Caul, born in the caul, caulbearer

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by Chaperito, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Chaperito Member

    Dijon, France
    English, United States
    My question is about human babies being born with a veil, or caul, over their face. It is actually the amniotic sac. What is the translation of the caul or veil itself, as well as the act of being "born in the caul"? In english the baby itself is called a caulbearer. Is there a term for this as well?

    Mi pregunta se trata del fenómeno de un bebé que nace con un "caul", o un velo, que es el saco amniótico que no se rompe durante del nacimiento. Me gustaría saber si este evento tiene nombre, más
    el velo (además de la palabra velo) y como se llama un niño nacido en esta manera . ¿Hay algúnas leyendas interesantes de niños a quien lo pasa?
  2. dimundus New Member

    Santa Barbara, USA
    Argentina Spanish/English
    The first time I ever heard of this happening was in a book called "The Seventh Son" by Orson Scott Card a story about the seventh son of a seventh son who was born in his caul. Any chance you could look up a translation of that book? It has been translated into Spanish, I am sure of that.
    Hope this helps.
  3. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    Hi Chaptiero, like you, I am interested in finding out other names in other languages for caulbearers. I have been researching this subject for several years now, and the only other names that I know of, in English, are as follows: Man/Woman of the Clothe; Lord of the Veil (which applied to both genders); and Lord Veil.
    Sometimes when people address a caulbearer they may refer to the individual as a Caul, as in "Caul, may I ask you a question?"
    In olden times there used to be a group of people called the Benedanti, (literally "Good walkers") who were based on people who bear the caul or veil, which is why they are referred to as caul-bearers.
    It would appear that the phenomenon of the caul or veil was well known of in rural societies around the world, but that much of their traditions have now been lost as so many people move to the cities.
    However, many societies, past and present, still hold caulbearers in high regard, amongst them the Mong or Hmong peoples of China and Laos; as also do the Buddhist sects who follow Lamaist Buddhism, as Dalai Lamas are always Caulbearers.
    The most common misunderstanding of the caul phenomenon relates to the similarity of words relating to the true caul, which is a distinct membrane that masks or covers the face of the child at birth, and the remnant of the amnion or birth-sac, which is also a membrane that holds the amniotic fluids that enclose and protect the child before birth.
    The word "caul" literally means "membrane" or "lining" and, as both the genuine birth caul (or veil) and the amnion are both different forms of membranes or cauls, this often causes confusion when a child is born with afterbirth or amniotic residue on their head or face.
    I would be most interested in learning if you find any other names for caulbearers in other languages or cultures.

  4. teatime Senior Member

    Spain . Spanish
    "born in the caul"
    "Nacido en manto"
    (my father was. It was said he would be lucky but he wasn't)
    Hope it help.
  5. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English

    Hi Teatime,
    Muchos gracias, and thanks very much for that valuable piece of information. I guessed that there must be other names in other languages, and that word manto approximates to a blanket or mantle in English, which describes a covering, though if it says en mantoit may mean that the child was surrounded or enveloped by the amniotic covering, and not the birth veil or caul , which covers the face of the child and must be peeled off to allow the baby to breathe.
    I suspect that a phrase that would relate to being born with a caul would be something like "Nacido con un velo" (please excuse my poor Spanish grammar..:) ).
    Another word I have come across that seems to relate to the theme of the caul or veil is pileus, which seems to be a Latin name for a type of "cap" or headgear, but I found out on my research into the caulbearer phenomenon, that the name Pontius Pilate (Pontius Pilatus) is a most peculiar one, as the name Pontius denotes his family roots in the Pontii tribe, but the cognomen Pilatus has no familial meaning.
    I have discovered that Pilate was known as an augur or seer (a person who can predict or see future events), which can be seen on coins minted during his reign in Judaea, on which you can see his lituus or curved wand/staff, which marked him as a member of a college of the augurs.
    This forum will not allow me to use hyperlinks until I post more than 30 messages, but if you Google Pontius Pilate+coins, and Lituus, you should find links to these subjects.
    The reason that I thought that there appears to be a link between this individual and caulbearers is the connection between the words caul and cap (pileus), as the birth caul is often referred to as the "lucky cap" in English-speaking countries, and caulbearers are reputed to have certain gifts relating to predicting future events.
    I have also found that this name of "lucky cap" equates to the word "gluckshaube" in German, which some German friends of mine had also heard of.
    I also found this reference to "nasceu con la comicia – nasceu com a camisa, para os italianos – ou um gluckshaube, um que nasceu com o gorro da sorte, para os alemães", on a Brazilian site.

    Thanks again for the information, as it has given me more leads to work on.
    Kind regards,
  6. UJOFRA Member

    Venezuela, Spanish
    In Venezuela, and I assume in other regions of Latin America, we call it: "nacer enmantillado(a)".


    El hijo de Mar'ia naci'o enmantillado.

    And there is also a cultural component to it. If you are born in your caul, at least in Latin America, means that you will have luck in your endeavours during most of your life.
  7. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    In Venezuela, and I assume in other regions of Latin America, we call it: "nacer enmantillado(a)".

    Ej: El hijo de Mar'ia naci'o enmantillado.

    And there is also a cultural component to it. If you are born in your caul, at least in Latin America, means that you will have luck in your endeavours during most of your life.

