insomnia, mental illness, middle ages, middle ages beliefs, neurology, psychology, science, unban legends

Lunar Lunacy : The Power of the Full Moon

Werewolves! Vampires! Lunacy!

Seizures? Sleep disturbance? Intermittent Insanity?

All caused by the full moon?

The term “lunacy”  originated in Europe, during the mid 16th century. It comes from the word “lunar” which refers to the moon. During the middle ages, it  was believed that some people suffered from an intermittent insanity, which only occurred when there was a full moon.

The perception was that a higher number of  strange, agitated and violent behaviors occurred during a full moon. People began to fear the full moon and what kinds of unsound, disturbing events might take place.

They blamed the full moon for any unusual events at night, when the full moon was in sight. Epilepsy was not understood at the time. When someone had a seizure people thought it was brought on by demons. If this happened to coincide with a full moon, then of course, the moon was blamed for it.

Lunatic is a very old term meaning insane, reckless and unsound. The term lunacy is a combination of  “lunatic” and “acy”. The suffix “acy” means the “the state or quality of.”    So, in effect, the word  “lunacy” is the “state of  insanity caused  by the full moon.”

“It is the very error of the moon.
She comes more near the earth
than she was wont. And makes
men mad.”

—William Shakespeare, Othello

But is it true? The old belief is still alive and well. People often say and I am sure you have heard  “It must be a full moon.”  This is said in attempt to explain any unusual, seemingly unexplainable happening in the night.

Greek philosopher Aristotle and Roman historian Pliny the Elder suggested that the brain was the “moistest” organ in the body and thereby most susceptible to the pernicious influences of the moon, which triggers the tides.  Scientific American

During Europe, in the middle ages, many people believed that humans could transform into werewolves and vampires during the full moon. This is referred to as the “lunar lunacy effect” or the “Transylvania effect.”

Psychiatrist Arnold Lieber wrote the book The Lunar Effect : Biological Tides and Human Emotions. Lieber hypothesized that the moon had an effect on the water molecules in the nervous system. The disruption of the water molecules would cause certain people to behave strangely.

lunar effect

Popular legend says that there is more violence, more suicides, more accidents and more aggression during a full moon. This is a common belief amongst healthcare workers, policemen and paramedics.

There is a controversy as to whether or not there is a connection between the moon and seizures. The electrochemistry of the brain of patients suffering from seizure disorder may be affected by the moon.

“A separate analysis revealed that for nonepileptic seizures, there was an increase at the full moon, and for epileptic seizures, an increase in the last quarter. We conclude that there is no “full moon” effect on seizures as a whole, although there is a possible effect on nonepileptic seizures.” Pub Med

There has been research done to see whether or not there is any validity to the theory that the moon can affect the water in our bodies. The evidence suggests that this is impossible because the amount of water is too small.

” while lunar gravity does indeed raise tides in the oceans, it does not have any effect  on lakes and even many seas. Those bodies are simply too small to feel the effects—to say nothing of human bodies.” Time Magazine

There is research which indicates that the moon does have an effect on sleep. A study was done by scientist and author, Christian Cajochen at the University of Basel Psychiatric Hospital in Switzerland.

“We found that around full moon, … time to fall asleep increased by 5 min, and EEG-assessed total sleep duration was reduced by 20 min. These changes were associated with a decrease in subjective sleep quality and diminished endogenous melatonin levels.”  Journal Current Biology

As far as violent crime, suicide and problems with patients in psychiatric wards, the evidence in not consistent. The suicide rate does not change during a full moon. There are varying reports about violent crime.

If you like the old tales of werewolves and vampires, as I do, then maybe it is best left to the imagination as to whether or not the moon really can change people’s behavior.

I personally have not seen any difference in dementia residents during a full moon, The most common catalyst to an uproar in the dementia ward, is that the first patient will become aggressive in a room full of other residents,  The behavior of the initiating resident frightens and upsets the other dementia residents. It is like a domino effect.

