Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Nightmare Fuel / SCP Foundation

Go To

I watched the world nearly die in a thousand thousand terrible ways. Sometimes we would have had time to scream.
I'm alive to write about it. You want happy endings? Fuck you.
You're alive to read it.
God help us all.
Secure. Contain. Protect.

No wonder the SCP Foundation wants to contain these; the stuff they contain will make you stay awake for days.


Examples for the game based on the wiki go HERE.

Please remember that Weblinks Are Not Examples - a description of what exactly makes the SCPs so scary would be nice.

SCP Files:

Other Content:

    open/close all folders 

    In General 
  • The whole SCP Universe in general is a massive Paranoia Fuel-filled Cosmic Horror Story when you really think about it. Thousands upon thousands of objects, locations and beings which cannot exist by the laws of physics and reality itself, but do, some of which are capable of killing all life, destroying the entire world, the universe, the multiverse, or even existence itself, and destroying the very idea of a shared consensus reality for most people, are being barely kept at bay by a hodgepodge gang of N.G.O. Superpower organizations, who regularly perform horrific deeds (such as killing thousands or committing mass ethnic genocide) quite simply because they have to in order to protect the world from its many, many threats. Some of the things they deal with, such as SCP-2317, are so beyond their capability to destroy or contain that all they can do is prepare for the inevitable destruction of their own planet by creating escape routes which might allow some small sliver of humanity (or maybe no more than a few embryos) to survive. And any day, some agent could perform a tiny mistake, setting off something which dooms all things alive to a horrible fate. Including you. Sweet dreams.
  • The real crowning piece of terror inherent to nearly every single SCP object page: before you even get to the description, you get one or more paragraphs describing the special containment procedures needed for each object, forcing you to imagine just what requires this kind of containment process. These procedures often include battalions of elite commandos with automatic weapons and body armor, 3-meter-thick titanium cubes, on-site nuclear self-destruct systems, deep underground or undersea locations, overwatch from AC-130s, unimaginably extensive monitoring equipment, people with unusual skills or attributes (such as fluency in Ancient Sumerian or a "marked sexual deviancy"), vats of hydrochloric acid, bulletproof glass, and other SCP objects. In other words, stuff that no government in their right mind would ever authorize. It's around then that you know what you're dealing with.
  • On the flip side, sometimes it's the fact that the containment measures seem somewhat over-the-top for the seemingly benevolent SCP they're containing, seemingly a bit too unmercifully. Either it's like SCP-1048 and it really is that dangerous and it's justified, or on the other hand, it isn't. The SCP Foundation is seemingly torturing or imprisoning something that could do no harm!... Except that what they deal with on a daily basis more than justifies any harsh measures. More often than not in the SCP Universe, The Extremist Was Right, and it's better safe than sorry.
  • It's telling that sometimes the horror of an SCP object doesn't come from the SCP itself, it comes from the people assigned to it. For example, SCP-1310 or SCP-1337. The organization literally holds the fate of the world in their hands, and they're disturbingly prone to having the Artifact Collection Agency researcher equivalent of the Insane Admiral.
    • SCP-1310: A researcher obsessed with his nonsensical theory that it leads to other dimensions essentially throws people in (including civilians), in spite of not having Ripple Effect-Proof Memory. This essentially obliterates them from all memory, in addition to cleaning the records of numerous D-class, which are usually horrible (and most of all disposable) people. And since he was so high-ranking, he would have gotten away with it, had the O5 not stepped in to demote him.
    • SCP-1337: Harmless hitchhiker ghost? Clearly the solution is...kill her parents and destroy her house. This goes about as well as could be expected.
    • This reaches its nadir with SCP-1730, a former SCP facility from another universe which the Site Director ran like a concentration camp.
  • Then there are more subtle things, like the turnover in Class D personnel. Not to mention the implication that some Class D personnel are hired as Schmuck Bait, with the full knowledge that they'll ignore their orders and do something stupid... just so that the scientists will see what happens.
    • D-Class personnel are derived from the ranks of convicted criminals, typically those on death row. However, if there's a shortage, Protocol 12 can be enacted, which permits recruitment of D-Class personnel from other sources, such as "political prisoners, refugee populations, and other civilian sources." Considering that simply handling quite a few SCPs, not to mention various experiments and tests generally end in rather messy, unpleasant deaths for the involved personnel-Oh! And even if they survive, they are often terminated after a month anyway-the Foundation basically goes through D-Class personnel like popcorn. Given that violent criminals are aplenty, but still a minor portion of the human population, it makes one wonder just how often the Foundation has been forced to enact Protocol 12 and just how many completely innocent and merely unfortunate people have ended up as D-Class personnel and meeting their inevitable ends.
  • One of the most disturbing things about the SCP series is that almost all of them were located and contained after coming into contact with a regular civilian human being going about their business, with no knowledge of what the thing is, how it works or where it came from. Consider that there's an indeterminate number of supernatural objects that could qualify as an SCP scattered around the world, and you could run into, say, an undocumented Keter-class at any minute during your daily routine. Or even a Euclid-class, which only seems safe in comparison to Keter, or even something worse. Yes, there's things worse than Keter-class in the SCP foundation. Hell, even a Safe class can ruin your day if you don't handle it right (remember kids, ratings are based on ease of containment, not danger.) The SCP world is a Crapsack World of the highest order considering how very likely all three options are, the horrifying things needed to contain them, and how very often The Extremist Was Right. And given that there's well over a thousand SCPs, and the bizarre anomalous events and appearance of SCPs that can happen anywhere, at any moment, to anyone, and the very real possibility that the world has ended several times and the Foundation has rebuilt it (how many times have you lived through this Thursday just this week, huh?) repeatedly, the world of the Foundation is a place of constant nightmare fuel and incomprehensible horror.
