rating: +49+x

Modern artistic depiction of SCP-5768.

Item #: SCP-5768

Object Class: Keter

Special Containment Procedures: All written and visual representations of SCP-5768 are to be seized and archived by Mobile Task Force Tau-9 ('Bookworms'). All known and suspected cases of SCP-5768-A are to be investigated by Mobile Task Force Pi-1 ('City Slickers'), with confirmed instances transported to Site-19 for further research. Efforts to eradicate knowledge of SCP-5768 from the European cultural zeitgeist are ongoing.

Description: SCP-5768 is a mythical character originating in western European mythology, popularly known as the Voice Taker. Physical descriptions vary, the most common being that of a hunched, decaying figure carrying a burlap sack, its most notable features being an abnormally large mouth, and a beard composed primarily of flies and maggots.

Literary and artistic representations of SCP-5768 have been originating in multiple countries, dating as back as the late seventeenth century, with the entity subject to at least one English-language nursery rhyme, entitled The Voice-Taker Cometh.

Children between the ages of four and sixteen who become aware of SCP-5768 through auditory and written vectors are susceptible to an anomalous alteration. At any time between one month and two years after becoming aware of SCP-5768, affected persons (designated SCP-5768-A) will awaken from sleep to discover that they have become entirely incapable of verbal communication.

Medical analysis has revealed no physical explanation for this condition. In most instances this effect appears to be permanent, with all Foundation attempts at reversing SCP-5768-A's condition (including laryngeal transplant and amnestic administration) having ended in failure.

In 90% of cases, instances of SCP-5768-A will report feelings of general uneasiness, as well as the sensation of being watched over the days prior to their transformation. Similarly, there have been several cases where SCP-5768-A have reported what they describe as an unpleasant taste similar to that of expired meat following their alteration, which may persist for up to a week afterwards.

There are currently four known cases of SCP-5768-A instances regaining their ability to speak whilst in containment, although in all known instances, the subjects spoke with voices they could not recognize as their own. Further research into this phenomenon is ongoing.

Precisely when SCP-5768's anomalous properties first manifested is currently unclear, although archived documents relating to His Majesty's Foundation for the Secure Containment of the Paranormal (HMFSCP) suggest that containment efforts were first implemented at some point in the early nineteenth century.

The following is an extract from the 1910 revised edition of Of Myths and Monsters by British historian and folklorist Andrew Lang, one of the most detailed accounts of SCP-5768 currently in Foundation possession, provided by the Department of Mythology and Folkloristics.

The Voice-Taker

…The Voice-Taker is generally described as a ghost or revenant, and is consistently depicted as a tall, decomposing figure, wearing a beard made from flies and larva, with a heavy sack slung over its shoulder. In life, the Voice-Taker is said to have been born with a mouth much too big for his face (a deformity which most tellings attribute to his gossiping mother), and as a result, his cries during infancy were so loud and frequent that they would regularly keep his family and their neighbors awake at all hours of the night, and cause their whole house to shake.

The boy's father, exhausted and desperate consulted a local priest, who provided him with a magical elixir, which he claimed would silence his son's screams until his first birthday, allowing his parents some much-needed rest. Although the priest's father warned him to give his son only three drops, he instead poured the entire elixir into the child's oversized mouth, causing him to be left permanently mute. He was soon put to work on his family farm, until in his eighteenth year, he died after tripping and falling down an abandoned well. Although the boy's parents searched for weeks afterwards, because their son was unable to shout for help, he was never found, and having never been afforded the Christian burial rites, his spirit is now forced to spend eternity wandering the mortal plane.

The Voice-Taker's experience has given him a strong appreciation for the value of speech, and an even stronger disdain for children who take theirs for granted by yelling, swearing, and being rude to their elders. Unruly children are warned that if their behavior does not improve, the Voice-Taker will visit them in the night. Upon awakening to the pungent stench of decay, the child will inevitably scream upon catching gory glimpse of the mute monster looming over them. The creature will then strike by extending one bony arm down its victim's throat, and stealing their voice away before stuffing it into his sack.

Precisely what the ghostly figure does with its stolen treasure tends to vary between interpretations. Many tellings claim that the Voice-Taker hides these lost voices deep inside the same well where it lost its life, and their disembodied cries and moans can occasionally be heard during thunderstorms as echoes in the wind. Others claim that they are given as presents to good children who were born mute, or fed to baby birds in the spring, giving them their morning song. Some variations maintain that once seven years have passed, the Voice-Taker may decide to return a voice to its owner (provided they have been well-behaved), although as the creature has a tendency towards carelessness, this often results in situations where boys are mistakenly given girls' voices, and vice versa.

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