Item #: SCP-935
Object Class: Euclid
Special Containment Procedures: The object is kept on a scale in the office of Dr. ███ in the ██████ Wing of Site 19. If the scale registers a null weight, the scale is set to an alarm, which will alert the assigned Agents to execute this document's Special Reaction Procedures, outlined below. The scale can be bypassed using a keycode, allowing researchers to access the object for testing.
Genetic testing is to be done on all personnel applying for positions in the ██████ Wing; those who test positive for Genetic Marker Bowe-1A are not to be permitted into the Wing.
Special Reaction Procedures: If the object is to leave the designated area, agents are instructed first to begin surveillance of all living descendants of MacDouglas Bowe III and/or of █████ ██████. To identify these individuals, refer to Package 9. When the object reappears, it is to be retrieved. When it is retrieved, it is to be assigned new containment procedures to reflect any new information gathered about the object's properties or capabilities.
Description: The object is a black and yellow box of playing cards. The markings of the box indicate that is part of the Black Scorpion line of Bicycle playing cards printed by the U.S. Playing Card Company. The paper seal of the U.S. Playing Card Company is intact, indicating the pack has never been opened. There is no indication it has ever been shrink-wrapped.
Spectral analysis is inconclusive, in that it indicates that there are molecules within the object that contain transuranic elemental atoms, but no radioactive decay has been detected within the object. This seems impossible, however, in that the atomic numbers of these elements return as 102 and 103, which are nobelium and lawrencium respectively; both of these elements are highly unstable and no known configuration or conditions are known to stabilize them. One theory is that the object somehow alters or produces light emission that confound our spectrometer. Carbon dating is also inconclusive, but various labs have returned results dating the object between the Seventh and Fourth Century BC.
Attempts to measure the object's properties are difficult to interpret. In all properties that we can measure, other than the aforementioned, the object is identical to a standard deck of cards. However, the box and the cards held within exhibit behavior that is thus far inexplicable, but predictable.
The cards held within the box are identical to those one would find in a commercially available pack of Black Scorpion cards issued by the U.S. Playing Card Company. If any card is displaced 3m or more from the box, it will vanish, though what physical properties allow it to do so is unknown. Analysis produces no evidence of vapor or residue. High-speed camera footage of the cards vanishing provided no evidence to support any hypothesis as to how or why the cards behave this way. The precise moment that the card vanishes, it reappears inside the box. The reappearance is as unexplained - and as rigorously tested - as its vanishing. (See: Test Log 935, Volumes VII-XXI)
Any damage or alteration done to the card box is slowly undone. If the cards themselves are damaged or altered in any way, they will remain in the same condition until they have undergone whatever process causes them to vanish and reappear; once they have, they are in their original condition. (See: Test Log 935, Volumes M-MCII)
Following are some selected test examples. They have been summarized in portions and truncated in all.
|Tearing open the sticker seal to access the cards contained||Once the box's lid had been closed and folded in, the [fibrous tissue of the sticker paper] became animated and [reached out to one another, pulling] each other closer and intertwining, reconstituting the sticker.|
|Silver metallic ink mark left by a Sharpie brand permanent marker||The box began emitting low level light in every measurable frequency [except those which are visual to humans or dangerous to organic life]. The ink's molecular structures were broken down in a method we are unable to explain at this time. [The ink had become a simple powder, able to be swept away].|
|Application of [enough] lighter fluid [to completely destroy the box] and [fire]||The lighter fluid evaporated at 2.38 times its normal rate once in surface contact with the [card box]. Combustion ceased occurring after 4s, despite all physical conditions being met for continued CO2 reactions. Immediately following the cessation of combustion, [the fibrous tissues of the box began growing, intertwining, and reconstituting the lost portion of the box].|
Each time the object has come into the possession of the Foundation, it has vanished after a period of time. The conditions surrounding its departure have each been unique to the incident.
The object has existed at least since the First Century BC, despite its outward appearance. Although having all the properties of a modern machine-made good that is part of a line of products under a corporate brand, the object is either a product of the ancient world, or a statistical near-impossibility. A third option, largely eschewed by those aware of it, is that the object is a result of time travel or magic. This report merely suggests the notion, but does not promote such a hypothesis.
The first recorded instance of the object is in a letter from a man known only as "G. Picazo" to his wife, in a papyrus scroll recovered from an Italian monastery library. The author was a wealthy Roman trader, judging from the content of the letter, who brags throughout the letter about the odd, indestructible object he had acquired as part of a "business deal". He called the object an "artifact of Vulcan". The letter describes the object thoroughly, confirming that it is the same object, even depicting the words "U.S. Playing Card Company" in a diagram.
"G. Picazo" is a person largely unknown to history. The family name "Picazo" no longer exists. In the letter, Picazo mentions his "only child, my beloved son". It is safe to assume the younger Picazo did not father a son.
