Being born with a veil is often a subject of mystery and intrigue. So what exactly does it mean? A veiled birth occurs when a child is born and has a portion of the birth membrane remaining around its head and face. Also known as a “caul,” this strange and rare occurrence appears in only 1 out of every 80,000 births!

Enter the Caulbearer

As you can imagine, being born with a veil is an extraordinary event. Some cultures refer to it as being born “behind the veil” as well. In many cases the membrane does actually resemble a sheer veil! However, the official term is a caul (or cowl), which comes from the Latin term for head and helmet. Those born with a caul are traditionally referred to as “caulbearers.” Sounds both ominous and amazing, doesn’t it? Either way, a child born with a veil is certainly something out of the ordinary.

Those born with a caul are traditionally referred to as “caulbearers.” Sounds both ominous and amazing, doesn’t it?

Fables, Folklore and More

A newborn with a caul was (and still is) thought to have special talents and amazing powers, and is therefore held in high esteem among many cultures throughout history.

Caulbearers often have psychic and other supernatural abilities such as seeing ghosts and foretelling the future. Many can predict weather patterns and crop yields. They also make excellent dowsers and hands on healers. In some cultures, Caulbearers were considered “kings by right,” because of their leadership and judgment abilities. In fact, this is one of the reasons Buddhist groups often seek out Caulbearers when choosing the next Dalai Lama.

Babies born with a caul are also considered to be extremely lucky. During medieval times, caul births were seen as good omens. In fact, the caul was often preserved as a good luck charm. Women used to sell them to sailors for huge sums of money, since they were believed to protect one from drowning.

Even in literature, caulbearers are mentioned. Charles Dickens’s book David Copperfield and Betty Smith’s novel A Tree Grows in Brooklyn each contain characters born with veils.

Finally, there are some famous Caulbearers to mention: Albert Einstein, Napoleon, Alexander the Great, and Haven Garner (actress Jessica Alba’s daughter).

Perhaps there really is something to the magical qualities associated with caulbearers. Apparently being born with a veil gives them the gift of seeing beyond the veil in many ways!