In legend, the werewolf was a person who would be turned into an out of control animal or monster when the full moon was out. Prior to the werewolf mythology, it was also told that the full moon was when the spirits of the other world would come out to roam the Earth, lit by the embrace of a lunar beacon. Could the werewolf of legend be more than merely a story? A recent study in Australian hospitals indicates that the werewolf is not only statistically significant in hospitals, but is posing quite a problem to staff as the number of out of control patients swells when the moon is full.
“Some of these patients attacked the staff like animals – biting, spitting and scratching,” Ms Leoni Calver, a research nurse studying toxicology in Calvary Mater Newcastle Hospital told Australian reporters during the study, “One might compare them with the werewolves of the past, who are said to have also appeared during the full moon.” Ms. Calver was not, however, referring to the supernatural creatures of legend half man and half wolf, but rather a slew of patients that seem to become almost magically effected by the mysterious forces of the moon. Statistically there are over twice as many violent cases, particularly of psychotic patients who must be restrained before treatment can be administered to their injuries.
For a long time the full moon has had a reputation as a time when the demons of the world pour out into the night air and cause problems for the rest of society. The police often tell stories of the full moon and how those out in the night during it act differently than the rest of the time. Reports of almost feral violent criminals are not uncommon during the full moon in many populated cities. The trend has been significant for such a long time that in the eighteenth-century England, there was a statute that allowed murderers to plead “lunacy” if their crime had been perpetrated during the full moon. As a result, the judge would often grant a more lenient sentence.
It suggests to University Psychologist Dr. Arnold Lieber that there may be more to the moon than merely the illumination and the psychological connection we have to the moon. In fact, a study performed by Dr. Lieber suggests the human body may be influenced by a sort of “biological tide” which could affect emotional stability. Those who are on the cusp of violent behavior or insanity may find it even more difficult to maintain composure while under the influence of the full moon.
And for hospitals, the Lunar influence doesn’t stop there. A study performed by Dr. Edson J Andrews took survey of a thousand surgical tonsillectomies and found that the overwhelming majority of the postoperative bleeding (over 82 percent) occurred closer to the full moon than the new moon. Statistically the number should be no more than fifty percent, but it lends even more credence to the theory that humans are affected deeply by the moon. If this information were to be applied, it would suggest that surgery should happen on the new moon to avoid post-operative bleeding and complications. The other studies, however, suggest that those caught out after dark during the full moon would be wise to be aware of their surroundings after the full moon. You never know what the source of that howling in the distance may really turn out to be.