SCP – Secure, Contain, Protect began as a series of riffs on the idea of a governmental agency which protects people from an unseen and terrifying world of paranormal, psychic, metaphysical, extraterrestrial, or otherwise unexplained phenomena taking their sources from nearly any and every story imaginable, from Biblical myths to modern urban legends.
The SCP Foundation is an organization whose motto, if you knew they existed, would be “Monsters in Human Flesh Protecting Humanity from Worse Monsters”.
If such an organization existed, we might have to shut them down for OSHA violations at the very least. Human rights violations don’t even cover what they would be accused of if they existed. The only saving grace is they are somewhat effective at stopping the creatures from beyond whatever we deem as reality from completely destabilizing our way of life on their world.
If a monster, horror, non-Euclidean fiend has ever appeared anywhere, someone had turned it into an SCP entry. There are thousands of them and some are very interesting, others are not at all interesting. Talented writers transform SCPs into story elements, or turn their story elements into SCP’s. I find them an interesting open source story tool whose underlying corporate structure and horrifying world order to be one I wouldn’t use, but there are plenty of reasons to watch and enjoy the SCP website, even if you wouldn’t directly or indirectly make use of them.
Personally, I don’t enjoy the premise of a single SCP world, there are simply too many of them for any planet to survive them all, but if I were to take a collection of them, parsed out for my unique use, I can see them making excellent foils, threats and menaces for paranormal investigators everywhere.
There have been recent efforts to turn the more unusual SCP elements into explainer videos with varying degrees of success. I suspect as more people delve into it, there will be an increasing number of materials based around them, not to mention the already existing worlds which feature agencies already focused on gathering strange, magical, paranormal or alien artifacts to protect the general public from their existence.
Such agencies include:
- Raiders of the Lost Ark: Featuring Indiana Jones and the Ark of the Covenant. In what was an unexpected twist, the United States government reveals it has a vast and terrifying warehouse where the Ark of the Covenant (among many, many, other unknown objects) was locked away after melting some Nazis into pools of bubbling skeletal flesh. Deemed too dangerous to leave in a museum, it was bagged and tagged and presumably hidden to protect the public. It also implies, the government couldn’t weaponize it or reveal it’s capabilities to the public.
- Warehouse 13: in this series, a group of stalwart heroes gather artifacts from around the world and protect humanity from their spontaneous creation, appearance and untimely release into an unsuspecting populace. There are 12 other facilities where such artifacts have been stored for millennia.
- Friday the 13th: An antique dealer named Lewis Vendredi has made a deal with the Devil to sell cursed antiques out of his shop, “Vendredi’s Antiques”, in exchange for wealth, magic powers, and immortality. In the show’s first episode he rebels against the Devil and breaks the deal. The Devil kills Vendredi and claims his soul. The shop is passed to relatives, who upon discovery of the Vault begin a series of humorous and macabre adventures to recover said artifacts sold to customers which have supernatural abilities dangerous to the user and anyone in their immediate vicinity.
- The Librarians: A mysterious cabal of adventurer/scientists who traverse the world fighting against organizations which utilize magic, technology and things beyond the realm of Human understanding in their plots to take over the world, release demonic beings or in some other way destabilize life on Earth. The Librarians using knowledge gathered for centuries find these artifacts or cabals and stop them from completing their goals.
The idea of a series of unknown technologies from a previous time is a regular staple in Human stories from around the world. The SCP Foundation is just an online repository of such legends, objects great and small just waiting for an unsuspecting Human to stumble across and most likely die without ever knowing what happened to them. I wait to see what writers who discover the SCP Foundation and its wares will do with them next.
There are many different organizations utilizing these materials so you’re liable to find someone working on a story, resource, podcast, or video series that will appeal to your macabre lust for supernatural, extraterrestrial or otherwise mythological horror genes right around the corner. If you feel particularly creative, you might even create or discover one of your own…
Since SCP is open-source storytelling, artists and writers are always seeking to put their spin on the subject. The redditor: Jaredlong created what they thought would be the internal organizations of the SCP Foundation and the logos they might use to align such an organizational structure.
Can you think of any other existing stories or works which are built upon the premise of gathering artifacts to keep them out of an unsuspecting public’s hands?
Thaddeus Howze is an award-winning writer, editor, podcaster and activist creating speculative fiction, scientific, political and cultural commentary from his office in Hayward, California.
Thaddeus’ speculative fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and literary journals. He has published two books, ‘Hayward’s Reach’ (2011), a collection of short stories and ‘Broken Glass’ (2013) an urban fantasy novella starring his favorite paranormal investigator, Clifford Engram.