The SCP Foundation[note 3] is a fictional secret organization documented by the collaborative writing wiki project of the same name. Within the website’s shared universe, the Foundation is responsible for capturing and containing various paranormal, supernatural, and other mysterious phenomena unexplained by mainstream science (known as “anomalies” or “SCPs”), while also keeping their existence hidden from the rest of global human society. The real-world website is community-based and includes elements of many genres such as horror, science fiction, and urban fantasy.
On the SCP Wiki, the majority of works consist of thousands of SCP files (short for “Special Containment Procedures”), which are confidential quasi-scientific reports that document an SCP object and the means of keeping it contained. The website also contains “Foundation Tales”, which are short stories featuring various characters and settings in the SCP universe. The wiki’s literary works have been praised for their ability to convey horror through a quasi-scientific and academic writing style, as well as for their high standards of quality.
The SCP universe has inspired numerous adaptations and fan-made works in widely varying forms of media, including drama, novels and video games.
Overview of the SCP universe
The fictional setting centers around the findings and activities of the SCP Foundation. The Foundation is an international secret society, consisting of a scientific research institution with a paramilitary intelligence agency to support their goals. Despite their extremely secretive nature, the Foundation is entrusted by governments around the world to capture and contain various unexplained phenomena that defy the known laws of nature (referred to as “anomalies”, “SCP objects”, “SCPs”, or colloquially “skips”). They include living beings and creatures, artifacts and objects, locations and places, abstract concepts, and incomprehensible entities which display supernatural abilities or other extremely unusual properties. If left uncontained, many of the more dangerous anomalies will pose a serious threat to humans or even all life on Earth. Their existence is hidden and withheld from the general public in order to prevent mass hysteria, and allow human civilization to continue functioning normally.
Whenever an SCP anomaly is discovered, teams of undercover Foundation agents (often called Mobile Task Forces) are deployed to either collect and transport the object to a Foundation facility, or to contain it at its location of discovery if transportation is not possible. If an anomaly is too widespread, elusive, or otherwise inaccessible, containment consists of suppressing all knowledge of the SCP from the public. This is accomplished both through censorship of mass media, and forcing all eyewitnesses to take amnestic drugs which erase their memories of anomalous events.
Once SCPs are contained and secured at the Foundation’s secret facilities by armed guards, they are studied and researched by scientists in order to improve containment methods for them. The Foundation acquires human test subjects known as D-class personnel (who are usually convicted criminals taken from prisons around the world), and force them to interact with SCPs in science experiments or containment procedures, due to the potential danger posed by some SCPs and the expendability of the D-class. The Foundation maintains documentation for all SCPs which they are aware of, which can include or link to related reports and files. These documents describe the SCPs and include instructions for keeping them safely contained, as well as supplementary incident reports or experimentation logs.
Apart from the Foundation itself, there are numerous rival organizations (collectively referred to as Groups of Interest, or GoIs) which are also aware of the existence of paranormal phenomena, and interact with them for various purposes. Examples of major GoIs include the Chaos Insurgency, a terrorist splinter group consisting of ex-Foundation defectors, who attempt to capture SCP objects to weaponize them; the Global Occult Coalition (GOC), a secret paramilitary agency of the United Nations which specializes in destroying supernatural threats instead of containing them; and the Serpent’s Hand, a militant group which advocates for the rights of anomalous beings, resisting both the Foundation’s and GOC’s efforts to suppress all paranormal activity worldwide. Other Groups of Interest seek to exploit anomalies by producing or selling them for monetary profit; or using them to serve their own religious, political, or ideological goals.
Examples of contained SCPs
- SCP-055 is something that causes anyone who examines it to forget its various characteristics, thus making it indescribable except in terms of what it is not.
- SCP-087 is a staircase that appears to descend infinitely and significantly inhibits any light lit within its space. The staircase is inhabited by SCP-087-1, which is described as a face without a mouth, pupils or nostrils.
- SCP-108 is a Nazi bunker system that is only accessible through a portal found in a woman’s nose.
- SCP-173 is a humanoid statue composed of rebar, concrete and Krylon spray paint. It is immobile when directly observed, but it attacks people and breaks their neck when the line of sight with it is broken. It is extremely fast, to the point where it can move multiple meters while the observer is blinking.
