The Weight of the Human Soul

Man getting up from hospital bed (multiple exposure)

The soul departs


Whether religious or not, most people believe we have some sort of spirit or soul that survives death. (It’s just everything else we argue about). It’s pretty much a given that we have to take the soul’s existence on faith alone. But do we need to?

In 1901, an American doctor, Duncan MacDougall, working in Massachusetts, conducted an unusual experiment on six dying patients.

He placed each patient and their bed on an industrial weighing machine so he could weigh them immediately before death, and immediately afterwards.

He intended to see if they were lighter after death, arguing if they were, the only thing that could account for it was the soul which had left the body.

He concluded his experiment did show a difference. After death the body was three-quarters of an ounce lighter, or roughly 21 grams.

He believed this was the weight of the human soul.

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