SCP-540-FR
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Dr Bailey, under the influence of SCP-540-FR, performs in real time the music he perceives telepathically. Kingston, Jamaica, 1982

Item #: SCP-445-FR

Threat Level: Blue

Object Class: Euclid

Special Containment Procedures: Instances of SCP-540-FR controlled by the Foundation are currently stored at Site-Lamedh under the supervision of Dr Bailey. Personnel wishing to access the anomaly for testing purposes may contact the latter for authorization. At least once a month, personnel must come under SCP-540-FR's influence to confirm no transmission can be detected. If a transmission is detected, a containment breach must be reported, and a Priority-2 anomaly search is to be carried out.

Description: SCP-540-FR is a Cannabis sativa indica (domesticated cannabis) variety, previously known and consumed for recreational purposes by the Rastafarian community in Jamaica in the 1970s and 80s. Nowadays, the Foundation is in control of a majority of specimens. SCP-540-FR is physiologically similar to other Cannabis sativa indica cultivars and genetic analyses point to an origin in Ethiopia in the middle of the XXth century. Apart from its anomalous effect, the psychoactive properties of the plant are identical to those observed for other varieties.1

Consuming SCP-540-FR allows a subject to perceive as inner speech music sung or played on an instrument by another subject from a great distance. If the transmitting individual is accompanied by other musicians, these are also audible in the inner voice. The transmission does not work for speech alone: the transmitting subject has to be convinced that what they are singing or playing is indeed music. The effect only works for music featuring a technique called skanking and used abundantly in reggae, rocksteady and ska, three genres originating in Jamaica during the second half of the XXth century.

Excerpt performed by Dr Bailey on an acoustic guitar after consuming SCP-540-FR. The skank technique is very clearly audible: in the four beats in a bar/measure, a bass note is played on the 1st beat and a short guitar stroke on the 2nd and 4th beats, creating an easily recognizable "offbeat" rythm.

The ability to be the transmitting subject is unique to one individual selected using a specific procedure. Only the current holder of this ability (referred to by some sources as the "Mandate of Israel") is able to pass it on to another individual, and will themselves lose it in the process. From 1978 to 1985, this person was James Wick, referred to as Person of Interest #540-FR-1.

The Foundation began collecting data on SCP-540-FR in 1978. Researchers would come under the effect of the anomaly in order to perform the music they heard in real time and record it, and hundreds of text pages were confiscated from Jamaican consumers of SCP-540-FR. From 1978 to 1985, more than two hundred hours of recordings and two thousand pages of lyrics were collected.

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James Wick (PoI-540-FR-1) upon capture in 1985.

All collected data shares a number of traits: few instruments (most often a single guitar, occasionally a cajon2), the use of skanking, and lyrics in Jamaican Patois dealing with world peace. Consumers of the anomaly describe the perceived voice as masculine and gravelly, indicating all collected data originates from one musician.

On July 12th 1985, while searching a house in the suburbs of Kingston, Foundation personnel discovered a bookshelf containing thousands of pages of song lyrics including all of those previously collected by the Foundation, as well as a guitar and a cajon. The owner of the house is James Wick, a Jamaican man whose voice matches researcher descriptions. Below is an interview of the latter upon capture.

Interviewee: James Wick (PoI-540-FR-1)
Interviewer: Dr Sébastien Legenvre, Dr Michael Bailey
Interview Date: August 13th 1985


Dr Legenvre: You hereby confirm having written and performed all song lyrics found in your home, and having used SCP-540-FR's effect to telepathically transmit them to a large number of people for seven years. I imagine your motivations for this are precise and well-reflected ?

PoI-540-FR-1: It sounded like fun.

Dr Legenvre: Very well… What is the origin of this ability, and why is it unique to you?

PoI-540-FR-1: It is the Mandate of Israel. It came from the Emperor of Ethiopia, and he who has it can pass it to anyone he pleases. He is the reincarnation of Christ, his role is to guide the Chosen People, which is the Africans.

Dr Legenvre: Is that all? Please excuse my skepticism, but I doubt Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, has anything to do with telepathic marijuana music transmission.

PoI-540-FR-1: It all comes from skanking. You know what it is?

Dr Legenvre: I pretty much have to after listening to stoned researchers perform for hours. it's the rythm that goes one - TWO! - three - FOUR!

PoI-540-FR-1: It's more than that. The entire history of Ethiopia, that's skanking. First there was the Empire of Aksum, a time of prosperity and growth in ancient times, then the invasion by Queen Gudit, bringing chaos and violence to the land. In the Middle Ages, the Ethiopian Empire is restored by the House of Solomon. And finally, in 1975, the monarchy is toppled by the military, bringing chaos and uncertainty again. Four periods: quiet, rough, quiet, rough. That's the riddim3 of history.

Dr Legenvre: All of this is fascinating, but it doesn't tell me how you would have managed to meet the Emperor of Ethiopia.