    Thanks for that UJOFRA. I have recently heard that being born with a caul is referred to as "Nacido con uma sarong" in Cuba, though I think this is the equivalent to being born in with the amniotic sac around the child as it is born. The theme of being born "lucky" seems to be a common one in many countries and cultures.
    Thanks for taking the time to reply to the thread.
  8. Chaperito Member

    Dijon, France
    English, United States
    So this is well after the fact, but I am unable to find any actual evidence to support your claim that the true caul is different from the amniotic sac. In fact it is merely a piece of the broken sac over the face of the child alone.
  9. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    Fair enough. I have since seen a true caul, with the ear loops still attached, which you will not find on a piece of placenta. I've also seen first hand what some claimed was a caul but was the birth sac. They were completely different in colour, size and elasticity. The amnion one was far too large to only cover the face of a newborn.

    I also found that Caulbearers are known by the name of Mascoto in certain rural parts of Spain and Portugal, and also by the name of Cailleach in Ireland.
    Purely as a point of ancillary information, I also found references to it in the writings of Victor Hugo, in Les Miserables, where one of the charachters says "To be born with a caul is everything".

  10. Caulbearer

    Caulbearer New Member

    A 'few' more examples are:
    membrana agnina (Latin, lamb's skin),

    membrane agnelette (French, lamb's skin)

    Schafhautlein (German, little lamb's skin);

    galea (Latin, helmet) and Helm and Knabenhelm (German, Dutch, helmet,
    boy's helmet)

    pileus, pileolus (Latin, a close fitting cap like a skull

    calotte (French, skull cap);

    Haube, Haublein, Gliickshaube, Wasserhaube, Wehmutter-hiiublein (German, cap, little cap, lucky cap, water
    cap, midwife's cap)

    silly hood, silly how, sely how, haly how (English,Scottish, lucky or holy cap)

    coiffe, coeffe (French, veil)

    veil (English);

    involucrum (Latin, covering, wrapper)

    Kinderbalglein (German, child's covering)

    supot (Tagalog, bag, paper bag)

    amiculum (Latin, dear friend, cloak)

    sigurkufl (Icelandic, lucky coat or cape)

    Other terms which imaginatively described the caul include pellis secundina, indumentum
    (Latin, second skin, mask), mask (English), and Muttergottestiichlein
    and Kindesnetzlein (German, Virgin's handkerchief, child's little

    The resemblance of the caul to a close-fitting shirt or under-garment is suggested repeatedly: indusium (Latin, shirt), camicia della Madonna (Italian, Virgin's shift), and Hemd, Hemdlein, Westerhemd, and Muttergotteshemdlein (German, shirt, little shirt, vest-like shirt, Virgin's shift."'​

    As Would be expected, literary references to the caul are not uncommon.​
    The Oxford Dictionary gives examples dated as early as 1547.'
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2011
  11. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    That's very interesting Caulbearer. I was wondering why it might be called a membrana agnina (Latin, lamb's skin). Is there some farming or shepherd connection with it? I have found the word caul in several dictionaries, but not the word Caulbearer. Have you found any such reference in any books or dictionaries?

  12. Caulbearer

    Caulbearer New Member


    The following is an example from one of our medical research documents...

    English farmer who
    ascribed his own good health and that of his two sons, then fighting in
    World War I, to the fact that each of them carried the caul of a lamb born in the farmer's flock."' This would seem to be simply an extension of the idea of the protective influence of the human caul. (One recalls that both the human amnion and the caul proper were sometimes described in terms comparing them to lambskin.)"

  13. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    That's a peculiar link indeed. There does seem to be a quite a lot of confusing mixing up of ideas and superstitions about animal amnions and the caul. Do you have a reference for the medical text you sourced that interesting item from? Many thanks for all your wonderful information.

  14. Caulbearer

    Caulbearer New Member


    If all goes well...I have successfully attached an important medical document, which was compiled in 1952-53 by Yale Medical University. Through deep researching...I was able to find this missing jewel...two (2) months ago.

    The 'big' thrill is the fact that it took a Caul Bearer (myself) to locate this buried research document...which strictly pertains to the history of the Caul. There are 107 references, with some dating back to around 200's A.D. I have requested photo copies to all of the restricted references and hope to have all 107 ref's on file within the next three months.

    I noticed right away, that this document seemed to be on a 'neutral' level. There are only 14 total pages including the three (3) pages of references. Don't let the small size disapoint is PACKED with tons of information. 95% of the material I was unaware existed!

    DOWNLOAD - The Social History of the Caul

    Please let me know if you have any problems viewing this document or should you have any questions or concerns.

    Many blessings,

    Jade Lee Wolf
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2011
  15. Arimathean New Member

    UK, English
    That's quite amazing. You must be guided by something special to be able to find such hidden and hard to find knowledge!
    So were you truly were born with a caul? Do you have a photo of what it looks like and could you post a link to it for us all to share, as they seem to be hard to find?

    Kind blessings and kindred good wishes!
  16. Caulbearer

    Caulbearer New Member

    What's the fact that this document and it's contents remained unnoticed since 1953. The logistics involved for putting this document together...must have been very high.

    I agree...preservered cauls are extremely rare these days! I was born in the bible belt interior section of America. Babies born behind the veil...were considered to be of the devil, so in order to announce the delivery of a normal baby...doctors would 'quietly' discard the veil along with the birth-matter waste.

    It's sad...but unless something is day soon, there will be no preserved cauls to refer to.

    Last edited: Jan 29, 2011

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