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What Is The SCP Foundation? 15 Best Pieces Every New Fan Should Read


For those not in the know, the SCP wiki is the largest collaborative writing project ever, and its massive catalog is routinely referenced on platforms like Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube. Originally beginning in the late 2000s, the project has gradually grown over the years. The SCP wiki’s website is home to tons of creepypasta, speculative fiction, science fiction, and world-building.

The universe this writing collaboration focuses on centers around a fictional organization called the SCP Foundation. Standing for “Secure, Contain, Protect,” the organization is dedicated to protecting the world’s normalcy from anomalous phenomena. The majority of the website’s articles are dry overviews of the various monsters and artifacts the Foundation has secured. Some of them are wacky, and some of them are weird, but SCP newcomers should start with stories that are easy to understand or introduce universe concepts.

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Updated on September 21st, 2022 by Tanner Fox: From tales of Slender Man to explorations of the Back Rooms, horror-centric internet folklore has become a hugely important topic. Starting in the late 2000s, the SCP Foundation was at the forefront of the movement, and it continues to be one of the best resources for all things weird fiction.

From simple tales of strange household objects to novel-length dissections of universe-ending cosmic terrors, the SCP wiki covers almost every imaginable facet of the horror genre, and these are some of the most important reads for newcomers.

The Sculpture

SCP-173

There’s no better place to begin than the beginning, SCP-173. This was the first SCP entery ever written, and it was posted anonymously. This object is a dangerous statue that must be watched at all times or it will animate. Inevitably, if it is not being watched, it will snap the necks of people in its vicinity.

The object that moves when not being observed is something of a horror trope. Fans of Doctor Who will notice similarities to the Weeping Angels, but The Sculpture is a much more grotesque take on the archetype, with its rebar construction and unknown fluid excrement. Despite its simple premise, SCP-173 appears in several other SCP stories and articles.

[unknown]

SCP-055

SCP-055 by qntm and CptBellman is a pretty esoteric concept—in fact, none of the researchers containing this object even know what it is. It’s not that the object can’t be observed, but it’s that it cannot be remembered after looking away. This introduces the concept of “cognitohazards,” or concepts that endanger those who know about and understand them.

Specifically, 055 is an anti-meme, meaning that it tries to erase itself from minds. This object is considered dangerous not because it poses an active threat, but because it cannot be researched. None of the hundreds of scientists the Foundation employs can learn very much. In fact, all they know is that it isn’t a sphere.

The Remains Of A Chair

SCP-1609

Despite the universe being named after them, the SCP Foundation isn’t the only organization involved in the strange. In SCP-1609 by Rioghail, readers encounter an object that has run afoul of the Global Occult Coalition. While the SCP Foundation is often criticized for locking up anomalies, they aren’t the worst; the GOC tried to unjustly destroy this anomaly.

This pile of mulch used to be a full chair. Before, the chair would teleport behind people who needed to sit. It was unusual but harmless. But, after the GOC tried to destroy it, it turned into wood chips that would violently lash out at people.

Hard-To-Destroy Reptile

SCP-682

The SCP Foundation tries not to destroy anomalies, and they only make exceptions for very dangerous ones, like SCP-682 by Dr Gears and Epic Phail Spy. Unfortunately, this danger lives up to its name by being basically immortal.

This is a large reptilian creature with a hatred of all living things, and it could rival any of the deadly reptiles in horror films. It must be kept submerged in acid, one of the only things capable of slowing it. The creature frequently escapes, causing death and destruction wherever it goes. But most notable is its testing logs, which detail the Foundation’s attempts to finally kill it.

Plague Doctor

SCP-049

Not all entries in the SCP wiki describe unnatural horrors beyond comprehension; while certainly anomalous, SCP-049 is a communicative humanoid being capable of holding conversations in multiple languages. While relatively doscile, SCP-049 frequently expresses concern regarding the outbreak of a “pestilence,” though it never elaborates on the disease in question.

SCP-049 is capable of killing and reanimating those it believes to harbor the pestilence, though it often shows remorse after doing this. The Plague Doctor is a perfect SCP entry for those beginning to dip their toes in the internet’s weirdest wiki.

The Tickle Monster

SCP-999

Not all of the monsters contained by the Foundation are dangerous to human; one of the most benevolent a glob of orange slime that wants nothing but to bring joy to people. This is SCP-999 by ProfSnider, an anomaly rated as “Safe Class.” It possesses the ability to make anything laugh.

The Foundation views this object so highly that they even allow it outside of its cell. This is the rare anomaly with no dangerous or dark twist, it’s just a cute outlier in a universe of horror. In fact, this anomaly is even able to pacify other anomalies. Even the aforementioned SCP-682 is no match for SCP-999.

The “Shy Guy”

SCP-096

Every good horror universe has a pursuer; the tall, terrifying entity that will not stop in its desire to acquire its objective, smashing through any obstacle on the way. There are plenty of good examples of this in the SCP Universe, but one of the most famous is SCP-096 by Dr Dan. This pale horrifically gaunt man will relentlessly pursue anyone that sees its face.

