Do we have a soul that leaves our body upon death ? Image Credit: Louis Janmot
At the beginning of the 20th century a doctor in Massachusetts attempted to weigh patients as they died.The idea that humans possess a soul and that this spiritual essence leaves the body upon death is something that has remained a major part of spiritual beliefs and practices for thousands of years.
Back in 1907 a doctor by the name of Duncan MacDougall ran a series of unusual experiments in which he attempted to capture actual hard evidence of the human soul leaving the body.
To do this he built a special bed containing a sensitive set of scales and convinced terminally ill patients to lie on it during their final moments of life so that he could measure the loss of weight.
After taking careful measurements and by factoring out explainable changes in weight such as the release of bodily fluids he ultimately concluded that the human soul weighed 21 grams.
He followed this up with a further experiment in 1911 in which he attempted to actually photograph the soul at the moment it left the body. Unsure if it was even possible he persevered and eventually photographed "a light resembling that of the interstellar ether" around several of his patient's heads.
Unsurprisingly MacDougall's work met with a significant degree of criticism from his peers and while he did receive some support he was widely chastised with his work being branded "a farce".
Nowadays his work remains deeply buried within the annals of history, but the question of the soul and what happens to us after death remains just as mysterious now as it was over 100 years ago.