Can the Moon Shift Human Behavior?

Can moon phases affect us?Are there forces beyond our control that impact our daily life? A strange thing happened to me due to an angry, spiteful moon. Sounds crazy, I know, but bear with me.

In early January, I found David Attenborough’s documentaries on Planet Earth, nature, and wildlife. If you haven’t seen these incredible documentaries, I highly recommend them. Most are available on Netflix and YouTube.

Because I’ve been consumed with all nature has to offer, it led me to research, as I often do. Nature and wildlife are both fascinating, complex subjects. Everything nature does has a purpose. We may not see the microscopic insects that await avalanches or the impending landscapes that volcanoes create, but Mother Nature knows exactly what she’s doing. 

With the rare blue blood super-moon on the 30th, I concentrated on phases of the moon and how it affects humans and animals, if at all. This research led me into astrology. Which worked two-fold. In SCATHED (releases spring, 2018, exact date TBA), Sage Quintano turns to her love of astrology to clear her mind enough to work out complex riddles found at each crime scene. Research time is never wasted. 😉

What’s your sign?

I’m a double Libra. Meaning, when I was born the moon and sun were both in Libra. You can’t get more balanced than that, but it also causes conflict. I see both sides of an argument. I despise injustice and fake people, and the Libra in me opens my mouth when, perhaps, I’m better off staying mute.

Here’s what I found on the net as it relates to the moon phases and the month of January. 

Capricorn season is for moving slow, working hard, and thinking deep. With Venus and the sun traveling arm-in-arm for most of the month, that slowness comes with a nice dose of pleasure — and the risk of lying down for three weeks straight. Given the serious Capricorn vibes, getting super lazy is a big ol’ red flag that you’re actually freaking out about how much there is to do. The work ahead is manageable, and will be easier if you get started early. Seek out a middle ground of some work, some socializing, and some thoughtful solo time. The new moon on the 16th makes it a key day for introspection. Set an intention you can pursue over the next two weeks. 


On the 20th, the sun shifts into Aquarius, pulling us out of our hidey-holes and putting politics and collective organizing back in focus. How we choose to express these energies becomes especially important with the 31st’s lunar eclipse. Emotions will be high, so avoid putting your foot in it on social media. (Do keep an eye on the news, though. It should be interesting.)  —

Can the moon shift human behavior?

They nailed it! During the first half of January, I was torn between family and work. I missed deadlines. I just wasn’t myself when it came to work, and I couldn’t fathom why. Was I suffering from the winter blues? Burn-out? Had I lost my ability to write? I felt like I worked all day and made little-to-no progress. Going on social media lost … something. The vast majority of people online were either ill, lacked enthusiasm, downright pissed off, or a combination of all three. Some even used this time to cross boundaries I never would’ve imagined. In two weeks five different strangers contacted me via email or direct messaging to ask if I’d fund their writing careers so they could take the time to hone their craft. I’m a big believer in striving to make our dreams come true, but WTF? Others hounded me to promote their books on the blog. When I explained I don’t do book promo posts on Murder Blog — unless it’s a Share the Love post, but those spots are reserved for writers within my community —  I’d receive nasty emails in return. Big mistake. I now keep a blacklist. 🙂

Had the entire world gone mad?

My usual MO is to surround myself with positive people while steering clear of those who spout negativity and hate. Wherever possible I try to offer encouragement and praise, but during this time my enthusiasm reserve hit an all-time low. It was so out-of-character for me I wondered if outside forces were at play. Still, I spent a lot of time off-line. Bob didn’t help matters. The lure of serial killer movies and ice cream was too much. I caved every time!

And then, the moon shifted.

When the moon entered a new phase, I woke with a new outlook. My fingers lit up the keyboard, each word in perfect harmony with the one proceeding it. I’d been reborn! More aptly put, I felt like me again. The sun brightened on the horizon; the night stars waltzed across an ink-black sky. As before, my peeps on social media cracked me up, and I belly-laughed till I cried. I even wrote a guest post for Romance University and completed an especially difficult first page critique on the Kill Zone (difficult for me, that is. Publicly dissecting another writer’s work is not easy nor fun, but sharing knowledge is what writers do).

