Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t: The Rake

Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren’t is a new series that explores modern urban legends, bringing you a new tale each week.

What is it about creature features that fire the imagination? Keep your fancy technology, your haunting soundtrack, your stunning special effects; what we come back to time and time again is the idea of the monster hiding under the bed, or lurking in the closet, waiting until we are at our most vulnerable to strike. The unseen is more effective than the seen for the simple reason that the unknown is scary. Then, when you finally DO get a first glimpse at the creature you thought couldn’t exist, it’s all the more chilling. This week, let’s visit a creature I like to call:

Very little is known about the entity known as the Rake. Contemporary interest in this strange being dates to 2003, when the following was reported:

“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 enounters with a creature of unkown 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.”

The first documented instance of him– if such a word can be used in reference to him– that survived this unexplained informational purge goes back to 1691, in which an English mariner’s log states the following: “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.” We don’t know where the mariner had been, but clearly the Rake had been there when his ship arrived; no doubt the Rake will be there still. In 1880, he appeared again in the journal of a Spaniard. Translated into English, the entry reads: “I have experience 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).” Then, in a suicide note written in 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 box as the suicide note were two empty envelopes addressed to a William and a Rose, and one loose letter without an envelope. The letter reads: “Dearest Linnie, I have prayed for you. He spoke your name.” It is unknown what happened to William, Rose, or Linnie– especially Linnie, whom the writer implied would be the Rake’s next victim. [tagbox tag="Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren't"]

What is the Rake? No one really knows. He appears to look like some kind of man/dog hybrid, having been described in one account as “a naked man or a large hairless dog.” Furthermore, he has been noted for his unnatural body position, which appears twisted and distorted, “as if it had been hit by a car or something.” An artist’s rendering depicts him as follows:

Then there is the matter of his name. Beyond its common use as a word for a gardening implement, a rake is defined as “an immoral or dissolute person; a libertine.” In this sense, the word is probably best known in relation to 18th century English printmaker and cartoonist William Hogarth’s eight-painting series A Rake’s Progress, which illustrates the transformation of a moral, upstanding young man into depravity, with the series’ young subject ending up insane and incarcerated in Bedlam. Furthermore, “rake” is truncation of “rakehell;” its definition is the same, but the additional syllable is odd enough to give a person pause.

It is clear that the Rake attacks at night, though it is less clear whether he attacks in the corporeal world, in his victim’s dreams, or in a combination of both. Photographic evidence of the Rake does exist, however, leading to the belief that he is at least somewhat corporeal:

The tales are more terrifying than the images, though. The research begun after the 2003 events culminated in the gathering of every shred of evidence available about the Rake in 2006; but the story that perhaps hits home the most comes from the events that sparked the beginnings of the whole project. A witness recalled the following:

After returning home from a family 4th of July trip to Niagra Falls in 2003, the witness and her husband awoke at roughly 4am to find something sitting at the foot of their bed: the man/dog hybrid described above. Initially, the witness was not afraid; rather, she was concerned about the creature’s state and wondered whether they were supposed to help him. It was only when the creature scrambled up the bed, then out the door towards the children’s rooms that the witness realized that the creature was not benign. Running out of there room and into the hall, the witness and her husband flicked on the hall lights, only to see the creature covered in blood and standing above their daughter Clara. The creature ran down the stairs, while the witness and her husband ran to their daughter. She said only four words: “He is the Rake.”

Those were the last four words she ever spoke. As the witness’ husband rushed to get Clara to the hospital, he lost control of the vehicle and drove into a lake. Neither Clara nor the husband survived.

What caused the husband to lose control of the car? Merely careless driving due to the urgency of the situation? Or was the Rake somehow involved?

After these tragic events, the witness attempted to put her and her son’s lives back together, eventually leading her to research as much as she could about the creature that changed her life forever. She found other survivors with similar stories, and she began recording audio as she slept. At first, the recordings yielded nothing; but during the third week, she says she 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.” [tagbox tag="Creepy Things That Seem Real But Aren't"]

Her tale remains unresolved. “I have not seen the Rake since he ruined my life,” she says, “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.”

