Bark at the Moon: Ozzy Osborne vs. Modern Psychology


We hear a lot about the moon. ‘He’s in the moon’, we say of someone who’s in a daze. ‘He’s moonstruck’, we say of someone who’s a bit crazy and in love with someone else. Or better yet, ‘he’s a lunatic’, referring to someone who’s not of sound mind.
In reference to the latter expression, many psychiatric hospitals, including our own here in Québec city, used to be known as the ‘lunatic asylum’, refering to the ancient religiously-based ‘superstition’, that mental illness had something to do with the waxing and waning of the moon, and that it affected people’s behaviour in strange ways.

According to my abnormal psychology textbook that I had for my course in psychopathology in CEGEP, the authors reassured us in a very authoritative, even rather paternalistically and patronising way that modern science had indeed dispelled such nonsense as all myth.

But wait!!! What about all of our folk legends about people getting a bit crazy during the full moon? We have countless legends about werewolves, and so on. In a more modern vein, the Heavy Metal singer Ozzy Osborne had a famous song called ‘Bark at the Moon’, from the 1983 album of the same name, which recounts a sort of Edgar Allan Poe-like horror story of a werewolf-like creature which rises from the dead at the light of the full moon, and wreaks havoc amongst the citizenry.

Of course Ozzy Osborne was more than likely under the influence of one or more mind-altering substances when he and his band mates wrote that song. However, the scientifically-valid question remains: If the magnetic pull of the moon can be so powerful as to cause the tides of the mighty St. Lawrence River to ebb and flow twice in 24 hrs. to a height of anywhere between three to four metres, and can do something even more formidable at the bay of Fundy in New Brunswick, then what influence can those very same magnetic waves be having on the glandular/hormonal and electro-biochemical makeup of the average person’s body and mind?
Surely a good science-based case could be made for ‘lunacy’. I say this because one only has to look anywhere around the world, in the news, and see some pretty ‘loony’ behaviour going on. I’m sure there are men and women all around the world, from Washington to Warsaw, and from the Beauce to Beijing, who have done and will for the foreseeable future; continue to do some pretty ‘loony’ things based on our relationship with our moon.

Let’s not forget that as science and faith continue to converge, many of these secrets will soon be revealed to us. We also have to realize that we live in a slightly crooked world. Literally. The earth is tilted twenty some odd degrees on its axis, so methinks it can’t but help making our relations with each other a little cockeyed.

We may have renamed our ‘lunatic asylums’ something else, but I think Ozzy Osborne just might be on to something.

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