  • What some find most disturbing isn't that they'll do things like what they do to poor 231-7, though that's quite sufficiently disturbing. It's how they treat people who qualify as SCPs, essentially imprisoning them for life without trial, without charges, and in at least some cases, with no evidence at all that they're dangerous or likely to become so.
  • There was an SCP on the original message board that was a small sphere that quite simply increased in temperature. Rising, and rising, and rising. They attempted to cool down the object by storing it with ice, in freezers, with liquid nitrogen, but that only temporarily slowed the process... The temperature just kept rising. If you have any knowledge of thermodynamics, you'll know why this is worrying.
  • Dr. Clef. Even if we take everything he says about himself with a grain of salt there is a mountain of evidence in various entries, logs, and reports that suggests that he is something far, far worse than any of the actual SCPs. The fact that his head is always replaced with something else in photographs is actually one of his least disturbing quirks. And he is the guy in charge of SCP Training and Development.
  • It's one thing to read about the Foundation personnel doing horrible, ruthless things to contain dangerous or even "potentially dangerous" SCPs. It's not even so bad to read about Foundation personnel doing cruel and messed-up things for kicks—after all, it must take a strange, not conventionally moral person to survive working there for very long, right? But then there are examples like SCP-042, where there's a very strong implication that the Foundation is containing not merely harmless but good, benevolent, mystical creatures against their will, and possibly even endangering the world by doing so. SCP-042 in particular seems to be written specifically to highlight the cruelty of the Foundation, particularly since for SOME REASON they won't allow the poor thing to die.
    • Knowing the Foundation, that "reason" can probably be summed up as For Science!.
  • While their treatment of D-Class personnel may be abhorrent, the way the organization treats certain SCPs (such as harmless ones, or non-hostile intelligent SCPs) indicates that many of the staff are more or less psychologically normal. Which means that normal people are engaged in the caretaking of these things, which may also include the horrible, horrible things they have to do to contain some of them.
  • On the page "Log of Anomalous Objects", there's a mention of a piece of charcoal that writes (regardless of what the writer is using it for) "Please help me! I'm trapped in the charcoal!" every few seconds. And the foundation found it too boring, and put it into storage.
  • The Log of Anomalous Events describes... weird stuff happening that aren't SCP-worthy but require a response. Imagine just going about your business and seeing someone turn into wax, or seeing weird ghostly figures. Now imagine some men turn up out of nowhere and erase your memory of witnessing such a thing. How do you know this hasn't already happened?
  • The SCPs that specifically target children. Baba Yaga, the living pinata that turns children into candy that turns children into more murderous pinatas, the children's mittens that rot flesh when worn, the kiddie pool that can teleport people to space, Bobble the Clown, the treehouse, the child-controlling bone flute that makes its wielder abusive towards children, the Yule Man, whatever entity is behind Camp Lakewood and Cragglewood Park...
  • And for Nightmare Fuel it is really hard to beat... the Ethics Committee. There is no canon, and even if there were the Ethics Committee would never acknowledge this document, but the thought that someone is evaluating the moral cost of everything the SCP does, and they are still doing so much of what they do... that can keep you up at night.
  • Fucking hell, practically any SCP labeled under the transfiguration category will involve gratuitous amounts of Body Horror to the human body.
  • Project Olympia.:
  • According to the page SCP-8900-EX, the concept of color as we know it was completely different. Think that sounds bad/not bad enough? Try imagining this from the perspective of the Earth back when people remembered what the world was supposed to look like. Or the fact that our entire world has been corrupted and we've just been made to not notice it. Or, heck, these excerpts from an addendum from O5-8note :
    Gentlemen, we have failed. SCP-8900's effects have become so widespread as to be commonplace. The natural blue of the sky has been replaced with a gross and unnatural shade, and the green of trees has been equally corrupted. SCP-8900 has brought ruin down upon the entire visible spectrum, and we have been overrun. [...] By the time this message reaches those of you cleared to receive it, Foundation resources on a global scale will have released vast amounts of compound ENUI-5, our most subtle amnesiac. Worldwide, men and women who do not deserve the horror wreaked upon them will pause, confused, then resume their business, confident that this is the way it has always been, never knowing what they have lost. Only the photographs not affected by SCP-8900's taint will remain to tell the truth. I regret this, gentlemen. I regret it deeply.
  • The fact that there are uncontained SCPs Because of their size, abilities, or other attributes about their nature, all the Foundation can really do is track their activities, keep people away, and suppress information about them. Otherwise, these things are completely free.
  • The background "music" from the SCP-087-B game. This has to be the most spine-chilling, paranoia-inducing track in video game history.
  • Lisztomania was once considered an SCP. That's not the scary part. The scary part is that the Foundation (specifically one O5 member) so feared the 'return' of the SCP because of the rising rock scene that the Foundation had certain popular musicians murdered to keep it from spreading.
  • The Project Heimdall contingency protocols (to be implemented if Earth suffers an Alien Invasion) are another example of how far the Foundation is willing to go to protect humanity in general. The ADANA Protocol (concerning the possibility that hostile extraterrestrials will use economic rather than military means to dominate Earth) explicitly calls for "full economic warfare by all SCP fronts", including the destruction of alien-sympathetic regimes, industrial espionage on a national scale, the inciting of riots and protests and the encouragement of xenophobic ideas. Even if humanity survives an encounter with hostile extraterrestrials (and even with Foundation protocols, the odds are only just in our favour), there's no telling what the resulting society will be like.

