Item #: SCP-XXX
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-XXX is to be kept in a 2.5cm-thick clear lucite key-lock container within a fireproof combination safe in a remote storage facility. Access is restricted to level-3 researchers and above, and all experiment requests must be approved by level-4 personnel. During experiments, SCP-XXX is to be transported to a secure cell where it must remain for the duration of the experiment. All involved personnel must wear complete protective clothing with no exposed skin, and anyone coming into direct contact with SCP-XXX must be quarantined and/or terminated immediately.
Description: SCP-XXX is a small wooden humanoid figure mounted in an open box frame, which stands roughly 15cm (6in) high. The figure's head is covered in a white cloth hood, and a small noose of the same material hangs near the figure's head from a piece of wood mounted at the top of the frame. A 19-symbol inscription is carved into the base in an unknown language which bears similarities to ancient Germanic runic alphabets.
SCP-XXX was discovered in 19██ at a museum in ██████, █████, where a number of Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions, designs, and personal effects were on display. There is no record of SCP-XXX ever being designed or owned by Da Vinci, nor is there any record of the museum coming into possession of the figure. It was identified when G██████ D█████████, the museum's curator, was found dead in front of the case displaying the figure - a number of symbols matching those found on the object had been carved into his chest, arms, and legs, and his [DATA EXPUNGED] had been removed (and was later found in the victim's [DATA EXPUNGED]). Given the figure's effects, the curator's wounds were presumably self-inflicted, although there were no witnesses to the incident. Shortly after taking SCP-XXX in as evidence, a number of police officers associated with the case committed suicide for unknown reasons. The unusual events came to the attention of a local Foundation agent, who procured the object using all necessary precautions and thus avoided its effects.
SCP-XXX appears to be indestructible. Or rather, it can be destroyed, but it (or perhaps an identical copy) will inevitably reappear. It may often be found tucked away in a drawer or closet to be discovered by an unsuspecting hand. It appears that once someone is "infected", they can spread the effect to others through skin-to-skin contact until the moment of death/catatonia.
Anyone who comes into contact with the figure will commit, or attempt to commit, suicide anywhere between 24-48 hours after contact. The subject will attempt suicide by hanging if possible, but drowning, disembowelment, lethal blunt-force trauma, and [DATA EXPUNGED] (among others) have also been observed. It has been found that the effect only occurs if the subject makes direct contact with the humanoid figure - touching any other part of the object (base, outer frame, noose, etc.) elicits no effect, nor does touching the figure using gloves or tools.
Upon touching the figure, subjects report a feeling of "coldness" at the point of contact, as well as blurred vision or blindness. This lasts for several seconds, after which subjects report no adverse or unusual effects. The primary effect, however, manifests after the subject has fallen asleep. Upon entering REM sleep, the subject will appear to awaken, and the subject's brain waves tend to transition from alpha to beta. At this point, each subject will begin preparing for suicide. The most common cause of death is hanging, using belts, bed sheets, or whatever else is available. In one case, a subject obtained a pair of scissors and used her own [DATA EXPUNGED] as a makeshift rope. Most subjects' demeanor at this time could be described as "purposeful" - their movements are observed to be deliberate and precise. Except in one aspect - their eyes. Researchers consistently describe subjects' eye movements as being wild, panicked, confused, and desperate. Opinions differ on what this may signify (see Interview Logs).
At the same time, subjects will begin repeating the same two phrases over and over until death or catatonia. The first phrase is in an unknown language, which linguistic analysts believe is a form of Proto-Germanic and is likely related to the symbols carved onto the base of SCP-XXX. After repeating this anywhere from 2-5 times, subjects will then begin repeating the following phrase: "A world of choice is a world of illusion. Only he may choose, and he has chosen you." All English-speaking test subjects recite the same phrase word-for-word, despite having no knowledge of each other or the tests being performed. Speakers of other languages have also been tested, and translations show their speech to follow the same pattern. Subjects display an attitude of extreme tranquility during the recitation, lasting up until the moment of death. However, if forcibly restrained from committing suicide, the subject will become increasingly agitated until entering a seemingly permanent state of catatonia. Such subjects lose all ability to move or communicate, although their eyes will remain open and active as before. This is similar to Locked-in Syndrome, and a number of researchers believe the subject is still conscious in some way. To date, no attempt at communication has been successful and no subject has emerged from the coma.