How A Full Moon Affects Paranormal Activity & Hauntings
Halloween is fast approaching and this year there will be a full moon hanging in the sky as we're out trick-or-treating and ghost hunting, but what does this mean for hauntings, levels of paranormal activity and the frequency of ghost sightings?
The idea that the lunar cycle can affect the world around us is nothing new, and in some ways it can be easily observed and measured - like in the case of tides. The Moon's influence over us goes back generations. The calendar we use today was created by our ancestors based on the lunar cycle.
The so-called "lunar effect" has been the subject of studies and debate for decades. Some think that a full Moon brings about an increase in misfortune and criminal behaviour, and that it can affect everything from fertility to psychic abilities.
It's sometimes called "lunar lunacy," in fact even the word "lunatic" derives from the Latin word "luna" or moon.
In fiction and folklore there are countless ghost stories and supernatural legends from around the world that revolve around full moons, not to mention the common movie trope of a howling werewolf transforming in front of a bright Moon. Then there are the scenes of haunted houses with a full moon behind them in dozens of horror movies.
Historically the moon has been worshipped and linked with gods and goddesses in various cultures, including Selene in Greek mythology She was the goddess of the Moon and it was her who moved it across the skies every night. Her Roman counterpart was Luna, the divine embodiment of the moon.
Another iconic piece of imagery is that of the silhouette of a witch flying past a full moon, but a witch's attraction to a full moon is more than just fiction. In Wicca, Pagan witchcraft and many other cultures the moon plays a very important role, in fact there's a whole branch of moon magic. Practitioners often perform their rituals around a full moon and use moonlight to charge crystals used in rituals.
How Does The Moon Affect Paranormal Activity?
So, what does all this mean for the paranormal world? Well, many people think that if a full moon can have such a drastic impact on nature and human lives, then it must yield the same power over the supernatural.
The belief is fairly common that ghostly activity fluctuates during the lunar cycle and reaches its peak during a full moon. Some say this spike in activity occurs over the five days either side of the full moon. At a point five days before or after a full moon, the lunar surface would be about 75% illuminated - a gibbous moon.
Beliefs vary but some think that when the moon is shining at night, it emits a certain frequency of energy that allows us to see ghosts and spirits. While others think that the moon is actually giving spirits the energy they need to manifest and show themselves to us.
Reports of activity in haunted locations is said to increase and people's awareness of the presence of the supernatural around them seems to become stronger. It may even be that the moon gives people's latent psychic powers a bit of a boost.
Ghost hunters are always that little bit more excited to be investigating during a full moon, as locations that might be fairly quiet on any other night of the month suddenly becomes much more paranormally activity when there's a full moon in the sky.
Of course it's not just ghosts that investigators think become more active, it's also the darker side of the paranormal. Supernatural entities like demons and imps may also become more active.
Since the moon seems to effect the behaviour of animals and is an inherent part of the changing seasons, it should come as no surprise that the phase of the moon may also play a role in the activity levels of elementals. These are said to be ancient non-human spirits that are associated with land and nature rather than buildings or people.
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Is There Any Science Behind It?
We need to remember that despite the term "moonlight," the moon doesn't generate any light itself. The light that reaches us from the moon is merely light from the Sun that reflects off the surface of the moon, but that doesn't mean it can't affect paranormal activity - after all prolonged sunny spells and heatwaves have also been blamed for an upturn in spooky happenings.
Some paranormal teams note an increase in calls for help with hauntings during unusually sunny and dry spells, leading them to theorise that sunlight gives paranormal entities the energy they need to haunt the living. Could this work when the sunlight is bouncing off of the moon too?
This theory is backed up by paranormal investigators' experiments with a device called an EM pump, which pumps electromagnetic energy out into a location in the hopes that spirits can draw on that energy and use it to manifest or communicate. The obvious fact that is being overlooked here is that sunlight and moonlight is also a form electromagnetic energy, so it might also be able to fuel a haunting.
However skeptics say that the increase in ghost sightings could be due to the fact we're out looking for ghosts more during a full moon, we're expecting it to happen, or we're just in a heightened state.
Even the perceived correlation between the lunar cycle and human behaviour is questionable as no studies have ever found a solid link between moon phases and a rise in crime or chaotic behaviour. Perhaps people are just out and up to no good more when there's some moonlight to guide them.
Some think that any increase in this sort of activity could be as a result of the brighter than normal light from the moon keeping people awake, which could lead to sleep deprivation prompting irrational behaviour. This could also explain the rise in paranormal activity during sunny spells. Heat is an irritant and the discomfort it causes, including getting less sleep, might make people less alert and more susceptible to hallucinations.
British physicist Brian Cox was recently asked if he thought that lunar lunacy was a real phenomenon, he said, "all I can say is that loads of studies have been done and the answer seems to be no." Speaking on Lorraine Kelly's ITV morning show, he explained that it's simply a coincidence, "we're bad as human beings at understanding coincidences. So when you feel, 'something's happened to me, I feel different', and there's a full moon up there, you tend to attach more to that than there is."
Ghost Sightings During Full Moons
According to paranormaldatabase.com, a website that catalogues historic and current ghost sightings, there are several well-known ghost stories related to a full moon in the UK alone.
These include the apparitions of long-dead Roman soldiers seen marching through Longdendale Valley in Derbyshire. They are seen complete with glowing torches, but only appear on the night of the first full moon of spring. In near-by Beeley on the same night a phantom horseman is seen.
There's a reoccurring haunting in the form of a white lady, who is seen in the Red Rose Chain theatre in Ipswich. Another reoccurring haunting associated with a full moon is mentioned in Wayne Anthony's book 'Haunted Derbyshire & The Peak District'. He writes that a phantom woman haunts the upper part of the Elizabethan Barlborough Hall during this lunar phase.
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