Social Science - Other

Strange Happenings during the Full Moon

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"Strange Happenings during the Full Moon"
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It is easy to dismiss the statements that odd things happen during the full moon as superstition. We can joke about werewolves howling at the moon all we want, but the statistics back up the fact that there are measurable differences in our society on full moons. Police are most aware of this finding that there is more criminal activity on nights with a full moon. The same is true of hospitals, and even pizza delivery.

How is this possible though? It is not as if the moon has suddenly appeared out of nowhere. The only difference is the amount of sunlight that is reflected off of its surface. There is of course more light on a full moon which could account for a small amount of change but in our modern world of street lights and late night partying does it really have that much of an effect?

One of the most interesting studies of this effect was done at the University of Miami where murder rates were compared to the rising and falling of the sun and the two were found to rise and fall together almost infallibly for the fifteen year period that the data covered. The same statics were found in other areas when studied.

This knowledge isn't as new as one might think though. Humans have long recognized that the moon had an effect on behavior. In fact in eighteenth century England it was possible to plead "Lunacy" if you committed a crime during the full moon and be given a lighter sentence because of it.

One of the most common assumptions for this effect on human behavior comes from the understanding that, just like the earth, humans are eighty percent water, and so just like the Earth the gravity of the moon has an effect on them. This biological tide would have very little effect on one who was psychologically healthy, but it could push someone who was already on the edge over it.

Another explanation that has been forwarded is that this effect is one that was developed in the mind of early human hunters who would use full moon as a ideal hunting time when human inability to see well in the dark was less of a deterrent. This became the natural hunting time of the species and the body adjusted preparing the body for the violence of hunting.

No matter the cause there is little doubt that the moon has an effect on humans and their reactions. There are odd things that happen on the nights of the full moon and while virgin sacrifices and werewolves are not something that most of us fear, it is well worth considering the possibility that staying home on the full moon might still be good advice.

More about this author: Elton Gahr

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