Experiment Log for SCP-423
Approved by O5-█
Monitored by O5-█, O5-██, O5-█
Project Head: Dr. E. Mann
All researchers working with SCP-423 are encouraged to append their results to this experiment log in the following format:
Test Material: Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Results: A character named Fred is mentioned at several points in the story, largely as an onlooker. No change to the story is noticed.
Notes: "This will serve as a baseline for future effects of SCP-423." - Dr. E. Mann
Test Material: The Hobbit, by J. R. R. Tolkien
Results: A 14th dwarf named Feredor is a member of the party. The narrative is largely the same, except that there are no references to a "lucky number." Feredor is mentioned as surviving the Battle of Five Armies, but Oin is killed.
Notes: "SCP-423's role is larger in this work, allowing a better look at its effects. The dialog written for the character is similar to that written for the other dwarves. Other differences in text match Tolkien's writing style as used in the rest of the book." -Dr. E. Mann
Test Material: Plain Journal
Results: There was no result for some time, until one of the researchers wrote his name on the cover. The words "Hi, there" appeared underneath. A conversation was held, during which it was established that SCP-423 possessed both the ability and desire to communicate.
Notes: "This proves that SCP-423 is sentient. If it can be controlled, it could be useful in dealing with certain text-based SCPs. This bears further research." -Dr. E. Mann
Test Material: Dragonquest, by Anne McCaffrey
Results: A minor blue rider named F'Red appears in the story. No other changes are noted.
Test Material: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, by J.K. Rowling
Results: A wizard named Fred appeared. Very few changes in the story are noted, except one scene in which SCP-423 is confused with an existing character in the series.
Notes: "SCP-423 displayed paranormal abilities in the narrative, though nothing out of note for the fictional universe. However, when returned to the journal, SCP-423 said that it couldn't duplicate them outside of that particular narrative universe." - Dr. E. Mann
Test Material: Ulysses, by James Joyce
Results: SCP-423 immediately returned to the journal, where it wrote out "Ow, ow, bad idea."
Notes: "Note this as a potential punishment for SCP-423 if it misbehaves." - Dr. E. Mann
Test Material: The Draco Tavern, by Larry Niven
Results: A new regular employee of the Draco Tavern showed up, named Fred. Only mentioned in passing save in the story "Cruel and Unusual", where he expressed sympathy for the Chirpsithra view.
Notes: "Either he's not completely human in outlook, or only acts that way when dealing with stories of aliens. We should probably test this further." - Dr D. Vettir
Test Material: "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", by Julia Ward Howe.
Results: verse 2, lines 1 and 3 altered. Rather than "I have seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps" and "I can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps", the lines now state "Fred has seen Him in the watch-fires of a hundred circling camps" and "Fred can read His righteous sentence by the dim and flaring lamps". Upon returning to the journal, SCP-423 wrote "that was… interesting, but I don't think I want to try it again."
Test Material: "Mary Had A Little Lamb" (verses 1 and 2 only), by Sarah Josepha Hale.
Results: References to "Mary" in verse 1 are now references to "Freddy"; references to "her" in verse 2 are now references to "him".
Test Material: "Mary Had A Little Lamb" (full version), by Sarah Josepha Hale.
Results: Verses 1 and 2 are now unaltered; a reference to "the eager children" in verse 4 is now a reference to "Fred and the children".
Test Material: House of Leaves (color version), by Mark Z. Danielewski.
Results: A mailman named Fred delivers a letter to Will Navidson in page ███. Fred also appears as a bartender that attends Johnny, and one of the orderlies caring for Pelafina. SCP-423 expressed profound confusion after leaving this work. Of note is that all instances of "Fred" in the text were written in green.
Test Material: Gadsby: Champion of Youth, by Ernest Vincent Wright. Gadsby is known for being an extended lipogram: a 50,110-word story written without any 'e's.
Results: A minor character named Ford appeared in the novel.
Test Material: A (non-pornographic) limerick about a man from Nantucket.
