If you hear dogs howling or see signs of other strange behavior, you’d better check the sky. There could be a full moon!

Those of you who have seen old scary movies probably already know that a full moon is supposed to bring out werewolves. Werewolves aren’t the only things supposedly affected by the phase of the moon, though.

Throughout history, different phases of the moon — especially the full moon — have been linked to all sorts of behaviors. Some police officers believe that a full moon leads to more crimes being committed.

Others believe a full moon can lead to accidents and natural disasters. Some hospital workers also think birth rates go up around the time of the full moon every month. One belief — that the full moon causes madness — is so widespread that moon-inspired words sometimes describe it: lunacy and lunatic!

So are all these beliefs true? Do weird things happen during a full moon? While it’s true that weird things can happen during a full moon — after all, weird things happen every day, right? — there’s no proof that any particular behaviors occur because of or more frequently during a full moon.

Many scientific studies have been conducted in an effort to try to find proof of a “full moon effect.” To date, though, these studies haven’t found any strong evidence for any relationship between a full moon and particular behaviors.

If there’s no scientific proof that a full moon encourages weird behavior, why do so many people believe it does? For one thing, popular media help to perpetuate these beliefs. A link between a full moon and odd behavior is a popular element of hundreds of books, television shows and movies.

Scientists know that the moon does affect the ocean’s tides. Many people have extended this scientific fact into fantasy, though, claiming that something powerful enough to affect the world’s oceans must also be powerful enough to affect human behavior.

Most likely is the fact that, when weird things happen during a full moon, people are likely to notice the huge full moon and the sky and WONDER whether it had something to do with what happened. When these same things happen at other times, no one thinks to consider whether it had anything to do with the moon.

76 Join the Discussion

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  1. We liked learning about the full moon. We even watched a video about the perigree effect, also known as the super moon. This was a very interesting wonder. We think it was cool to learn that the moon doesn’t really make people go crazy.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about optical illusions, mirrors, magic. JP wants to know, does breaking a mirror really give you bad luck.

    • Hello Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s AM Class! We “over the moon” excited that you’re visiting us again today! It’s great to have Wonder Friends like you!

      Thanks for sharing all the great information you have learned about a full moon– we think it’s SUPER that you have been doing some WONDERing on your own, too! We really enjoy your guesses for the next Wonder of the Day®, too!

      JP, we bet you’ll enjoy Wonder #375: Do You Think 13 is Unlucky? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/do-you-think-13-is-unlucky/ It is all about superstition, just like a broken mirror might be! :)

    • Hi there, Kourtney, we’re sorry you’re having video issues. We hope that you can get to our videos soon, but in the meantime, would you mind checking other videos from different sources? Sometimes school districts regulate what is and is not available, and we want to make sure this isn’t the case.

      Thanks for sharing your comment- we’re here to help! :)

  2. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Today’s wonder was very educational. We have been learning about the moon in science.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about a cartoon, a mirage, or even a magician.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Tillman’s 4th graders

    • Hello to our SUPER Wonder Friends in Mrs. Tillman’s 4th grade class– we’re glad you’re WONDERing about the moon today! We are glad to hear that you’ve been thinking about the moon in your science classes already– how WONDERful!

      Thanks for sharing your guesses for tomorrow’s Wonder… we think you’re doing a great job of using your imaginations! Keep up the great work! :)

    • HOORAY, we’re glad you liked the moon video, Bryleigh! Thanks for sharing your comment and using your imagination today– you ROCK! :)

    • Hey hey, our Wonder Friends from Mrs. Archer’s class are there today! We are glad you mentioned all the cool things you learned about the moon, including what it is made of! We bet you could do some WONDERing of your own about the moon, especially if it wasn’t there! We Wonder if the tides of the ocean will be affected at all…? :)

  3. That kind of scared me and I’m thinking it’s cool too and I like this wonderopolis and it’s nice you should do these more often.

    • We’re sorry to hear that today’s Wonder was a bit frightening, Breanne, but we’re proud of you for WONDERing with us today! We’re glad you enjoyed learning about the moon with us, too! We hope you learned something new about a full moon!

      The great news about Wonderopolis is that we have a new Wonder each and every day, Breanne! You can take a look at past Wonders on the site, or search by categories you might be interested. Thanks for visiting and commenting! :)

  4. Can you wonder how the 7 wonders are really nice to wonder all time and the person who wonders is really a wonderful person because he likes to wonder and that makes him realize his mistakes and wonder about them so it’s really nice to wonder.