- SCP-294 is a coffee vending machine that can dispense anything that does or can exist in liquid form—including, on occasion, abstract concepts. Regardless of the properties of the substance chosen, the machine’s polystyrene cups appear to suffer no damage from the substances dispensed into them.
- SCP-426 is a toaster that can only be referred to in the first person.
- SCP-999 is a Safe-class orange slime-based entity that smells similar to whatever is most comforting to the person it makes contact with. It has a friendly personality and is known to induce positive emotions on contact with humans and other organisms. Therefore, it is sometimes used as a tool by the SCP Foundation.
- SCP-1171 is a home whose windows are always covered in condensation; by writing in the condensation on the glass, it is possible to communicate with an extra-dimensional entity whose windows are likewise covered in condensation. This entity bears significant hostility towards humans but does not know that the Foundation members are humans.
- SCP-1609 is a mulch that teleports into the lungs of anyone who approaches it in an aggressive fashion or while wearing certain uniforms. It was previously a peaceful chair that teleported to whichever nearby person felt the need to sit down, but it entered its current aggressive state after being inserted into a woodchipper by members of the Global Occult Coalition.
- SCP-3008 is an IKEA retail store that has an infinite interior space with no outer physical bounds, causing prospective customers to be trapped inside the building after they become lost within its associated pocket dimension, designated as SCP-3008-1. It contains a rudimentary civilization formed by those customers, who are forced to survive and defend themselves against hostile creatures known as SCP-3008-2: tall, faceless humanoids wearing IKEA employee uniforms that become violently aggressive towards all humans during the dimension’s simulation of night, in which its lights go out.
On the SCP Wiki, the majority of works are stand-alone articles detailing the “Special Containment Procedures” of a given SCP object. In a typical article, an SCP object is assigned a unique identification number and a “containment class”[note 4] based on the difficulty of containing it. The documentation then outlines proper containment procedures and safety measures before describing the SCP object in question. Addenda (such as images, research data, history, or status updates) may also be attached to the document. The reports are written in a scientific tone and often “redact” or “expunge” information. As of August 2021, articles exist for nearly 6,600 SCP objects;[note 5] new articles are frequently added.
The SCP Wiki contains over 4,200 short stories referred to as “Foundation Tales”. The stories are set within the larger SCP universe, and often focus on the exploits of various Foundation staff members, SCP entities and objects, among other recurring characters and settings. Gregory Burkart, writing for Blumhouse Productions, noted that some of the Foundation Tales had a dark and bleak tone, while others were “surprisingly light-hearted”.
The SCP universe lacks a central canon, but stories on the wiki are frequently linked together to create larger narratives. Contributors have the ability to create “canons”, which are clusters of SCPs and Foundation Tales with similar locations, characters, or central plot. Many “canons” have hub pages that explain their basic concept and provide information such as timelines and character lists.
The SCP Wiki’s original logo while on EditThis.
The SCP Foundation originated in the “paranormal” /x/ forum of 4chan in 2007, where the very first SCP file, SCP-173, was posted by an anonymous user, accompanied by an image of the sculpture “Untitled 2004” by Japanese artist Izumi Kato. Although displeased with the unlicensed use of his art, Kato allowed the use of the photo as long as it wasn’t for commercial purposes. Initially a stand-alone short story, many additional SCP files were created shortly after; these new SCPs copied SCP-173’s style and were set within the same fictional universe. A stand-alone wiki was created in January 2008 on the EditThis wiki hosting service to display the SCP articles. The EditThis website did not have moderators, or the ability to delete articles. Members communicated through individual article talk pages and the /x/ board; the website lacked a central discussion forum. In July 2008, the SCP Wiki was transferred to its current Wikidot website after EditThis switched to a paid model. As of 2022, the site’s administrators have removed the image of SCP-173.
The current Wikidot website contains numerous standard wiki features such as keyword searches and article lists. The wiki also contains a news hub, guides for writers and a central discussion forum. The wiki is moderated by staff teams; each team is responsible for a different function such as community outreach and discipline. Wikidot users are required to submit an application before they are allowed to post content. Every article on the wiki is assigned a discussion page, where members can evaluate and provide constructive criticism on submitted stories. The discussion pages are frequently used by authors to improve their stories. Members also have the ability to “upvote” articles they like and to “downvote” articles they dislike; articles that receive too many net downvotes are deleted. Writers from the Daily Dot and Bustle have noted that the website maintains strict quality control standards, and that sub-par content tends to be quickly removed.