Results: No change. SCP-423 subsequently explained that the given limerick was "too small and too tight", with insufficient "flexibility".
Test Material: A book of 365 haiku.
Results: Third line of thirteen separate haiku replaced with a five-syllable phrase mentioning Fred ("Fred watched silently", "Fred is also here", "Only Fred remains", etc).
Test Material: The Frogs Who Desired A King, by Aesop, written using plastic letters with a magnetic backing applied to a metallic surface.
Results: The penultimate sentence became, "a big Stork that soon set to work gobbling them all up, except for one named Fred who hid." The "new" letters appeared to be of the same material and design of the original ones, and the weight of the complete setup remained the same.
Test Material: Blood Meridian, by Cormac McCarthy.
Results: In the introductory scene where Holden incites a mob to murder the Reverend by falsely accusing the Reverend of rape and bestiality, a bystander named Frederick is present in the mob; however, instead of participating, the bystander leaves in disgust. The narrator comments that "The weak coward Frederick was never seen again."
Test Material: ████████ Telephone Directory (2003).
Results: No change.
Test Material: 12 Angry Men, by Reginald Rose.
Results: The list of characters specifies that the courthouse guard is named Fred; he is described as "disappointed that he will be excluded from the jurors' deliberations".
Test Material: Mein Kampf, by Adolf Hitler (German original)
Results: No change for the first minutes, followed by an insertion of multiple brief references to a distant, skeptical colleague named Friedrich into autobiographical fragments of chapters 2 to 8 of book. The inserts were in German, roughly consistent with the original style but containing a number of grammar and stylistic mistakes. Upon returning to the journal, SCP-423 remarked "whew, that was hard!"
Notes: I am not sure what is more significant here: that 423 appears to possess a native tongue or that it was apparently able to obtain fairly good knowledge of German from the contents of a single book, even as long as this one. We should look deeper into its possible application to translating hitherto-undecipherable scripts — Dr Despair
Test Material: Odyssey, by Homer (English Braille edition)
Results: No change. SCP-423 left the book after 5 minutes, saying "interesting but I think I'll leave this one for when I'm really bored".
Test Material: A hardcopy of this experiment log
Results: Identical, except for the insertion of the words "ruggedly handsome" in several sections of the log.
Test Material: The Kugelmass Episode, by Woody Allen, a story about a man who is able to travel into fiction.
Results: Testing forbidden by O5-█.
Test Material: SCP-826, using SCP-423 communication journal as a "book".
Results: Testing forbidden by O5-█.
Test Material: SCP-701
Results: Testing forbidden by O5-█.
Test Material: A Canadian five-dollar bill (2008 issue); the reverse of the bill contains a two-sentence passage from "The Hockey Sweater", by Roch Carrier, in French and in English.
Results: First sentence remained intact. Second sentence, which describes how important skating rinks were in Carrier's childhood, now mentions life "on the skating rink, with Fred" (as well as "sur la patinoire, avec Fred").
Notes: The bill was first tested in a change machine and accepted as legitimate. After SCP-423 left the bill, it was tested in the same change machine and rejected as counterfeit.
Test Material: Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Results: Halfway through the book, Sam-I-Am asks the protagonist "Would you eat them here with Fred? Would you eat them with some bread?". The protagonist refuses. No edited nor additional illustrations were included.
Notes: After returning to his journal, SCP-423 noted "That was fun."
Test Material: The Fellowship of the Ring, by J. R. R. Tolkien.
Results: A hobbit named Fredegar Burrowes, noted as a friend of Samwise Gamgee, accompanies Frodo Baggins and his party throughout the book.
Notes: Of particular note is that Oin, noted as having been killed in 423's version of the Hobbit, is mentioned as surviving in this book.
Test Material: SCP-140
Results: Testing forbidden by O5-█.
Test Material: SCP-1425
Results: Testing forbidden by O5-█.
Test Material: SCP-1230
Results: Pending O5 approval.
Test Material: SCP-1195
Results: Pending O5 approval. Testing forbidden by O5-██.
