You may heard the saying that when there is a full moon the “crazies come out.” This phrase has almost become cliché and it has been thrown around so much in our spoken language that its real meaning may be lost. Have you ever noticed that people act differently when the brightness of this celestial body shines down on them? Do you feel any of its effects?
Many of us definitely think this is true. And so do I. But then I did some research on the subject, thinking there would certainly be a plethora of science to back up this belief. Funny thing – there isn’t.
Science’s Take on “Luna”cy
Study after study has been performed by dozens of scientists that declare the full moon has no effect on human behavior or psychology. In fact, no stage of the the moon – albeit half, quarter, new moon or even that tiny sliver in the night sky – has any effect on us.
“The sun’s light, which is supposed to be responsible for circadian rhythms, is about 5 x 10⁵ times as intense as the moon when it is full; even a 100-watt lightbulb provides 70 times as much luminance as a full moon. Given the fact that individuals spend between 75% and 90% of their time inside settings, which are usually lighted, it is hard to believe that their behavior would be affected by a source whose luminance is one fourth that of a candle.”¹
The sun and moon cycles, however, do have an impact on humans and animals in general. These “effects” are interwoven into the seasonal and circadian rhythms of life. They are what make us eat more in the winter and fall asleep with the sunset while camping. (It is so interesting to note that my children all go to sleep shortly after sunset out in nature when, at home, they will stay up late.)
Of all the biological functions that might be affected by the full moon, our mysterious and not yet fully understood hormones would be at the top of the list. We should all be familiar with the fact that humans are controlled by these “chemical substance[s] produced in the body that control and regulate the activity of certain cells or organs…. Hormones are essential for every activity of life, including the processes of digestion, metabolism, growth, reproduction, and mood control. Many hormones, such as neurotransmitters, are active in more than one physical process.”²
In the layperson’s world these brain and body chemicals help us to control or not control our moods and temperament. Imbalances of these substances will inevitably create a disruption in our behavior. But here in this article we are asking the question if the full moon has any affect. Numerous studies have been conducted and some confirm, yes, it does. Yet other studies show that, no, it does not. What is interesting, though, is that we do know that electromagnetic fields CAN alter our brain chemistry. These are the warnings given by paranormal investigators when they study the activity on a site. One of the first things for debunking spirit activity is to check EMF levels. Many times in the basements of homes there will be wiring that emits high levels of electromagnetic fields and these can be the reason behind supposed ghost activity. These more intense EMFs can create nausea, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, and behavior changes.
But what about low-level EMFs like the ones emitted by a full moon? Is it possible that smaller exposure amounts over an extended period of time might have the same effect?
Electromagnetic Fields and Animal Behavior
Water is a great conductor of both electric and magnetic fields. Changes in the ocean’s currents has a direct affect on the Earth’s electromagnetic fields and transversely, the Earth’s EMFs has an effect on ocean currents. Such a unique relationship might also give rise to the question:
Since the human body consists mostly of water, wouldn’t electromagnetic fields have a similar impact on us just as it does with the Earth’s oceans?
Add in the fact that salt plays an important role in this equation. “While fresh water has a very low conductivity, a salt concentration of about 35 grams per liter turns the oceans into good conductors.”³ The sodium chloride concentrations in the human body do vary based on the individual, but the reality is that blood plasma is composed mostly of salty water. Are we then simply good conductors for electromagnetic energy?
So what about those low-level EMFs?
Scientists have turned to studying the rat to see how these fields affect animals. In an article published in Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine the results of one study shows:
“Naturally, the presence of electromagnetic waves in our living environment affects all components of organisms, particularly humans and animals, as the large part of their body consists of water…. the result of this study demonstrated that exposure to ELF-EMF can alter the normal condition of animals and may represent a harmful impact on behavior.”⁴
There seems to be at least a small thread of evidence that suggests that low-level EMFs do have an impact on animal behavior. The one constant that I found in every article that either supported this claim or did not, was that further research was needed to fully make any kind of statement. This does leave open the possibility that perhaps the moon’s low-level EMFs might have an impact on human behavior. The results are still inconclusive.
So far it seems that in all probability that lunacy is not created by the energy of the moon. In another study done on rats it has been found that low-level electromagnetic fields do have marginal effects on these animals, primarily in the realm of anorexia. Fields in the 1 Hertz range stresses their brain chemistry and causes the symptoms of anorexia. Boost that same EMF to 5 Hertz and the brain triggers a defense mechanism that counteracts these same symptoms, thus reversing the anorexia. This said, the moon’s EMF levels would have to fall fairly close to the 1 Hertz level to create a behavioral disruption, assuming the human brain acts similar to a rat’s. In reality, its levels actually fall far below this number. The bottom line with the moon is that it has a very weak electromagnetic field around it because it does not have a moving molten core like the Earth.
In a nutshell, people do not turn into werewolves, crimes are committed with the same frequency on full moons, and psychiatric hospitals do not suddenly come alive as if it’s the zombie apocalypse.
So why would this legend hold such merit through history?
The power of the mind is a phenomenon that we are continuously exploring and understanding on a deeper level. Your perception of yourself and the world around you shapes what you think about and how you go about creating thought. In some sense, you create your own reality.
Take social media, for example. How many folks do you know that live their lives out on Facebook? They will post things about themselves which the people who actually know them can verify that what they are posting about themselves isn’t true. Perhaps the belief that a full moon bringing out erratic behavior in people is a self-created reality. The mere anticipation that a full moon can create legendary disruptions like werewolf transformations might be considered a form a mass hysteria. When groups of people agree upon a belief, for them it becomes a reality.
Sensory Processing Disorder
Another food for thought with full moons, and one I can relate with, is the fact that certain people have sensory issues.
“Sensory processing disorder is a condition in which the brain has trouble receiving and responding to information that comes in through the senses…. Some people with sensory processing disorder are oversensitive to things in their environment. Common sounds may be painful or overwhelming. The light touch of a shirt may chafe the skin.”⁵
People who have this disorder, which does fall into the autism spectrum, may or may not realize that their brain has difficulty processing certain senses like sound, textures, and… sunlight. Each person, as well, experiences this disorder differently. Some will throw up at certain sounds, other people will simply find the sensations annoying.
There are times during the day when the sunlight is too overwhelming for me and I find that I cannot wait for the sun to set. In some ways I feel like the proverbial vampire. So too, when the moon is big and bright in the sky, I can feel the sun’s energy as it reflects off its surface. I always attributed the energy I felt as a direct result of the full moon, but now in hindsight, this energy may simply be my brain’s difficulty in processing the sunlight at night. Might this be a possible explanation for some lunatic behaviors that have been attributed to the full moon?
There is no real, provable scientific evidence to support behavioral disruptions in humans by the full moon light. For the first time on this website, scientific closure has been found for the full moon paranormal phenomenon!
Or has it? What do you think?
If you have any experiences or thoughts that would help support the full moon phenomenon, I’d love to hear them. Please feel free to write them in the comment box below or anywhere this article is posted! And… thank you!!
¹ Rotton, James. Kelly, I.W. “Much Ado About the Full Moon: A Meta-Analysis of Lunar-Lunacy Research.” Psychological Bulletin 1985. Vol. 97. 286-306.
³ Maus, Stefan. “Electromagnetic ocean effects.” From website: http://geomag.org/info/Smaus/Doc/ocean_encycl.pdf
⁴ Seyed Mohammad Mahdavi, Hedayat Sahraei, Mostafa Rezaei-Tavirani & Akram Najafi Abedi. “Common behaviors alterations after extremely low-frequency electromagnetic field exposure in rat animal model.” Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine Volume 35, 2016 – Issue 3.