Truth or Myth: Full Moon Madness


(via Fox16) Do you believe strange things happen more than usual when there’s a full moon? While some people do, more than a few scientists will likely disagree.

On one recent warm spring night in the Capital City, we caught up with some first responders gearing up as a full moon was rising over the Arkansas River.

“There she is. Might be busy,” says Mack Hutchinson, MEMS medic.

Mayhem, brought on by the full moon. Whether it comes in the form of violence, strange behavior, or even unexpected childbirth, full moon madness is a superstition that spans centuries. In some circles, it’s a belief that still holds true today.

“It’s always the chatter,” continues Hutchinson. “If you asked the paramedic community, they would probably agree that full moon means a busy night.

But is the mayhem just a myth, or is there something more to it? We decided to find out.

“Crazy things have happened,” Hutchinson says. “We had some days we saw there were three or four babies delivered on that particular shift,” he adds.

If you go through emergency call numbers, you’ll find some instances where bizarre happenings spiked under the light of the full moon. 

For example, in 2015, MEMS paramedics delivered 15 babies on full moons, compared to just eight on new moons.

But other than that, there’s really no difference in emergency calls on full moons versus any other evening. In fact, of the 12 full moons last year, nine of them saw equal or fewer trauma incidents than during other moon phases. There was an average of 35 trauma calls when the moon was full, compared to 37 when it wasn’t.

So, despite what Hollywood may have taught you as a kid, there’s no statistically sound evidence that proves the moon actually causes any chaos. 

Dr. Terry Richard is a sociologist at UALR and an expert on urban folklore. He says that’s exactly what the full moon madness “theory” is, and nothing more.

“There’s no evidence to suggest that the moon itself has any real impact,” Dr. Richard says.

So, if there’s no scientific basis to the full moon myth, why does the fiction continue to eclipse the truth?

“The term lunacy comes from the concept that the full moon in particular initiates some type of bizarre behavior,” explains Dr. Richard. “People might act a little crazy because they have a belief.”

Back in the ambulance, paramedic Mack Hutchinson is getting ready to call it a night, and despite the full moon, things have been pretty typical.

“Yeah it’s been busy,” he says. “We’re busy every night.”

That makes this night really no different than any other.

“MEMS is going to be out there, 24 hours day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year,” Hutchinson says.

And unlike the moon, that commitment, never wanes.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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