Friday, December 14, 2007

Get Mooned To Get Healthy

"By the light of the silvery moon,
I want to spoon, to my honey I'll croon love's tune.
Honeymoon, keep a-shining in June,
Your silvery beams, will bring love dreams,
We'll be cuddling soon,
By the silvery moon."

"By the Light of the Silvery Moon" by Ray Noble with Snookie Lanson
(hear the music

In honor of Tantalus Prime, from his spacey comment to my last post, I will bring you not one, but two posts on Earth's nearest celestial neighbor, the Moon. Lucky, lucky you, Tantalus. This is the first of those.

Yes, the Moon, that wonderful, lifeless, rocky sphere up in the sky that shines down like a magnanimous eye, spawning lunatics and poets alike. Some even believe that the moon possesses a special supernatural power that can be tapped to heal us.

Consider, for instance, my own mother. In a previous post I reported how she had once cast a sort of spell to help remove a wart on my finger. Whether it was the magic or not, I do not know, but the wart soon disappeared after being there for over a year. How fitting, then, that my Mom found this interesting little story:

A couple in Arizona have built a 5-story tall parabolic mirror which they use to collect and focus the moon's light, with the intention to heal those who bask in that light:



That's right. For a mere $10 each, over a thousand people so far from all over the world have paid to stand up to 15 minutes in their underwear in the focused light of the moon, soaking up its "healing rays". According to the article, people with conditions as serious as cancer and asthma have gotten shone upon by the couple's "interstellar light collector" and claim that their symptoms have lessened. The Chapins (who built the device) shelled out $2 million (yes, million) of their own money to build this monolithic mirror.

Said the inventor, "If it could affect plants and animals ... I thought, 'what could the amplification of that light do?"'

Well, Mr. Chapin, here's what it can do, from my skeptical scientist's viewpoint: it reflects light. Nothing more, nothing less. But, hey, if it makes people feel good, more power to them.

Said one "moonlighter": "You feel almost like you are in heaven," said Aranka Toniatti, a cancer patient who has driven from Colorado twice to stand in the moonlight. "It's a gorgeous feeling."

I have to admit, if I lived near the big moonlight contraption, I'd be tempted to shell out ten bucks just to say I stood in focused moonlight. It's a novelty, after all. And I have enough of an open mind (as do all good scientists) to give it at least a moonbeam's width of serious consideration. But that's a pretty thin width, and I think I'd have to be on moonshine to believe it.

1 comment:

Bix said...

OK. I'll admit it. I'd get mooned. But if I don't believe it does anything, would that negate the placebo effect? :)