usually just called a caul, is a complete membrane covering the face of the child. The amniotic sac, or amnion, is another completely different kind of membrane" later. For what it's worth, the second description is the understanding I always had while growing up, but I've haven't any medical references for it. As for folklore, as a caulbearer myself I was told it meant I would be a werewolf. Again for what it's worth, though -- the only reference is my own memory, and I don't even remember whether it was my grandmother herself who said it or my mom who said it was what my grandmother said! Then again, for "folklore", is there a better reference than the folk?--Bedawyn 16:56, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Okay, I've added the Expert tag in the hope that someone who actually knows whereof they speak can clarify this with references. My understanding -- from years of reading off and on about cauls but with no obstetric training -- is that many babies are born "en caul", with remnants of the amniotic sac that can be wiped off. A few babies are born "with a caul", a membrane that covers the face and has folklore attached to it. I don't know whether this is medically part as the amniotic sac or not, but what makes it special in folklore is not its physiological origin but its position as an unruptured veil, and the term "caul" in common usage (not medical terminology) refers only to the facial veil. It seems sensible to me that modern Western doctors would make no distinction between a veil and (other) amniotic remnants, while folklore makes a very large distinction. But as we all know, the world is rarely sensible, so I'd very much appreciate it if someone with obstetric training could let us know whether there is in fact a difference between the two types of membrane (regardless of whether Western medicine considers the difference important or not).

On a related note, I believe the text "The birth caul cannot be wiped off the child's face but must be carefully peeled off" is also referring to folklore rather than medical fact, but have no source for that. That is, I don't know whether a true caul can be wiped off or not, but I know folklore says it shouldn't be just wiped off, but should be carefully removed and preserved.--Bedawyn 23:20, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

Famous People[edit]

Are there any famous people who were known or rumored to be born with a Caul?

==I was born with a caul but I am not famous...or at least not yet!

According to Wikipedia, British World War 2 entertainer George Formby was born with a caul that made him temporarily blind. Hardly harmless? Albert Einstein

 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:51, 16 July 2013 (UTC) 


I merged the caulbearer article and redirected it here because I don't think a separate article is necessary. Also, this article already discussed the legends. I just put the material in a new section rather than fully integrating it because the information should be verified by a reliable source. -- Kjkolb 05:48, 19 April 2006 (UTC)


For lack of any better sources, I've added the public-domain Dickens quote and a couple of web links, one for medicine and one for folklore. Both are brief, but I suppose better than nothing. For the record, I do not consider the site a reputable source, as it's promoting a particular ideology and gives no other primary or secondary cites for its information on cauls (although the information itself either agrees with or does not contradict what I always thought of as common knowledge). On the other hand, as a caulbearer myself, I found the site's existence mildly entertaining, so perhaps it has its value as a web link. It just makes me twitchy to see it as the only link and the only thing on the page remotely resembling a source. (I also moved the unsigned Christy Moore bit down here to keep the amnion vs. caul discussion clearer.)--Bedawyn 23:20, 29 April 2006 (UTC)

'Caul' shows up in the song 'sixteen fishermen raving' on the recent Christy Moore album: 'sixteen fishermen raving, each carrying his own caul, they believe it will keep death away as they face the angry squall'

I do not understand what is meant by the line "In a northern light, a baby is born with a caul."

Another literary reference: In "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn" by Betty Smith, the main character, Francie Nolan, was born with a caul.

Robert Graves rewrote the David Copperfield passage in The Real David Copperfield as: I was not only born on a Friday, I was born with a caul. A caul, as everyone in Suffolk knows, is a sure charm against drowning. It was advertised in the local newspaper for fifteen guineas, but the price was too high, and the best bid was two pounds in cash and the balance in sherry. My mother did not accept this, not wanting the sherry—there was still all my father's to dispose of. So the caul lay about the house until, when I was about eight years old, it was raffled for charity at half a crown a ticket and won by an old lady. She had never been in a ship or boat all her life, and thereafter remained on dry land until she died, triumphantly in bed, at the age of ninety-two. I was present at the raffle and felt confused and uncomfortable at a part of myself being sold in so very public a manner. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:33, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

the birth caul[edit]

does anyone have info on the history of the birth caul,i have a friend who claims to have a birth caul,said to be lucky charm for sailors.any idea what theyre worth?

