If a pregnant woman meets a hare, the baby will have a hare-lip or cleft palate. The fear inspired by such an encounter was heightened by the idea that the hare might not be the innocent animal it seemed, but instead a witch in that form.
Pregnant women should not go out during an eclipse, if they do, they may give birth to a blind baby or one with a cleft lip.
In ancient times, the cleft lip and palate, were evidence of the presence of an evil spirit in the affected child. The infants were removed from the tribe or cultural unit and left to die in the surrounding wilderness. In Sparta, the unfortunate newborns were abandoned on Mount Tagete, while in Rome they was drowned in the Tiber River or thrown off the Tarpeian rock. The philosopher Plato, justified this practice in one of his dialogues in the Republic, as a means of removing evil omens and preserving the soundness of the race.
In the ancient Mediterranean civilizations these children were said to possess supernatural powers.