The October moon is full tonight!

Arroooo!

I hope you saw the full moon on September 22nd and 23rd.  It was a full harvest moon (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox is considered the harvest moon) and it also marked the first day of autumn.

However, October is usually no slouch when it comes to spectacular full moons.  In fact, this full moon is known as the Hunter’s Moon.  Hopefully, the sky will be clear tonight, and you’ll be treated to the full moon in all its glory.  Check it out around 8:30 p.m.

There are some interesting — and spooky — associations with the full moon.  The word lunacy is derived from the Latin word for Luna, the Roman moon goddess, as well as the Late Latin word for “moonstruck” lunaticus. For centuries, people believed the moon phases could induce madness.  A popular notion is that there is a statistical increase in crime (such as murder) and severity of psychosis during full moons, but many studies find there is no correlation (while others find that there is).  For more discussion on the questionable validity of the lunar lunacy effect, read this February 2009 Scientific American article.

Of course, you are familiar with the werewolf legend — the afflicted were supposed to transform into a werewolf under the influence of the full moon. You may remember this recitation from The Wolfman (1941)

Many a man who is pure in heart, and says his prayers by night.

May become a wolf when the wolf bane blooms, and the autumn moon shines bright.

Did you know that the idea of wolves howling at the moon is actually a myth?  Wolves howl at night, because they are nocturnal, but it doesn’t have anything to do with the moon.  It is just one of their ways of communicating — from territorial signals to mating calls.

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