The ghost! A physical being
Is the ghost or soul of a deceased person a physical thing or is it purely some sort spiritual energy? As I have said elsewhere in this website I am a former skeptic, and believe that ghosts are most likely real. And if it is true that ghosts are real and do continue to exist in some form after death, then I have often wondered whether that ghost is a physical entity made of actual matter which has mass, or is it some sort of purely spiritual energy being that has no physical mass at all. I'm fairly certain that most scientists or at least the ones who might believe in the possibility of ghosts would probably say it is some sort of physical entity with an energetic component, whereas most theological or religious persons would probably believe that the soul is a purely spiritual being in nature with no physical attributes at all, and probably resides in another realm of reality other than ours, ie, heaven or hell.
There was an actual experiment done in the early part of the 20th century by a doctor Duncan MacDougall of Haverhill, Massachusetts. Dr. MacDougall weighted 6 patients dying with terminal illnesses. He hypothesized that if the soul existed and had physical mass than a patient would weight somewhat less after the soul departed the body. He used industrial scales that were supposedly accurate to the gram. The beds with the dying patients were placed upon this scale. He calculated after allowing for physiological changes, that the average body lost approximately 21 grams of weight, and he made the assertion that this was the approximate weight of the human soul, and that it did, indeed have physical mass.
I don't know if anybody since Dr. McDougall has tried to replicate this experiment, but the scientific methodology used by the doctor has come into question and most physicians and scientists are skeptical of his claims. Does that mean that this claim has been debunked? No, and many people still adhere to the belief that a ghost does have a physical component to it. Whether it does or not, I cannot say, although I too remain skeptical of this claim, but I am open minded and have to admit that I just don't know.
By Martin Burns