From what I've heard of it from grandparents and other older relatives the caul should never be sold, damaged or given away, but rather kept by or for the person who was born with it. You might find that the caul is sometimes called the birth veil.


In August someone added the quotation marks to the Dickens quote -- is that standard Wikipedia style? It's not proper formatting in general -- quoted text should be given quotation marks or block-indented, but not both. If I'd seen Wikipedia recommend both, I'm sure I'd have complained before and remembered it, but I haven't time to hunt up the style pages now. If no one else fixes it sooner, at least this note will remind me to look it up when I have the time later. On the other hand, my copyeditor's heart is screaming at leaving it as is, especially given how disproportionately huge the curly quotes are, so I'll go ahead and fix it now. If you have time to look up the style guides and they recommend using both, feel free to revert and I'll take it up with the style folks when I have time.--Bedawyn 00:26, 2 November 2006 (UTC)

what does it mean in the bible[edit]

what does it mean in the bible Leviticus 3:4 and the caul above the liver,? —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 14:36, 19 March 2007 (UTC).

  • Sounds like they are talking about the top of the peritoneum. (talk) 10:17, 30 December 2010 (UTC)

Split the headgear section off[edit]

I was mystified as to what this had to do with fashion until I saw the short section at the bottom. I really think that should be a separate article. Any arguments as to why it should stay? Daniel Case 20:49, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

There being none in two weeks, it goes. Daniel Case 13:52, 3 May 2007 (UTC)

Legend v. Myth[edit]

To my mind, all references to 'legend' are erroneous and ought to read 'myth'. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:27, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

Uncited trivia[edit]

It seems obvious to me that everything after the Dickens quote in the Legend section has to be removed, being unsubstantiated for a very long time. The same applies to the entire section Notable people and fictional characters "born in the caul". What do others say? Maybe we could lodge some of it in the Talk page to allow devotees a further period to find references. Aeronian (talk) 05:55, 20 June 2009 (UTC)

positive myths and physiological basis, expert attention[edit]

I think the paragraph starting with "The positive myths associated with being born in the caul have a physiological basis ..." is the last remaining medicinically dubious part of this article. After that the expert attention template should go. Tomdo08 (talk) 05:12, 2 August 2009 (UTC)

The experts have been here, at least for the original problems. Therefor I will remove the expert attention template. -- Tomdo08 (talk) 23:31, 5 September 2010 (UTC)

Caul Bearers United: edit war[edit]

Because this isn't about obstetrics, I moved it out of the "Obstetrics" section and into "Superstition", and changed the wording:

I don't think I removed any information by shortening it, but reasonable people may disagree. The author of the paragraph put it back exactly as before.

Why does the existence of "documented lore" (whatever that means) call for a citation (to "Caul Bearers United", not my first choice for a neutral source), while the claim of magic powers does not? —Tamfang (talk) 20:05, 2 March 2011 (UTC)


Point well taken, Tamfang, and I appreciate your input. The Caul page is a work in progress. So, what I did was to remove the "Superstition" category which shouldn't actually be a category on this page. In its stead, I added in "History and Indications", "Traditions", and "Literary/Arts References" for clarity.

I also changed "documented lore" to "documented history", and with the link to the Caul Bearers United "Authentic Caul History" page (not just the site) I added in the title and the author of said documented history. CBU is the only website to contain this information.

I just wanted to add MHO here, which is that the very nature of Wikipedia is to educate individuals seeking answers to their topic questions. If a person is going to edit the educational material on any page of Wikipedia, they themselves should be intimately familiar with the topic in question. They also should ultimately read/research the links provided to understand where they are being guided to and why as they edit. Caul bearers do not claim to have "magic powers" as you have indicated. And, you may be right that there ought to be a reference page for the fact that many will attest to possessing clairvoyance and other "supernatural" abilities. And I will work on this. (I, of course, didn't invent the word "supernatural", nor do I like the word -- which is why I put it in quotations. But our culture and language force this type of wording for those of the scientific mind, which is by no means, everybody. To my knowledge, there is no respectable word with the same meaning in the English language.)

