Throughout time there have been events that we can’t completely explain. By “we” I’m talking about everyone who has ever borne witness to something unexplained. It makes you feel uneasy. After seeing something so bizarre, something so horrifying, you have the feeling in the pit of your stomach that no matter how much you explain, no matter how authentic your story, no matter the level of detail you can provide—even if it’s a photograph—no one will believe you. There’s something like that that has been roaming around the American Northeast for a long time, and perhaps the Old World before that. I’m talking about The Rake.
What Exactly is The Rake?
The Rake is an abomination of nature. Should you encounter it, heed this warning: stay away. It is humanoid, but certainly not human, at least not anymore. It resembles Gollum from Lord of the Rings, or the Falmer of Skyrim, with hairless pale skin and a hunched profile, oftentimes seen walking on all fours. Rotten, dull teeth that look as if they’ve been chewing on stones and bark. Eyes that are sunken, as if the creature hasn’t slept for a thousand years or more, and they never shine or shimmer. They are pits of black, and they have transfixed its victims. But why is it called The Rake? For one, as will be explained, many of its victims know that that is its name. Sometimes they are told by it. Other times they just know, in an inexplicable way, as if its essence had induced the thought itself. The other reason it is known as The Rake, is because of its hands. Hands that are said to be six inches wide at the palm—twice the human average—and long, bony fingers with claws outstretched at the ends. These claws can scratch and score everything they touch.
When did The Rake First Appear?
The Rake became had a sort of renaissance around 2003, with sightings cropping up all over the northeastern United States. The rural parts of New York, in particular, were a hotbed for sightings. But why call it a renaissance? Because The Rake didn’t pop into existence in 2003. In fact, there are stories of this monster dating back to the 15th century. The earliest written record comes from an English seafarer, commonly referred to as “the mariner”. The Englishman landed in the New World in 1691, the same year the Province of Massachusetts Bay was chartered by William III and Mary II of Britain. The only mention of The Rake by this nameless sailor in his diary goes so:
“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.”
What did this English colonist do? Nobody knows. But it lends credence to the idea that this freak of nature has been wandering the American northeast since at least before the thirteen colonies. While localized in the northeast, The Rake is known to have traveled as far south as Florida. A fragment of a Spanish language journal circa 1880 speaks of a person being haunted with night terrors by a creature that sounds like The Rake:
“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).”
The hollow, black eyes are what mesmerizes so many who encounter it.
Fast-forward to the 1960s. The world was going through immense cultural change, as well as technological. Televisions were becoming commonplace in people’s homes, and The Beatles were the world’s favorite band. But The Rake was still The Rake. There was a man who, it seems, encountered the creature. The only reason we know about this man’s encounter is that he talked about it in multiple notes before his apparent suicide. It is from 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.
I have prayed for you. He spoke your name.”
The common theme throughout these remaining written accounts is the overwhelming terror that wraps around these people, and the fact that all of these accounts, and most of them in general, happen while the victims are sleeping or in bed. This is because of The Rake’s ultimate skittish disposition. While just about everyone who encounters it finds its presence revolting, terrifying, and frightening, one needs to remember that The Rake does not usually seek out people. It’s part of why there are so few accounts of it in existence, but the consistency of the accounts only points to one conclusion—that The Rake is still out there.
The Sighting Increase
Fast-forward again to 2003. 2003 is extremely peculiar when it comes to the saga of The Rake. That’s because in 2003 there were a great number of sightings of the creature. People were seeing “hairless dogs with human heads and black eyes” running around their neighborhoods. These sightings were only happening at night, mostly across rural upstate New York, but other parts of the northeast as well, including one possible sighting in Idaho, but that is not confirmed. Many of these sightings were reported in the local media, the way a mutilated cow would be reported. But then something strange happened. People who vividly remembered these events, who remember the news stories about them, now can’t find a trace of these events ever happening.
It would appear at first glance that these stories were scrubbed. But by whom? Perhaps the government? That seems a bit odd, what would the government have to do with a pre-colonial humanoid? What’s more likely is that this is an example of the Mandela effect. For those who don’t know, the Mandela effect is when the universe, in a fairly subtle way, changes and most people don’t notice, but some, for some reason, remember what it was like before the change. It is so named after South African president Nelson Mandela, who many vividly remember dying in the 1980s in prison, but who actually died in 2013. It’s a bizarre explanation fitting for such a bizarre creature.
The Lost Stories of The Rake
There is an account that survived these lost stories from 2006. The account is from a woman, claiming this incident occurred the night after returning from a hiking trip to Niagara Falls:
At about 4am, 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…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…The creature then placed its hand on his knee and ran into the hallway, leading to the kids’ rooms.
She goes on:
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…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”.
The woman goes on to say that her husband rushed their daughter to the hospital. On the way there, he crashed his car into a lake and they both died. She says that the police and local community were sympathetic at first, but ultimately unhelpful. It was viewed as a simple tragedy; a father and daughter dying on the way to a hospital. Nobody took the claims of a mysterious figure or the last words of the girl very seriously. They were written of as hysterics of a new widow grieving the death of her husband and daughter.
What do we know now?
Finally, it seems we aren’t much closer to understanding what this thing is. If you’re in the American northeast, take caution—especially when you’re sleeping. Should you be unlucky enough to encounter it, don’t try to chase it, it will be faster than you. All you can do is hope that it leaves you with its name, The Rake, and that it gives you a warning to leave. What you do after that is up to you.