Dr. Duncan MacDougall from the American city of Haverhill, Massachusetts conducted a series of interesting experiments in 1906 to study changes in body weight at the time of death. He proceeded from the assumption that the human soul has weight and when it leaves the body at the time of death, the weight of the physical body must decrease. The difference in body weight before death and after death will give the value of the weight of the soul itself.
While working as a surgeon at the home for tuberculosis - the Grove Hall mansion located on Blue Hill Avenue in Dorchester, Massachusetts in 1901, Dr. Duncan McDougall decided to build a special bed to control the weight of the dying patients. For weighing, he used a large industrial scale to measure the weight of silk with high sensitivity, up to 5 grams. He put on this bed successively six patients in the dying stage. Mostly tuberculosis patients were observed, because they were in a state of real estate during their dying hours, which was an ideal case for the precise operation of the delicate mechanism of the scales. When the patient was placed on a special bed, the scales were set to zero. Then the indications of the scales were monitored until the death of the patient. Weight loss was recorded at the time of death. For example, in one of the patients it was 21 grams. Dr. McDougall published the results of his experiments first in periodicals, and then in scientific publications. So, in particular, in the scientific journal "American Medicine" he wrote:
The first patient was observed for three hours and forty minutes until death. He was lying on a special bed, arranged on a weighing mechanism, which was balanced and had a scale with an arrow. When the patient was placed on a special bed, everything was done to make him as comfortable as possible, although in fact he was already dying. During several hours in the special bed, he slowly and constantly lost weight, approximately one ounce [30 grams] per hour due to evaporation of moisture through the respiratory tract and through perspiration.
For all three hours and forty minutes, I held the scale hand slightly above the center of the scale in order to more accurately determine the loss in weight should this occur. Three hours and forty minutes later, the patient died, which suddenly coincided with a sharp movement of the scale arrow to the lower end of the scale, which was accompanied by even an audible impact of the arrow on the lower edge of the scale, where the arrow stopped. The weight loss was set at three quarters of an ounce [21 grams].
This sudden weight loss could not have been due to the evaporation of moisture through breathing or perspiration, because these processes occurred gradually, in this case, at the rate of one sixtieth ounce [0.5 grams] per minute, while the weight loss in the moment of death was sudden and large - three quarters of an ounce [21 grams] in a few seconds. The movement of the patient's internal organs also could not affect the weight, because the whole body was on the scales. The bladder excreted one or two grams of urine, but it remained on the bed and perhaps this only influenced the slow weight loss due to her natural evaporation, but this in no way could explain the sudden weight loss.
One more possibility of rapid weight loss due to the rapid expiration of air from the lungs remained to be tested. I lay down on a special bed myself, and my colleague set the scale to balance. We determined that the most intense inhalation or exhalation of air by my lungs had no effect on the arrow of the scale. Then my colleague climbed onto the special bed, and I watched the scales. And his breathing exercises had no effect. So in the case of the first patient, we certainly have an unexplained three-quarters ounce [21 grams] weight loss. Is this really the weight of the soul? If so, what does this prove? "
In the second case, a sudden change in the patient's weight was also observed, but since Since it was very difficult for doctors to determine the exact moment of death, they doubted the reliability of the numerical data. In the third case, at the time of death, a weight loss of 45 grams was recorded, and after a few minutes - another 30 grams. The fourth experiment was unsuccessful, because prevented by other colleagues who were against conducting similar experiments. In the fifth case, it was found that the patient's body weight at the time of death decreased by 12 grams, but then again the weight increased by these 12 grams, and after 15 minutes it again decreased by the same 12 grams. The last sixth case was unsuccessful, because the patient died while the balance mechanism was being adjusted.
The scientist conducted the same experiment on 15 dogs, but their body weight did not change after death, which, according to McDougall, proved that dogs had no soul.
Despite the fact that McDougall followed certain rules when setting up the experiment (for example, he compared weight loss between humans and soulless creatures - dogs), modern researchers doubt the results of his experiment. The reason for doubts is the lack of proper control over measurements and the lack of accuracy of the equipment used. However, despite some doubts of the luminaries of science, none of the scientists did not repeat the experiments of Dr. McDougall to confirm or deny the results of his research.