SCP-5501
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rating: +46+x
4/5501 LEVEL 4/5501
CLASSIFIED
classified-lv4.svg
Item #: SCP-5501
keter
Assigned Site Site Director Research Head Assigned STF
Provisional Site-166 Elder Ruslav Diaghilev N/A Tau-6 ("Those with No Name")

…and the thing that stepped forth from the smoke of that dreadful place opened its mouth unto the sky and began to sing its song of ruin and death.

- Excerpt from forever I fall by Thomas Harding


Special Containment Procedures

SCP-5501 is contained within a full blackout containment vault at Provisional Site-166 along with all known instances of SCP-5501-1. This vault is suspended, via high-tension cables, in the center of a 120m diameter spherical cavity carved into the bedrock beneath Charleston, Nevada. It is of the utmost importance that no light in any spectrum be allowed to penetrate into this cavity.

At no point should any personnel enter the containment chamber surrounding SCP-5501. In the event of unauthorized access to the exclusion zone surrounding the facility, site security has been authorized to immediately respond with deadly force, up to and including initiation of Protocol Alpha Black.

Due to the highly volatile nature of SCP-5501, STF Tau-6 ("Those with No Name") has been created with the sole focus of keeping SCP-5501 and SCP-5501-1 instances contained. As such, Tau-6 Command has been pre-authorized to initiate Protocol Alpha Black without additional notice.

All records of the events of the 1864 Massacre at Seven Pines have been removed from all official and published documentation. An ongoing disinformation campaign to discredit any remaining references has been largely successful.

All testing into the nature of SCP-5501's anomalous properties has been permanently suspended under 05-Overseer Directive 5501.ORD.01.

This will not be rescinded.


Description
camera

T. Harding with non-anomalous camera. c. 1860, Philadelphia, PA

SCP-5501 is a bellows-type "wet plate" camera that belonged to Thomas A. Harding, a once-prominent photographer in the years leading up to the American Civil War. The case shows significant signs of wear of the kind expected to be found on cameras of this type utilized during the war.

The camera differs significantly from all other known types of similar cameras in that the bulky lens housing is encased in thin strips of a previously unknown beryllium bronze alloy completely fused to the wooden structure of the housing and lens casing. The wood itself appears to be fashioned out of a single continuous piece, showing no seams or signs of adhesion.

At the top of the housing is a small slot for the introduction of the plates utilized to capture images. These plates are also of an unknown alloy, but due to the nature of the content stored on the plates, it is impossible to ascertain their exact composition.

There are patches of heavy staining along the front and right side of the camera's housing. Spectral analysis of collected samples indicate that this staining is from a fluid similar to human blood, but containing various enzyme indicators that corresponds with no known phenotypes or haplogroups. Of additional note, the blood carries certain markers which indicate the presence of variegate porphyria.1

SCP-5501-1 collectively refers to 18 individual photographs taken by SCP-5501. These plates resemble those made utilizing a process known as "collodion wet plate photography".

Attached Addenda

Discovery

SCP-5501 and SCP-5501-1 were recovered in the aftermath of an incident that occurred during the decommissioning of the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum in May, 1994. An unmarked containment cell had been located in one of the Asylum's sub-basements. Upon examination, SCP-5501, a lock-box containing SCP-5501-1, and several journals were discovered along with the corpse of an unnamed individual later identified in Asylum documentation as Patient 65-2953 - T. Harding.

Despite the loss of the MTF Omega-88 team sent with him, Director Diaghilev was able to secure SCP-5501 & SCP-5501-1. At his request, Provisional Site-166 was set up underneath Charleston, Nevada, a census-designated ghost town.

Additionally, Protocol Alpha Black was created and instituted throughout all Foundation assets, and Special Task Force Tau-6 ("Those with No Name") was created and assigned exclusively to safeguard SCP-5501 & SCP-5501-1.

Historical Documentation
warjournal.jpg

Journal recovered with SCP-5501

According to records recovered from the US National Archives, Thomas Albert Harding was employed by Andrew Gardner in November of 1861, and was subsequently sent as a battlefield photographer to the Army of the Potomac under General George McClellan.

Originally assigned to photograph the aftermath of several significant battlefields, Harding was eventually transferred to the hospital staff of the Army of the Potomac and spent the remainder of his time principally cataloging wounded and dying service men. It is during this time that Harding came into contact with Dr. Franz von Leiber, supposedly4 a surgeon assigned to the Medical Corps general staff.

