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The Rake

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Estimated reading time — 9 minutes

As the sun begins to set and the trees huddle together in small dark groups as if shielding themselves against the coming of night, you step quietly and quickly through the carpet of fallen leaves and stray twigs, recognising and noting as you do every rustle, every snap of a branch created by your own footfalls. You note them so that you can distinguish them from the other sounds, the soft rustlings of leaves, the crack of bracken somewhere behind you. You increase your speed knowing that night is not the only thing drawing closer. The sound increases as your pace and heartbeats quicken, you turn and in the fading light catch a single glimpse of the hunched, crawling thing that is pursuing you. Creeping forward like an animal and yet looking so horribly human. You only caught a single glimpse, but then you start to run. One glimpse, is enough. 

Overview 

Mostly associated with the image of a bald, pale skinned creature hunched at an angle with bright orb like eyes staring into the camera, the rake has become a staple creepypasta monster, adopted by many authors as shorthand for a creature resembling the one depicted in the photo and placed in various settings. 

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During the summer of 2003, events in the northeastern United States involving a strange, humanlike creature sparked brief local media interest before an apparent blackout was enacted. Little or no information was left intact, as most online and written accounts of the creature were mysteriously destroyed.

Primarily focused in rural New York state, self-proclaimed witnesses told stories of their encounters with a creature of unknown origin. Emotions ranged from extremely traumatic levels of fright and discomfort to an almost childlike sense of playfulness and curiosity. While their published versions are no longer on record, the memories remained powerful. Several of the involved parties began looking for answers that year.

In early 2006, the collaboration had accumulated nearly two dozen documents dating between the 12th century and present day, spanning 4 continents. In almost all cases, the stories were identical. I’ve been in contact with a member of this group and was able to get some excerpts from their upcoming book.

The Rake Creepypasta

A Suicide Note: 1964

As I prepare to take my life, I feel it necessary to assuage any guilt or pain I have introduced through this act. It is not the fault of anyone other than him. For once I awoke and felt his presence. And once I awoke and saw his form. Once again I awoke and heard his voice, and looked into his eyes. I cannot sleep without fear of what I might next awake to experience. I cannot ever wake. Goodbye.

Found in the same wooden box were two empty envelopes addressed to William and Rose, and one loose personal letter with no envelope.

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‘Dearest Linnie,
I have prayed for you. He spoke your name.’

A Journal Entry (translated from Spanish): 1880

I have experienced the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I have experienced the greatest terror. I see his eyes when I close mine. They are hollow. Black. They saw me and pierced me. His wet hand. I will not sleep. His voice [unintelligible text].

A Mariner’s Log: 1691

He came to me in my sleep. From the foot of my bed, I felt a sensation. He took everything. We must return to England. We shall not return here again at the request of the Rake.

the rake

From a Witness: 2006

Three years ago, I had just returned from a trip from Niagara Falls with my family for the 4th of July. We were all very exhausted after a long day of driving, so my husband and I put the kids right to bed and called it a night.

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At about 4 am, I woke up thinking my husband had gotten up to use the restroom. I used the moment to steal back the sheets, only to wake him in the process. I apologized and told him I thought he got out of bed. When he turned to face me, he gasped and pulled his feet up from the end of the bed so quickly his knee almost knocked me out of the bed. He then grabbed me and said nothing.

After adjusting to the dark for a half second, I was able to see what caused the strange reaction. At the foot of the bed, sitting and facing away from us, there was what appeared to be a naked man or a large hairless dog of some sort. Its body position was disturbing and unnatural, as if it had been hit by a car or something. For some reason, I was not instantly frightened by it, but more concerned as to its condition. At this point, I was somewhat under the assumption that we were supposed to help him.

My husband was peering over his arm and knee, tucked into the fetal position, occasionally glancing at me before returning to the creature.

