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What is it about the full moon?

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I am an easy going type myself, I do not subject myself to superstitions, and I like to read scientific magazines for fun and exciting new ideas. I can't explain it either, but in the nightworld, I've seen strange attitudes tied to the moon.

I would have to go with WordWolf on this one;

Originally posted by WordWolf:

I've heard a variety of possible answers.

Some people have talked about the earth's magnetic field. Some have talked about

gravitic effects. Some have cited the global increase in temperature a few

degrees during a full moon. Some have mentioned the increased light.

Some have invoked "the placebo effect"-you EXPECT to feel more energy, so you

FEEL more energy. Most of the answers I've read have been attacked as

unscientific for one reason or another.

Me, I have to dismiss the increased light as a reason. In NYC, the ambient light

is almost identical under the new moon as it is under the full moon. Further,

the effects seem the same under cloudy skies.

The placebo effect is probably true to a degree, and was the position I originally

held. I eventually discarded it in the face of experiencing too much of it that

I couldn't wave away. What got my attention is that people I know could tell if

the full moon was in the sky by observing my behaviour-even if the moon was

blocked by clouds and I was under the misimpression that we were under the

quarter moon.

So, I'm currently convinced this is a physical phenomenon more than a

psychological one. Do I have a pat answer as to WHY? Not yet. The temperature

one is still a viable possibility. However, I observe that it happens, so I know

THAT it happens even if I don't know WHY.

I'd prefer to know WHY, but I don't know, so that's that.

Way II much fun for one man.

love ya,

Bob Hansen

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excie, icon_smile.gif:)--> We be TAPPED IN! Nice song, hey?

Geo Aar, I'd agree except for one thing: every full moon sightings of Amazing Sea Monkeys! increase. The stories are usually buried in the papers or ignored.

I was standing all alone against the world outside. You were searching for a place to hide....

Now I've found you, there's no more emptiness inside. When we're hungry love will keep us alive.

The Eagles

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Well, whether or not the full moon affects behavior, I don't know. But I do think it's pretty fascinating that so many think that it does.

Could it possibly be the "Law of Believing" at work??? icon_biggrin.gif:D--> (Really, I'm just kidding, lest anyone take me seriously.)

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Geo., I don't know how many times I've noticed that people were acting particularly goofy/irritable and have said, "Hmmm, must be a full moon." Then voila, that night I see it in the sky.

I sure as heck don't plan my life around it. In fact, I seldom know when there's going to be one. Now my mom's father did. He planted stuff in his garden according to the phases of the moon.

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I am a customer service rep and believe me all of the grumpy people come out in full force during a full moon.

I have been in retail for most of my life and we can always tell when the moon is full.


loving life and trying to help others love it too

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Did you know that the tides are influenced by the moon? Also that farmers plant and harvest crops according to the lunar cycles? Yes, the moon does influence the earth and hence the earth's people. A look at the creation story in Genesis hints at the moon's importance. The book of Enoch, which I have read and consider to be godly inspired, has more on the moon.

For details on this subject you could do a google internet search. Here is one such web site:


[This message was edited by Mark Sanguinetti on March 06, 2004 at 22:38.]

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mark, i know you're talking to the other ex (my dear sis)

i think the moon is so enchanting (sp?) and mysterious and lovely

have also seen crazy things happen around here at full moon times

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Geo -- you said ----------

"The moon is full, or appears to be so (how many of us actually check each month as to what day the actual full moon is?) for several days. You could stretch it just a bit and still sorta kinda call it a "full" moon for maybe as much as a week. That's 1/4 of the time!"


I actually DO check to see which day the full moon appears on, cause we got one cantankerous old guy in a wheel-chair who does his best to "run us over" every day (at the house I work at). Full moon affects him too, and he is more "agile" and "alert" then. icon_eek.gif

These are things we (as staff) NEED TO KNOW. icon_biggrin.gif:D--> icon_biggrin.gif:D--> icon_biggrin.gif:D-->, so we do check the exact date. icon_cool.gif

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from Colossians 2:

16Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: 17Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
The new moon is like a sabbath because demons have less freedom.

(There is one church I found that was called the New Moon Holiness Church.)

I always find it is easier to give God's love and kindness on the new moon.

I had a big project due on the full moon, and as a response to prayer there was a big heavy cloud that covered the full moon, I found it to be a protective cover that mitigated the effect of the full moon.

Another interesting thing about the full moon thread I mentioned above, is that it was from one year ago -- and it was, as this thread, begun about the time of the first full moon before passover. (3/5/04, and 3/16/03)

a nice moon phase calendar is found here: www.stardate.org


icon_smile.gif:)-->," God

[This message was edited by Kit Sober on March 07, 2004 at 7:18.]

