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It may sound like a supernatural myth, but the idea that human consciousness lives on after death has been put forward by a number of well-respected scientists.
And the British scientist at the forefront of the eerie theory claims that humans have souls which don't die along with the body.
We many not know exactly what consciousness is, but physicist Sir Roger Penrose believes that it's just a packet of information stored at a quantum - or sub-atomic - level.
Sensationally, he claims to have found evidence that this information, which is stored in microtubules within human cells, leaves the body after a person dies.
Sir Roger has argued that when a person dies temporarily, this quantum information is released into the universe, only to return to the body's cells if the host is brought back to life.
He argues that this explains why people can have near-death experiences, and believes that this quantum information amounts to a soul leaving the body.
The physics expert said: "If the patient dies, it's possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body, perhaps indefinitely, as a soul."
And Sir Roger is not alone in believing this, since his theory is backed by researchers at the renowned Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich.
Experts there argue that our physical universe is just a perception, and that once our bodies die there is an infinite life beyond.
On 10 April 1901, an unusual experiment was conducted in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Dr. Duncan MacDougall was going to prove that the human soul had mass, and was therefore, measurable.
Dr. MacDougall conducted this experiment on six dying patients who were placed on specially made Fairbanks weight scales just prior to their deaths. Dr. MacDougall’s intention was to weigh each body before and after death to determine any differences measured by the delicate scales. The patients were selected based upon their imminent death. Two patients were suffering from tuberculosis, 5 were men and one was a woman.
n the company of four other doctors, Dr. MacDougall carefully measured the weight of his first patient prior to his death. Once the patient died, an interesting event occurred.
Suddenly, coincident with death, the beam end dropped with an audible stroke hitting against the lower limiting bar and remaining there with no rebound. The loss was ascertained to be three-fourths of an ounce.
Dr. Duncan MacDougall
The experiment continued on the next patient with the same results. Dr. MacDougall felt he was on to something extraordinary. A quote from the 11 March 1907 New York Times article captures the historic moment:
“ The instant life ceased the opposite scale pan fell with a suddenness that was astonishing – as if something had been suddenly lifted from the body. Immediately all the usual deductions were made for physical loss of weight, and it was discovered that there was still a full ounce of weight unaccounted for”