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Top 10 Scary SCPs to Keep You Up at Night

SCP foundation logo

Perhaps I’ve encountered an SCP with some kind of memetic effect. Or maybe I just decided I wanted to rate my favorite scary SCPs again.

In the wise words of GTA‘s Carl Johnson: Ah shit, here we go again.

For those new to this rabbit hole of eldritch horrors, the SCP Foundation is one giant collaborative writing project in which entries are written in the form of classified files. The Foundation itself is a secret government organization studying and containing dangerous anomalies of all kinds: from useful objects, to horrifying monsters, to unexplainable events. As of right now, there are thousands of entries, with new tales and lore being added every day.

Similar to last time, I’m ranking ten terrifically terrifying SCPs based on different criteria, adding another rating to the mix this time. In addition to the previous rankings, Article Rating, Existential Crisis Level, and Painful Death, I’m also throwing in Scare Factor because, hey, these are supposed to be some of the scariest SCPs out there, right?

I’m ranking them from based on a mix of those factors. And just overall how much I enjoy each of them.

Please note: As before, much as I’d love to be able to say I’ve read every single SCP there is, there’s just way too many for that to be the case. These are the ones I considered the scariest out of those that I’ve read so far, but you may disagree, and that’s OK! If you have a favorite scary SCP that you wish had been included, I’d love to check it out, so be sure to leave it in the comments!

Let’s begin.

 

Object Class Guide for New Readers:

  • Safe: Objects classified as Safe are fairly easy to contain and tend to be less dangerous than their Euclid and Keter counterparts. That does not mean, however, that Safe objects are entirely safe; it just means that whatever danger they pose can be more easily prevented and contained, and anyone who comes into contact with these objects should still exercise caution.
  • 

Euclid: Less predictable than Safe objects, Euclid objects tend to be harder to contain and deadlier. However, following proper containment procedures usually means these objects don’t pose too much of a threat so long as you’re careful. They’ll still probably kill you at some point, though.
  • Keter: Unpredictable and extremely difficult to contain, Keter objects are also typically the most dangerous. In fact, in the event of a containment breach, if the Keter object in question is dangerous enough, nuking its entire containment site to neutralize it is not beyond the realm of possibility.

Note: It is possible for objects originally classified as one class to be ranked up or ranked down depending on their behavior. See SCP-1048 as an example, which was moved from Safe classification to Keter after a certain incident.

 

 

10. SCP-6096: The Guest

scp 6096 the guest

SCP 6096 in its containment cell

Object Class: Keter

What It Does: Periodically visits a random person on Earth, compelling all who see it to aid it in finding and capturing its chosen target. Upon reaching the target, captures them under the sheet it wears, securing them in a presumably extremely painful way.

Why It Gets Its Classification: Per the file, “It comes and goes whenever it feels like it, and if it ever decided it didn’t want to come back to its containment cell, we have literally no way of forcing it.”

There is nothing the Foundation can do to prevent its active hunting phases. If it targets you, you will die.

Even worse, it is entirely impossible to plot to do it harm. You cannot ask someone to kill it for you, cannot try to attack it yourself, cannot even try to set in motion of chain of events that might end in its demise. You will always be compelled never to harm it, and even to actively protect it.

Article Rating: 7.5/10

Existential Crisis Level: 2/10

Painful Death? Yes.

Scare Factor: 6/10

I went back and forth with the rankings on this one. On the one hand, the odds of you being chosen out of everyone on Earth is incredibly, incredibly slim. But on the other hand, all it takes is some bad luck and you could find yourself being targeted by this thing, and no one can save you. In fact, everyone around you will be compelled to turn against you.

The first audio log in this article is a good example of why that particular effect is as terrifying and grim as it is. You could, after all, find yourself condemned to a horrible death for reasons no one understands other than that it seems to be entirely random, and your last thoughts could be that your friends and family helped this strange creature to kill you.

That can’t feel good.

It’s lower on the list because I wouldn’t consider it something that gives me much of an existential crisis of any kind, and the very low odds of being targeted means that The Guest is not quite as scary as many of the others on this list. Nonetheless, the article for it is really well done, particularly the two audio logs, both of which give you a really good idea of what this SCP is like and why it absolutely suuuuucks. 

It’s not known what exactly the creature does to you when it captures you, but since the file notes that the sounds of distress imply that it must be “extremely painful,” it’s perhaps best left to the imagination.

 

 

9. SCP-4666: The Yule Man

scp 4666

Object Class: Keter

What It Does: In winter, stalks the homes of families in remote locations who have at least one child under the age of eight over the course of 12 days. At the end of 12 days…oof.

Why It Gets Its Classification: According to the Foundation, it’s likely an ancient creature, and in all its years of being on the Foundation’s radar, it has never been contained. The best the SCP Foundation can do is monitor locations where it’s likely to appear.