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The feelings and the "I just know" type of evidence given here is precisely the reason that in REAL science, a great deal of energy is expended in the design of an experiment.

The experimenter wants to isolate his preconceptions, biases, and unconscious prejudices from contaminating the results.

That is why so much effort is spent to "blind" the one performing the experiment from the actual conduct of it. It's just too easy to skew the results if there's a "I just knew it!" conclusion lurking about in one's head.

Take a look at the definition for "confirmation bias" from the skepdic website - http://skepdic.com/confirmbias.html

This is EXACTLY what's been presented as proof here, confirmation bias, selective thinking, and ad hoc hypothesis. But then, such is the nature of "belief"...


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"The feelings and the "I just know" type of evidence given here is precisely the reason that in REAL science, a great deal of energy is expended in the design of an experiment."


And I bet the energy level rises dramatically during a Full Moon! icon_biggrin.gif:D--> icon_cool.gificon_biggrin.gif:D-->

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I do know this too---

although I have not seen the Passion movie---(bear with me--this is about the moon) my neighbor who lived in the Sudan for many years has...and her and her husband thought the scene where they focused on the full moon in the movie (probably to indicate the accuracy of the Passover) would have been very problematic for Muslims due to the fact they would see at as looking to "the spirit of the moon" at least in the Sudan---and it would have been more offensive had it been crescent....but then it would not have been Pasover......

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Now George, you know that I very seldom question anything you say...but I just can't explain why whenever there is a full moon...I wake up in the middle of the night and find myself naked, doing the "groucho walk" in the front yard. icon_eek.gif

"I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than a frontal lobotomy"

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George talked about gravity, others talked about magnetic fields, but there's something most folks don't take into account--nothing about the Moon is changing during the month except its position. What that means is that the Moon will be in the same place overhead at least once every day. That time shifts by about 50 minutes a day, but all that means is that the same "influence" the Moon has on you at midnight on the day it becomes full is the same influence that the one-day-past-full Moon will have on you tomorrow night at 12:50am, and the same as the previous night's Moon did at 11:10pm. Same mass, same general distance, same gravity. If it's some sort of syzygy influence, (i.e., the relation between earth, moon, sun) then the true full-moon straight-line effect would last less than an hour at the precise instant of fullness, and only over that particular spot on the earth where the moon would be on the meridian.

So, you can pretty much rule out any gravitic or orbital influence altogether.

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Most people also don't consider that all sorts of things (massive objects, motors, light sources) cause us to experience greater and more frequent fluctuations in gravity, magnetism, light, heat, etc. than the moon possibly could.

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So I posted this once before and I'll post it again. First I'll post the relevant information

and then explain what it means afterwards.

Note: Please forgive the misspellings as they

certanly don't appear in the book. I'm typing this stuff in so please be patient. Also I've

omitted listing the columns of data since I

dont' have the time or energy to write all that

in and I have tried to make the calculational

symbols clear. If you doubt any of this you are

free to look up the book in question and read it

for yourself.

Taken from pages 8-9 of "An Introduction To Mathematical Statistics and Its Applications" by Richard J. Larsen (Vanderbilt University) and Morris L. Marx (University of Oklahoma) 1981 Prentice-Hall Ic, Englewood Cliffs N.J. 07632 ISBN 0-13-487744-6

Begin Quote from text


Case Study 1.3

In folklore , the full moon is often portrayed as something sinister, a kind of evil force possessing the power to control our behavior. Over the centuries, many prominent writers and philosophers have shared this belief. Milton, in "Paradise Lost" refers to:

"Demoniac Frenzy, moping melancholy And moon-struck madness".

And Othello, after the murder of Desdemona, laments:

"Is is the very error of the moon, She comes more near the earth than she was wont and she makes men mad"

On a more scholarly level , sir William Blackstone, the reknowned 18th century English barrister, defined a "lunatic" as "one who hath...

lost the use of his reason and who hath lucid

intervals, sometimes enjoying his senses and sometimes not, and that frequently depending

upon changes of the moon"

The possibility of the lunar phases' influencing

human affairs is a theory not without supporters

among the scientific community. Studies by

reputable medical researchers have attempted to

linke the "Transylvania Effect", as it has come

to be known , with higher suicide rates, pyromania, and even epilepsy. In this example,

we look at still another context in which this phenomenon might be expected to occur. Table 1.4

shows the admission rates to the energency room

of a Virginia mental health clinic before , during, and after full moons from august 1971 to July 1972. Notice that for this particualr set of data, the average admission rate is higher during the full moon than during the rest of the month.