In a flurry of motion, the creature scrambled around the side of the bed and then crawled quickly in a flailing sort of motion right along the bed until it was less than a foot from my husband’s face. The creature was completely silent for about 30 seconds (or probably closer to 5, it just seemed like a while) just looking at my husband. The creature then placed its hand on his knee and ran into the hallway, leading to the kids’ rooms.

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I screamed and ran for the light switch, planning to stop him before he hurt my children. When I got to the hallway, the light from the bedroom was enough to see it crouching and hunched over about 20 feet away. He turned around and looked directly at me, covered in blood. I flipped the switch on the wall and saw my daughter Clara.

The creature ran down the stairs while my husband and I rushed to help our daughter. She was very badly injured and spoke only once more in her short life. She said, “He is the Rake.”

My husband drove his car into a lake that night while rushing our daughter to the hospital. He did not survive.

Being a small town, news got around pretty quickly. The police were helpful at first, and the local newspaper took a lot of interest as well. However, the story was never published and the local television news never followed up either.

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For several months, my son Justin and I stayed in a hotel near my parent’s house. After we decided to return home, I began looking for answers myself. I eventually located a man in the next town over who had a similar story. We got in contact and began talking about our experiences. He knew of two other people in New York who had seen the creature we now referred to as the Rake.

It took the four of us about two solid years of hunting on the internet and writing letters to come up with a small collection of what we believe to be accounts of the Rake. None of them gave any details, history or follow up. One journal had an entry involving the creature in its first 3 pages, and never mentioned it again. A ship’s log explained nothing of the encounter, saying only that they were told to leave by the Rake. That was the last entry in the log.

There were, however, many instances where the creature’s visit was one of a series of visits with the same person. Multiple people also mentioned being spoken to, my daughter included. This led us to wonder if the Rake had visited any of us before our last encounter.

I set up a digital recorder near my bed and left it running all night, every night, for two weeks. I would tediously scan through the sounds of me rolling around in my bed each day when I woke up. By the end of the second week, I was quite used to the occasional sound of sleep while blurring through the recording at 8 times the normal speed. (This still took almost an hour every day)

On the first day of the third week, I thought I heard something different. What I found was a shrill voice. It was the Rake. I can’t listen to it long enough to even begin to transcribe it. I haven’t let anyone listen to it yet. All I know is that I’ve heard it before, and I now believe that it spoke when it was sitting in front of my husband. I don’t remember hearing anything at the time, but for some reason, the voice on the recorder immediately brings me back to that moment.

The thoughts that must have gone through my daughter’s head make me very upset.

I have not seen the Rake since he ruined my life, but I know that he has been in my room while I slept. I know and fear that one night I’ll wake up to see him staring at me.


Credit: Bryan Somerville

More classic Creepypasta stories can be found here:
Bedtime
Psychosis
Rugrats Theory

Appearance 

The Rake is the name given to a strange pale skinned creature that stalks its victims on all fours and has the appearance that somewhat resembles a ‘mutated dog’. The fanged and taloned creature is commonly said to live in woods or forested areas. 

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However, the spread of the character and the resulting lack of common ‘rules’ around its habitat or behaviours means that it now has a far wider presence moving away from the woods and forests to be found in more urban areas and even repeating the common creepy pasta trope of appearing at the end of people’s bed or in their rooms at night. 

The common consensus on the creature’s appearance shows it to have large bulbous eyes, that are reflective when caught in the light of a camera, a drooping jaw with a large, fang filled mouth and often either a nose that is missing entirely or which is simply an open socket, similar to that of a skull. The creature is usually shown naked and crawling toward the viewer on all fours, suggesting that though it is bipedal it prefers to stalk victims in a manner similar to a four legged animal. 

The matter of the  Rake’s appearance is an interesting one that is linked directly to the myth’s origins and development and to an image that had even the mainstream media duped. 

Origins and Images 

In an origin story similar to that of the Slender Man, the mythic creature known as ‘The Rake’ originally evolved out of a 2005 thread on 4 chan where an anonymous poster on the /b/ board suggested that contributors try to collaboratively come up with ideas for a new monster. After some initial back and forth discussion one particular idea was chosen as the most promising candidate and began to be formed, added to and manipulated by several users. 

