Caul is a latin word meaning ‘helmeted head’. It is actually a piece of membrane that covers a new born baby’s head and face. This condition is rare, 1 out of 80,000 babies take birth with the caul. This is harmless and the membrane is removed by the doctor at the time of delivery. There are usually two types of caul membranes and four ways in which these cauls appear. If the membrane is thick it is easily removed from the baby’s skin ,but if it is thick then it is relatively a difficult task to do so. However, both cause no harm to the baby. Sometimes mothers get scared when they see their baby for the first time and notice the membrane, not knowing what actually it is they start panicking instead of enjoying the moment of having a newborn baby. They do not know yet that veiled birth is not harmful for your baby and can be easily removed.
The birth caul or veil is a full face mask which sometimes covers the face of the child at birth. These births are rare and hold special significance for the child. There are many myths and stories made out of caul births.
Caul birth myths on the internet say that people who take birth with a caul have the ability to find underground water supplies. They know when the weather patterns will change and can also predicts when fish supplies will become plentiful. Talking on a really practical basis, there is not connection between being a caul bearer and predicting things. Also, there is no scientific proof for the same.
In many cultures the births with caul were considered to be ‘Kings by Right’ due to the predictive nature of their birth and their leadership abilities. This is the reason why Buddhist groups seek out caul bearers to be brought up to become Dalai Lamas.
In medieval Britain, the birth of a caul bearer could apparently be predicted in advance by certain wise folk and their arrival was generally seen as a good omen. The child was considered blessed, destined for greatness. The en caul baby birth is not to be confused with the caul birth which occurs when the infant is born inside the entire amniotic sac. Thus, there is a key difference between a caul baby birth and an en caul one. Normally it is considered to be a piece of membrane which goes on to cover the face along with the head of the newborn baby. It is a rare occurrence and if figures are an indicator it has gone on to occur 1 in 1,80,000 babies.
There are many books in which caul baby births are mentioned. In the legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak, Thyl was born with a caul. In books like ‘A Tree grows in Brooklyn’. ‘The Devil with the three Golden Hairs’, The Shipping news and Oscar and Lucinda there is a vivid description of the caul and various myths associated with it.