Averages of the table are presented here:

Before Full Moon During Full Moon After FM

---------------- ---------------- ---------

10.9 13.3 11.4

For reasons discussed in Chapter 6 , hypothesis

tests are always set up so that what is being tested is the absence or negation of any

differences from population to population.

Following that principle here leads us to state

the hypothesis as

H: On the average, there is no difference in mental-hospital admission rates before, during, and after the full moon.

the decision to reject H will be made only if it

can be demonstrated that averages as different

as 10.9, 13.2, and 11.4 are extremely unlikely

to arise by chance alone. an analysis done

in chapter 12 suggests that these averages are

considerably different, implying that the

data could be used as evidence in support of

the existence of a transylvania effect.

(From Chapter 12 pages 497-499):

Case study 1.3 described an investigation designed to "measure" te so-called transylvania effect. .... An a priori subhypothesis is clearly suggested by the circumstances of the problem - specifically , it would make sense to test whether the admission rate during the full moon

is different than the average of the rates for

"before" and "After". What needs to be considered, then is H(0): mean 2 = (mean 1 + mean 3)/2. following the procedure outlined in 11.4 the contrast asscoiated with H'(0) is

C = -0.5(mean 1) + mean 2 - 0.5(mean 3)

while its estimate is

C = -0.5(10.92) +1(13.3) - 0.5(11.46) = 2.11

From definition 11.4 the sum of squares

associated with C is 35.62. dividing SSĀ©

by the mean square for error gives an F ratio

with 1 and 22 degrees of freedom:

(35.61)/1 / 132.08/22 = 5.93

But, for the 0.05 level F(0.95,1,22) = 4.30. Thus the contrary to our acceptance of H(0)

we would REJECT H'(0) and conclude that the

admission rate IS significantly higher during a full moon than it is for the rest of the month.

--------------END QUOTE FROM BOOK----------

Okay so the take-a-way from this is that

from the admission data collected ,one can NOT

claim that the elevated number of admissions

during the full moon was by chance. The statistical tests suggest that you cannot

eliminate the moon as a possible variable.

Now this does NOT ( I repeat ) does NOT

say that the moon is causing the escalated

admission rates just that it cannot be excluded

as a possible cause/variable. This analysis does not offer a possible cause - thats not the

job of statisticians. The analysis is concerned with determing if these data emerged by chance or not. In this case the elevated admission

numbers were NOT by chance.

So if your local ER worker tells you that they

get more patients during a full moon then they most likely aren't exagerrating.

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Thanks diaz

I'm really happy to know that my nurse/doctor/shrink/pastor friends (and mom) are not totally off their nut. icon_biggrin.gif:D-->

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One's got to wonder about the validity of this one study when compared to the numerous others that found no such link:


A pertinent quote from that link:

"Some experiments do show that on days with a full moon there is more abnormal behavior. However, many of these studies have been criticized because they were not performed properly. For example, some of these experiments:

tested only a few people over a short period of time.

did not analyze the data with proper statistical tests.

did not take into account the day of the week on which the full moon occurred

did not take into account whether the full moon occurred on a holiday or a weekend"


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Reread the conclusions section. No where

did it say that the moon *caused* the elevated

admission rates.

The statistical analysis concludes that the elevated admission numbers were NOT by chance. Thats the first job of any decent statistician - to determine if the data have emerged at random/ by chance.

After that subsequent work can be performed to look at why its not by chance. The case study I presented was the first in a series of

many studies that investigated other variables

associated with the "transyvania effect".

For the sake of brevity I presented the first


The analysis further suggests that one can not dismiss the moon as a variable relative to admission rates. Once again - It does not mean say the moon is the *cause* - but that

it cannot be eliminated as a variable or a covariable. Sure its quite likely that the moon

combined with people's belief that the moon

causes such situatisons is part of the equation but even still you can't rule out the moon

as variable not statistically anyway.

Regarding "proper statistical tests". The numbers and computations are sound as was the

approach. I used this textbook as part of a graduate program on optimization and statistical modelling. I employ many of the methods in that book as part of my work today.

The book is used at MIT, Cal Tech, and Ga Tech.

Lastly I am very familiar with the PubMed papers

you are referincing. thats the beauty of science. They investigate different sets of data (poisonings, suicides, arrests). In this case I presented it was admission rates to a mental hospital in Virginia. You can't take the conclusions from one study and apply them to another. This is statistically unsound and

your publication will be shot down as will

your grant money.

So, for example, there may in fact be no relationship whatsoever with lunar phases and nursing home agitiation but this does not provide statistical license to extend this to other sets of data.

(One notes that aggravated assualts in a 5 year period did occur more often around the full moon).

[This message was edited by diazbro on March 09, 2004 at 11:08.]

[This message was edited by diazbro on March 09, 2004 at 11:13.]

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