Green Man: The moon is nature's light bulb. I am one of the millions of people who feel drawn by the moon. I am also one of those who believes that human actions are influenced by the moon's waxing and waning. I have heard, for example, that there are more births during full moons than not:
The theory is that the moon's gravitational pull effects the amniotic fluid in much the same way as it effects the water in the sea, rivers and even the water that's otherwise found in our bodies. As a woman's body prepares for natural childbirth, the amniotic sac becomes distended so the point where it will easily burst if put under pressure. Under normal circumstances, the pressure of labor contractions bursts the sac. During a full moon, the pressure caused by the moon's effect on the water inside the sac can cause the same things to happen, but without the accompanying contractions.
Green Man: It doesn't end there though. One study published in The Journal of Psychosocial Nursing and Mental Health Service in the year 2000 showed an increase in deterioration of Schizophrenics during full-moon phases. Now, it is a small and isolated study. So it's not overwhelming evidence by any means but could this be in part where the idea that people go crazy during full-moons stems from? The term lunacy actually comes from the name of the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna. Imagine an untreated Schizophrenic living in an ancient village who seemed a bit unhinged but was otherwise semi-functional.
This person would probably go from semi-functional to psychotic in a matter of minutes like switching on a light bulb. Such a transformation would be perplexing and scary to those living with that person. So, surely they would look for something that caused such a rapid change and being nature based societies they would have obviously looked toward nature. Then comes the full-moon. And if it does affect the body via increased pressure perhaps to the brain, then it seems somewhat logical that it would only take a small shift to send a person already on the edge of sanity into psychosis. And even if a person only went into psychosis by chance during a full moon, or just once associated with the full moon; it would have been easy for the ancients to connect the two.
I live with a form of schizophrenia called schizo-affective disorder, and despite all the medications I take I still can be thrown into a manic whirlwind by the slightest changes such as season changes and time changes. So, I suppose if all the conditions were right a person could be tipped over the edge by the pressure induced pull from the moon. Thus, it would make sense that a Pagan society might blame the moon for schizophrenics going "berzerk" and behaving like a possessed animal. Thus, the werewolf myth. It's an obviously just a theory on my part and very unscientific but still, I bet there is some truth to it. By the way, I don't remember having any major episodes on any full-moon nights but I will pay closer attention now--just as an experiment. I'll keep a log and follow the lunar patterns and see if I have more symptoms during full moons or not and I'll let you know!!
Also, I somewhat resisted posting this because there is a stigma about mental illness that we're all stark raving mad. And while sometimes we do have "freak outs" it isn't constantly, and for the most part you wouldn't even know we have a mental illness by just walking by us or engaging in a conversation. Please don't compare the mentally ill to Were Wolfs -- that's not my theory. My theory is only that those who didn't understand medical science might have come up with the werewolf myth to explain why a fellow villager might behave bizarrely during a full moon. I do not think the mentally ill are people to shun or be afraid of at all. I know from first hand how damaging such myths and stigmas are. Unfortunately I live with them daily. So, if the full moon has any affect on the brain I believe it to be small but in an unmedicated brain a small change is all it takes to send one off into psychosis. Speaking of Were Wolfs, have you seen the new movie with Benicio Del Torro, "The Wolf Man?"If not, check out the preview--It's pretty cool looking:
Wolfman Trailer - Watch more Big Game Bonanza