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Hi! Welcome to Vertigo's Fun House. Here, you'll find write-ups on unsolved mysteries, riffs of creepypastas/fanfiction, and more. Thanks for stopping by! It means a lot.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Riff-Review 13: The Rake

I wanna say right off the bat that I love this story. It’s very simplistic in nature and the central creature is so basic in its design that it’s one of my go-to creatures for when I want to try and write a horror story. Now for the downside: it’s a creepypasta and it’s not very long. So let’s take a gander at The Rake.

During the summer of 2003, events in the northeastern United States involving a strange, human-like creature sparked brief local media interest before an apparent blackout was enacted.

Well, you took suspension of disbelief and threw it out the window in the first sentence. A work of advice to aspiring writers: when you want your story to potentially come across as true, don’t find a way to make it so you readers can go ahead and see if it’s real. That ruins suspension of disbelief. If you want to appear that your story is legitimate, play it loose and do it so that you fool the gullible and those willing to look into it to see if it’s genuine can.

Little or no information was left intact, as most online and written accounts of the creature were mysteriously destroyed.

What, did the local media go into their archives and say, “Burn it! Burn it all! We can’t let people know that The Rake is real after we broadcast news reports about the mysterious creature that’s been seen around the northeast!” Also, the written accounts were destroyed? There are people who do collect newspapers. Did you have a task force go from house to house and search for newspapers that referenced The Rake? I’m likely nitpicking here, but this is very bizarrely worded.

Primarily focused in rural New York state and once found in Idaho,

Woah, woah, woah. Hold on. It was seen in the northeastern United States and all the way over in Idaho? Okay, jumping ahead: the author does state that The Rake has been seen across four continents, so it’s likely there’s more than one of this thing, but that’s a very strange detail to drop on us after you start off by saying that the “local media interest” came after sightings in the northeast. Twice.

self proclaimed witnesses told stories of their encounters with a creature of unknown origin.

Because I suspected that something called “The Rake” would look like something I see everyday.

Emotions ranged from extremely traumatic levels of fright and discomfort, to an almost childlike sense of playfulness and curiosity.

So, they ranged from a reasonable reaction to seeing something that looks like this:

To wanting to go up to it and ask if it wants to play “Hide and Go Find the Rest of Yourself in a Brussel Sprouts Patch”?

While their published versions are no longer on record, the memories remained powerful.

First of all: genius tense swap. The Rake evidently rake that error up. Second: so those who wanted to go up and play with it weren’t ripped apart? Or did they not go up to it? Don’t leave me hanging like my entrails would hang from this things claws!

Several of the involved parties began looking for answers that year.

What, they didn’t look for answers the second they got home and were safe inside their homes!? In fact, did they not report this to the police?

In early 2006, the collaboration had accumulated nearly two dozen documents dating between the 12th century and present day, spanning 4 continents.

This is why the story only presents to us a whooping four sightings from these supposed two dozen documents. Even better, the earliest of these sightings given to us in this story isn’t anywhere clear to the 12th century one[s], it’s instead nearly six hundred years after that. Maybe it’s just me, but when you mention that something was seen as early as a certain date, it’s best that you tell or show us what was seen or done at that time.

In almost all cases, the stories were identical.

In the cases that weren’t identical, The Rake was a Jehovah's Witness.

I’ve been in contact with a member of this group and was able to get some excerpts from their upcoming book.

So you’ve decided to take someone else’s work and published it online to warn people of the dangers of a thin, bald man who looks like he has plaster cast on his body? Got it. Real smooth by the way.

A Suicide Note: 1964

Indeed, the story’s already bringing suicide into play. Escalation: wuzzat? Anyways, I think this is a good time to address something I mentioned earlier: The Rake isn’t a single, solitary story but is instead comprised of four brief tales centering on people's encounters with the titular character. To say I don’t like this style of storytelling given what they establish about The Rake is being ridiculously kind. To say I despise it is also being kind. But let’s move on and I’ll explain when necessary.

"As I prepare to take my life, I feel it necessary to assuage any guilt or pain I have introduced through this act.

Well, at least this fellow wasn’t depressed and we have to deal with another author trying to describe to us what “depression” is like.

It is not the fault of anyone other than him.

Not to sound like I’m making a “did you just assume its gender!?” joke, but how exactly do you know The Rake is a male? I only ask this since we never get any descriptive when it comes to its voice beyond it being “shrill” later on. So… exactly what gives its gender away?

For once I awoke and felt his presence.

For a suicide note, this is insanely flowery. Maybe I’m just not familiar with them and some people do write some that are heavy on purple prose, but I imagine they’d be straight and to the point. Something like: “it’s not the fault of any of you, it’s the fault of a terrifying creature I’ve been seeing and it’s tormented me for far too long, so I’ve decided that death is preferable than the terror I’ve experienced.”

And once I awoke and saw his form.