It’s a strange phenomenon, the moon and human behavior. Let’s find out why. 

The first thing we need to look at is the human body’s makeup. According to the Journal of Biological Chemistry 158, the adult human body is made up of about 60% water, the brain and heart consist of 73% water, the lungs are about 83% water, skin has 64% water, and muscles and kidneys are 79% water. Even bones are 31% water.

The above percentages vary by age, gender, and where people live. An adult male, for example, needs about 3 liters per day of water while an adult female only needs 2.2 liters. Some of which we derive from food. Infants are born with the most water, about 78% of their body. By one year, that number drops to about 65%. Keep in mind, fat tissue doesn’t have as much water as lean tissue. On average, water makes up 60% of men and 55% of women. 

Water serves a number of essential functions:

  • first acts as a building material, and then provides nutrients to every cell;
  • regulates our internal body temperature through sweating and respiration;
  • carbohydrates and proteins that our bodies use as food are metabolized and transported by water in the bloodstream;
  • assists in flushing waste through urination;
  • acts as a shock absorber for brain, spinal cord, and fetus;
  • creates saliva;
  • lubricates joints.

Is it any wonder the moon impacts our lives? 

The combination of the moon and sun control ocean tides. How, with all the water in our bodies, could we not be affected? 

What about a full moon? 

The full moon has the ability to send pregnant women into labor. It’s also responsible for agitating residence at nursing homes. The word “lunacy” stems from the Latin word “lunar,” which means “moon.” Ancient philosophers say the moon affects human behavior and health by its gravitational pull on body fluids. Makes sense. In fact, the gravitational pull is so strong our planet’s crust is stretched by these same tidal effects every single day.

Humans vs. the Moon

Human physiology are subject to seasonal, lunar, and circadian rhythms. Even though seasonal and circadian rhythms have been well described, little is known about the effects of the moon on human behavior and physiology. The lunar cycle can impact fertility, menstruation, and birth rates. Admittance to hospitals and emergency units rise with certain lunar events, like a full moon, but many scientists find no correlation between the two. Really? Ask any police officer and s/he will tell you the full moon directly impacts traffic accidents, crime, and suicides.

Animals vs. the Moon

Animal studies reveal the lunar cycle may affect hormonal changes in insects. Fish studies show the lunar clock impacted reproduction. In birds, the daily variations in melatonin (hormone released by pineal gland) and corticosterone (hormone released by adrenal glands) vanished during full moon days. And who hasn’t experienced cats and dogs going bizerk for no apparent reason?

Even lab rats (poor babies) experienced taste sensitivity and the ultrastructure of pineal gland cells. Sheep and mice showed a humoral immune response to polivinylpyrrolidone (synthetic blood plasm). The release of neurohormones were triggered by the electromagnetic radiation and/or gravitational pull of the moon. 

Notice how the moon toyed with hormones?

Much about the moon’s influence on humans and animals remains a mystery, but further study may one day help law enforcement, the medical community, science, and who knows what else. Other than the moon’s ability to stabilize Earth — the moon keeps the planet from wobbling off its axis — scientists haven’t even begun to understand its inherent power.

What do you think? Have you ever noticed a shift in behavior when the moon entered a new phase? Did the first lunar cycle of 2018 affect your behavior? You may not have realized it at the time — I didn’t — but the angry moon of January may have added to your unrest. If you believe there are outside forces at play beyond our control, next time you feel in a funk for no apparent reason, check the lunar cycle. Maybe it’ll help explain the unexplainable. 



About Sue Coletta

Member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers, Sue Coletta is the bestselling, award-winning author of psychological thrillers and mysteries. OOTG Flash Fiction Offensive magazine published her flash fiction and her short stories are published in numerous anthologies and collections. InSinC Quarterly featured her forensic articles about Radiocarbon Dating and Skeletal Differences. In 2017, Feedspot awarded her Murder Blog as one of the Top 50 Crime Blogs on the net. Sue's also the communications manager for Forensic Science and the Serial Killer Project. As a way to help fellow crime writers, Sue created a team of crime experts (detectives, coroners, police captains, etc.) and founded #ACrimeChat on Twitter. She's also a proud member of the Kill Zone, where she blogs every other Monday.


