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May 7, 2007

Lunar Therapy


Jerry Brown was ahead of his time.

That's the conclusion I draw after reading Dennis Wagner's article in yesterday's Arizona Republic about the latest thing: Richard and Monica Chapin's Interstellar Light Applications, "a Tucson company that has poured $2 million into the belief that there is a therapeutic value to lunar rays magnified by mirrors."

Here's the story.

    What's the bright idea? Mirror-magnified moonlight

    Lunar-therapy contraption draws crowds

    Carolyn Carter and Michael Prete stand in the desert darkness west of Tucson, smiling beatifically at what resembles a drive-in movie screen covered with mirrors. Their faces are bathed in a blue-tinged light.

    After absorbing concentrated moonbeams for two minutes in silence, they yield their place to other people waiting in line.

    "It was a very peaceful feeling to be there," says Carter, 68, still beaming.

    "A fascinating and strange character of light," adds the 62-year-old Prete.

    Over the past year, an increasing number of people have converged on this lonely patch of private land to submit themselves to intense levels of moonlight. The experience is courtesy of Interstellar Light Applications, a Tucson company that has poured $2 million into the belief that there is therapeutic value to lunar rays magnified by mirrors.

    On some nights, as many as 120 people show up, arriving from around Arizona and the rest of the country.

    Richard Chapin, the inventor, concedes there is no empirical proof of moonlight's beneficial powers because it has never been studied before. He counts himself a pioneer, not a dreamer, using money he earned by founding a Tucson swap meet.

    "Interstellar Light Applications is making science fiction into science fact, with the first project of its kind in world history," proclaims the company's Web site. "Only true visionaries see possibilities when others see roadblocks."

    Chapin says he invented and bankrolled the moonlight collector with help from astronomers and engineers at Kitt Peak National Observatory, although he says they don't want their names revealed. The contraption stands 5 stories tall and rotates 360 degrees to follow the moon. Its face contains reflectors that swivel to focus on a target that, according to Chapin, could be narrowed to a square millimeter. Such pinpoint accuracy would yield a moonbeam double the brightness of direct sunshine, he says.


    Chapin, 54, and his team of helpers, including his wife, Monica, talk about the lunar impact on tides and circadian rhythm. They say moon rays enable "full spectrum light therapy" without the damage caused by sunlight. They envision treatment centers where clients receive moon-glow infusions for cancer, depression and other ailments.

    Corinne Davies, who has a Ph.D. in genetics, does not know about moonlight's health benefits. But she is conducting a plant experiment by submitting seeds to 30-minute exposures and measuring any effects.

    Davies says folklore about werewolves and lunatics has stifled moonlight study, even though there is a "definite biological precedent for thinking that organisms would have reactions to moonlight."

    So far, however, there have been no clinical tests with humans. Chapin's team talks of "unlimited benefits for the medical, agricultural and industrial fields," but their claims are anecdotal, drawn from about 600 people who bathed in concentrated moonshine. Chapin says he knows of no serious side effects.

    Mike Cagle, a team member responsible for directing the mirrors, has spent hundreds of hours in front of the reflectors.

    "If it's detrimental," he says, "I'll be the first one to grow a second head."

    Chapin, who once headed a traveling science museum featuring gee-whiz exhibits, started the moonlight project four years ago when a close friend was dying of pancreatic cancer. He began with the empirical and expanded into the metaphysical.

    "I started strictly as science... and now I don't mind the spiritual," Chapin says. "Hopefully, it will deepen some people's souls."

    The result is a New Age atmosphere at full-moon gatherings in the Sonoran outback, enhanced by music that includes Buddhist chants and an ethereal song titled Sedona Suite.

    One veteran moon-bather claims skin tags and moles vanished after previous treatments.

    Another, firefighter Jon Graves, says he lost 90 pounds and completed an Ironman race after receiving lunar doses with his bulldog, Gooch.

    "It definitely was the kick start, whether it was psychological or not," Graves says.

    Visitors receive "moonstones," or rocks purified by sunlight, before they enter the basking zone in twos and threes. They are instructed to soak them with lunar rays for a personally sanctifying energy.

    The Chapins don't charge but do accept $10 dona- tions.

    Their Web site has a sign-up form for would-be investors. They have established a subsidiary company, Moonlight Infusions LLC, to market items, such as crystals, imbued with moonbeams.

    As the moon rises, playing peek-a-boo behind clouds, Chapin's wife, Monica, tells guests to expect wonderful experiences.

    "Look directly into that light," she advises. "It's a beautiful light. It's a heavenly light, really."


I don't know if you'll get the full benefit of lunar therapy by setting up a bank of mirrors around your computer screen and watching the video up top here — but it can't hurt.


A video of Fox Phoenix News coverage of November 14, 2006 is here.

May 7, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink


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i would like to get an experience for spiritual reasons..

Posted by: rakesh | Nov 23, 2008 3:08:27 PM

My wife is wheel chair bound with MS, is it a possibility for her to have a moon light session with your project? Also I have not been able to find the directions and the date to be there.
Thank you.

Posted by: Dave Gibbs | Aug 24, 2008 2:01:07 AM

may i have directions from phoenix

Posted by: j | Jul 20, 2008 4:48:10 PM

I have advanced cancer and would like to come and bask in the moonlight. Please send me directions. I would like to come around the 21st-23rd of dec. Please advise.

Lauretta Staley

Posted by: Laureta | Nov 23, 2007 1:49:14 PM

I have advanced cancer and would like to come and bask in the moonlight. Please send me directions. I would like to come around the 21st-23rd of dec. Please advise.

Lauretta Staley

Posted by: Laureta | Nov 23, 2007 1:47:31 PM

i'd like directions and what night to come. thank you, betty

Posted by: betty | Nov 11, 2007 9:58:20 PM

You might want to check out their website at: www.starlightuses.com

YOu can also email the inventor through this site. I've been to the collector. Very impressive.

Posted by: Barbara McFadden | Sep 3, 2007 10:24:29 AM

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