Thursday, November 15, 2012

Human Soul weighs 21 grams

Dr Duncan “Om” MacDougall
The Weight of the human soul

In the early 20th century, a series of experiments were carried out by Massachusetts Doctor Duncan MacDougall and his team of four physicians. MacDougall had been carrying out the experiments for six years before reporting on his findings.

On the 17th of April 1907 the 'Albany Advertiser' (WA) ran the following story:

Soul Weighed


Five Massachusetts physicians have for the past six years been, engaged in experiments which were intended, as their spokesman, Dr. Duncan MacDougall, of Boston, puts it, "to determine the existence or non-existence of a soul in the human body, and to determine also whether the departure of that soul from the human body is attended by any manifestation of nature that can be made evident to the material senses."

These Boston scientists say that through their researches the human soul bas at last been catalogued upon scientific principles as an actual material thing; that when this soul flits from the body it diminishes the weight of the body by a certain measurable amount, and that this amount can be weighed in actual ounces. The difference between the weight of a live human body and a body the moment after death, or when the soul has quitted it, was found to be from half an ounce to one ounce, and to this, it is said, there can be no other possible explanation than that that is the weight of the human soul. In every case, it is declared, the loss was shown after all known scientific deductions had been taken into consideration.

The method of finding the result, as followed by the doctors, was to place the dying patients in a bed upon one of the platforms of a pair of scales, made expressly for the purpose. These scales were so delicately constructed as to be sensitive to the weight of less than one-tenth of an ounce.

Three cases in particular Dr. Mac McDougall cited. The first, an ordinary tuberculosis patient, who was dying, was placed on the scales at the instant of death. The body lost one ounce in weight. The second test was that of another tuberculosis patient and the result was the same. The third test was that of a phlegmatic man, slow in thought and action, and it was alleged that the soul lefl slowly. The scales show no loss for one minute, and then the body loses one ounce.


At the time, many of our newspapers took an almost negative stance towards the experiments saying 'Nothing seems to be sacred to the American Scientist' and calling the experiences 'weird' and 'bizarre'.

Dr MacDougall said this about his findings into the soul:
'The soul must be some space occupying the body, either of gravitated or some other form of matter that has weight. If this theory is rejected it remains for someone to offer a solution of the mystery of the loss of weight'.

MacDougall also was convinced that the souls of a dying person gave off a light, resembling that of the 'interstellar ether'.

The experiments did not stay within the bounds of the human soul, as MacDougall also attempted to measure the souls of dogs and sheep. After measuring the weight of fifteen dogs as they passed over MacDougall found there was no change in weight, and concluded that canines do not have souls. He was criticised for this experiment, as the dogs did not die natural deaths but were, instead, poisoned.

The results of the MacDougall soul experiments have never been reproduced, and his experimental methodology was flawed. In the early 1900's the measurement of weight was still too imprecise to give a definitive answer and that, along with the small number of human experiments carried out, did not give a great enough sample size to draw any accurate conclusions.

Regardless there are many who still go by his findings and cite them as proof of the existance of the human soul as a entity that can seperate from the mortal body.

Doctor MacDougall died October 15 1920 but will always be remembered fas the man to find the weight of the human soul; 21 grams.

Ashley Hall 2012. All reference material can be made available on request.

(Photo: Doctor Duncan MacDougall from picture library UK)

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