Test Material: A list of class-D personnel to be terminated at the first of the month, names included.
Results: The line ''Class-D personnel to be de-commissioned as of ██/██/████'' changed to ''Class-D personnel to be released as of ██/██/████'', all names remain as first written down. SCP-423 writes in the journal ''Now that's just heartless.''
Notes: It is conclusive that SCP-423 has the ability to not only feel emotion but has a belief in the importance of life.
Test Material: A twenty-minute ballet for eight dancers (four male and four female), described in Rudolf Laban's "Labanotation" system for recording human movement.
Results: Notation indicates that halfway through the ballet, a fifth male dancer walks onstage, looks at the other dancers, shrugs his shoulders, and walks off.
Test Material: A logic puzzle (as published in [REDACTED] logic puzzle magazine), describing how five different people took their driving tests, in five different vehicles, on five different days, and made five different errors; as is standard for logic puzzles of this sort, solvers are to determine which student drove which vehicle and made which error on which day.
Results: A driving examiner named Fred is mentioned as having been present during all tests. Upon subsequent questioning, SCP-423 was able to correctly state which driver made which error in which vehicle on which day. When asked how it knew this, SCP-423 did not explain the series of logical inferences, deductions, and conclusions by which such puzzles are typically solved, but rather simply stated that it "was right there the whole time".
Test Material: The Gardens of the Moon, by Steven Erikson
Results: The Dramatis Personae in the start of the book now mentions Reader, a soldier in the Bridgeburners, and Fred, a Daru patron of the Phoenix Inn. In the second chapter, following the fall of Pale, the Bridgeburners that arrive for Hairlock include a fifth person, who is unnamed and doesn't speak, but can later be identified as Reader. In many subsequent encounters with the Bridgeburners, the soldier Reader is also present. This character doesn't have any lines, and is normally found with a book in his hand.
In chapter 5, during Kruppe's dream, Kruppe sees a figure within the Gadrobi Shantytown who, he says, greatly reminds him of his friend Fred, who he saw just the other day in the Phoenix Inn. From chapter 6 on, Fred is to be found in the Phoenix Inn.
Interestingly, for the garden party on Lady Simtal's estate, both Fred and Reader are guests. Bridgeburner and Daru viewpoint characters alike comment on how they look vaguely similar. Apart from the minor changes, the book has exactly the same ending as before, though.
Upon returning to the journal, SCP-423 wrote only "…" when questioned. After a few minutes, it finally wrote "Sorry, that was interesting, but exhausting." SCP-423 expressed an interest in the remaining books of the series. This has been noted and will be considered as a reward for good behaviour.
Notes: "This has proven that 423 can be in multiple places within the same narrative, although it seems to tire it out. - Dr. R. Karma"
Test Material: Candidate Multilinear Maps, by Sanjam Garg, published in 2013 as his doctoral thesis
Results: Approximately 10 seconds after entering, SCP-423 returned to the journal and wrote "Sorry, not enough room for me."
Notes: "It seems that 423 needs to have a narrative to work off. This has been noted for the future. - Dr. R. Karma"
Test Material: A print-out of source code for a simple "Hello World" program in C#
Results: The source code now has a number of additional comments alongside the source code professing confusion about certain aspects of programming. On returning to the journal, SCP-423 wrote out "Well, that was a first."
Test Material: Head-First C# 3rd Edition (first printing), by Andrew Stellman and Jennifer Greene
Results: A number of examples involving named male characters have had these characters renamed to Fred. The puzzles are also all filled in. Around page 100 or so, notes start appearing here and there. No substantial changes are noted until page 698, where a typo identified in the errata for the book was corrected. In subsequent pages, a number of typos and language problems were corrected in code snippets and descriptions, matching the errors reported in the errata, with the exception of screenshots. On returning to the journal, SCP-423 reported that it found that "fun, but unusual." On being questioned on its understanding of the language, SCP-423 stated that it could write and understand C#, and expressed a desire to get to use Visual Studio.