The descriptions of this creature which went through numerous adumbrations before finally settling, shared some characteristics with the commonly accepted ‘rake’ image that is widespread today, however there were also some glaring differences. For example, the original suggestions called for three eyes, whilst the mp0st common vision of ‘the Rake’ only has two and for the creature to lack other facial features, having for example a missing nose or mouth. 

The first story to feature ‘The Rake’ appeared on Brain Somerville’s personal blog on July 20th 2006. Somerville, who was a regular user of the SomethingAwful site, provided a back story for ‘The Rake’ and with is story cemented some of the more commonly accepted features of the creature’s appearance. The story indicates that sightings of rake like creatures date back as far as the 12th century, that the first records of the creature are from the 17th century and that the creature can be linked to unexplained phenomena and sightings of cryptid like beings in the North Eastern United States. 

By late 2008 Rake stories appeared on Livejournal. The story and variants featuring ‘the Rake’ appeared on SomethingAwful and 4chan by the following year and first appeared on the Paranormal subreddit in 2010. It later found its way onto Creepypasta forums and began to increase in popularity. 

A common misconception is that the appearance of The Rake is based off of the widely shared image of a creature with glowing eyes staring into the camera of a deer hunter that is sometimes referred to as the ‘Berwick Monster’. 

 This image, which is now the one most closely associated with The Rake mythology and the common starting point from which most Rake fan art and variants are derived, was actually taken seriously by mainstream media outlets when it first appeared.

 The still image, alleged to have been extracted from the memory card of a now broken night vision camera, was posted to the  Wildgame Innovations site by someone claiming to have actually encountered the creature. The image and story of the strange encounter was then picked up by media outlets as widespread as Britain’s The Daily Mail and NBC which featured the image and a brief report on the alleged sighting on its morning show. 

However, rather than this image influencing the initial ideas of The Rake’s appearance,  the timeline seems to indicate that the rake stories were retrospectively linked to this image, since discussions about the creature’s appearance, Somerville’s original story and the first postings to major creepypasta and paranormal sites pre-date the image’s creation and appearance in news media. The association of the image with the character can most likely be attributed to the face that the image itself appeared in the same month as a single topic blog tumblr account hoping to gather together all of the fan art, copypasta and sighting reports into one place, with fans of the rake story or those encountering it for the first time conflating the image with the story in an association that would continue to the present. 

Incidentally, despite some sites claiming that the Berwick Monster photograph has never been authenticated or debunked, the image, (which went viral and was spread on various platforms with posters alleging it to be real)  was in fact meant to be a depiction of a ‘grim’ from the game Resistance 3, it was released by the company responsible for the game and as such has been revealed to be a hoax. 

Other influences

Whilst The Rake clearly developed from a collaborative effort online, upon examining the creature’s most generally accepted image, there are a number of precursory influences to consider. 

The creature’s pale skin, lack of a nose and gaping mouth are reminiscent of the Flukeman monster central to the  Season 2 X files episode ‘The Host’ in which a whiteskinned creature with yellowish eyes, a gaping mouth and bald head is featured. 

Visions of the creature that are heavily influenced by the ‘Berwick Monster’ image are also commonly linked the the 2006 ‘Fallen Angel of Catalonia’ footage, which, though also revealed to be a hoax, bears some striking resemblances to the later ‘Berwick Monster’ photograph, leading some to believe it may have been a direct influence upon the ‘developers of Resistance  3 ‘grim’ image. 

Later fan art depictions of the rake have altered the character’s appearance somewhat,  exaggerating certain features and placing greater emphasis on the creature’s fangs, bald head and elongated fingers into an image strikingly similar to the character ‘Lizzie’ created by special effects artist Tom Savini for the Tales from The Darkside episode ‘In the Closet’. 

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