Notes retrieved from the archives of the Boston Police Department describe the object in great detail as part of a murder investigation and a suicide investigation. On 23 December 1889, John Rawl, a former slave and Union soldier, was shot dead in his home in Boston. The only suspect in the case was Michael Landrau, a man Rawl had reportedly cheated in a game of cards.
The inspector in charge of the case, Ashleigh Brooks, said in his notes that the box of cards used in the allegedly fatal card game was "of extremely bizarre nature. It bears the symbols of the Bicycle brand of cards produced by Russel, Morgan, & Company, but purports to be manufactured by U.S. Playing Card Company, of which I've never heard. It bears black and yellow marks, claiming itself to be a 'Black Scorpion'. Perhaps most strikingly, I have never seen anything printed with such crisp lines and clarity; not on a billboard or newspaper, let alone playing cards. I doubt this is an American product. Why the perpetrator did not take this item as booty is beyond me."
John Rawl was survived by two children and a grandchild. His eldest son, John Rawl Jr, committed suicide six months later on 19 June 1890. During the course of investigating the suicide, which some had suspected was a murder at the time, inspector Donald Holliday consulted Ashleigh Brooks on the case, as Brooks had worked on the victim's father's case. In his notes, Holliday says: "Brooks seemed most interested in the black and yellow playing cards the victim had had in his possession at the time of death. He mentioned that he had put a pack identical to that one in the evidence locker seven months ago. I went to see if it was still there. Despite records to the contrary, the pack of cards Brooks had logged in were not there."
John Rawl Jr was survived by a son, Jacob Rawl, and sister, Eliza Duke. Eliza Duke and Jacob Rawl were both killed in a stagecoach accident in Harlem, New York on 30 August 1895. The police report lists the contents of of the victims' pockets at the time of the accident. Included on the list, in Jacob Rawl's pocket, was "yellow & black hued poker cards". Jacob Rawl and Eliza Duke had been the last living direct descendants of John Rawl Sr, and with their death the lineage was extinguished.
The object's next appearance in history is in a photograph taken during the Chicago Beer War. MacDouglas "Little Bigsy" Bowe III had been an Irish mobster who opposed Al Capone during the more famous mobster's rise to power. A supporter of prohibition, Bowe opposed both the Irish and the Italian crime families entering into the liquor trade. While walking home from the poker hall, on the night of 3 December 1924, Bowe was gunned down by Capone's men. Crime scene photography taken by the Chicago Police Department clearly shows the object clutched in the hand of the corpse of MacDouglas Bowe III.
According to contemporary reports, MacDouglas Bowe III had been a notorious gambler and a cheat. One witness, according to the police notes, reported that MacDouglas Bowe's last words upon leaving the poker hall had been, "I'd thank you for the money, men, but I have to give all the credit to these wonderfully inexplicable cards. Maybe if you learn how to whisper to them like I do, you'll have a stretch of luck for yourselves."
Since the death of MacDouglas Bowe III the object has been present at the violent deaths of many of the direct descendants of MacDouglas Bowe. Because MacDouglas Bowe was survived by twelve children, and his children produced between seven and fifteen children each, tracking each of lineage is extremely difficult. It is assumed more incidents of the object being present at violent deaths of descendants of MacDouglas Bowe have taken place between 1924 and 1993, although identifying them is nearly impossible.
Following the death of General Stan Bowe, only twenty-five direct living descendants of MacDouglas Bowe III still live.
On 15 ███████ 20██, Dr. █████ ██████ took the object without authorization and, according to video surveillance tapes from Break Room 9, played a game of solitaire with the object. Dr. █████ ██████ broke the rules of the game while playing a total of four times.
Three days later, on 18 ███████ 20██, Dr. █████ ██████ was killed when his car collided with an intoxicated motorcyclist and was sent off a cliff. Foundation Agents, acting upon the knowledge that the object had gone missing mere hours earlier, were the first on the scene, and recovered the object from the glove box of Dr. █████ ██████'s car.
Ten months after that, on 3 ███████ 20██, M██████ ██████, the eldest daughter of Dr. █████ ██████, died after being pulled out to sea by a riptide while vacationing in Malibu, California. Later, it would come to be known that the object disappeared from Foundation custody at the same precise moment at which M██████ was swept out into the ocean. Her body washed up onto shore in Port Angeles, Washington fourteen months later. Washington State Coroner's Office reported in the autopsy that a deck of "Bicycle 'Black Scorpion' - style cards" was among the corpse's stomach contents.
The object has since been recovered. Dr. █████ ██████ still has five living direct descendants.
Whether or not the object causes the incidents or merely appears near them is a matter of intense debate. It is to be noted that there are also those who believe the object class should be upgraded to Keter. Current administration policy is that this object class should remain Euclid, and those who disagree have been barred from altering this document.
Testing on this object's physical properties is open to all researchers at Site 19, but must be conducted in ██████ Wing and approved by Dr. ███. Direct approvals for testing to Dr. ███.