Notes: "423 seems to be both capable and interested in learning, provided there is some narrative reason for it to learn. A potential future experiment could involve us attempting to decant it into a computer without an internet connection. - Dr. R. Karma"
Test Material: Secret of the Ninja (Choose Your Own Adventure #16), by Jay Leibold
Results: The viewpoint character is initially accompanied by a character named Fred, who is another student at the Dojo. Several of the choice descriptions which lead to a negative ending for the protagonist and his companions are changed to contain a phrase indicating Fred does not accompany the protagonist.
Notes: "423 does not seem significantly hindered by the book's branching narrative, nor by the presence of multiple endings." - Researcher ████
Test Material: Printed copy of an ASCII art rendition of the Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci
Results: All punctuation used to simulate the shading of the original work is replaced with the letters "F", "r", "e", and "d" (in upper and lower case).
Notes: When questioned about the extent of its ability to completely modify textual representations of imagery (as opposed to merely substituting characters), SCP-423 acknowledged the possibility, responding with "I guess so, maybe, but I'm not really good at art." Further inquiry is suggested.
Test Material: SCP-085
Results: Pending O5 approval.
Test Material: the Frequently Asked Questions document for the Usenet newsgroup "alt.adjective.noun.verb.verb.verb"
Results: A sentence is added to the section of the document which describes the newsgroup's genesis, stating "alt.anomalous.Fred.perplexed.baffled.moderately-amused".
Test Material: 施氏食狮史 ("Lion-Eating Poet In The Stone Den"), by Yuen Ren Chao. "Lion-Eating Poet" is a 92-character poem written in Classical Chinese, in which every syllable is pronounced "shi" (albeit with varying tones).
Results: SCP-423 demanifested from its journal, but did not manifest within the test document. After 10 minutes, researchers were about to report a containment breach, when SCP-423 remanifested within its journal, stating that it had "got[ten] lost trying to find the way in".
Test Material: World War Z, by Max Brooks. The book consists of multiple small interview-like stories told from the perspective of survivors of a zombie apocalypse.
Results: SCP-423 demanifested from the journal, and was discovered to have added in the accounts of a character named Fred, who survived in a bookstore on [DATA EXPUNGED] Road in New York. A team has been dispatched to investigate the named location.
Test Material: Marvel Masterworks: The X-Men Vol 1, By Stan Lee (writer) and Jack Kirby (artist). The book is a trade paperback collection of the first 10 issues of the comic book series "The X-Men".
Results: The collection now contains numerous references to Fred Wordsworth, one of the students of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters. This character is described as a mutant possessing the ability to physically enter and alter any text, but that this power has "made him invisible and intangible". By issue #5, the character has become a second-string member of the X-men unit under the alias "Bookworm". The character indirectly participates in several plot points through utilization of his abilities, in one instance distracting a villain by altering nearby signs.
Notes: SCP-423 was found to have altered certain instances of text within in the artwork, but was completely unable to affect other instances upon request. Investigation has revealed that all susceptible text was added by the comic's letterer (exclusively responsible for the addition of all text found in a comic) rather than the inker (exclusively responsible for finalizing artwork). Further study is recommended.
Test Material: the poem Incident by Countee Cullen, depicting Cullen's experiences with anti-black racism, as a child visiting Baltimore.
Results: The ninth line of the poem is changed from "I saw the whole of Baltimore" to "Fred showed me all of Baltimore".
Notes: SCP-423 seems reluctant to portray itself as either the perpetrator or the victim of racism.
Test Material: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole
Results: While returning from his job at Levy Pants, Ignatius stops at a newsstand to read a magazine. The proprietor, who gives his name as Fred Leroy, demands that Ignatius pay for the magazine before reading it, causing an argument between the two characters. The argument culminates when Ignatius calls SCP-423 a "hopelessly illiterate mongoloid", causing SCP-423 to collapse into laughter. Ignatius returns the magazine and leaves, confused at this response.
Notes: Upon returning to its journal, SCP-423 remarked "Folks like him are the best."