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There are a fair number of claims about supposedly haunted places or items, and some of these claims have been documented in articles and documentaries with somewhat specific claims (e.g. here) of specific supernatural phenomena. That is, instead of claiming "X is haunted", a more specific claim is made such as "X ghost gives you cancer if you don't offer it a sacrifice" or "Pregnant women who spit on this particular pirate's grave have a greater likelihood of miscarriage and birth defects".

Are such claims on-topic? Obviously, questions like "Is X haunted?" is probably too vague a claim, but some claims of hauntings include more specific claims, such as that a large number of people who have been disrespectful to the object have had subsequent medical problems or that specific visual effects are seen if certain arcane rituals are performed. If they are on-topic, are there any best practices to keep in mind when asking about them?

Many of the specific claims of hauntings that I have encountered seem to be ones that could in theory be scientifically verified through experimentation (e.g. a double-blind longitudinal study of health outcomes among people exposed to a supposedly cursed graveyard at age 25), but turn out to relate to objects or places that are conveniently unavailable for serious research - secluded on private property (requiring one to trespass to get access), requiring difficult-to-obtain permits to study, etc. The Stull graveyard in Kansas is an infamous example - claims abound that a certain mythological creature appears there on Halloween night, but the property owners have refused for decades to allow any serious study and actively work to bar investigators from entering.

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I can't see any reason why such questions wouldn't be on topic.

We might well ask the questioner what sort of evidence it would take to convince them that the place or object was or wasn't haunted, which may help them to understand why it might be difficult to answer, and allow the question to be more focused on an claim that is addressable with empirical evidence.

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  • Isn't para1 contradicted by para2? I thought: "Do Gods exist?" is apparently quite notable, but not answerable according to site rules. So 2nd para needs emphasising expansion? – LangLаngС Apr 13 at 8:48
  • Note that the question Do Ghosts Exist? was asked during the beta phase, while we were still getting our scope sorted out. – Oddthinking Apr 13 at 11:57
  • @LangLangC: If you have a specific claim about the existence of a god that could be answered with evidence, I think it would be on-topic. Most claims about the existence of gods suffer from poor definitions of terms, or definitions that explicitly place them outside of the natural world where they cannot be falsified. If you dealt with those problems, wouldn't they be on-topic? – Oddthinking Apr 13 at 12:00
  • Having trouble imagining it how: tora, decalog, parting of the seas, authorship of koran… Did He write the stone tablets, let an angel appear to Mohammed for a dictation etc. As soon as the otherwordly entity comes into play in any way, I only see "we do not have the tools to answer that here". Counter examples? For 'haunted' it is similar: "did scientists collect ectoplasma" may be, "is it spooky" only after rewriting; perhaps to ~ "was there a new sound/temp/wind phenomenon found"? Ie: form defaults to off-topic, needs and maybe can be brought on-topic with clear focus, away from Qtitle? – LangLаngС Apr 13 at 12:13
  • @LangLangC: Do we agree: "Is the Red Sea haunted?" -> Closed; too ill-defined. "Did Moses part the Red Sea?" -> Open, but never going to get answers. Probably downvotes from disgruntled people. "Did Moses exist?" -> Fine (but such history answers always leave me unsatisfied with the poor evidence). "Did Moses use supernatural powers to part the Red Sea?" -> Close; there is no way to answer that empirically. It explicitly puts the question outside the reach of the natural world. – Oddthinking Apr 13 at 12:38
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    Yep. Such qualifiers would improve things quite a bit. – LangLаngС Apr 13 at 17:17

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