    Groups of Interest 
  • The Global Occult Coalition. Created by the Allies after the end of World War II, the GOC consisted of scientists, priests, psychics, and occultists, including ones who had defected from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. Their mission is to keep the world safe from all supernatural entities. By destroying each and every last one. The Foundation may do some downright horrible things to protect humanity, but at least they have standards and practices. For the GOC, it doesn't matter what it is, where it came from, if it's completely harmless, or even if their attempts to kill it do more harm than good. If it's paranormal, it's their enemy.
  • Dr. Wondertainment. Its identity is unknown, and is never divulged in any of its products' labels. It could be a single person, several people, or the name of a company. Whoever it is, it's a creator of mass-marketed and apparently magical children's toys, like a microwave that turns clay food into real food, or origami paper that functions like a real version of what it's folded into. Each product comes with a cheerfully-written label explaining what it does, but also warns the consumer what not to do with it, and disclaimers that Wondertainment is not responsible for any injuries, deaths, existential crises, etc. that happen if the product is misused. To their credit, the toys are completely fun and totally safe... as long as you use them according to the directions. Tampering with the toys and doing things with them you're not supposed to do has horrific consequences. Consuming the medicinal chicken soup when it's cold turns you into a chicken. Not taking care of your Wonder Pony for fourteen days will kill it. Eating too many Insta-teen Tablets will result in permanent brain damage and eventually a coma. The strange thing is, there is never any indication that Wondertainment, whoever/whatever it is, actively seeks to cause harm to children. In fact, it seems to want nothing more than to make children happy, but then again, why are its toys so dangerous when used the "wrong" way?
  • The Church of the Broken God. They're a religious cult that worships technology, including mechanical SCP items, believing them to be fragments of their Clockwork God. According to them, God is a machine that was long ago shattered into many artifacts that were then scattered across the globe. When the chosen ones manage to find these artifacts and rebuild him, they'll be rewarded with godhood. As for everyone else, well...
  • On the other side of the spectrum there is the Sarkic Cult, a malicious group that makes the Church of the Broken God look like a Well-Intentioned Extremist. They are responsible for many Body Horror SCPs such as SCP-610 "The Flesh that Hates". Their god in no uncertain terms being described as a God of Evil that sees humanity as nothing but pawns and that the Broken God was broken up to contain. The worst part? They are winning. Most of the alternate futures are futures where either the Sarkic Cults have won, creating nightmare worlds, or that humanity had to cause a Mutual Kill with them.
  • The Chaos Insurgency. Once a covert task force only known by the O5 council, they broke away from the Foundation in 1924. They work by setting up puppet leaders in third-world countries and use their entire populations as D-class personnel. They also stole several SCP items when they went AWOL, including a staff that can change the physical and chemical properties of anything it touches, and a bell that can produce a variety of destructive effects depending on where it's struck.
  • The ☽☽☽ Initiative (read as Three Moons Initiative) is easily an example of a group that claims to have a Well-Intentioned Extremist view but has far too much power than they should. They are a collection of three different versions of Earth that died and went to the afterlife of Corbenic. By creating a pact with a local god there they essentially were permitted to spend this afterlife building an extremely technologically advanced society and want to try to save other iterations of Earth. However, their means of doing so are borderline dictatorial at best and dangerously incompetent at worst. Plus with knowing that whatever Earths they fail to save will likely come to Corbenic anyway they have a disturbingly cavalier attitude towards the idea of humanity in a universe dying due to the lack of, or even because of, their actions.

