Can the Human Soul Be Weighed?

The book “The Lost Symbol” by Dan Brown contains a chapter on some amazing experiments. According to the author, our soul is a material substance which can exist outside the body and can have weight. Therefore, it can be weighed.

One of the characters in the book, Katherine Solomon, was able to weigh human soul. She placed a dying man (he had donated his body for scientific purposes) in an air-tight capsule, fitted with very sensitive micro weight detectors. While the man was alive, the scales showed a figure of 51, 4,534,644 kilograms. And after the old man’s death, the micro scales showed a decrease in the body weight.

Brown does not specify this difference as a number, but makes a general comment: “This difference, though microscopic, is quite measurable.” This experiment allowed Brown to stipulate that the human soul does exist.

Dr. Duncan MacDougall from Haverhill (Massachusetts, USA), was the first scientist to conduct this kind of experiment in 1906, as reported by the New York Times on March 7, 1907. McDougall “detected” the change in the body weight when the person had died.

The measurements were performed on a special bed, which was also a gigantic scale with high precision, and have shown that the “soul” weighs 22.4 grams. Another weight measurement of the “transient substance” was done almost 80 years later, in 1990, by another researcher – Lyell Watson from the University of New York. In his experiments, the deceased became 2.5 – 6.5 grams lighter.

And almost identical results were obtained by Doctor of Science Eugenyus Kugis from the Institute of Semiconductors of the Lithuania Academy of Sciences in 2006. He found that at the time of death, the person loses between 3 to 7 grams of body weight.

It is not clear yet if the difference in weight can be attributed to the soul. But the question related to the existence of soul may be answered soon. The studies designed to prove the existence of soul have now been conducted in 25 clinics in the U.S., Canada and the UK. Dr. Sam Parnia is in charge of these experiments.

He came up with an idea to test the hypothesis of human soul escaping the body after death, the phenomenon which has been persistently described by individuals who had experienced clinical death. The Doctor and his assistants place cards with written notes in intensive care wards, in places not visible to the patients from their beds, on the ceiling, for instance. The patient who becomes “dead” for a short duration, will need to read the words written on cards and then tell them to physicians.

If the word is read and told correctly by one of the patients, then it is possible to say that an intelligent entity is separated from the body during death. And what else can it be but the human soul? The experiment will end at the end of 2013, and the separation of this intelligent entity from the body will be observed in 1,500 patients.

Skeptics’ opinion

Russian scientist, the head of the intensive care unit and resuscitation, Nikolai Gubin said:

“My colleagues and I conducted experiments on mice to determine when and how the weight loss occurs when a living organism dies. Four newborn mice weighing 4 and 5 grams were injected with strychnine. After that, two of the mice were placed in the laboratory containers without lids. And the other two mice remained in tightly sealed special containers.

When the mice were later weighed, it was found that the weight loss (meaning the “soul” separating from the body) occurred in the first two test subjects, which were dying in the open air. Their weight decreased by 3 and 6 mg. The mice, isolated from the outside world, had their weight unchanged.

It turns out that this possible weight loss during the process of dying can be attributed to natural physical processes (water losses during respiration, heat and evaporation losses), and their effect on difference in body weight can be eliminated by sealing the test subjects undergoing the process of dying.”

In addition, it has been long known that a decrease in body weight can be recorded during sleep. In an experiment by Swiss scientists, 23 volunteers laid in bed, outfitted with ultra-sensitive scales and went to sleep. At the time when an individual transitioned from being awake to falling asleep, a weight loss between 4 and 6 grams had occurred.


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About the Author:

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.


  1. Amber Corcoran May 15, 2013 at 12:57 am - Reply

    Interesting article, but I have one semi-unrelated comment– I realized that the photo used in the article is the same as the photo on the cover of Strassman’s “DMT: The Spirit Molecule.” What’s up with that? This is allowed? Just wondering.

    • Anna May 15, 2013 at 10:52 am - Reply

      I don’t know, I have found it on google search. By the way, did you read that book?

    • Whatever May 16, 2013 at 11:08 pm - Reply

      the picture is from an artist called Alex Grey…

  2. CosmosChild May 15, 2013 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    Well there is something missing in the article I guess. Dr Macdougall experimented on animals also, but he calculated no such change in weight. So he concluded that this weight change in humans has to be soul-weight , as popular religious belief says animals do not have souls. If the experiment is being conducted on mice also, how can we not deduce that changed weight is not because of last breath.

    • MATTHEW J GUIDER June 8, 2018 at 9:51 am - Reply

      Has the results been posted it’s years later in trying to find ou5 now I’ve just come across this

  3. RainboLight September 25, 2013 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    How much of a change in weight can be attributed to the loss of oxygen both in the lungs, and in the blood stream. A full balloon weighs more than a popped balloon…

  4. Rob. Mobey. January 15, 2016 at 11:06 am - Reply

    Hi There,
    I have a theory, that sais souls are given to us in order to guide us through life and give us the urge of right and wrong. Depending how we live our lives will determine the weight of the individuals soul. The heavier the soul the less lightly it is to reach heaven. How do we determine this theory scientifically?
    Kind Regards,
    Rob. Mobey.

    • Deba February 24, 2016 at 9:37 am - Reply

      This is a really good observation, and coincides with my own theory that we are made up of different densities of matter, from quarks to atoms and molecules, and that our “spirit” is simply a finer form of matter. what’s being weighed is likely finer than atoms like oxygen.

  5. Chris N. Slater February 6, 2016 at 12:18 am - Reply

    Interesting article, however it states the experiments will conclude in 2013 and this is 2016, so is there a follow up post with test data?

    I wrote a book, The Theory of Opposite Sub-verses, in which the universe oscillates, i.e. expands and contracts over and over again. In that theory a prediction states; The higher the WLD (weight loss at death) the higher the thought level (of that soul). The theory in part is we have two thought levels, the one our physical brain is capable of and the one our soul has, and they are both at the same thought level. As one raises the bar the other matches it. In this manner souls are ascending to higher more energetic thought levels in successive lives. I won’t give away the rest, but let’s say we could get readings from all animals, then we could see if the prediction is correct and if so open a numeric window into the 5th dimension for the first time in human history. Doing this would confirm a different form of matter from mass, and a much better understanding of our universe would usher in a new paradigm shift.

    It’s also possible that WLD tests relying on 3rd dimensional weights, will not provide the needed information. However, maybe some other type of yet unknown test could.

    • Deba February 24, 2016 at 9:42 am - Reply

      Thanks for the input; I’ll look up your book.

  6. john November 11, 2017 at 3:18 am - Reply

    I don’t just believe but I know that when we leave this earth are body and spirit which is the soul are one but becomes spirit at death. We hear a lot about going to heaven at death but are missing one point. we have to go to a place called the spirit world first, a place of learning before we are judged then put into a kingdom that will suit us depending on how we lived on earth and how we improved in the spirit world. The three kingdoms have three different levels within the Sun, Moon and stars. God would not put us with someone who lived a different life than us then put us all together, we would be miserable wouldn’t we. In the bible when Jesus was put in the tumb for three days his spirit went to teach the spirits in the spirit world to prepare them for the time of the great judgement.

  7. J October 5, 2018 at 11:31 pm - Reply

    Nice article. I would like to know the results of the experiment that ended in 2013, do you have it?!

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