The Wikidot website routinely holds creative writing contests to encourage submissions. For example, in November 2014, the SCP Wiki held a “Dystopia Contest” in which its members were encouraged to submit writings about the Foundation set in a bleak or degraded world. The website has also held six themed contests for the opening of new Series, wherein the most-upvoted submission is listed at the beginning of the Series and the submissions of runner-ups are listed under an available number of their authors’ choosings. As of Series VII, the contest themes have covered urban legends, science fiction, eldritch horror, history, mystery, and nature.
Apart from the original English wiki, 15 official foreign language branches exist, and some of their articles have been translated into English.[note 1] The Wanderer’s Library is a sister site and spin-off of the SCP Wiki. It uses the same setting as the SCP universe, but is made up of fantastical stories rather than scientific reports. The SCP community also maintains a role-playing site, a forum on Reddit, and accounts on Facebook and Twitter.
The SCP Foundation has received largely positive reviews. Michelle Starr of CNET praised the creepy nature of the stories. Gavia Baker-Whitelaw, writing for the Daily Dot, praised the originality of the wiki and described it as the “most uniquely compelling horror writing on the Internet”. She noted that the series rarely contained gratuitous gore. Rather, the horror of the series was often established through the reports’ “pragmatic” and “deadpan” style, as well as through the inclusion of detail. Lisa Suhay, writing for the Christian Science Monitor, also noted the SCP Wiki’s “tongue-in-cheek style”.
Alex Eichler, writing for io9, noted that the series had varying levels of quality and that some of the reports were dull or repetitive. However, he praised the SCP stories for not becoming overly dark, and for containing more light-hearted reports. Additionally, he praised the wide variety of concepts covered in the report and said that the wiki contained writings that would appeal to all readers. Leigh Alexander, writing for The Guardian, noted that the wiki’s voting system allows readers to easily locate content which “the community thinks are best and most scary.”
Winston Cook-Wilson, writing for Inverse, compared the SCP stories to the writings of American author H. P. Lovecraft. Like Lovecraft, SCP casefiles generally lack action sequences and are written in a pseudo-academic tone. Cook-Wilson argued that both Lovecraft’s works and those of the SCP Wiki were strengthened by the tensions between their detached scientific tone and the unsettling, horrific nature of the stories being told.
Bryan Alexander, writing in The New Digital Storytelling, stated that the SCP Foundation is possibly “the most advanced achievement of wiki storytelling” due to the large-scale and recurring process through which the wiki’s user-base creates literary content.
The works present on the SCP Foundation website have been the subject of numerous independent adaptations and inspired some original works:
- SCP Foundation: Iris Through the Looking-Glass is a light novel series written by Akira and illustrated by Sidu. The book focuses on a boy who is kidnapped by the SCP Foundation after he sees a picture of Iris Thompson, a woman designated SCP-105, in every book he opens; the boy and Iris are forced to cooperate to escape the Foundation. The novel series began publication in Japan in September 2018, and was released by Seven Seas Entertainment in North America in January 2020.
- SCP-5000 WHY – The Graphic Novel is a 120-page graphic novel adaptation of SCP-5000 – Why? (the first place winner of the Series VI contest) written by Tanhony and illustrated by DRDOBERMANN. The novel focuses on technician Pietro Wilson surviving in an apocalyptic world where, for unknown reasons, the SCP Foundation has declared war against humanity and is releasing SCP objects to assure human extinction. Funded through Kickstarter, the novel was published by Discordia Publishing in August 2021, with promotional items including bookmarks, mini prints, and jigsaw puzzles made available.
- There Is No Antimemetics Division is a 209-page novel written and self-published by Sam “qntm” Hughes, an author from the SCP Foundation website. The novel is an anthology of works Hughes uploaded to the site from 2008 to 2020, including SCP-055 – [unknown], the There Is No Antimemetics Division storyline, and its sequel Five Five Five Five Five. The novel focuses on the concept of “antimemes”, ideas and entities that censor themselves through memory loss, data corruption, and other anomalous means, and more specifically the invasion of an antimemetic entity inimical to human life. The novel was published June 2021.