According to the recovered journal of Thomas Harding, the two of them became close colleagues and worked together in Harding's effort to catalog the ongoing conflict.

The journal continues for several weeks, with Harding begining to view von Leiber as more and more of a mentor & trusted confidant. At first, Harding merely shows mild curiosity at the lessons von Leiber attempts to teach, but the disastrous events of First Fredricksberg clearly had a traumatic effect on Harding's mental state, and this break is clearly evident in the style and nature of the remainder of the journal entries.

battlefield

Aftermath of the Battle of Marye Heights. c. 1862, Fredericksburg, VA

From the entries after, it becomes clear that Harding began to take a much more ardent approach to the instruction given to him by von Leiber. The majority of the journal is filled with illegible notes on the lessons given by von Leiber, as well as lengthy diatribes about death and Harding's growing fascination with the subject.

In the early summer of 1864, the notations in Harding's journal become significantly clearer, and all seem to focus upon the completion of an "apparatus" that he had been constructing under the tutelage of von Leiber.


On July 30th, 1864, the Union Army detonated a massive amount of explosive material that had been placed in a shaft dug underneath the Confederate fort known as Eliott's Salient. The ensuing explosion resulted in a large number of Confederate casualties and the creation of a significant breach in the east flank of the defenses outside of Petersburg.

A last-minute diversion in the order of battle saw that the regiment of US Colored Troops under the command of Brig. Gen. Edward Ferrero were replaced with the untrained 1st Division under Brig. Gen. James H. Ledlie. This catastrophic decision led to the loss of a majority of Ledlie's men as they marched straight into the crater created by the explosion and were ill-equipped to scale the other side.

Confederate sharpshooters were able to successfully pin down the majority of the 1st Division long enough for reinforcements to arrive and slaughter both the 1st Division and the forces sent in to support them. General Ulysses Grant would later write about the engagement, saying "It was the saddest affair I have witnessed in the war."7

The aftermath of the Battle of the Crater and the Siege of Petersburg is accounted elsewhere. T. Harding was listed as a casualty of the conflict and his name was printed in a catalog of the missing in a report from General Grant to the US Congress on August 16, 1864.

On August 14, 1864, during the battle of Second Deep Bottom, a small detachment of cavalry under the command of Brig. Gen. David McMurtrie Gregg was sent to secure the railroad station at Fair Oaks. They never arrived, as they were attacked by "unknown forces" in what was recorded as the Massacre at Seven Pines.

All records of this event were purged due to the intervention of operatives from the American Secure Containment Initiative, a precursor organization to the Foundation.

American Secure Containment Initiative Document, circa 1865
thomasharding

Item Number: 65-2953

Classification Type: Human/Potentially Threatening

ASCI Protocols for Containment: Phenomenon 65-2953 must be secured at all times with a physical restraint garment commonly referred to as a straightjacket. It is currently housed at the Trans-Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, where it shall be immured until deceased. Under no circumstances shall 65-2953 be allowed access to 65-2953A or the associated photographic plates.

All active information concerning Phenomenon 65-2953 is to be contained in a safe-box stored at the Warden’s office, along with all other discovered intelligence concerning the phenomenon, as per the directive noted below.

Description: Phenomenon 65-2953 is a white male, approximately 39 years of age, once known as Thomas A. Harding. The extensive madness brought on by the trauma of the war have left this Phenomenon with little coherency.

Nota Bene: Phenomenon 65-2953 was apprehended after the events of the Massacre at Seven Pines, during which it utilized 2953A to take a series of photographs of inhuman slaughter perpetuated by an unknown entity. These photographs have been stored in a locked case, and they are not to be reviewed under any circumstance.

Disciplinary History: On September 13, 1865, after being subject to immurement for a period of 367 days, Phenomenon 65-2953 vocalized a series of statements in an unknown language in apparent conversation with an unobserved entity. After several minutes of this, it lapsed into silence for approximately 34 minutes, then it began shrieking incoherently that it had been abandoned by a "Doctor von Leiber". These vocalizations ceased abruptly after approximately 22 minutes. An hour later, Phenomenon 65-2953 was declared deceased.

As per direct order from General Grant, Phenomenon 65-2953 and all related documentation will be sealed in situ, where they will remain until forgotten.

Final Addenda
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