It's believed that Christ was crucified and that Julius Caesar was assassinated under full moons. Men turn into werewolves, people go mad and witches ride when the moon is full. It's unlucky to look at a new moon through glass, chickens lay more eggs when the moon is in its last quarter and a full moon during harvest will bring a good crop.
Since the dawn of time the moon has captured the imagination of man - and myths, legends and sayings have sprung up in all civilisations, ancient and modern.
Rare events happen 'once in a blue moon'. This refers to the rare occasions when there is a full moon twice in one calendar month. There is a superstition that when this happens you should do something you've never done before. Rings and haloes around the moon are supposed to a sign of imminent storms. If you want a wish to come true, turn a silver coin in your pocket while asking the moon for what you want.
Many of these beliefs have their roots in fact. There's no way of proving whether Jesus Christ or Julius Caesar really died when the moon was full but we know that Alexander II of Russia, Leon Trotsky, King Hussein of Jordan and Mexican president Francisco Madero were all assassinated when the moon was in this phase.
Werewolves may be just a legend but it is a fact that the full moon can cause mental disturbance in some people and that the suicide rate is higher when there's a full moon. Violent crime rises when there's a full moon.
New and full moons also have an effect on earthquakes. Geological stresses are higher when there is a high tide - the tides, of course, caused by the moon's pull on Earth's gravity. High tides occur when the moon is new or full.
It's not only water that responds to the pull of the moon. All liquid is affected, including blood. Doctors say bleeding can be more severe when there's a full moon.
The moon also governs women's fertility. In some cultures, fertility rites are carried out during a full moon. The lunar cycle is considered to have a strong influence over the reproductive system. Many women ovulate during the full moon.
Many gardeners will tell you that the phases of the moon have a big influence on plants. Different chores, like planting, pruning, weeding and harvesting, are more effective if practiced during the correct phase of the moon. Lunar gardening takes into account the moon's gravitational pull on moisture in soil and plants. It is also believed that moonlight can affect seed germination.
So, before you dismiss all lunar legends as fantasy, take a look at the facts - and don't go outdoors if you hear a dog howling at the full moon!