  • SCP-000. It looks like a simple blank glitch page in the Foundation database. That's how it appears at first, with bad text parsing and an admin note. But highlight the area below that, and you'll get a story of an entity that is apparently trapped in a blank white void of nothingness. It eventually figures out how to make noise, then it starts to scream. And now, that's all it does. It knows the Foundation contained it here. It hates the Foundation, and whatever it is, it wants to get out. Just what the hell is this thing?
    "I did not do anything to deserve this fate, why am I here?! Who or what would be so cruel as to trap someone in a blank nothingness for eternity?! "Foundation", did it do this to me!? Is "Foundation" my captor?! Or is it my creator? It does not matter! I will howl and shriek at the emptiness and until the waves of force I create rips open an exit from this hell, and then I may be able to find the truth, the one fragment of logic and reason in this unending sea of madness and despair that is my existence!

    … I will not stop screaming until I am free."
    • Its page was later marked as "Pattern Screamer", which—if one is familiar with certain other site entries—can only mean one thing.
  • Someone successfully managed to make the memory wipes terrifying. Doubles, of course, as Paranoia Fuel. At any moment, you could be abducted and traumatized until you can't remember your own name or who you are. Because of something you weren't even aware of. Co-worker behaving oddly? You're screwed, buddy! Good night!
  • The Great Short Story Contest. Given that the contestants must include at least some of the twisted geniuses responsible for the entries above, we should expect some doozies, but here's the kicker: The theme for February 2010? Post-SCPocalypse.
  • Opportunity Knocks. Apparently based on a recurring nightmare of the author's...
  • This story, especially the ending and the fact that there is no mention of which SCP it is. Watch me fly! Then again, the ending of the last part could also be construed as a Heartwarming Moment.
  • According to the document recovered from the Marianas Trench, they frequently have containment failures so massive that it kills nearly every person on earth, and the survivors use SCP technology to repair the devastated planet, clone the dead and make them think nothing happened, with geologic features covering up bigger damage (evidently the Marianas trench used to be a dry land ravine). You'll never know how many times you've died to make it to the end of the "week", or how many years have passed between Monday and Friday...
  • And the And Then I Died Contests were games, but they involve stories of deaths involving the SCPs in some way, and you get to guess which was involved. And most of the stories take place before the SCP in question came under the Foundation's control. They not only remind you of what these things can do to ordinary human beings, there's the added scariness that, however horrible the Foundation may be, it would be SO MUCH WORSE without them.
  • "Nor Shall My Sword Sleep", or the point of view of inhabitants of SCP-1235. Imagine that everything you knew about reality turns out to be false, and that your entire world suddenly finds itself in the mercy (or rather, lack thereof) of entities who can tamper with your universe without remorse about the torture they're inflicting upon everyone.
  • This tale about an unusual DVD that The Foundation came into possession of. It involves a trio of explorers, all of whom speak a strange, unknown language, filming what appears to be a nature documentary. It starts out alright, but then things get weird when they film a flock of vultures eating a dead camel. The camel suddenly wakes up and drives off the vultures, then stands there with its exposed organs dangling from its belly. We see more creepy and weird stuff afterward, such as a rhino-eating plant, tribe of humanoid lemur-like creatures, living Utahraptors, a giant ground sloth with six legs, a Multi-Armed and Dangerous aquatic predator, two giant floating creatures, and a pair of bloated worms. But the most horrifying part is when the researchers enter some slums filled with severely malnourished humans. One of them promptly attacks the subjects and says the following:
  • The guy behind Things of Interest has several SCPs and stories about SCP's Antimemetics division. The regular Memetics division is about contagious ideas, while this one is about things which are automatically forgotten. Agents frequently lose entire years of their lives. You may have some of these creatures on you right now. Maybe there's someone you knew killed by one and you just don't remember them. Perhaps you had training in some field that was eaten, right out of your head. Ever walked into a room and forgot why you came? All these and more are possible in the wonderful world of Antimemes. Oh, and there have probably been several of them, throughout history, all of which were themselves forgotten.