Sufficiently disturbed? Don’t be; as with all the others, the Rake isn’t real. Like Slender Man, he’s a creation of the bloody-minded users of the Something Awful forums. All the above-mentioned stories are quoted by user Clockspider in the same thread that Slender Man first appeared in; rumblings have suggested that the Rake had been created prior to Slender Man, but I have been unable to find an original post (if such a thing exists). Furthermore, an ARG that draws heavily on the style of the Marble Hornets Project also exists, known as the EverymanHYBRID, so if you really want to scare the pants off yourself, check it out.

Though I’d still be careful at night if I were you.

You can reach this post's author, Lucia Peters, on twitter.
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    • Disterbed

      The rake is fucking real! I have seen him so don’t tell me his not real!

      • Caio Ranieri

        I am not going to tell you it is not real, but I am going to tell you this: if I have seen it *myself* I would still not believe it. I would think it was an hallucination and seek psychological treatment.

        There are plenty of cases of people who seen supernatural beings and stopped seeing them once they took medication.

      • Emmanuel Barajas

        or you’re just being an ignorant punk like all Americans and thinking everything in the world, no better yet in the universe is normal. ^

      • Caio Ranieri

        Do you even know what “normal” means? Normal is by definition what
        follows the norm. Being left handed, for instance, is not normal
        (because there are less left handed than right handed people). So, of
        course I don’t think everything is normal. Everything being normal isn’t
        even possible.

        Anyway, not believing in something because there
        is no undeniable proof that it’s real is the absolute
        opposite of being ignorant. Being ignorant is
        believing in something that was either been proven to not be real or not
        been proven real; THAT is what most Americans are like. Not believing
        in supernatural things actually makes me unlike all

        I am not American, by the way.

      • jon

        this creature is real, and there is more than one, it is a species tat humankind has failed to observe and therefore failed to believe, he and the slenderman (not his actual name) derive from a point in time where people grew apart and their evils leaked out upon the world

      • Caio Ranieri

        You must be trolling.

        Everyone know Slenderman was made up by the people at the Something Awful forums.

      • Get Your Facts Straight Please

        Slenderman came from Germany in the 16th century. It was a folktale many German people used to keep their children from going into the woods at night. The slender man has been around for centuries and the people at the “Something Awful Forums” did not make it up nor did they ever create it. Not only have there been records of the folktale in Germany but also Egypt and Brazil. Please do some research. I’m pretty skeptical about these types of things too, but at least get your facts straight.

      • Caio Ranieri

        I did do some research:

        And don’t you think I’ve only read the Wikipedia article. I also checked the references, and I also read the Know Your Meme article about it:

        If you have evidence of those “records” of this “folktale” you are talking about, then show me. Because all evidence I can find point to the fact that Slender Man was invented in the Something Awful forums.

        Now, there might be some similar older folktales or urban legends similar to the Slender Man meme, but they are not Slender Man.

      • DUD3

        OOOh Let em know.

      • Emman

        lol trolololol

      • Caio Ranieri

        Show me any proof beyond reasoanable doubt of the existence of some supernatural being and I’ll believe it. (Oh, btw, by definition if something exists, it is natural, not supernatural; so if you prove its existence, you’re also proving it’s natural.)

        If you have no proof, I have no good reason to believe it. That is rational thinking.

      • jon

        pharmaceuticals translated into english is poison

      • Luis Yankee Saldivar

        well then. i can prove it to you. i know how to find me. hit me up, if you got the guts

      • Luis Yankee Saldivar

        if you really have seen it, id be interested in talking to you. im starting a research group. i have seen this thing myself, 3 times. and know17 other people who have as well. please, message me, you are not alone. every little piece of information we gather on this thing leads us one step closer to unlocking its mysterty

    • SK8ER BOI

      my mate has seen it !!!!

    • Ori

      The only thing that is “scary” about the rake is that people actually believe it exists.

