SCP-173 Given New Life, The Head-Turning History of an Icon

SCP is a collection of community-sourced short stories in a shared world, it began on Paranormal /x/ 4chan in 2007. Not only is SCP-173 one of the most iconic monsters from the community, but it is also the first one ever. SCP-173 is the story posted on that day in 2007 by an anonymous user sparking the beginnings of one of the most regarded internet horror writing and online collection of community literature.

The Peanut Family by Mr Frtc

On February 01, 2022, the official SCP Wiki tweeted that the wiki that houses all the integrated articles will be removing the image of SCP-173 while leaving the article intact. The reason is that SCP works under a Creative Commons license which conflicts with the depiction which is that of the artwork Untitled 2004 by Japanese artist Izumi Kato without his consent. While Kato was not happy with the use of his art he allowed the photo to remain but as it sat it was technically illegal. The decision made by the SCP wiki staff is made due to the increasing difficulty to moderate the commercial use of the SCP license when the image and design of Untitled 2004 are not licensed. The removal set for February 13 is taking place out of good faith and to celebrate the life of the article with an art event that is beaconing waves of evocative concept work from across the internet.

Similar to how comics struggle to balance standing story details with new writers taking and concluding their own interpretation of characters the SCP articles also see their share of updates and patching of lore and details over years to make them more cohesive with their peers or to polish earlier writing. The essential spirit of SCP-173 however remains untouched. The containment article describes it as a concrete and rebar sculpture that moves impossibly and with lethal effect when not observed, even blinking is long enough for it to snap the neck or strangle anyone within its line of sight. The more ominous title fans have used is “The Sculpture” while they also refer to it iconically as “The Peanut” as its meek top-heavy curves share a likeness with the bulbous snack.

The SCP story collection has inspired many video games based on the articles. Many have the player act as the unfortunate individuals that were lost in the deadly encounters with the creatures and environments in the horrifying stories.

If you’re looking for the scares here are some games featuring SCP-173

The thrill of SCP articles is investigating the cryptic safety protocols and extrapolating the haunting events by reading between lines. Much of the tension is reliant on what is unknown and speculated of the threat. While misappropriated, the artwork by Kato does portray a stunningly unsettling image of the scraggly sculpture in a decaying storeroom awash with rust (within the SCP lore the red substance is a mix of feces and blood). But ultimately even if it was collaborative the meaning in Kato’s work is antithetical to the spirit of SCP-173

Contrary to the contemplating appropriation SCP-173, Untitled 2004 is one of Izumi Kato’s multiple works around human identity. Kato’s sculptures take the form of fetus-like figures with features he fingerpaints. He describes the figures as living and is received as capturing the essence of existence. I find they share a likeness to sprites in how they are characterized in placement and features as being alive and individual but are different from humans as humans have living bodies and autonomous wills, relative speaking.

Images from Scai The Bathhouse

The author of SCP-173, Moto42 has requested that the image be left empty as they desire the reader to form their own interpretation of what the sculpture might look like in their nightmares. The online horror community that undoubtedly was partially curated with the SCP fandom have sprung on the suggestion to create their own imaginings. While it’s difficult to separate the iconic look of Kato’s Untitled 2004 the designs are wildly their own transformation that makes a form of their own.

If you’re a fan and would like to participate in the SCP-173 art event you can join in here.