Of course it doesn’t and it isn’t. But as a story it still really captures my imagination!
The story goes back to 1901, when a Dr Duncan MacDonald of Massachusetts, weighed patients who were dying of TB in a rest home.
When it became apparent that they were not much longer for this world, the patients were weighed, with their bed, on an industrial-sized scale.
Within moments after death, the results seemed to suggest the patients had lost, on average, 21 grams of weight, which it was suggested was the result of their soul leaving their bodies.
His subsequent experiments with animals lead him to postulate that animals do not have souls.
The results of his experiments were quite widely published, and remain somewhat in the public consciousness, in spite of being fairly meaningless and without any real merit.
His experiments were given a new surge of public interest due to reference to his work in the title of the excellent film “21 Grams“. The film is essentially about its characters’ struggles to come to terms with the weight of a human soul in another sense. Recommend you watch it…but don’t go spouting to people about the weight of a soul; you’ll look like a crazy fool!