    • Hi there, Hazem, we are glad you shared your comment with us! We think WONDERing about the Seven Wonders of the World would be a great idea! Thanks for providing your great idea to our friends at Wonderopolis! Keep up the great work! :)

  5. Dear Wonderopolis,

    A lot of us believe in werewolves coming out during a full moon. We have been learning about the moon in science class.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder might be about Halloween costumes that look real or maybe an holographic illusion.

    Thank you for the wonders,
    Mrs. Witkowski’s 4th graders

    • Hello Wonder Friends, we’re glad you are visiting Wonderopolis today! We’re excited to Wonder about the moon with you, especially since you have been studying it in class!

      We like your ideas for tomorrow’s Wonder, too! We are so proud of all your creativity! :)

  6. We know that in scary movies werewolves come out. We also know that wolves howl at the moon and that they run in packs. We wonder why wolves howl at night and not during the day.

    We think tomorrow might be about illusions.

    • Hi there, Third Grade All-Stars!! We’re glad you’re WONDERing about the moon and animals that are often howling at it! :)

      We have been WONDERing about wolves lately, and we found out that they aren’t too concerned about the moon. They howl at night because they are nocturnal animals, and they really like the nighttime. Sometimes, it looks like they are howling at the moon, but they are trying to project their howling upward and out, so other animals can hear it! How about that! We are so glad to Wonder with you today– and thanks for sharing your guess! :)

  7. We thought that Super Moons look very beautiful.

    Brock thinks tomorrow’s wonder could be about eyeballs. Bella thinks it’s about 3D movies. Jacob thinks it will be about Big Foot.

    • Thanks for sharing your comment today, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Ski’s PM Class! :)

      We are glad to be WONDERing about a full moon with you today! Has anyone ever seen one before?! We are getting excited for Halloween and we really enjoy your guesses for tomorrow… they seem to have a sPoOkY theme to them! :)

  8. Well this wonder was pretty creepy for me because as a hunter I have to have a sharp eye out for any animal tracks and when I was hunting I saw a HUGE dog foot print but I didn’t see four paws I saw 2 huge dog foot prints and I went again at night I thought I saw something in the distance and I did and I thought it was a white-tailed deer but it wasn’t it was a real werewolf and I was shivering with fear it saw me and scared me.

    • Hey there, Wonder Friend R! We Wonder if there was a full moon when you saw the werewolf?? We hope you were safe and sound after that scare, and we are glad to hear that you were being safe. It’s always important to travel with an adult, especially when you are out in the woods or forest. We hope you’ll come visit us again for some more WONDERing! :)

    • Hi there, Wonder Friends in Mrs. Clinton’s Larchmont Stars! We are excited that you are WONDERing with us today! We hope you have a WONDERful day filled with lots of learning — keep up the great work! :)

    • Hey there, Piper! We’re sorry to hear that we accidentally overlooked a comment of yours! Please accept our apologies! :)

      We are WONDERing if you learned anything new about full moons today, or if you have ever seen one in person? Have a SUPER day! :)

  9. We learned that the moon is in control of the tides. Aurora DOES think the moon affects her behavior. The police thought more crime happened during a full moon. The moon makes the water crazy, NOT people!

    • WOW, check out all the new information the awesome Tigers in 2nd Grade learned today! WOHOO! We are excited that you have been WONDERing about full moons and how it affects the oceans! We are glad you’re here– keep up the SUPER work! :)

  10. This article is really making me a little curious. Maybe I can do research on this because I don’t really know if this is true or not.

    • Hi there, Jasmine! We would love if you did some WONDERing of your own– we are excited to hear what new information you find! Happy WONDERing! :)

    • We have never seen a werewolf, Wonder P, but we think it’s fun to imagine different mythical creatures and all the powers they possess. We Wonder if you have ever seen a full moon? :)

  11. We learned today that people can think that the moon is related to crazy behavior, but it’s not true! We learned that the moon’s light is caused by the sun. The moonlight reflects on the water. Things happening under the water can make the waves.