Article Rating: 8.5/10

Existential Crisis Level: 2/10

Painful Death? Definitely.

Scare Factor: 9/10

SCP-4666 is one of the SCPs mentioned frequently across the community as one of the scariest SCPs out there. And it’s easy to see why.

In its active phase, which has been recorded to be from December 21-22 to January 1-2, SCP-4666 it stalks families who meet the following criteria:

  1. Live north of 40°N latitude
  2. Has at least one child under the age of eight
  3. Isolated location
  4. Lots and lots of snow

The first few nights are relatively harmless, with only the young child seeing signs of the creature. After the eighth night, however, the rest of the family will begin to detect the creature’s presence, which will understandably create a growing sense of paranoia.

By the twelfth night, one of two things will happen:

  1. (85% of events): The Yule Man will brutally torture and murder the young child’s family in front of them, before kidnapping the child and forcing them underground, where they must make gruesome toys until they’re so tired, hungry, and thirsty that they can’t anymore. Once they are no longer suitable for labor, they become new parts to use to make the toys. Charming.
  2. (15% of events): Congrats, I guess! The Yule Man has chosen to give you one of his fabulous toys. Sure, it may be made of flesh and hair and nails or whatever, and you might be scarred for life having received it, but it’s a far better alternative to the 85% who received a much different gift for the holidays.

I rank this one a little lower in terms of Scare Factor only because this is one of those SCPs that, while horrifying, has a bit more specific criteria that makes it easy for most people to avoid it. Unless you live far north, have a young kid, live somewhere super isolated, and live where it snows heavily, you will probably never encounter this monster.

Still. Yikes.

 

 

8. SCP-428: The Crowd

scp 428: the crowd

The crowd, watching you.

Object Class: Euclid

What It Does: Connected by a large mass with writhing tendrils, SCP-428 is a huddled crowd of grinning, dead-eyed people moving in perfect unison and hunting down new victims to join its crowd. When entering its hunting phase, the crowd will chase down prey, and, once that prey is cornered, insert one of its tendrils into the victim and replace their innards with an unidentifiable fluid. The victim, completely erased and their knowledge absorbed into the mass, will join the crowd.

Why It Gets Its Classification: It’s not super hard to contain. You cannot hurt the individuals made part of the crowd, as they don’t seem to feel any pain. But you can hurt the mass at the center, if you can find a way to injure it even with its crowd constantly surrounding and protecting it.

The Foundation seems to have the containment of this SCP on lock for the most part, with one major sticking point: every time the mass absorbs someone, they gain their knowledge. This resulted in a security breach that ended in the absorption of several Foundation researchers and soldiers. The mass, being able to learn, grow, and adapt, only gets more dangerous the more people it absorbs, and it cannot be allowed to gain an understanding of the SCP Foundation or any possible means of escape.

Article Rating: 7.5/10

Existential Crisis Level: 3/10

Painful Death? Probably.

Scare Factor: 7/10

I might be a little biased in adding this one here, because I don’t know that I’d even rank this one as one of the scariest if not for the amazing video on it done by Dr. Bob on YouTube. Seeing this SCP’s behaviors animated makes it a hell of a lot more horrifying.

I ranked it lower for the Existential Crisis Level because, while I do think having your whole being erased is enough to give you a bit of an existential crisis, I’m guessing you’d too busy being dead to worry about your corpse being crudely puppeteered.

Still, I stand by including this one here. I cannot imagine encountering a crowd of relatively normal-looking people staring at me with dead eyes and a haunting grin. Walking towards me in perfect unison. Not knowing what the hell is going on until I’m grabbed and that weird umbilical-cord-looking thing sucks all my bones and organs and blood out of me until I’m nothing more than a mindless part of the crowd.

Fuck all that.

 

 

7. SCP-610: The Flesh That Hates

scp-610 victims

A photograph of unfortunate SCP-610 victims, pulled from the files of the Foundation.

Object Class: Keter

What It Does: Infects all lifeforms with a highly contagious skin disease that turns the victim into a horrid, fleshy abomination over time.

Body horror fans will love this one.

Why It Gets Its Classification: There is no known way to contain it. While it is technically contained so long as no one ever gets anywhere near infection sites, actually curing or preventing the illness after exposure is another matter entirely.

Article Rating: 8.5/10; I highly recommend reading the field logs

Existential Crisis Level: 4/10

Painful Death? Yes.

Scare Factor: 8.5/10

This one used to scare me a good bit, but not as much as some of the others. However, in the past few years I think we have all learned how exactly well we would handle a pandemic.

Not well.

Now ramp up that pandemic into a highly aggressive, borderline sentient virus that turns its victims into something straight out of a Cronenberg movie. That is The Flesh That Hates.