And what was that form like? Well, considering that this person knows The Rake is a male, I’m going to guess he doesn’t know. I mean, the thing doesn’t appear to have anything covering—

Once again I awoke and heard his voice, and looked into his eyes.

It was love at first claw mark.

I cannot sleep without fear of what I might next awake to experience.

Take some sleeping pills and you’ll be out in no time!

I cannot ever wake. Goodbye."

Found in the same wooden box were two empty envelopes addressed to William and Rose,

Normally, I’d ask “who?”, but since this is apparently an excerpt from a book, I will instead say: this better be a rough draft or else your book is a frigging travesty.‘

and one loose personal letter with no envelope:

It read that he didn’t actually kill himself, he just ran off with Rose’s cousin, Becky. Thus began the Soap Opera: The Rake and the Cheater.

"Dearest Linnie,

I have prayed for you. He spoke your name."

If he spoke “Linnie’s” name, I have to ask: was The Rake ever going to kill you or was it waiting for “Linnie” to be in bed with you?

A Journal Entry (translated from Spanish): 1880

Can we get some location context? You said The Rake has been seen on four continents and yet we have no idea where these stories are coming from. I’m assuming this one is probably from Spain, but would it kill you to just pick a place and type it?

"I have experience the greatest terror.

I’ll let the error slide because they established it was translated, though I would’ve appreciated the addition of [sic] after “experience” so it came across as professional.

I have experienced the greatest terror.

It’s like Deja-Vu all over again.

I have experienced the greatest terror.

It’s like Deja-Vu all over again.

I see his eyes when I close mine.

Some of these lines genuinely make me feel like this is low-key a romance story about people who have been a relationship with an immortal eldritch horror.

They are hollow. Black.

Then how do you see them? When I close my eyes, I see nothing. Are they so black, they’re visible in complete darkness?

They saw me and pierced me.

I swear, these lines are… questionable to say the least. Also, if this is what I think it is and The Rake shoved its hand through you (presumably your stomach), how are you even writing this? Its claws look to be at least half a foot long each. You aren’t going to be walking that off like it’s a paper cut. If anything, you’d be dead since your arteries would look like swiss cheese.

His wet hand.

This is why I think The Rake stabbed the guy and he wasn’t saying its eyes “pierced” him—even if that’s the author was no doubt trying to get at. With that said: why are you mentioning its hand? And why is it wet? Was The Rake out for a nighttime swim? Or was it coated in blood and you’re somehow mistaking the blood for water?
I will not sleep.

Baby. Just face The Rake like a man!

His voice (unintelligible text)."

Oh, well, okay then. Well, anyways, I’d love to know what happened here, but as is the case with all of these short stories: we get no answers. To, that leads me to speculate that either the writer here scribbled random letters like it was a Caesar Cipher or The Rake killed him here and by some dumb stroke of luck, the writer held onto his pen and he scribbled, all the while, The Rake didn’t coat the journal pages in blood. Too bad the author didn’t bother to explain this to us. Nor did the author’s “friend” who was writing a “book”.

A Mariner's Log: 1691

This is the earliest sighting given to us, which is a real shame since The Rake has apparently been seen since the 1100s!

"He came to me in my sleep.

Suddenly, this has turned into Ever Dream This Man?

From the foot of my bed I felt a sensation.

That’s called “the midnight runs”. Better get out of that room fast!

He took everything.

Literally or metaphorically? Screw it: I’m going with literally.

We must return to England.

Gonna have a spot of tea with the Queen? I’m sure she’ll be thrilled to hear your tale of how this thing came into your room and stole all of your shit!

Off with his head I say!

We shall not return here again at the request of the Rake."
So, it broke into your room or whatever, stole all of your shit because its Stealth was maxed out to 100, and then told you piss off? This entry would make for a great animation.

From a Witness: 2006

This is the longest story and the one that’s most commonly associated with The Rake because it’s the only one that isn’t as quickly paced as The Rake itself when it runs.

Gotta go fast y’know?

"Three years ago, I had just returned from a trip from Niagara Falls with my family for the 4th of July.

What a lame way to spend Independence Day. You could’ve been at home barbequing and not near Canada!

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.

After the other instances of questionable wording, I’m surprised the author didn’t try to imply these two were about to go ahead and conceive another child.

At about 4am, I woke up thinking my husband had gotten up to use the restroom.

Nonsense, nobody in creepypastas uses the bathroom unless they’re going to die! Oh wait...

I used the moment to steal back the sheets, only to wake him in the process.

This raises the question as to what made her think that her husband wasn’t in bed, but I’ll assume that she has a sixth sense as to when her man isn’t in bed.

I apologized and told him I though he got out of bed.

He then promptly rolled his eyes and let out a sigh so heavy, the bed fell through the floor.

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.

Heh, this guy’s an amateur. My girlfriend could vouch for this if she ever commented on this blog!

He then grabbed me and said nothing.