    • WOW, we’re very proud of all the new information Tigers 1st Grade learned at Wonderopolis today– way to go, Wonder Friends! Thanks for sharing what you learned… we hope you are getting ready for Halloween! :)

  12. I absolutely adore the Full Moon! I will stay out late at Night just to see how the moonlight shines on everything. I find it both haunting and enchanting.

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Nocture! We are glad that you enjoyed our full moon Wonder, especially since you are such a big fan of beautiful full moons already! Thanks for WONDERing with us– have a SUPER day! :)

  13. The Full Moons and Dark Moons are breathtaking. I’m semi-nocturnal and see plenty of Moon phases. Still, I heard that the Full Moon phase causes the iron in our blood to rise, thus causing us to become excitable. Is that true Mr. Wonderopolis?

    • Hi there, Wonder Friend Edna-X! Full moons are very fun to Wonder about– and there is plenty of other information, studies and theories about the full moon and its affect on all of us. We bet you can find out some more information with some WONDERing of your own! Have a great day and thanks for joining the fun at Wonderopolis! :)

    • Wow, thanks for pointing out that cool piece of information, Wonder Friend Cutiepie! We love it when our Wonder Friends make cool connections to our Wonders! :)

  14. Dear wonderopolis,
    I think that weird things happen at night on a full moon. For instance, the tides rise so high and I got robbed. Do you think that weird things happen at night?

    Sean C.

    • We think that the moon could have something to do with people’s moods, Sean C! We are sorry to hear that you ran into some trouble while there was a full moon! We are glad to hear you’re safe and sound now! :)

    • Sometimes it looks like they do, Sam! But wolves and coyotes howl in an upward motion to produce sound that travels, so it reaches a greater distance. It does look like they’re howling at the moon! :)

  15. Thanks for answering my comment on Christmas. Can you do anything on sea creatures? Also I need to do a reading project at school about something on wonderopolis.

  16. Wow I love full moons! If I am outside on a full moon night I start acting weird. People at my school think I am a werewolf. I really love wolves but I do not think I am a werewolf. If wrewolves are real I think it would look like and act like a real wolf not look and act like a monster.
    :) 😀

    • Full moons are very cool, Skylar! We also think it’s cool that you enjoy WONDERing about animals so much! We haven’t seen a werewolf either, but we think it’s cool to learn about how wolves howl and why it looks like they howl at the moon! :)

    • Isn’t science just awesome, Angel?! We are glad you shared your favorite parts of this Wonder with us today! We look forward to WONDERing with you again soon! :)

  17. Hi Wonderopolis!
    We were thinking that if the Moon is strong enough to affect the water in our tides, then perhaps IT IS strong enough to change our behaviors. We wonder does the moon protect us from asteroids, comets and other falling debris. Thanks for making us wonder!

    • Hi Mrs. Unger’s Science Class! It is believed that the moon and other planets have helped the Earth not get hit be asteroids and other space falling debris! Thanks for WONDERing with us! Keep WONDERing! :)

  18. I like the cool thought of this kind of stuff, supersition, but I can’t say I fully believe in it. And don’t worry, I am not a werewolf.

    • Hi Abbie! We are glad you enjoyed this WONDER. That is the only WONDER about full moons, but we have several other WONDERS about the moon in general. We also encourage our WONDER friends to submit ideas for future WONDERS by clicking on “what are you wondering?“. Check out these other WONDERS about the moon. Have fun WONDERing! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What can happen during a full moon?
  • Are lunar effects real?
  • Can you plan your own full moon adventure?

Wonder Gallery

Full MoonVimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to plan an adventure? Check online to find out when the next full moon will appear in your area.

Plan to stay up late and head outside for a full moon adventure. Think of some fun things that you and your friends or family members could do under the light of the full moon. Need a few ideas? Here are some ideas that might inspire you:

  • Go on a nighttime nature hike! The light of the full moon can light your way as you enjoy nature as it can only be seen at night.
  • Have a late night picnic under the full moon. Make s’mores or your favorite snack and enjoy them in the peaceful moonlight.
  • Stargaze! Lay a blanket on the ground and enjoy just gazing up at the stars and the full moon. What constellations can you see?

We hope you have fun. Don’t forget to howl at the moon!

Still Wondering

Science NetLinks’ Lunar Cycle lesson offers activity ideas and discussion questions to facilitate children’s learning about the phases of the moon.

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Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day only LOOKS real!

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