Myths and Legends

Does a Full Moon Really Make People Crazy?

Full Moon by daniel_alexan80, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic LicensePhoto by  daniel_alexan80

We’ve all seen those horror films where the werewolves come out during a full moon. They say a werewolf is affected by the moon in such a way it causes them to morph into a half-man, half-wolf type creature. But does a full moon really make people crazy?

We’re all well aware that the moon’s cycle may affect our behavior. Now I’m not saying that people really change into werewolves, but these cycles have been known to alter people’s state of mind to different degrees. In fact words like lunacy and lunatic are derived from Luna, the Roman goddess of the moon.

It’s been said that the moon has great influence on all diseases of the brain, and the evidence to support this continues to build. In fact emergency rooms are always busier during a full moon, and doctors will tell you there are more childbirths during this time as well. Schoolchildren will become more unruly and the rate of violent crimes also may go on the rise.

Studies on the Moon and Human Behavior

A Finnish research project in 2000 concluded more people were likely to commit suicide during a new moon. Also a 2007 study, by the Brighton, England police force, found evidence to support an increase in street violence during full moons as well. Although there is plenty of evidence to support this, many people still view this theory as a myth. I find it hard to dispute the evidence that has been collected, but skeptics are hard to convince.

Due to there being no meaningful correlation between the phases of the moon and human behaviors, many people still find discrepancies in this theory. Firstly, any statistics presented have always produced random results. By looking at a set of statistics, one would normally see a pattern forming. But whether or not the pattern is repeated and significant remains unseen. Even though several studies have shown behavioral changes during different stages of the moon’s cycle, there are still many that suggest no change in behavior at all.

In December, 2000 the British Medical Journal published two studies that involved the amount of dog bites that had occurred during a full moon. One studies results had shown an increase in bites, while the other study showed a decrease. When these results were combined, they pretty much cancelled each other out. So essentially nothing could be proven by these studies.

Thirty-seven separate studies were performed by the University of Saskatchewan that looked at the moon’s effect on different aspects of human behavior. Overall, they reported findings based on small samples. These results either contradicted one another or produced no conclusive evidence to support any lunar effects were taking place.

The Flaws Found in these Studies

Many of these studies become victim to human error as well. Seeing how statistics are sometimes very complicated, there’s always a chance someone will miscalculate the data. There was another set of 23 combined studies that actually claimed to have supporting evidence to show the correlation between the moon’s cycle and human craziness. But nearly half of those studies contained statistical errors due to human miscalculations. So in conclusion to all these studies, it is with great certainty the moon has no effect on human behavior, and any study that says otherwise does so because of a flaw in calculation.

Another major conflict in these results is the media. The media never seems to report incidents that conclude the moon was not at fault. But they are anxious to report any story that confirms the “crazy moon” theory. Of course it would be this way, mainly because no one wants to hear a boring news story. It makes everything much more exciting to report the moon having a drastic effect on the homicide rates.

One theory says that emergency rooms will fill up during full moons. Skeptics rationalize this by suggesting people remember what is expected. In other words, someone working in the emergency room may hear stories of how it gets busy during a full moon. So when there is in fact a full moon, they are more likely to remember how busy it was on those nights then they would on any other night. Since there isn’t anything to blame for the busy nights when there isn’t a full moon, you’re a lot less likely to remember those nights.

Of course it’s never been clear as to how the “lunar effect” would effect human behavior. But those that do believe, always seem to mention the tides. They will argue that 80% of the earth’s surface is water, so we must be affected by the moon’s gravity. But there are a few problems with this theory. Even though a moon is more visible when it’s full, this doesn’t mean it’s gravitational pull is any greater. A new moon will be just as close to the Earth as a full one would be, so it’s pull on gravity shouldn’t be effected. Scientists will also argue that the moon’s effect on the ocean’s tide is quite small. Some say that if a mosquito were to land on your arm, it would exert more gravitational force on you than the moon would!

Personally, I tend to believe the moon does have an effect on human behavior. I’ve seen it with my own two eyes, or did I? Maybe this was because I expected it and created the madness with the Powers of the Mind? Could it be the person’s acting oddly did it only because they heard the full moon had that effect?

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27 thoughts on “Does a Full Moon Really Make People Crazy?
  1. I believe a lot of people are complete nutcases when there’s a full moon… I work in a taxi despatch office and notice that I get MORE people not knowing their address, not knowing what number they’ve just rung, leaving their phones in taxis, being genuinely argumentative or just being plainly idiotic. As soon as I receive two or three calls in a row of the same ‘weirdos’ I check with my colleagues if there’s a full moon out that night and inevitably it is!!

    1. Wow very interesting Nyri. Thanks a bunch for sharing that with us. I bet you do get a lot of weirdos especially in the late hours. What part of the world do you taxi in? My first guess would be New York, no offense to people that live there of course 🙂

  2. ive heard that there is this bird that goes crazy by full moon tough i dont know if its true

    1. This is probably true. The phases of the moon have an effect on most all living organisms. I’ll have to do some research on this to see if I can come up with which bird you may be talking about. Thanks for the inspiration!

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