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I often hear people claim that it is a fact that humans lose seven pounds when they die. Some people believe that this is 'proof' of the existence of the 'soul'. Is there any truth to this claim? I could understand a weight change after death but not a consistent one between people of different sizes.

N.B. I personally don't believe this to be true. Just thought it was a good question to ask on here.

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    7 pounds or 7 grams? I am certain that people do not lose 7 pounds the instant they die, 7 grams would be much more difficult to measure and I would be more likely to believe that (it could happen e.g. due to evaporating more water from your skin as the properties of the tissues change.) Mar 20 '11 at 21:51
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    'proof' of the existence of the 'soul'? Since when people believe the soul has a weight?!? Apr 27 '11 at 11:28
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    Inheritance Tax in the UK only affects large estates. If you are less than £325,000 you don't lose anything. More than that, and you can lose far, far more than 7 pounds. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inheritance_Tax_(United_Kingdom) :-)
    – Oddthinking
    May 21 '11 at 16:11
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    We want to focus our attention on doubtful claims that are widely held or are made by notable people. Please provide some references to places where this claim is being made.
    – Oddthinking
    Aug 28 '11 at 1:09
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    @MartinScharrer - See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duncan_MacDougall_%28doctor%29
    – Jamiec
    Nov 7 '12 at 14:35
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No we don't. I don't know where you got that claim from because it's not linked in the question (do link it in the question, if you can).

There is a similar myth that upon dying a body weighs 21 grams less - this is due to a (flawed) experiment performed by a Dr Duncan MacDougal. His results were never replicated and are considered to have little if no scientific merit.

More info here:

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    Unfortunately it is just people I have talked to so don't have a link. It seems there is a Yahoo answers question about it but I don't feel comfortable linking to Yahoo Answers as "source".
    – seadowg
    Mar 19 '11 at 13:04
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    @Oetzi: while Yahoo answers isn't a very good source to cite in an answer, I think it'd be more OK to use it in a question, if all you're trying to show is that this is actually a phenomenon that some people believe exists. Mar 19 '11 at 15:31

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