Luna Rules, OK!

The moon has long fascinated us humans. As it regulates the tides, it is believed to regulate the human emotions. Amongst the medical cognoscenti, this belief is known as the “Transylvania Effect” and the full moon is something of a problem (1). It is strange that while we grow up being frightened by the darkness, some more than others of course, that we also associate the full moon with madness and mayhem.

Owen and McGowan have shown that we no longer have to stay locked away with the shades draw when there’ a full moon as the Transylvania Effect doesn’t have a bat’s chance in hell of being the cause of our madness, collective or otherwise (1).

Where we live also makes a difference. In our cities, we all head for bright lights like moths to the flame. In the country it is different and, moreover, in which country. In some parts of the world, wandering about in the country at night carries some of the same risks as our hominid ancestors had to work around. The chance of becoming a meal for a lion does vary with the lunar cycle (2).

Packer et al have studied the eating habits of lions in Tanzania (2). They tracked when lions are likely to be most hungry and when people have the greatest chance of satisfying that hunger. The best time for the lions was in the dry season when the moon was up early but not full. Just after the full moon gave them the right amount of light for hunting before everyone had gone to bed. 6 to 10 in the evenings were the worst.

So, we should see the full moon as the harbinger of a dangerous time during the following week when we are at a greater risk of being eaten by lions. Early to bed and early to rise makes  a deal of sense.


Leave a Reply