Links and references to the caul and Caulbearers

The caul as a talisman

  • As a charm for sailors, due to the legend that anyone posessing a caul would not drown. Link

The Caul in Literature

  • David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens: "I was born with a caul, which was advertised for sale, in the newspapers, at the low price of fifteen guineas. Whether sea-going people were short of money about that time, or were short of faith and preferred cork jackets, I don't know; all I know is, that there was but one solitary bidding, and that was from an attorney connected with the bill-broking business, who offered two pounds in cash, and the balance in sherry, but declined to be guaranteed from drowning on any higher bargain. Consequently the advertisement was withdrawn at a dead loss ... and ten years afterwards, the caul was put up in a raffle down in our part of the country, to fifty members at half-a-crown a head, the winner to spend five shillings. I was present myself, and I remember to have felt quite uncomfortable and confused, at a part of myself being disposed of in that way. The caul was won, I recollect, by an old lady with a hand-basket.... It is a fact which will be long remembered as remarkable down there, that she was never drowned, but died triumphantly in bed, at ninety-two." (Charles Dickens, David Copperfield)
  • The Night Battles: Witchcraft and Agrarian Cults in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, Carlo Ginzburg. Translated by Anne and John Tedeschi. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1983 (original edition Giulio Einaudi, 1966).
  • In the play Gypsy, Mama Rose tells Louise (Gypsy Rose Lee): "You were born with a caul. That means you got powers to read palms and tell fortunes - and wonderful things are gonna happen to you."
  • Danny from Stephen King's "The Shining."

References to the caul in various cultures and languages

Names given to either the caul or things believed to be related to the phenomena of the caul or Caulbeaerer.

  • Lucky cap (not the caul, but the remnant of the amnion, or even part of the afterbirth that is mistaken for a caul)
  • Silly hoo
  • Nacidos con uma velo
  • Nacido con uma sarong
  • Nacido en manto or nacer enmantillado(a) (This would appear to indicate being born en-caul)
  • Etre né coiffé (to be born cauled)
  • An cul (the caul)
  • Also in Gaelic/Celtic Music: An Caip Cul-Ard (the High-Caul Cap), Caidhp An Chúil Áird, as in the song "Caip an cul ard" performed by folk musicians in various countries. Link
  • Gluckscaube (lucky cap: see English word for explanation)
  • mit einer Glückshaube geboren werden (to be born with a lucky cap)
  • Benedanti ("The Good Walkers" or, literally, "those who walk well" Link