I personally enjoy the old tales and the myths about the moon. I am going to leave well enough alone and leave it to you. Who knows, maybe there are werewolves when the moon is full…

HowwwL !

Annie

References:

http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20131029-does-a-full-moon-make-people-mad

http://www.sci-news.com/othersciences/anthropology/science-full-moon-disturb-human-sleep-01264.html

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/lunacy-and-the-full-moon/

http://www.cell.com/current-biology/abstract/S0960-9822(13)00754-9

How the Moon Messes With Your Sleep

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15256200

anxiety, art, codependence, education, Galileo, gandhi, inventions, inventors, music, philosophy, politics, science, Thomas Jefferson

The Truth Will Set Us Free

Your truth is what you know it to be. Do not let anyone manipulate you into believing what they say is the truth. You have your own mind and your own heart. You have your own point of view and way of seeing the world.

Your way of viewing the world may be different that other people. It may even be very unusual. You may feel like you are the only person in a situation that perceives the truth the way you do.

Your truth is valid. It is your truth. The other people could be completely wrong in their perspective of a situation.

Many people just go along with what everyone else says is the truth. However the masses see it or however the social group sees it, they internalize that reality.

Your reality is your reality. If you see that something is unjust, it very well may be. Just because the others say it is justice does not mean they are correct. Hold onto your beliefs.

Sometimes someone will tell you that you handled a situation the wrong way. It was not the way they would have handled it. It was not in their best interest. It was not within the “rules” or the “status quo”

Screw the status quo. Think for yourself.

When everyone goes along with everyone else, no one thinks at all. When individuals stop thinking for themselves, they put their liberty in harms way.

We are individuals. We have various perspectives on things. Sometimes two people with a different perspective on a situation can come to a very wise solution if they hear each other out.

There may be truth in each point of view that the other person did not think of. In listening with respect and considering each other’s point of view as intelligent, they can come up with a better plan together than they could alone.

When people blindly follow the masses, there is a lack of individuality. There is a lack of perspective and creativity.

All the great inventions and visions came out of creative thought and an ability to think outside the box. Gandhi was a visionary and a revolutionary. He could see the truth and what had to be changed. He stood by his beliefs.

Galileo discovered that the earth revolves around the sun. The church at the time taught that everything revolved around the earth. This is called geocentrism.

The people all believed that the earth was the center of the universe because that it what the church said.

If Galileo had been like the other and just believed without looking, then he never would have discovered the truth. He wanted to see for himself. he invented a spyglass (the predecessor of the telescope) in order to view the heavens. Through his observation and calculations, he discovered the truth.

His truth was in conflict with the church. The church was very powerful and did not like to be made a fool of. They felt that they would be discredited by his findings. They wanted people to follow the church blindly.

They arrested Galileo and put him on a trial that was to prove that Galileo was a heretic for speaking against the beliefs of the church. He was found guilty and sentenced to house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Of course years later, we are glad for all the discoveries he made, including the telescope and the thermometer. He was an original thinker and looked at things from a different perspective from the status quo.

All the great music, art and inventions were created by people who could think outside the box.

When people stop thinking for themselves, no one thinks at all.

What a dull place the world would be without the creators and the inventors and the visionaries.

Thomas Jefferson was a visionary and a great leader. He wove a tapestry of some of the most beautiful and inspired words ever written. The Declaration of Independence is about the most beautiful writing you will ever read. If you have never read it, please do.

Even though this is true, the masses do not accept people who think differently than they do. The government fears people who can think for themselves. The government that we have at this time wants people to follow blindly.

Original thinkers, people who look for the truth are a threat to the status quo.
But don’t let that stop you. The world needs people who can think and see truth.

God bless the original thinkers and those who can think outside the box. God bless the visionaries and those who stand up for justice and liberty.

Look at the rules and consider them but evaluate each situation for yourself with your own mind.

God gave us our minds to think, not to just follow what others say is right.

The truth will set us free in our minds and our hearts.

Namaste,
Annie