|Credit: Dreamstime |
Many people like to believe in the idea of a soul, and we often look to the empirical world to bolster our religious or spiritual beliefs, searching for corroborating physical evidence. Just such scientific proof seemed to come in 1907,when a Massachusetts doctor named Duncan MacDougall devised experiments that he expected would actually measure the soul. Using six terminally ill patients on a specially-constructed scale bed, he measured their weight before, during, and after death. His results were mixed, but he concluded that there was indeed a very slight loss of weight, 21 grams on average.