A shadowy government organization is collecting and documenting objects and creatures of unknown origins. These objects and creatures often bend the rules of reality, or impose their own rules and create their own reality. This is not a summary of Men in Black or Warehouse 13, but the premise of one of the largest creative projects on the internet: The SCP Foundation.
The SCP Foundation originated in 2007 from 4chan’s /x/ – a messageboard dedicated to paranormal pictures, stories, and discussions. The very first entry was SCP-173. Based on a photo of an art project by Izumi Kato, the idea was simple enough: what would it look like if a secret organization wrote out the rules for containing a creature that was invincible when you looked at it, and blindingly fast and deadly when out of sight? (Yes, just like the “Weeping Angels” from Doctor Who.)
The articles and pages themselves are not really “stories”; rather, they read as instructions for containment of the subjects and (usually) reduce casualties; hence the meaning of “SCP”: Secure, Contain, Protect. These entries are all written in the kind of jargon one would expect from such an organization, filled with black boxes where information was removed, names and details replaced with “[REDACTED],” and mentions of different sites and areas that the SCP Foundation owns. These little details in story-telling are excellent in immersing the readers in the world presented. Much like the “Based on a true story” trope, the jargon and format give the pieces that much more realism.
Many of the SCP entries are based upon photos randomly found around the internet, much like the above SCP-173 (titled “The Sculpture”). For instance, the “Hard-to-Destroy Reptile” SCP-682 is based upon a photo of a sea creature dredged up in Russia. This entry is much more straightforward in concept— a nearly indestructible monster— but is perhaps more thought out in its containment protocol:
SCP-682 should be contained within a 5 m x 5 m x 5 m chamber with 25 cm reinforced acid-resistant steel plate lining all inside surfaces. The containment chamber should be filled with hydrochloric acid until SCP-682 is submerged and incapacitated.[…]
Though not every object is outright destructive. Accompanying every entry is a “threat level” marked in the SCP’s own terms:
Safe: A strange object/creature with easily understood and contained properties; harmless
Euclid: A dangerous object/creature that isn’t well understood; usually requires surveillance
Keter: A dangerous object/creature that could be world ending without constant diligence in containment
Thaumiel: An object/creature that can be used to contain other more dangerous objects/creatures
So while the SCP entries above are likely Keter-class, some of the more /comical entries are:
SCP-____ : “A rock that makes you procrastinate or something”
SCP-586: A scarf that causes those near it to misspell or use wrong words
But other entries are much more terrifying:
SCP-1981: A videotape of a Ronald Reagan speech. Every time it is played, the speech is different (sometimes prescient), and he is slowly sliced apart by something invisible, or hooded figures stand behind him
SCP-087: A bottomless staircase that absorbs all light that enters it. A face sometimes appears in the darkness. This entry is accompanied by the reports of interactions with it, which are closer to true “stories.”
But perhaps the best SCP entries are those that are truly creative and innovative in their conception.
●●|●●●●●|●●|●: Written entirely in pictographs. Why? Take a look!
The SCP Foundation is an incredible repository of modern horror pieces. There is no shortage in the imagination behind these pieces and no stop to what these simple entries can inspire in others. But unless you’re prepared to avoid sleep, try not to read these in the dark.