Lunatics and all enjoy Moon Howl |

Lunatics and all enjoy Moon Howl

The effect the full moon has on behavior is questionable. There is no scientific evidence that correlations exist between the phases of the moon and homicides, birth rates or the level of aggression at professional hockey games. However, the myth of lunar effects found support at the Lake of the Pines Moon Howl last month.

Lunatics of all ages participated in this annual event where boaters gather together on the lake to witness the full moon rise into the sky and cast its silvery reflection onto the rippled surface of the water. The image sounds calm, but the boaters are not. Howling, laughing and screaming can be heard across the lake during the night, and, although there is no scientific reason behind the gaiety, it exists nonetheless.

Guided by Captain Dale Groat, our crew of eight 40-somethings launched a Ski Centurion boat, and set out to join the others already howling loudly at the moon.

After the first few feet, a flood of childhood memories came rushing back. Sparked mainly by the smell of the water and the slow progression of the boat, I was reminded of a memorable ride on Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean. At first the full moon had a calming effect on our group, its ancient brightness painted the peaks of the black wake behind the boat with timeless beauty. Then, from the bow of the vessel came rouge-like calls and threats to imaginary foes sailing the legendary pirate ship the “Black Pearl.” If this is not evidence of the lunar effect on grown men, I don’t know what is.

Our quest was to meet Realtor Carol Thornton and her husband, Richard, and tie on to their party boat. As we journeyed across the water, we saw other groups of boats, mostly of the pontoon variety, tied together in groups of three or four. We even spotted some kayakers, braving the dark water to join the moonlit revelry.

Adding to the eerie feeling of the night were the fresh-water jellyfish pulsating at the surface of the lake. As zoologists call them, the Craspeducusta sowerbyi were first discovered in England in 1880, and have been reported to exist in about 30 states. These creatures are about one inch in diameter and appear in this form about every 13 years under suitable temperature and water conditions.

The fresh-water jellyfish are harmless to humans, but that night they seemed to be watching us more than we were watching them. I think we were all watching the full moon that night, mesmerized by its cool brightness, slowly pulling us in.


Laura Lavelle is a resident of Lake of the Pines, and her column is for Lake of the Pines area residents to share thoughts and information. Contact her at or leave a phone message with the readership editor at 477-4238.

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