Item #: SCP-440
Object Class: Keter
Special Containment Procedures: All copies and attempted replications of SCP-440 are to be kept under the securest possible conditions. All information on the structure and nature of SCP-440 is to be kept strictly confidential. All relevant information regarding storage protocols, breach instructions and treatment of personnel affected by SCP-440 is to be as widely disseminated as possible. Personnel directly involved with the ongoing research and containment efforts may be receive instruction on the characteristics of SCP-440, to prevent unwanted exposure.
Description: SCP-440 is currently a collection of audio files contained at the Foundation’s research facilities. Its original form is unknown, as it only came to our notice through the effects of disseminated copies. In its current form, it is capable of inducing severe symptoms in affected subjects. The strength and rapidity of these symptoms is not variable with exposure, but the minimum exposure needed to produce these responses varies with the subject’s concentration on the sound, and therefore the volume of the sound and the subject’s surroundings.
(i) An intense textural assemblage, comprising of layers of harsh noise, distorted tones, and arrhythmic beats. Symptoms of exposure to this are: immediate complaints of headache and lack of concentration, leading into an extremely calm and unresponsive state, typically with open eyes. Subjects invariably become unable to feed or protect themselves. Forced feeding/ventilation can prolong life but brain death inevitably occurs within 72 hours.
(ii) A piece consisting mostly of extremely long duration tones, at very low frequencies. Symptoms of exposure: slowing of heart and metabolic rate, lethargy and nausea. Eventual effects involve hazardous slowing of heart rate and brain waves, culminating in brain death and cardiac arrest within 48-72 hours.
(iii) A short piece consisting of complex interlocking polyrhythms, irregular rhythmic changes and dissonant chords. Symptoms of exposure are immediately obvious: personnel exposed report the sound to be extremely “catchy”, to the point that they often involuntarily perform the piece’s rhythms by tapping/clicking their extremities. The affected personnel will become gradually more fixated upon performing these rhythms, and will react with hostility if they are not allowed to. At the later stages personnel will simply stand and produce rhythms by themselves, or move into small groups and “play” with each other. Personnel exposed become completely unresponsive within 24 hours and will lapse into unconsciousness and suffer multiple organ failure within 48 hours.
(iv) A moderately long, very complex piece involving many different instruments. Personnel exposed to this suffer no immediate ill effects, in fact reporting a feeling of euphoria and creative awakening. After roughly 24 hours, personnel will report a desire to “play along” with the music; this desire quickly becomes a compulsion. Personnel not given an instrument will improvise a musical instrument out of any nearby objects or drum with their hands on any near surface; and, if restrained, will resort to whistling or vocalizing. Personnel supplied with a musical instrument will show preternatural speed of learning and become familiar with all producible tones of the instrument. Improvisation will continue even if exposure to the piece itself is stopped and personnel will lapse into unconsciousness and die within 72 hours.