- In October 2014, a stage play entitled Welcome to the Ethics Committee was performed in Dublin at the Smock Alley Theatre. The play focused on the SCP Foundation’s Ethics Committee, a body that tries to limit unethical containment procedures.
- In mid-2016, the Glasgow New Music Expedition under conductor Jessica Cottis performed works inspired by the SCP Foundation at the 10th annual Plug festival of contemporary music.
- SCP – Containment Breach, one of the most popular games based on the SCP Foundation, was released by Finnish developer Joonas Rikkonen in 2012. The player character is D-9341, an unarmed D-class who attempts to escape from a containment facility. The player must avoid armed Foundation guards and escaped SCPs, including SCP-173. The game includes a blink function, which makes the player close their eyes and allows SCP-173 to approach.
- SCP: Secret Laboratory is a multiplayer game based on Containment Breach. Players have the option of playing as an SCP, an escaping scientist, a D-class, the armed militia of the defending SCP Foundation or the attacking Chaos Insurgency.
- Other video games include SCP-3008 (a planned multiplayer game set in SCP-3008) and SCP-087 (a horror game about walking down SCP-087).
- Control, a video game created by Remedy Entertainment, was first revealed at E3 2018 and released in August 2019. The video game was heavily influenced by the SCP Foundation, with the game centered on a fictional Federal Bureau of Control that collects mundane objects imbued with paranormal influence to study and keep secure.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Official foreign language branches of the SCP Foundation exist in German, Korean, Japanese, Russian, Thai, Spanish, Polish, Italian, French, Ukrainian, Portuguese, Czech, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Vietnamese.
- ^ Registration is only required to submit works and projects, or to leave comments and vote upon existing works. The site is free to view to people without an account.
- ^ SCP officially stands for “Special Containment Procedures” in the organization’s name; “Secure, Contain, Protect” is their backronym motto.
- ^ Commonly used object classes include:
- Safe: SCPs with effects tame enough to be reliably contained.
- Euclid: SCPs unpredictable enough to require more effort to contain.
- Keter: SCPs that either cannot be fully contained or that require overly complex and elaborate procedures to contain.
- Thaumiel: SCPs used to contain other SCPs and/or are beneficial to the Foundation.
- Neutralized: SCPs that are either destroyed or cease anomalous behavior.
- Apollyon: SCPs that are uncontained, or impossible to contain, and are responsible for an ongoing world-ending cataclysm.
- Archon: SCPs that should not be contained because of the damage caused by containment and/or the benefits of keeping the SCP uncontained.
- Explained: SCPs that were formerly thought to be anomalous, but are now fully explainable by conventional science, understood to be hoaxes, and/or widely disseminated enough to constitute a part of nature.
- Pending: SCPs that lack sufficient research and information about them to receive a formal object class.
- ^ Including deliberately humorous “joke” SCP objects, SCP objects that were archived or decommisioned in lieu of deletion, and translations of SCPs from foreign language branches.
- ^ Jump up to:a b SCP Foundation Staff (24 July 2008). Main Page: “International Sites” table. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Roget (17 February 2013). History Of The Universe: Part One. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 12 February 2015.
- ^ DrClef (12 December 2012). Licensing Guide. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
- ^ “Glossary Of Terms”. SCP Foundation. 17 March 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Aelanna (17 March 2014). About the SCP Foundation. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 13 February 2015
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- ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Starr, Michelle (11 August 2013). SCP Foundation web series coming to YouTube. CNET. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- ^ Zaeyde (10 December 2009). “SCP-087 – The Stairwell”. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 17 May 2015.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Eichler, Alex (21 February 2010). “Enter the SCP Foundation’s Bottomless Catalog of the Weird”. io9. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- ^ “What Is The SCP Foundation? 10 Best Pieces Every New Fan Should Read”. ScreenRant. 3 January 2022. Retrieved 23 February 2022.
- ^ Rioghail (28 May 2012). “SCP-1609”. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 27 December 2020.
- ^ Beschizza, Rob (29 June 2017). “Brilliant short story about being trapped in an infinite IKEA”. Boing Boing. Retrieved 5 August 2017.