PoI-540-FR-1: I didn't meet him directly. The Wailers got the Mandate of Israel in Ethiopia in 1978. Then I met them, and Peter gave me the Mandate.

Dr Legenvre: Who?

Dr Bailey: The Wailers, a band formed by Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley. They did go to Ethiopia in 1978.

Dr Legenvre: Assuming all of this is true, Why didn't this Peter Tosh keep the "mandate" for himself?

PoI-540-FR-1: Because of the skanking.

Dr Legenvre: Why is that?

PoI-540-FR-1: Well, not everyone can stand it. I never had problems because I'm naturally calm, but some, they would go crazy.

Dr Legenvre: Listen, I think I've had enough of your riddles.

PoI-540-FR-1: You're too angry, young man. Your mind is corrupted by Babylon.

Dr Legenvre: Huh? By who?

Dr Bailey: Well, actually, Babylon is a euphemism used in the bible to refer to the Roman Empire, symbolizing the oppression of the Israelites, and reused by Rastafarians to refer to western society oppressing people from Africa which-

Dr Legenvre: Will you please answer my question?

PoI-540-FR-1: I don't have much time left on this Earth. Close by, I know there's someone who can sing with the Rastas. I must give him the Mandate of Israel.

Dr Bailey: Is it me?

Dr Legenvre: Don't get too excited, you might end up contained because of that.

Dr Bailey: Oh, I'm just thinking that having someone who can telepathically transmit music in our control…

Dr Legenvre: We already have one right in front of us.

PoI-540-FR-1: I won't sing for Babylon.

Dr Legenvre: We'll see about that.


Afterword: Here is all the information PoI-540-FR-1 is willing to give us. Although I did not hesitate to threaten him of death, torture and consequences for his family, this old stubborn mule only knows one word: "Babylon, Babylon, I'm not afraid of Babylon." Some people have no survival instinct. In any case, it seems unlikely that the Emperor of Ethiopia used his time to meet with three musicians from across the planet. If they did indeed bring this "Mandate of Israel" back from their voyage, we will have to discover who they actually got it from.

In the mean time, a better storage site for the confiscated SCP-540-FR plants will be needed. The sheer number of specimens found dwarfs all my expectations, and due to debatable security, it is not rare to notice "disappearances" which can most certainly be traced to certain personnel members… In addition, it goes without saying that if a fire was to break out in this location, the consequences would be most embarrassing.

A more secure detention site for PoI-540-FR-1 is also necessary. Although I certainly do not fear an evasion, the walls of his cell are too thin, which allows agents to hear him sing and sometimes join in with their own instruments. It is of course unacceptable for personnel to engage in "jam sessions" with prisoners. I had to reprimand the culprits myself, as Dr Bailey refused to do so… this young man is promising, but he needs to learn to show more authority.

Addendum: Use of SCP-540-FR for communication

On September 12th, 1988, hurricane Gilbert struck Jamaica, causing major material damage. Warehouse 8, Dr Legenvre and Bailey's base of operations in the Kingston suburban area, was badly damaged, and several personnel members were buried under rubble. The phone line connecting Warehouse 8 to the Jamaican Foundation headquarters, in downtown Kingston, was sectioned. Dr Bailey knew at the time that a study of SCP-540-FR was ongoing in the headquarters, and that several people were under its influence at that moment. He therefore instructed PoI-540-FR-1 to sing and ask for help. Below is a transcript of the lyrics transmitted by the latter.

Addendum: 1989/01/20 Containment breach

On January 20th, 1989, personnel under SCP-540-FR's influence claimed to hear a so far unidentified voice. It was a "young man's voice," distinct from PoI-540-FR-1's, similarly accompanied by a guitar and singing in a similar style. The only logical explanation was that PoI-540-FR-1 had come into unrecorded contact with this individual and had passed his anomalous abilities on to them.

Following this incident, PoI-540-FR-1 was interrogated and claimed to have met with a Rastafarian personnel member, but refused to name them. A short investigation designated Agent Trevor Burton as the main suspect. Below is an interview of the latter by Dr Legenvre and Bailey.

Upon arrival at Site-Beth, Dr Legenvre and Dr Bailey attempted to locate Dr Delaunay, to no avail. They interrogated several personnel members and humanoid SCPs, which revealed that Dr Delaunay had given his anomalous abilities to SCP-438-FR, who then gave them to Dr Vicat, who gave them to SCP-218-FR, who gave them to Dr Doisnel before his departure for Jamaica. Dr Legenvre and Bailey then boarded another plane, with Dr Bailey noting that Dr Legenvre seemed fascinated by his reading. Upon returning to Warehouse 8, Dr Legenvre and Dr Bailey discovered that the "Mandate of Israel" had been returned to PoI-540-FR-1. Below is an interview of the latter.

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