I appreciate your input, and by no means consider this an "edit war." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:50, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

I guess I'm not enough of an expert to understand the distinction between "clairvoyance and other types of 'supernatural' abilities" and "magic powers".
I'm puzzled by this use of the word Indications, which in a medical context usually means the symptoms for which a given treatment is appropriate; it doesn't obviously go along with History.
To attest is to be a neutral witness (the root ultimately means 'third party'). One can't attest to one's own claim. —Tamfang (talk) 22:22, 2 March 2011 (UTC)
I forgot that I've most often seen the word attest in historical linguistics: an usage is attested if a clear example exists "in the wild". —Tamfang (talk) 05:46, 3 March 2011 (UTC)


"Indications" in this instance is not used in the medical context. It is used in the natural context, meaning "characteristics" or "traits", which fits perfectly with "History." — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shannon Lee Wolf (talkcontribs) 23:26, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

In a non-medical context, I'd read indications as a synonym of signs (in the sense of evidence), not characteristics. Either way, how does it fit better with "History" than with the medical description? —Tamfang (talk) 05:46, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

But...I see you went ahead with what you wanted to do, anyway. I'm not playing elementary school games with you. Have fun by yourself. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shannon Lee Wolf (talkcontribs) 23:39, 2 March 2011 (UTC)

Pot, kettle. —Tamfang (talk) 05:46, 3 March 2011 (UTC)


Haha, touché! I actually reviewed your changes with fresh eyes (and a better mood) and I found them to be perfectly brilliant. Despite our pov dichotomy, we actually make a pretty good team, and I'm not afraid to say it. I happily also found a word, new to me, to replace "supernatural". In it's place, I added "preternatural" with a wiki link to the word. Couldn't be more perfect. =)

It no longer matters, but just for clarity, from

"Concept Thesaurus Concept: Indication. Category: 1. Natural Means Synonyms: -nouns indication; symbolism, symbolization; semiology, semiotics, semeiology, semeiotics; Zeitgeist., [means of recognition] lineament, feature, trait, characteristic, diagnostic; divining rod; cloven hoof; footfall., sign, symbol; index, indice, indicator; point, pointer; exponent, note, token, symptom; dollar mark., type, figure, emblem, cipher, device; representation; epigraph, motto, posy., gesture, gesticulation; pantomime; wink, glance, leer; nod, shrug, beck; touch, nudge;..........." (list would fill the page, but you get the idea)

My thinking behind putting it together with "History" was that the history of the caul is in fact, very much inclusive of caul bearer characteristics. This being said, much of the history also includes scads of lore, which, in those times, were considered indications or characteristics of those born with the caul. So, there is a bit of a blending there, but with some distinctions. In today's world, which is the only one I can personally relate to, only portions of such lore apply to reality. I am a caul bearer myself, and know many others, and we can all attest to the fact that we share many preternatural traits. So, the information that I have gathered comes from personal experience, combined with the personal experiences of many others -- some of which agrees with portions of the lore, but most do not. For me...this points to historical value rather than medieval comparison.

However, at this juncture, it matters not. I am pleased with the set-up and feel it needs no further tweaking. You may disagree, and it's fine. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Shannon Lee Wolf (talkcontribs) 16:33, 3 March 2011 (UTC)

Addition to Literature[edit]

Orson Scott Card's "Tales of Alvin Maker Series" travels a thread from the first of I believe six books, "Seventh Son", whereby the main character is born with a caul that a little girl present at his birth must save, and throughout their lives, use its properties to guide the pathways of his life away from millions of paths leading to death and down paths of significant fulfillment. Thistledowne (talk) 17:43, 25 April 2011 (UTC)


In the film the main character is named harry caul and can be seen wearing a transparent raincoat, most probably symbolizing a caul. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:45, 28 April 2012 (UTC)