The SCP Foundation Is Home To The Internet's Most Terrifying Monsters

Have you ever wondered who catalogs the strangest fictional phenomena on the internet? The Special Containment Procedure (SCP) Foundation is a collaborative website where writers congregate to work on creepypasta-style “reports” about different kinds of creatures and paranormal activity. What is SCP? Rather than a wiki-inspired array of loosely collected stories, the SCP has a distinct approach which lends itself to horror, science fiction, and comedy.

SCP stories range from spooky descriptions about entities living under your bed and shadowy men watching you in the dark to breakdowns of how a Tupac CD has helped solve cold cases. If you’re a fan of science fiction or the short-form work of H.P. Lovecraft, then you'll find hours of chilling delight when you dig into SCP.

  • The SCP Is A Modern Science Fiction Community
    Photo: Aelanna / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The SCP Is A Modern Science Fiction Community

    The SCP website initially aimed to appear as if the shadow government group "Special Containment Procedure" exists to acquire, research, and catalog all manners of paranormal entities, creatures, and objects. This description may sound dry, but only until you start reading. The site comprises a global online community of science fiction and horror writers who collaborate to create some of the most compelling genre fiction.

    Writers design each "report" to resemble a bare-bones account of creatures and unexplainable phenomena. These range from scary to funny and straight-up weird. The best SCP stories manage to blend the elements mentioned above into one piece. 

  • The SCP Deals With Unusual Life Forms
    Photo: SCP / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The SCP Deals With Unusual Life Forms

    At first glance, SCP looks like a bunch of spooky stories about monsters locked in a cell, but there are so many writers on the site it's almost impossible to produce a duplicate account. The mods go to extreme lengths to ensure the site offers something for everyone - they don't want the stories all confined to a single genre.

    There's a whole world of weird phenomena to read about: 

  • The Foundation Got Its Start On 4chan
    Photo: SCP / CC BY-SA 3.0

    The Foundation Got Its Start On 4chan

    Before SCP was a living, breathing online organism, it was a single report posted to 4chan's paranormal page, /x/. In 2007, SCP-173 debuted; it described an aggressive sentient statue, which seemed to move only when an observer broke eye contact.

    The post was a hit, and readers began to make fanart of the statue and create new reports. This influx of creative energy gave the initial SCP creator the inkling to start a wiki.

  • Many Of The Reports Let Your Brain Do The Heavy Lifting
    Photo: SCP / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Many Of The Reports Let Your Brain Do The Heavy Lifting

    Many science fiction and horror short stories are so caught up in feeding the reader minute details - this ends up preventing people from using their imagination. The reports on SCP manage to toe the line between providing enough context and inundating you with too much information. In numerous cases, when a writer leaves out or redacts details in a report, the censored sections compel wonder about the potential horror of the deleted text.

    For instance, a writer tells a terrifying and sad story about a young woman kept alive against her will through an advisory report, which describes how researchers handle themselves when working on the case. SCP-087, an entry about a staircase leading to nowhere, takes a page from the book House of Leaves by expunging one of the additional reports entirely.

  • There's A Loose Narrative Structure
    Photo: SCP / CC BY-SA 3.0

    There's A Loose Narrative Structure

    When browsing a fiction collection as dense as the work on SCP, you may wonder if the stories connect. If so, should readers start at the earliest report, or dive in wherever seems the most interesting? The mods at SCP clarify how there's no real narrative to the individual pieces, so new readers can come to the site without feeling overwhelmed. Some reports do share a link, but the relationships between entries are tenuous at best - and this is a good thing. 

    If you like structured fiction, then you should read through the canons. These stories connect through a narrative and tone that plays with sci-fi and horror tropes. If you like your Lovecraftian horror and soul-crushing sci-fi to have an arc, there is a spot on the SCP wiki for you.

  • Each Creature Or Phenomenon Has A Special Code

    To make the reports feel realistic, each has a specific code number. For instance, the first report was about SCP-173, a horrific statue. The generic number system doesn't only serve as a handy way to catalog the 3,000+ stories available on the SCP wiki - it's also a way to tell the audience no matter how weird a story's content is, it's entirely rational for the SCP characters.

    The stories have codes assigned at random. So when you're reading through the site, there's no way of knowing whether you're going to get something frightening (SCP-087) or super weird (SCP-261).