05-24-2010 02:08 AM

'On 10 April 1901, his chance came, and at 5.30pm a man “of the usual American temper*ament” and suffering from tuber*culosis was placed onto the apparatus. He was attended by at least four people, including MacDougall and Dr John Sproull, a sym*pathetic colleague. Like many suffering from this disease, the exhausted patient was calm and as he ebbed away, any change to his weight was noted.

Over the course of three hours, there was a small but steady loss of weight, which was put down to loss of water through sweating and respiration. Then, around 9pm, the man’s condition worsened and a few minutes later he died. MacDougall explained what happened next. “The instant life ceased, the opposite scale pan fell with a suddenness that was astonishing – as if something had been lifted from the body.” MacDougall and his colleagues ascertained the weight loss to be 21 grams.'

Read more: Soul Catcher: The Strange Deathbed Experiment of Dr MacDougall