A membrane that sometimes covers the head of a child at
birth. It was regarded as a preservative against drowning at sea
and was consequently much sought after by seamen. Superstitions
concerning the caul are of some antiquity. In ancient
Rome, Aelius Lampridius wrote about the life of Antonine
Diadumeninus, stating that he was so called from having been
brought into the world with a band of membrane round his
forehead like a diadem, and that he enjoyed a perpetual state
of felicity from this circumstance. Roman midwives offered
cauls for sale in the Forum.
Even as late as the 1870s, British newspapers often carried
advertisements from would-be purchasers of a caul, offering
large sums of money. The caul was also used in a form of divination
called amniomancy.
In the cultures of northern and eastern Europe, the caul,
which marked babies as different, was associated with vampirism.
A child born with a caul was thought to become a vampire
after death. To prevent such a fate, the caul was removed,
dried, ground into fine particles, and fed to the child on its seventh

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