While initially seeming like an inverse of the earlier Sculpture, it goes further than that. Even drawings or videos of its face will set the Shy Guy off. Even if a man sees it on the other side of the world, it will immediately begin pursuit. It’s even been known to swim to the bottom of the ocean to protect its visage from being known.

A Perfectly Normal, Regular Old Ikea

SCP-3008

One phenomenon that has been sweeping social media is liminal spaces. These are dreamlike spaces that seem to go on forever, and a location where these seem to be common is the popular furniture superstore IKEA. Shoppers have complained for years about the stores’ lack of windows.

SCP-3008 by Mortos takes this idea to its conclusion. This is the interior of an IKEA superstore that truly goes on forever, with camps of refugees stuck inside the store, hunted by creatures resembling staff members. This idea has proven popular enough that an indie developer is attempting to make a survival game out of it.

Season Opener

SCP-1733

Time loops are quite common in movies and other media. Recent films like Happy Death Day have attempted to explore the horror of the premise that Groundhog Day made popular. SCP-1733 by bbaztek continues the trend of deconstruction by connecting to a real event. This is a recording of the real 2010 season opener NBA basketball game where the people in the tape are aware it’s a recording.

Back in the earliest days of photography, there was a superstition that being captured on film would steal your soul. This SCP fulfills that concept, as the sportscasters, athletes, and even fans come to the slow realization of their situation. While all these people are still accounted for in the real world, these duplicates are still essentially trapped. Things become more haunting as the video continues to be replayed, leading to a truly cursed conclusion.

Field Trip

SCP-2316

Another notable cognitohazardous SCP, Field Trip refers to a collection of bodies in an unidentified lake that takes on the appearance of the long-forgotten childhood friends of whoever happens to be viewing it. The exact details concerning the SCP aren’t known, and the Foundation urges those who come into contact with SCP-2316 to repeat the phrase “you do not recognize the bodies in the water.”

Field Trip is an excellent exploration of the incredible creativity found throughout the SCP archives; a concept worthy of its own horror movie, SCP-2316 is absolutely a standout on the wiki.

Ronald Reagan Cut Up While Talking

SCP-1981

Horror is often incomprehensible—it’s hard to be scared by something you understand, after all. SCP-1981 by Digiwizzard leans into this; initially seeming recognizable but devolving into bizarre horror. It’s a recording of Ronald Reagan’s famous “Evil Empire” address that slowly derails as cuts form over his body.

As the cuts form, the speech devolves into word salad that sometimes predicts future events. Also, the contents of the recording are different on subsequent viewings, including different wounds and mysterious figures in the president’s entourage. This juxtaposition of a famous historical event and mutilation makes for a truly horrifying read. It’s a good example of an SCP that’s “Safe Class” being terrifying.

The Hanged King’s Tragedy

SCP-701

The SCP universe features multiple antagonists, and the Hanged King is one of the most prolific. The monarch of the otherworld city of Alagadda, his influence is far-reaching, and his motives and goals are dark and horrific.

SCP-701 refers to a five-act play titled “The Hanged King” that is known to induce mass hysteria in audiences. This SCP entry borrows heavily from the 1985 Robert W. Chambers novel The King In Yellow, which is a collection of short stories concerning a play capable of inciting hysteria and an ultra-dimensional city known as Carcosa.

The Old Man

SCP-106

The Old Man is among the most recognizable and notorious early SCPs. A living being that resembles a decaying corpse, SCP-106 is a predatory creature capable of lying motionless for days at a time while it waits for pray. Able to pass through solid matter and erode anything in its path with an anomylous corrosive substance, the SCP is difficult to contain and extremely dangerous.

The subject of much discussion among the SCP community, The Old Man is an excellent example of the horror elements present in many SCP entries.

Red Reality

SCP-3001

SCP-3001 by OZ Ouoroboros is an excellent short story set in the universe. It expands on the backstory of SCP Dr. Robert Scranton, who in previous articles was established as being the creator of an important piece of technology. This is where the collaborative nature of the universe really shines, being able to add more to characters mentioned in afterthought elsewhere—and the article itself is both existentially horrifying and overwhelmingly sad.

The SCP in question isn’t a monster or an object, but an extra-dimensional space. The horror comes when Dr. Scranton accidentally finds himself trapped inside of it. What follows is a disturbing portrayal of one man’s loss of sanity and the effect that his disappearance has on the people who are left behind. It’s a thoroughly engaging exploration of a character in isolation, and it does an exemplary job of illustrating the dangers that lie around every corner of the SCP Foundation’s universe.

When Day Breaks

SCP-001

The SCP wiki does not list a singular SCP-001. Rather, it lists a series of “proposed” anomalies that could fill that position, and most of these pertain to entities or objects capable of either creating more SCPs or causing the end of the world.

When Day Breaks refers to a theorized phenomenon that would cause sunlight on the visible spectrum to turn organic material into masses of amorphous, gelatin-like flesh. Taking influence from David Cronenberg’s The Fly and the John Carpenter rendition of The Thing, When Day Breaks is certainly among the most terrifying anomalies listed on the SCP wiki.

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