Item #: SCP-547
Object Class: Safe (application pending for reclassification to Euclid)
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-547 is currently stored in a minimum-security containment locker at Storage Site-23. Level 2 personnel and higher are permitted access to SCP-547 without prior authorization. Level 2 personnel engaged in research are permitted to handle SCP-547 provided the conditions of Addendum #01-A are not violated. Class D personnel are to be employed for active experimentation as detailed in Addendum #01-A.
Description: SCP-547 is an archaic instrument. It consists of a U-shaped frame, the tips of which are joined by a cross-piece. Ten strings run from the cross-piece to the midpoint of the frame. It appears to be constructed of solid gold in an ante-classical Grecian style. The name "Ὀρφεύς" (Modern English: Orpheus) is carved on the left arm of the instrument. SCP-547 is in perfect condition, despite its obvious age. SCP-547 can be safely handled and examined without special precautions provided it is not played. Experimentation with class D personnel has established simple guidelines for the handling and playing of SCP-547, as detailed in Addendum #01-A.
When played in a manner consistent with Addendum #01-A, the person playing (henceforth: operator) will find himself unable to cease. He will continue playing in a consistent manner until he is rendered incapable of doing so, usually by the phenomena associated with SCP-547. If he completes a musical piece, he will find himself immediately compelled to begin another. After roughly five full minutes of music the operator will become observably distressed. He will express a desire to cease playing but will be unable to do so. After roughly ten full minutes of music the operator will enter a state of panic. He may beg observers to aid him. (It is not recommended that observers interfere with the experiment in progress, possible effects are unknown.) This state of agitation will continue until the completion of the operator's current musical piece, at which point visually verifiable phenomena begin. Observers are encouraged to take detailed notes from this point on.
At a location roughly 3m (10ft) behind the operator a █████████ will open. (The exact distance is adjusted depending on the size of the test location.) The operator will express awareness of the █████████ but will be physically unable to turn to face it. Observers will note the appearance of a skeletal figure emerging from within the █████████. Medical observation of stature, dental alignment and tooth condition, and other skeletal markers suggest that the figure is a female of the early classical Greek period. This apparition will proceed slowly and deliberately toward the operator, whose state of distress will intensify into a state of complete panic. Upon reaching the operator the figure will seize hold of him, violently turning him to face it. Operators often express extreme distress, following which [DATA EXPUNGED].
Document #527-A: [Legend of Orpheus, common source] The most famous story in which Orpheus figures is that of his wife Eurydice (also known as Agriope). While fleeing from Aristaeus (son of Apollo), Eurydice ran into a nest of snakes which bit her fatally on her heel. Distraught, Orpheus played such sad songs and sang so mournfully that all the nymphs and gods wept. On their advice, Orpheus traveled to the underworld and by his music softened the hearts of Hades and Persephone (he was the only person ever to do so), who agreed to allow Eurydice to return with him to earth on one condition: he should walk in front of her and not look back until they both had reached the upper world. In his anxiety he forgot that both needed to be in the upper world, and he turned to look at her, and she vanished for the second time, but now forever.
Addendum #01-A: SCP-547 is never to be played by any personnel other than class D volunteers. "Playing" has been established, through trial and error, as consisting of six or more notes in a logical musical progression. Random plucking of the strings does not constitute "playing," even if the random notes create a musical pattern. SCP-547 appears to acknowledge the intent of its operator, and manifests its unique phenomena only upon its purposeful musical use. The terminal nature of the phenomena associated with SCP-547 demand that it be tested in this manner only by class D personnel. Level 2 personnel and above are permitted and, indeed, encouraged to observe the playing of SCP-547. The hazardous phenomena do not pose any threat to those not actively engaged in the playing of SCP-547. These phenomena are furthermore easily observable to any and all persons in the vicinity, making SCP-547 uniquely well-suited to study.