But it gets even better! Once those infected are far gone enough, they will actively seek out other lifeforms to infect. It’s like a zombie movie, but arguably even worse because the infected don’t need to bite you or scratch you to infect you; they just need any physical contact. Hell, it’s not even known if it’s possible for this virus to go airborne. Would be a real kick in the tits if it was, eh?

This is the kind of virus that, if it spreads far enough, there is no hope of stopping it. It means the whole world is condemned to a very, very painful and horrifying death, and this eldritch horror flesh monster will continue to grow until it spreads across the world and engulfs everything and everyone.

I rank this a little lower than some others because, while horrifying, it is (as mentioned above) technically contained. I choose to have faith that eventually some kind of cure or way to kill off the virus might be found before it has a chance to spread beyond the containment perimeter.

 

 

6. SCP-871: Self-Replicating Cake

instance of scp-871

One of many SCP-871 instances, a very moist and delicious-looking chocolate cake.

Object Class: Keter

What It Does: Self-explanatory. It self-replicates every 24 hours. Failure to eat every nearly every cake in the 24-hour timeframe results in a new instance of SCP-871 manifesting.

Why It Gets Its Classification: Eat the cakes, or they’ll keep duplicating, over and over and over again. If any one instance of these cakes starts duplicating out of control, the file estimates the world would be overrun with cakes and become uninhabitable within 80 days.

Article Rating: 8/10

Existential Crisis Level: 7/10

Painful Death? Not the worst way to die compared to some others. Still, I’d rather not die, thanks.

Scare Factor: 7/10

This was…hard to rank. I remember when I first read it, it blew my mind. I just find it so creative. Come on, how many people have the idea to create an anomalous collection of cakes that duplicate out of control and suffocate the world in a matter of weeks if left unchecked? Absolute *chef’s kiss*.

I might get some shit for this one, because compared to many of the eldritch monstrosities and unexplainable, unstoppable events that could end the world at any moment, rapidly duplicating cakes does sound rather tame.

But come on. It’s just so delightfully silly, while still giving the reader a healthy dose of existential dread. You might be wondering, but Noodles, why is the Existential Crisis Level so damn high?

They’re CAKES, dear reader. CAKES.

Hear me out: This SCP is the perfect example of just how easily everything in the SCP universe could absolutely fall apart; how no one is ever really entirely safe. How could they be, when the only thing preventing a massive cake-based apocalypse is the SCP Foundation force-feeding D-class personnel a shit-ton of cakes every day so they don’t duplicate?

If that doesn’t make you question everything, I don’t know what will.

 

 

5. SCP-923: A Useful Tool

useful tool

Object Class: Safe

What It Does: It’s a satellite that orbits the Earth and can be fired by the O5 Council at varying intensities, causing massive cognitive damage to those affected by its blast.

Why It Gets Its Classification: It only seems to listen to the O5 Council and can probably be easily destroyed if it becomes too much of a problem. So for now, the Foundation just lets it keep on a-floatin’.

Article Rating: 8.5/10

Existential Crisis Level: 4/10

Painful Death? Probably. It doesn’t seem to kill directly, but it drives everyone in its blast radius to insanity, and people can be very creative with their kills.

Scare Factor: 8/10

loved the article for this one. It might be another entry influenced by the storytelling of Dr. Bob, but the intensity levels of the blast and the fact that it can be fired anywhere on Earth makes this one a lot scarier than it may first appear. And if a satellite firing a laser that drives people insane isn’t bad enough, the blast has a lingering effect that—at high enough intensities—can be permanent.

We get a fantastic log that details the effects of each of the intensities, but when the researchers test the highest effect, Keter, the first line is simply, “It is strongly advised that this intensity never be used again.”

The blast was so detrimental to those affected that it caused permanent psychosis to everyone struck, and the location is permanently affected by a kind of cognitohazardous radiation that immediately drives anyone who gets near it to insanity as well. So disastrous was this test that the O5 Council is now reviewing how great a chance this strange satellite has of posing a world-ending threat. What would happen, for example, if it decided not to listen to them anymore, and opted to fire wherever it wanted?

Perhaps worst of all is the fact that internal damage caused by firing the satellite means that it can no longer fire at an intensity lower than 66. So now, no matter where it fires, it will cause permanent psychosis in all unfortunate enough to be hit by the blast. And it will only get worse.

 

 

4. SCP-3001: Red Reality

red realityObject Class: Euclid

What It Does: It’s a wormhole of red nothingness, slowly decaying anything inside but keeping it functioning ” as long as at least 40% of the brain remains.”

Why It Gets Its Classification: It’s possible to take precautions to avoid anyone accidentally creating the wormhole leading into this “non-dimension.” But it seems that messing around with reality-altering technology means your safety cannot be guaranteed.