  1. I see a lot of information about the full moon and I am a great believer in the power of the moon. I am wondering about any experience with the crescent moon turned either way. I have a lot of horror memories that I wrote about in a book and pictures I drew regarding cult activities that dealt with murders and rituals and human trafficking. These activities took place in a wooded area outside a mansion with a secret staircase that was the spine of the mansion and secret rooms. When I started remembering all this I was terrified beyond words and the crescent moon always made the memories and nightmares much worse. I just happened to see your post Sue as I usually look at your posts on Goodreads and then come here but there has never been a post about the moon or how it affected you. This is all fascinating to me. I spent years in therapy trying to unravel these moon related memories and honestly was amazed to see this blog. I always enjoy your blogs Sue even when they are totally scary!!
    (I’m unable to log into my twitter site other than with my Word Press so I may have missed posts from other writers who have commented here. I can’t read my messages or access the feed. Still hoping on that one)

    • Wow, MJ. The book sounds fascinating. In my research, as well as how the moon affected me, I discovered the moon doesn’t need to be full in order to wreak havoc. From what I gather, it depends on the zodiac. This was the first time it’s happened to me personally, but I’m sure the angry Capricorn affected others, as well. When the moon transitioned into a new phase, my mindset changed in an instant. And this happened before I knew the moon was responsible. The only way I figured it out was by backtracking dates. Such a bizarre way to start the new year!

  2. Always conscious of moon phases in Nursing, geriatrics, pediatrics, ER, Psych ward…you name it. I agree about the influences of the moon on tides and humans. Scientific data is not always correct. Especially when the numbers have been crunch by the powers that be. It affects fish biting also. They don’t bite as well during the full moon as they do during a new moon. Some says it is because they have had the light of the full moon to eat all night.

    • Interesting tidbit about fish biting. I’ll have to pass that tip along to my husband. I bet you could tell some funny stories that happened during the full moon while nursing, Susan!

  3. Great post! Brought back memories of my years in nursing. Boy, did I ever see the effects of the moon! I delivered many babies under the lights of a full moon!

  4. Great post! Brought back memories of my years in nursing. Boy, did I ever see the effects of the moon!

  5. Great post, Sue! A friend of mine has worked at a nursing home for decades. She always knows when it’s a full moon because the residents get wacky.

  6. Patricia Lyn Bigbie

    Oh yea buddy…just ask law enforcement…I used to be a probation agent…with a caseload of convicted felons….I literally took sick & or vacation time off the first work day after a full moon.
    Everyone went crazy!!!×

  7. Great post supported by excellent and interesting research, Sue. I’ve never been much of an astrology scholar, but have no doubt astronomical forces have a huge impact on human beings. As a retired cop, I’m with the bunch who believes there’s something to this full moon craziness thing. I think most emergency service workers think the same – too many weird experiences around full moon time to doubt it.

    I asked a pathologist about this – the medical reason. Her take was that the brain is mostly water and it’s contained in a hard shell. Stronger gravitational pull at full moon time puts a strain on the brain and it causes some people to change behavior. While for me the full moon only has follicle and dental ramifications, I’ve seen some pretty bizarre stuff going down under the large lunar light.

    Gotta share my best f/m cop story. It was a warm fall night with one of them big ol’ harvest moons shinin’ on and I was at the hospital dealing with some nut-case freaking out at ER. We got her straight-jacketed, then I went outside only to hear the roar of an engine and squeal of tires. It got louder and louder and then this big boat of a Chrysler Cordoba rips into the lot and up to the ER door. A guy stumbles out screaming, “Help me! Help me!” He had a pair of scissors impaled in his chest. Turns out his wife snapped and shived him.

    I’d be interested in what other cops think about full moons. Joe & Adam are regular readers. What say you guys?

    • Hahaha. Garry, your story reminds me of the movie we watched last night. The wife was in her eighth month of pregnancy and said to her husband, “Every time I look at you I wanna punch you in the face … but I love you so much.” No full moon involved, but it’s a great example of how hormones can make “some” people crazy. So, if the moon toys with hormones and/or messes with our brain chemistry, it’s easy to see why folks snap. It’d be interesting to find out which part of the brain is most affected. If it’s the frontal lobe, that may explain the increase in violence.

