Item #: SCP-XXX
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures:
Due to the immobile nature of SCP-XXX, containment is to focus on preventing unauthorized access. A secure perimeter is to be set up around the site, with night vision and thermographic cameras monitoring the area for intruders. All intruders are to be detained in the on-site holding cell, interrogated about their reasons, then given a class-B amnesiac, and deposited at one of the pre-designated dropoff points (see site commander's manual for list of coordinates) around the site. Owing to the unpredictable nature of the phenomenon, exploration is only permitted via remotely operated drones or telepresence exoskeletons.
SCP-XXX is the remains of a medieval castle in Germany (coordinates redacted later), situated in the Black Forest, near the source of the river Danube. According to local folklore, it was once (accounts vary, though most place it in the 800-1200 period) the home of a knight or prince (once again, accounts vary), who married a supposed 'river spirit', then died years later under mysterious circumstances. He was possibly the first victim of SCP-XXX, which appears to be composed of several distinct phenomenon, that act together to produce the full effect. Despite the passage of time, the structure appears remarkably well-preserved, with even the outlying buildings available, especially the barn. The reason for this is unknown, and under investigation.
Within the premises of SCP-XXX, a fast-acting, and highly localized retrovirus is present in the air. Once it enters the body, the virus rapidly crosses the blood-brain barrier, and triggers the formation of an anomalous structure in the brain stem. According to analysis of recovered samples, the virus is species-specific, has a very short life outside a host body (on the order of minutes) and appears to be not transmissible, making an epidemic unlikely.
Affected subjects complain of intense headaches, concentrating towards the back of the head, brought on by the rearranging neural tissue. These headaches generally subside after five to ten minutes, depending on the individual. The rearrangements form a complex network of connections between the medulla oblongata and the neocortex. The full extent of these connections is unknown due to the complexity and the generally short time available for study.
Once the network of connections is fully formed, the subject feels compelled to head towards the outlying buildings of the castle grounds. Going methodically, the subject will investigate all buildings, leaving the barn for the last. During this time, the subject will demonstrate increasingly detached behavior, ranging from ignoring verbal commands to ignoring physical harm to their body, up to and including incapacitating injuries. Once the subject comes within 500 meters of the barn entrance, they will enter and fall asleep almost immediately. After an indeterminate, and seemingly random, time the subject will awaken with a jolt, and stare at a point in the entrance for 19 seconds, after which they appear to be highly confused, occasionally hostile. During this time, video surveillance of the area on several spectra reveals no abnormalities, but wide-spectrum microphones detect an infrasonic signal of unknown origin and significance.
Functional MRI shows that at this point, the anomalous network in the brain becomes operational, while activity in the medulla oblongata decreases sharply. Subjects generally appear to be in considerable distress, displaying irregular heartbeat, breathing difficulties, and elevated levels of several neurotransmitters. Subject is usually incapable of vocalization, or communicating meaningfully, therefore the exact happenings remain unknown, and subjects expire generally within a few minutes, usually due to asphyxiation or arrhythmia.
Attempting to sustain the victims' life artificially seems ineffective, as the subjects are generally panicked and hostile, preventing application of life-support equipment. If the subject is administered sedative, the sedatives take action normally, but breathing and heartbeat ceases almost simultaneously. Even if these functions are artificially replaced, autonomic functions appear compromised, leading to systemic organ failure beginning in minutes and reaching lethal degradation rapidly.
Post-mortem analysis has revealed a variety of causes of death, ranging from asphyxiation through abrupt cessation of heartbeat to systemic organ failure (in cases sedatives were administered, organ failure was observed only if the subject was kept alive artificially. No link has been found between organ failure and preexisting medical conditions.)
Only a single case of survival is documented, designated SCP-XXX/419. 419 claims to have studied under the tutelage of an unnamed Indian fakir, and since his exposure to SCP-XXX, has demonstrated a lack of several basic needs. See Interview SCP-XXX/419 for details.
We have not progressed at all with understanding this. I propose we suspend live testing, and focus on our single live specimen for now, he's our best bet at getting to the bottom of at least the effects, if not the source. - Dr. J████ M████████