Article Rating: 9.5/10; definitely, definitely read the audio log

Existential Crisis Level: 9/10

Painful Death? Slow, excruciating, and maddening

Scare Factor: 9.5/10

Originally, I was going to put both this and SCP-2701, True Solitary, as number four. However, upon re-reading both articles, I felt it wouldn’t be fair to just mash them both together, since they’re both uniquely horrifying in different ways. And because I want to keep some variance and not have two “forever alone” entries on this list, I’ll save SCP-2701 for another day.

What makes Red Reality so horrifying? Initially, I remembered it as a sort of pocket dimension where you are all alone, with nothing for company but a blinking red light in the distance. Pure darkness, the only thing you can see a red light you can’t reach.

But it’s more than that. Oh, so much more. SCP-3001 is a horrifying fate for anyone unlucky enough to fall into it, because not only are you all alone, but time passes extremely slowly. So death from slowly starving, dying from thirst, illness—anyone in this space will suffer from it for much longer than they would in our own reality. You’re essentially decaying alive over the course of about five years or so.

Years and years all alone, slowly rotting, barely able to grasp reality anymore.

 

 

3. SCP-?!?!: What Happens After

half of a skull on a tree branch

Object Class: Euclid

What It Does: Read it. Doom yourself.

Why It Gets Its Classification: ???

Article Rating: 9.5/10

Existential Crisis Level: 10/10

Painful Death? Something like that…

Scare Factor: 10/10

 

 

2. SCP-001: When Day Breaks

red sun, when day breaks

Object Class: Apollyon

What It Does: It’s the Sun, if the Sun were an SCP capable of transforming living beings into slimy zombie-like abominations with its rays.

Why It Gets Its Classification: What do you do when the Sun turns against you? When any natural light turns you into a horrid slime-like creature forever suffering, never dying?

Article Rating: 10/10

Existential Crisis Level: 10/10

Painful Death? Yeah, right. You wish you could die.

Scare Factor: 10/10

Another one that makes its rounds in the SCP community often, and it’s terrifying because 1. you can’t stop it; if the Sun goes full apocalyptic SCP, there is no escaping it. Even at night, because moonlight reflects sunlight, you are never safe, and 2. You don’t even have the reassurance that at least it’s over once you die. Instead, you melt and transform into a horrid slime amalgamation of fellow slime bodies that exists only to suffer. The slime mimics your loved ones, trying to tempt you out into the sunlight, to make you one of them. So at best, you spend the rest of your days never seeing the Sun again, always hiding and praying no sunlight ever creeps into your hiding spot. And at worst, you step into the light.

This entry is unique in that it’s told partially in the form of a standard SCP entry, but partially told in the form of a tale because everyone is either dead or transformed and the story follows a researcher who manages to access the file while trying to get to safety. It probably comes as no surprise to SCP fans that it ranks so high, as I can imagine few situations more hopeless for humanity than the literal Sun turning into an SCP that turns you into a monster trapped inside yourself and unable to die.

 

 

1. SCP-5000: Why?

mech suit

Object Class: Safe

What It Does: It’s a suit that filters you from outside perception, including from things of the anomalous variety.

Why It Gets Its Classification: The suit is Safe. The anomaly turning the entire Foundation against humanity? Probably not so Safe.

Article Rating: 10/10

Existential Crisis Level: 10/10

Painful Death? Ironically, not for the person in the suit, I guess?

Scare Factor: 10/10

Look…I fucking love this one. SCP-5000 is my Multiverse of Madness. The greatest crossover of all time. Everything you could ask for in a horrifying, world-ending SCP.

The SCP itself is just a suit, but the suit serves as a kind of framing device for this absolutely wild story taking place. I don’t want to say too much because I highly recommend you read it, but I love, love the way other SCPs make a cameo as the SCP Foundation goes full rogue. The level of creativity blew my mind, and that’s saying something considering so many SCPs are so insanely creative.

When I first read it, I was absolutely baffled in the best way. I had so many questions, but like many SCPs that I like quite a bit, it’s the kind of thing where having more questions is a good thing because your imagination can fill in the gaps to answer why something so monumentally messed up is happening.

If you’re new to the SCP Foundation, I’d recommend reading some of the most popular SCPs before checking out this one. But once you do, it’s delightful to go through this entry and see other SCPs you’ve read and loved make an appearance.

After all, what better answer is there to the question, “Which SCP is the scariest” than, “All of them combined”?


Credit to the article creators. Go check them out if you like being scared shitless!

From the Intro:

From the List:

 

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Author

  • Bryanna Gary is the founder of The Angry Noodle and a current editorial assistant at Del Rey Books—science fiction, fantasy, and horror imprint of Penguin Random House.

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