- ^ Newsom, p.152
- ^ Jump up to:a b c d Burkart, Gregory (29 October 2015). “CREEPYPASTA: The Story Behind “The SCP Foundation””. Blumhouse Productions. Archived from the original on 6 November 2017. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Aelanna; SCP Foundation Staff (23 April 2014). “Object Classes”. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 27 January 2018.
- ^ Woedenaz (20 August 2019), Anomaly Classification System (ACS) Guide. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 24 May 2020.
- ^ Woedenaz (20 August 2019). “Anomaly Classification System (ACS) Guide – SCP Foundation”. The SCP Foundation. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
- ^ Jump up to:a b Dinicola, Nick (1 December 2014). “Creepypasta Gaming: Where the Internet “Learns Our Fears””. PopMatters. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- ^ List of pages tagged with scp, SCP Foundation. Retrieved 24 August 2021. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021.
- ^ List of pages tagged with tale, SCP Foundation. Retrieved 24 August 2021. Archived from the original on 24 August 2021.
- ^ Tapscott, p. 122
- ^ Jump up to:a b c Alexander, p. 72
- ^ Tapscott, pp. 122–123
- ^ Varonas, Nico (4 February 2012). SCP-087: Escaleras a lo desconocido. NeoTeo. Retrieved 26 March 2015. “Esta es una comunidad de usuarios y de fanáticos del sci-fi y el terror…” (translation: “This is a community of users and of sci-fi and horror fans…”)
- ^ Ong, Alexis (20 August 2020). The Unsung Muse of Speculative Fiction Is a Wikipedia Community. Tor.com. Retrieved 15 November 2020.
- ^ WhiteGuard (4 July 2021). “Interviewing Icons – The Administrator, FritzWillie”. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 6 May 2022.
- ^ Scott, Jason (8 October 2018). “SCP-173 (found 4chan post; 2007)”. Retrieved 21 February 2022.
- ^ “Internet Horror Legend Sees Incredible Reimagining After Over A Decade Of Tensions”. Kotaku. Retrieved 3 March 2022.
- ^ Pedullà, Lorenzo (25 July 2017) Cos’è la SCP Foundation?, Fantascienza.com. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
- ^ “Announcement Regarding The Removal of SCP-173’s Image”. SCP Foundation. 1 February 2022. Retrieved 16 May 2022.
- ^ SCP Foundation Staff, Staff Structure. 05 Command. Retrieved 21 May 2018.
- ^ Newsom, p. 154
- ^ Tapscott, pp. 117–118
- ^ Peters, Lucia (13 October 2014). “The 10 Scariest Urban Legends on the Internet to Bring a Shiver to Your Spine This Halloween”. Bustle. Retrieved 6 February 2015.
- ^ Tapscott, p.118
- ^ Jump up to:a b Suhay, Lisa (10 November 2014). “Urban Druid writing contest: What’s behind the dark-side fiction?”. The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- ^ AdminBright (27 July 2011). “Contest for 1000!”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ AdminBright (28 October 2013). “SCP-2000 “Science Fiction” Contest Hub”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ RJB_R (5 March 2017). “SCP-3000 Contest”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ ProcyonLotor (20 June 2018). “SCP-4000 Contest”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ ProcyonLotor (21 December 2019). “SCP-5000 Contest”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ ProcyonLotor (25 August 2021). “SCP-6000 Contest Hub”. Retrieved 24 January 2022.
- ^ Tapscott, p. 115
- ^ Sitterson, Aubrey (16 February 2016). “The 11 weirdest subreddits”. Geek. Archived from the original on 25 July 2016. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
- ^ Links. SCP Foundation. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
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- ^ Cook-Wilson, Winston (28 October 2015). “Scare Season: SCP, the Creepypasta for ‘X-Files’ and H.P. Lovecraft Fans”. Inverse. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
- ^ Alexander p. 73
- ^ Loo, Egan (18 April 2018). Seven Seas Licenses Dumbbell Nan Kilo Moteru? & My Father is a Unicorn Manga, SCP Foundation: Iris of the Mirror World Novel. Anime News Network. Retrieved 7 May 2019.
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- ^ Diver, p. 4 of chap. 5
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