21 grams: Why do some people think the soul has this weight?
You have heard that the human soul weighs 21 grams and there is even a movie named 21 Grams in reference to this popular belief. But do you know how it originated?
At the beginning of the twentieth century, physicist Duncan MacDougall did some experiments to weigh the soul. He selected six people dying of terminal illness to put on a specially constructed set of scales designed as a bed.
MacDougall reported in his findings that the scales built for the experiment were accurate to about 5 grams. He sought out patients who were dying of tuberculosis because: “It seemed to me best to select a patient who is dying with a disease that produces great exhaustion, death occurring with little or no muscle movement, because in that case the beam could be kept longer. perfectly in balance and any loss occurring readily. "
At the end of the experiment, only four of the six selected could have their data collected. The research team found that at the apparent moment of death, the first patient lost about 21 grams. The other three patients exhibited similar weight loss, but one patient eventually gained weight and two others lost weight again within minutes of death.
MacDougall published the results of his experiments in April 1907 in an issue of American Medicine, and at the same time, the New York Times also published the discovery, leading the story to appear in the news around the world.
Both the scientific community and MacDougall himself have recognized that the experiment is not foolproof and much more research has yet to be done to categorically assert that humans have a soul and weighs 21 grams, but the hypothesis has already become popular belief. .