  8. I am a regular viewer (since childhood) of the BBC series The Sky at Night. Wonderful. Do google it. Last night they showed a programme about the Super Blue Moon and Eclipse. So fascinating. About whether we need the moon or not and what would happen if it was not there – it is slowly moving away from the earth. The moon not only causes the tides and seasons on earth but also keeps us on the ground (gravitational pull) but some creatures are more fertile during a full moon, some species spawn and only mate during a full moon. But the myth that people misbehave more is a just that. Police and others have done surveys and studies and cannot find evidence that people are more violent or crazy at the time of a full moon. The moon was once 20 times closer to earth than it is now. Just saying.

    • That’s true, Jane. Scientist struggle to find a correlation between the phases of moon and human behavior. There have been studies, which showed the lunar cycle affected 28% of the test pool (all test subjects were locked inside a windowless room). Granted, that number isn’t concrete evidence of anything. As I stated in the post, scientists have only scratched the surface of the mystery surrounding the moon. They also can’t disprove the effects.

      I respectively disagree about police officers not noticing an uptick in crime during a full moon, though. I’ve heard too many stories from friends in law enforcement for it to be coincidental. You, of course, are entitled to your own opinion. As for my personal experience, I was greatly affected by the moon when it entered Capricorn in early January. The same day the moon transitioned to a new phase, a weight lifted. It was one of strangest feelings I’ve ever experienced, and I have no rational reason other than being afflicted by the lunar cycle. The timing of it aligned perfectly. I’m left with one conclusion: sometimes in life, the answers we seek aren’t always logical from a scientific standpoint. Faith, for example. Just because science can’t prove something exists doesn’t mean we should label it a myth or fable.

      Thanks for the recommendation! I’ll add The Sky at Night to my list.

  9. The full moon is driving my cats crazy. They make this ungodly noise by pawing at the window blinds in the bedroom to get an unobstructed view. I swear they stare at the moon as if they hear her call their names. Freya. Torrie. Gracie. Freya, Torrie, Gracie. Freya, Torrie, Gracie. Each cat takes a turn at the window between two and six AM.

  10. My mother was a nurse for over 30 years and she used to always say that they could always tell when it was a full moon by the way the patients acted, this was when she worked in Nursing Homes and when she worked in the ER she said it was always busier.

    • That doesn’t surprise me, Karen. Cops say the same thing. Why it took me so long to realize the moon could be affecting my mood, I have no idea. I guess I never felt the effects as strongly as I did in early January. It’s a strange phenomenon indeed.

  11. I do think the moon has a direct impact on our emotions and outlook. There’s something inherently magical about a full moon, super moon or blood moon that incites feelings that might otherwise be dormant. The lunar cycle speaks to scientists, creative types, idealists, and so many others with equal enchantment. Animals too, sense that change. Considering the moon effects one of the most powerful elements on Earth, the tides, it has to have SOME impact on us! Excellent post, Sue.

    • Thanks, Mae. You bring up an intriguing question. Are creative people more affected by the moon than non-creative types? Hmmm … every inch of me wants to probe this question in-depth, but I’m so behind. If I do, I might never catch up! It might make a fascinating future post, though.

  12. I think about it now and then, but never really keep track. Love the post.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  13. You make an interesting set of points here, Sue. I agree completely that the natural, physical forces of the moon phases, earth’s rotation, and the like have an impact on us. So does change in barometric pressure. It impacts the rest of nature, too. Those are just physics and chemistry forces within and without us that play roles in what we think and do. So I’m not surprised you felt impacted by the moon. I hope your February is better than your January was!

  14. I can sure see it at my job. The crazy ones come out during the full moon. The pseudo-scientific stuff helps us speculative authors stretch this into all kinds of lunar behaviors from werewolves to paranormal serial killers.

  15. This is brilliant, Sue. Sorry about your rough January, but I’m glad it all turned around for you.

  16. Denise Hendrickson

    Great post Sue. Lots of interesting info. I definitely believe the lunar cycles can affect moods and actions of people and animals.

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