Monday, December 21, 2009

fetal fashion

Christina of Sweden (b. 1626) was born with a "victory-shirt" -- what Scandinavians call a more or less intact fetal membrane clinging to the newborn baby. A victory-shirt was always regarded as a lucky omen & also signaled "extra protection" from the gods.

"The cap of victory was an omen of good luck for the child being born with it. It was a sign the child would become something useful."
--Scandinavian Folk Belief and Legend, Reimund Kvideland, Henning K. Sehmsdorf

"In Vaever, Musse, there lived a man named Ole Hansen. His oldest son was born with a shirt of victory. If he walked three times around a burning house, the fire would not spread to another building. Nor could anyone shoot him, as long as he carried his shirt of victory in his pocket."
-- Collected by E.T. Kristensen from Jorgen Mortensen in Musse parish, Lolland (Denmark).

'Glass rolling-pin, painted and dated 1855; said to have contained a child's caul as a sailor's charm, Sunderland'

"One of the most powerful personal charms was a caul, the fetal membrane that in some cases covered the face or head of a newborn infant. To carry a caul protected its bearer from drowning, and accoring to belief, no ship with one on board could sink. Being born with one not only protected a person from drowning but also gave hhim supernatural clairvoyance and allowed him to see supernatural sights, such as ghosts and spirits, hidden from ordinary eyes."
--Melville's Folk Roots, Kevin J. Haynes

"The correct name for those who are born with a Caul is a Caulbearer. Such people are often referred to as being born behind The Veil."

A riddle:
What is worn of necessity, and then is necessarily worn,
hinders sight, but will allow to see?


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shawn said...

a welding mask!