Baby Superstitions – Caul Superstitions
Making Sure a Newborn Baby Will Achieve Success
During the 19th century there was a superstition that to ensure a successful life the newborn baby must always be carried upstairs before downstairs. The midwife would take the baby and carry the child upstairs.
If that was not possible the midwife would step up on a stool while holding the baby. She could alternatively stand up on a chair while holding the baby.
This was to make sure the newborn would be “going up in the world”.
More Baby Superstitions
Sit and watch your baby sleep. If you see a smile on the baby’s face while sleeping it is very lucky.
It may indicate the angles are playing with the baby.
Coral was considered a protective amulet for a baby. A necklace made from coral could protect the infant from the evil eye.
Coral could also help a baby with teething troubles.
Green Malachite is known as a very protective stone for infants. This gemstone was (and still is) fastened to the cradle.
The Malachite is thought to protect the baby from evil and thus ensuring the baby a peaceful sleep.
In old Jewish folklore there was a practice of putting candy under the bed of a new mother. If evil spirits should wander into the room they would be attracted to the sweets under the bed and the baby would be safe.
Take a close look at the second and third toe of your baby. If these toes are close together it is a sure sign the baby will grow up wealthy.
Luck will follow anyone born with an extra toe or finger.
A baby born with open hands will be generous. The baby born with his fingers tightly clenched will hold on to his money and be stingy.
To make sure the baby is blessed with good fortune, the baby’s first gift should be a silver coin.
In Scotland there was an old saying that if a baby was gifted an egg, a piece of bread and a little salt, the baby would always have all his/her basic needs met.
All objects relating to the ladybug is very auspicious for newborns.
Ladybug images on clothes, blankets or toys should increase the baby’s luck.
In East Asia some people still give newborn babies humiliating nicknames. They will not compliment or praise a baby. They insult the baby simply to protect the infant. This is done so the evil spirits don’t get jealous and harm the baby. This practice can also be found in Bulgaria.
We don’t recommend that you go out and insult a newborn Asian or Bulgarian baby as very many don’t believe in this and absolutely don’t agree with this old tradition.
A birthmark on the head is considered extremely luck. It means the baby has been kissed by an angel.
A baby born with a birthmark on her or his face will always be beautiful.
If the baby has a birthmark on his or her leg it is an indication that he or she will be inclined to travel far.
You will know that the baby will become strong if you find a birthmark on one of the arms.
A birthmark that resembles either a cross or a dove is a sign that the baby is blessed.
In New Age groups that believe in reincarnation it is told that birthmarks mark the part of the body which has had an injury in a previous life.
Born with a Caul
On very rare occasions a baby is born with a caul. The face or head is covered with a part of the membrane. The caul is very easily removed.
The caul was considered to be a powerful talisman and was placed in a locked, leather bag or something similar for safekeeping.
In Ancient Rome they believed that carrying a caul in court would help win their case. The superstition caught on in many parts of Europe. In England some lawyers still believed possessing caul was an advantage in the courtroom well into the 19th century.
For hundreds of years it has been a common superstition that any baby born with a caul was blessed with extreme luck. This baby was destined to become successful.
On a side note; Napoleon was born with a caul.
Others believed that infants born with a caul possessed special powers. They were born with a second sight enabling them to confront and win over evil powers. This was especially belied in the Caribbean’s. In Iceland they believed that a baby born with a caul could never be harmed by sorcerers.
In England and the United States there was a strong belief that a person who carried a caul would not drown. Sailors were quite willing to pay good money to secure such a valuable “insurance”.
During the 19th century advertisements for caul for sale could be found in newspapers. They were quite expensive.
Charles Dickens described this phenomenon in his book “David Copperfield” published in 1849.
“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.” David Copperfield, chapter 1: I am born.
Betty Smith wrote the classic and wonderful novel called “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” published in 1943. In this book we learn about a midwife who stole the caul of an infant. The midwife then sold it for $2 to a sailor. The superstition that whoever wore a caul could not drown was obviously still strong in New York.