The presence of a soul in living beings is a powerful concept central to many religions. Perhaps that is why some people are curious about the soul. At the same time, some have turned to science in their efforts to prove the existence of the soul.
You may have heard that the soul weighs “21 grams” or seen the 2003 movie “21 Grams” alluding to this fact.
The question arises, what is the weight of the soul? The bad news is that no one can answer this question with certainty. Because when science cannot prove that the soul exists, scientists cannot even weigh it.
But!!! The strange story of one doctor’s attempt is worth listening to it.
The story begins in the last century in Dorchester, a neighborhood in Boston. A famous physician named Duncan MacDougall had a theory in his mind that if human beings have souls, then he thought that they would also take up space in the body, and if souls take up space, they would also have weight, so why not weigh them?
Weighing the soul
After much thought, MacDougall concluded that there was only one way to find out.
In a paper published in 1907 about his attempt, he wrote, “Since this supposedly “fictitious” substance remains physically attached to the body until the transient occurs, the idea seems more reasonable. It must be some form of gravity, so it can be detected by weighing a person at death.”
He began working with the Dorchester Consumptive Homes, a charitable hospital for late-stage tuberculosis, which at the time was incurable.
He constructed a large scale, or scale, capable of holding a cot and a patient dying of tuberculosis. MacDougall wrote in his paper that tuberculosis was a manageable disease for this experiment, explaining that because patients died of “tremendous exhaustion” and without movement, the scale did not move.
MacDougall’s first patient was a man who died on April 10, 1901. At the time of his death, the scale recorded a sudden drop of 0.75 ounces (21.2 grams), and at that moment, the legend arose that the soul weighed 21 grams. Is.
McDougall’s next patient lost 0.5 ounces (14 grams) 15 minutes after the breath stopped; his third case recorded an unexpected two-step drop of 0.5 ounces and then one ounce (28.3 grams) a minute later.
Despite “interference from people opposed to the work done,” MacDougall dismissed the results of the fourth case, a woman dying of diabetes.
In a fifth case, a weight loss of 0.375 ounces (10.6 grams) was reported after death, but the scales were damaged, raising questions.