      • bobby

        The rake is almost the same as a creature called the Wendigo. a real, really old native american legend. The look of the thing is the same, white, thin, pale, claws,
        the wendigo is something Native Americans around the new york area feared. They believed it ate flesh of humans.
        so the legend is real.

      • Osiris

        Sorry buddy, but this particular one IS real, there’s an old video from around 2004 filmed in the woods in Northeastern Spain( i can confirm this because they are speaking Catalan in the video) which is only spoken in a region of Spain called Catalunya. This video was around LONG before the people from CreepyPasta came up with the creature called “The Rake” (maybe to cover this up? It’s obviously working on small minded people like you). I’m a computer Graphics major so I can tell when a video is being faked with cg, i’ve also seen literally thousands of these types of videos so I again I notice the small details indicating whether it’s fake or real……. this one is legit

      • Osiris

        If anyone is interested you can find the video on youtube by typing in “Fallen Angel caught on tape” (Don’t know why they call it a fallen angel, the video was posted in 2006 on youtube so they probably didn’t know what to call it since the name “The Rake haden’t been invented yet”

      • Caio Ranieri

        Yeah, because we all know it’s *impossible* to fake a video, right?

      • common-sense

        your so stupid if you think that video is real..

      • Alexis Rhiannon


    • Luis Yankee Saldivar

      you are not alone. it is real. i have seen it, 3 times. over the past few years i have done much reasearch, meet and interviewed several witnesses who all discribe the same exact thing, some beening indocumented imigrants who have no knolodge of american urban legends and who do not know of ” the rake”, all they know is the fucked up shit they saw. IF YOU ARE OUT THERE, IF YOU HAVE SEEN THIS THING, PLZ HIT ME UP. im starting a research team to learn more, tough i already have a pretty good idea on how to find it. we need to know more, so we can lead an expedition to kill this thing, and atleast give undeniable proove of its existance. find me on faceboo: message me the words “the rake” if you want to join our team for awareness on …. what ever the fuck this thing really is. to those who dont belive, your welcome to tag along, see it with your own eyes my facebook:

    • Daryl

      I’m Skeptical about this in the article – “I have not seen the Rake since he ruined my life,” she says, “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.”
      In my opinion, why in the heck would she stay in that house after her encounter with
      this Rake creature that brought on this disasterous event??? This lady or whoever
      she is “would have moved out of that house after the incident that occurred with her daughter
      and husband. That’s just common sense and obviously a made up story.

      • Get Your Facts Straight Please

        Just because someone didn’t move out of their house after such an incident doesn’t mean their story or eye witness account is made up. I don’t really believe in these things myself but honestly even if it is “common sense” to move out or something along those lines not many people will really do it just like that. They might have circumstances that keep them tied down or unable to move. You have to think of all the possibilities not just, “Oh a horrible tragedy struck, she would’ve moved out by now; this is fake.”

    • Juan Cabrillo

      This is a rather lazy creepypasta.

    • Agumon The Monster Hunter

      One thing, there is a term that is in medical circels known as “sleep paraslys”. Google it, and you will find out why you “saw” the rake. Sorry for my English im from Serbia :)

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    • Isaac

      I still don;t get it if that thing is not real what about all those videos are they fake or are they just people filming a guy with a costume pretending to be scared

    • Super dude

      Guys evry one has a life cycle it could be dead by now or not

    • Super dude


    • Get Your Facts Straight Please

      I don’t know about this “rake” creature. But I do hope you all know the Slenderman tale did not come from (nor did it first appear on) Creepy Pasta or some forum site. The Slender man is a folktale from Germany known since the 16th century. There are also other tales of said coming from Ancient Egypt and Brazil and such other places. So, it didn’t originate from some forum or creepy pasta.

    • Sara Lee

      I watched the videos of this thing, and even i thought it looked pretty real, even when of course it couldn’t possibly be so…I love myths and legends…Has anyone ever seen the Goblin and dragon videos on YouTube, from the Amazing Mysteries of the World or something lol. Does anyone believe in ghosts?

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