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The Transylvania Effect

werewolf at Full Moon Party

werewolf at Full Moon Party

The misleadingly entitled Transylvania Effect is not about getting bitten by a vampire and turning into a blood drinker, rather about the theory that the moon effects human behaviour.

The theory goes that the moon has a strong influence on systems on Earth – its gravitational pull creates tides; its pull also stabilises the spin on the planet as well as slows the spin down. The moon is hugely responsible for creating a stable environment for life to flourish. In contrast Mars with no moon keeps changing its tilt creating massive irregularities in its weather as well as unpredictable shifts in polar caps.

Before all this was known man instinctively grasped that the moon was a symbol for the female, for the menstrual cycle, for the imagination and for the darker elements of the human psyche. The Greek God of the moon is Luna and she has given us the word ‘lunacy’.

The myth of the werewolf is also about the full moon. At its zenith the moon has the power to transform. It turns night bright and it brings out the beast in man, the killer in man.

Today all this is summed up by The Transylvania Effect. This theory has very little scientific basis. It goes that the full moon causes people to act strangely and irrationally. Look at the Full Moon Party in Haad Rin – here is a perfect example of people acting differently during the completion of the moon’s cycle.

Any school boy will tell you that the buckets, drugs, music and carnival atmosphere have a much clearer case as the main causes for people falling over drunk, skipping over burning ropes, drowning in the sea, getting in fights, kissing strangers and taking their clothes off.

The police force in the UK have noted that the full moon often sees more drinking related incidents being recorded. This, however, only happens when the full moon falls on a Friday or Saturday night.

Zoologists note that in the most northern regions the constant daylight of the summer months fools many animals into staying awake and breaking their usual behaviour patterns. Many animals need the cycle of light and dark to regulate behaviour. When this is gone behaviour goes haywire. Similarly, the bright light of the full moon encourages people to change behaviour and stay outside longer.

This is relevant to one story of the birth of the full moon party. According to one story, foreigners staying in Koh Samui sought out a quiet beach to have a party. In Koh Phangan in the 1980s much of the electricity for the fledgling tourist industry was generated not off a grid. It was the perfect out-of-the-way and ‘non-electrified’ beach for a bong smoking party. However, the beach was dark at night, dogs abounded. It was the light of the full moon that meant it was safer to be outside as you could see the dogs. This was the perfect time to have an outdoor party.

Perhaps people are psychologically encouraged to stay up later when the night is brighter.

From my own personal experience living on Koh Phangan, I noticed that every full moon all the beaches bar Haad Rin are very ‘dead’. Everyone has gone to the big party. During this time the dogs go nuts during the night. Rival packs challenge territorial rights and start up one hell of a howling racket.

While scientists reject the hypothesis of The Transylvania Effect I for one feel that humans are influenced by the moon. The moon’s position is essential to life on Earth. The moon is an archetypal symbol. It is a potent force and whether this force is natural or just psychological it has an impact on our behaviour as demonstrated by the ‘lunacy’ of the Full Moon Party.