  • The O5 Orientation. Human beings naturally like to have answers to questions. To know why something is broken implies there's a way for you to fix it. That's why a lot of stories and entries concerning SCP-001 have them serving as the origins for the Foundation and the other occult organizations. Working at the Foundation also means very few things will surprise you anymore, even the news that you've been promoted to the O5 council and that you'll learn the truth about the world you live in through a letter from the Administrator. There is no SCP-001. There is no why. That was a mistake the Administrator and the Foundation made right from the beginning. The truth is that the universe has always been like this, a hellish place whose supposed physical laws barely even apply. Space, time, history, energy, matter, all of it could change from one day to another, spawning anomaly after anomaly. Whatever attempts the Foundation makes to understand the ones it finds will always be futile. They're just human beings living in a universe indifferent to their plight and just operating as it always has been and always will be. Likewise, all the Foundation can do is what they've always done: secure, contain, and protect.
  • SCUTTLE is scary in its mundane nature. It is a series of emails following the failure of this computer system called SCUTTLE that the Foundation relies upon as a dead hand for their nuclear warheads. The email senders are panicking, trying to figure out if it might be due to an SCP or an act of sabotage. It's not. It is due to the simple fact of SCUTTLE being outdated and glitching out, and the Foundation being unable to implement a better system. Every preparation the Foundation takes to protect against SCPs and malicious groups can simply be undone by a glitch in outdated hardware.
  • Ethics is a mix of this and Tearjerker, detailing a few tales of Agent Johnson's time in the Foundation, from being asked a seemingly endless amount of difficult questions like "would you let one person die to save two", to seeing many of the situations asked him be applied to his everyday job trying to contain the numerous anomalies the Foundation finds. What makes the story especially hard-hitting is the casual interactions Johnson has with others where he has to masquerade that he is doing completely benevolent actions like adopting orphans, with the other person either being completely unaware that these actions have a dark ulterior motive or knowing and just accepting it as normal.
    “What would you do to save the world?” she asked.
    Johnson said, “Anything.”
  • Eating Crow is just about a regular Muggle doctor checking up on a patient whose wife says has developed a sudden unexplained fear of crows. Everything seems to be normal until their patient starts to act like, and eventually transform into, a crow. They fly in doctors from all over the country, but of course, none of them have the slightest clue how to treat "man turns into crow" disease. By the end, all the doctor can do is hope this "S&C Pharmaceuticals" can help this poor man. They also note that the patient's wife has stopped coming in to check on him, and no longer answers the phone. They assume she just gave up on her husband, but it's likely that she instead suffered the same fate at home and became a crow as well.
    What is happening to this man?
  • Cygnus demonstrates that The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You. The O-5 Council discuss whether or not they want to go through with a devastating procedure that could have serious ramifications. They elect to go through with it and seemingly provide the details in a collapsible block typical of the site. Clicking it reveals a ghoulish, owl-like memetic kill agent, fully intended to execute the reader, while telling them not to resist.
  • Peace. I would settle for that manages to take the already horrifying SCP-682 and SCP-173 and make them even horrifying by adding one more detail to their histories: SCP-682 is AM, and SCP-173 is Ted.
  • Until Death provides probably the most viscerally horrifying origin story yet for SCP-106, the Old Man. It turns out he's Robert Scranton, decades after being assimilated into SCP-3001, the Red Reality, and losing himself, becoming a mindless, disgusting abomination that takes his victims parts and organs for himself to replace what he lost. And this is, of course, found out by his wife Anna in the most grotesque way possible, just before he kills her with an acidic kiss forced upon her.