Item #: SCP-2981
Object Class: Safe
Special Containment Procedures: SCP-2981 is to be contained at Site-19 in a freezer located in containment area 14A. To prevent spoilage, fresh mashed potatoes are to be placed in the freezer alongside SCP-2981. Following a period of 4 days, SCP-2981's container should be emptied of its contents and cleaned before replacement. Personnel carrying out this process are not allowed to leave the containment area with SCP-2981 and/or the mashed potatoes.
Description: SCP-2981 is a 4.8 kilogram mass of mashed potatoes displaying a cognitohazardous effect in which affected individuals1 perceive SCP-2981 as being a living person. When confronted by another individual on the subject of SCP-2981 in conversation or prolonged physical contact, this effect abruptly ceases its effect upon the affected individual and begins to affect the other individual2. This effect has not been observed affecting more than three individuals at a time.
Discovery: SCP-2981 was first noticed on ████████ University where missing person flyers were discovered around the █████ Campus, seeking out an individual named "Alan ██████ ████". No identifying information or photograph was attached. Campus security tracked the flyers to an assistant professor, Yuan █████. Upon interview, Mrs. █████ claimed to have no knowledge of an "Alan ██████ ████". Several days later, Mrs. █████ contacted campus security, claiming to have located "Alan's remains". Security were directed to a lounge, and SCP-2981 was located and identified. Mrs. █████ abruptly left the scene, leaving security to contact local police to report a potential homicide.
Officers on the scene could not find the alleged suspect, and a security guard, Mr. Shockley, took SCP-2981 with him home. At this point, SCP-2981 could not be accounted for until 19:00, at which point a student having dinner at the campus cafeteria was verbally assaulted by another student. The altercation led to the student, Ms. Payne, fleeing the scene with a bowl containing a new instance of SCP-2981.
At 03:06 the next day, Ms. Payne brought SCP-2981 to the clinic, claiming it to be "unresponsive" and "bleeding profusely". Ms. Payne had to be restrained as she became belligerent when separated from SCP-2981. SCP-2981 was then acquired by a nurse, who brought it to tend to a patient. Hospital staff questioned the nurse, Mr. Paulson, who maintained SCP-2981 to be a visiting friend, and apologized for allowing them to visit a patient. Mr. Paulson did not resist being separated from SCP-2981.
At 14:21, police were called to respond to a suspicious persons report filed by a patient, Ms. Joyce, who claimed SCP-2981 to be eavesdropping and spying on the woman as she changed. Officers on the scene identified SCP-2981 as [REDACTED] and placed it under arrest.
The incident was brought to the Foundation's attention following a brief altercation at the local police department which escalated into a pursuit on foot, as Officer ████ Jackson made off with SCP-2981, believing it to be a cancer-stricken relative named "Jean". Officer Jackson made his way across campus, heading for the clinic, before losing consciousness and dropping SCP-2981. SCP-2981 was largely recovered intact.
As Officer Jackson retained SCP-2981's effects throughout the incident and his subsequent detention and interview by Foundation personnel, it was not initially believed to be a cognitohazard.
Transcript of interview between Dr. Marlowe and Officer ████ Jackson.
<Begin Log 15 minutes in, 21:04:48>
Dr. Marlowe: How long did it take for you to realize they had taken "Jean" into custody?
Jackson: Right away. They were carrying her in, unconscious, said she was under arrest for potential homicide. I checked her pulse. She was bleeding, but still alive. I said she was unconscious and needed to get to a hospital. They didn't believe me, and one of the guys was saying she wasn't even human, but a big bowl of potato salad or something. Everyone was yelling, it was a madhouse.
Dr. Marlowe: And then what happened?
Jackson: She started moving. Officer ███ then stuck his fingers in her mouth, I don't know what he was thinking, so I shoved him aside. We got into a bit of a fight.
Dr. Marlowe: How many other officers were involved?
Jackson: Just us two. ██████ tried to break us up since he was close, but it was over before it got too vicious.
Dr. Marlowe: How'd it end?
Jackson: I just, I backed off. I mean, he's my friend, I wasn't gonna break his nose or anything. I didn't know what I was doing, so I just picked her up and left. I remember running and passing out, then you all got involved.
Dr. Marlowe: "Her" being Jean here?
Jackson: Yeah [Officer Jackson places a hand on SCP-2981] She's still dirty.
Dr. Marlowe: Can you tell me more about Jean? How you came to know her, what she's like, maybe how she could've ended up being accused of murder?
Jackson: I don't know how she ended up in cuffs… She's been on some meds for the past two years, maybe she was in some kind of fugue state. It wasn't looking good for a while. And ███, Jesus…
Dr. Marlowe: What about Officer ███?
Jackson: I didn't mean to hit him. But like, as soon as I hit him, he exploded. Lost his shit. It was like I'd never seen him before in my life, like he was someone completely different in that moment. I was genuinely scared.
Dr. Marlowe: Was he threatening her?
Dr. Marlowe: Jean.
Jackson: He was threatening me. Is he pressing charges, or something, is that why I'm here?
Dr. Marlowe: No, nothing like that, Officer Jackson. Once we've finished up here, you can work it out with Officer ███ and hopefully everything will be fine.
Dr. Marlowe: Dr. Watts?
Dr. Marlowe: Do you have anything to add?
Dr. Marlowe: What?
Jackson: You're asking me?
Dr. Marlowe: No, I was asking Dr. Watts.
Dr. Marlowe: I'm sorry, Dr. Watts here has been logging our conversation, I was just wondering if she had anything else to add.
Jackson: There's no one else here. You mean the mashed potato bowl?
Dr. Marlowe: Mashed potatoes?
Jackson: I came in with this bowl of mashed potatoes.
Dr. Marlowe: [Following a long pause] Officer Jackson, I think we may have a problem here.