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Sunday, December 3, 2017

Feel the tug?

cj Sez: I did some research for your next fantasy story . . .

Far out. (Reuters/Jason Reed
The last full moon of 2017 is going to appear a little bigger (14 percent) and brighter (30 percent) when a supermoon rises on December 3.

Not only will this be the only full supermoon of 2017, it’s also going to begin a series of three, back-to-back, full supermoons in a row. And there’s a bonus. Full moons numbers two and three on Jan. 2 and Jan. 31 not only will be supermoons, they’ll also be blue supermoons—a “blue moon” meaning the second full moon in a single month. How extraordinary is that? Think about the saying, “It only happens once in a blue moon.”

Supermoon status is a rare event that occurs when the lunar orb will be near or at its closest elliptical-orbit point to the Earth…its perigee. High tides will be a little higher, male deer will begin to grow velvety antler nubs.  

Native American tribes that settled in the United States created nicknames for each month's full moon to help them keep track of the seasons. For December, the tribes referred to the full moon as the cold moon. It's the month when "the winter cold fastens its grip and the nights become long and dark," says the Old Farmer's Almanac.

According to some, when 
supermoons rise, lunatics let loose on the streets and werewolves howl their loudest.

The word lunacy comes from the Latin “lunaticus,” meaning, in modern language, moonstruck. Everyone knows that when the moon is full, the crazies come out, right? Not so says science of the myth that spawned werewolves.  In the 1800’s, it was feared that those affected by lycanthropy would grow extra-long canines and feast on human flesh when the moon was full.

The myth remained so popular that, in 1985, a team of scientists did a study on the concept that a full moon (full harvest moon or full wolf moon, or full snow moon, or full buck moon, et al.) could affect human behavior as it does the tides.

You can rest easy. No evidence of such an effect was forthcoming but the idea does make for great story telling.

So why do we blame the full moon for strange happenings? Probably because we’re expecting the correlation, and we can point to that moon for confirmation.

Okay, that’s settled, and now you can sleep tight . . . no werewolves out with the full moon.

You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

By the way, do garlic and a silver cross keep werewolves away…or is that for vampires?

“Bad Day at Round Rock” short story in The Posse anthology
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