“Katherine, I can hear the tax collectors coming. Did you forget to mail our taxes!?”

After adjusting to the dark for a half second, I was able to see what caused the strange reaction.

No, wait, it was worse. It was spider. Oh the humanity!

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.

Wait, a hairless dog? Okay, I wanna use this moment to showcase a brief moment from a short fan film featuring The Rake. Tell me if this thing looks like a “large hairless dog”.

Because all I see is Ultron. If you want a better visualization of The Rake, here’s this bit of fan art I found.

If you see a “large, hairless dog”, then by God do I have the number for a great eyeglass place for you.

Its body position was disturbing and unnatural, as if it had been hit by a car or something.

Ah yes, I’ve been hit by “or something” too. It’s quite painful, especially when it’s driven by an apple!

For some reason, I was not instantly frightened by it, but more concerned as to its condition.

Why the fuck aren’t you afraid of it immediately since it’s clearly broken into your house! Lady, are you trying to bring back the stereotype of the “dumb woman in a horror movie”? This thing is well over 6’5—maybe larger depending on who’s writing it as The Rake has been written as 8+ feet tall.

At this point I was somewhat under the assumption that we were supposed to help him.

Yup, it’s official: this woman is a dumbass. Go ahead, help the mysterious thing sitting at the edge of your bed. Also, before anyone says “but some people have gotten a sense of playful curiosity” at the start of the story, I don’t buy that. People have willing gone up to Grizzly Bears and tried to befriend them. Those people are what most people would call, “fucking retards”.

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

This is why owning a gun is a good thing, because you make people who break into your house no longer steal precious oxygen that can go to better people. Or, in this case: 8+ foot tall pale things that sit casually at the end of your bed for God knows how long.

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.

All I can imagine when I read “in a flailing sort of motion” is The Rake turning into one of those used car lot sales balloons that flail around wildly.

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.

Uh-oh, looks like Mr. Cuddles may have a challenger for who can be the best staring contest king.

The creature then placed its hand on his knee and ran into the hallway, leading to the kids' rooms.

Yeah, Chris Hansen helping you this time.

I screamed and ran for the lightswitch, planning to stop him before he hurt my children.

The thing apparently made of chaotic motions when going to stare down your husband and then darted off into the hallway. I understand maternal instincts and all, but I’d like to imagine there comes a time when you have to just accept that you’d do as much to stop this thing as a plastic straw would do to a lion.

When I got to the hallway, the light from the bedroom was enough to see it crouching and hunched over about 20 feet away.

It was reading one of the Bourne novels to the kids.

He turned around and looked directly at me, covered in blood.

I flipped the switch on the wall and saw my daughter Clara.

Wait, you could see it caked in blood, but still decided to get its attention by flicking the light switch? Do you have a death wish or am I just overthinking this woman's actions?

The creature ran down the stairs while my husband and I rushed to help our daughter.

Okay, first of all: why the heck did it run away? Is it afraid of the light? Second of all: did you just stand around in awe while the thing ran away? C’mon, I get shock is a powerful thing, but I’d assume if you were willing to confront the thing, you’d be willing to check on your daughter after it’s gone.

She was very badly injured and spoke only once more in her short life.

She said "he is the Rake".

I’ll admit that this is a pretty effective and well done name drop for the creature. No complaints. Good job.

My husband drove his car into a lake that night, while rushing our daughter to the hospital.

And you didn't go with them!? What, did you stay behind to make sure it didn’t return!? Or did you call the cops? That’s… wow, you’re a terrible mother.

They did not survive.

I assume the implication is that the husband committed suicide due to whatever dark influence seeing The Rake’s eyes has on people, but since the story doesn’t clarify this beyond mere allusion to such a power, I can’t say for certain. Either way, it’s equal parts interesting to me and incredibly lazy writing on the part of the author.

Being a small town, news got around pretty quickly.

“Like, oh my gosh, I hear that Katherine’s ex broke into her house.”

“Like, ya, EVERYONE knows about that. Gosh, you’re always SO slow with the latest gossip.”

The police were helpful at first, and the local newspaper took a lot of interest as well.

I can’t imagine why. It’s not like the police would want to figure out why your kids bedroom looked like a Jack the Ripper crime scene and the local newspaper knew that they could make a killing in sales by covering the story.

However, the story was never published and the local television news never followed up either.

Ah, so this is what the feds were doing while that dumbass was writing about Happy Appy. The manhunt for the naked, pale, hairless, clawed black-eyed pea was entering its fifth year. I guess Robert Mueller was really hellbent on finding it for some reason. Must’ve been Russian.

For several months, my son Justin and I stayed in a hotel near my parent's house.

This really makes me wonder how The Rake picks out who it’ll kill. Is it random or is it premeditated. Also, I’m gonna guess she handled the death of her husband and daughter well. No need to address that.

After we decided to return home, I began looking for answers myself.

So she Googled “old pale hairless clawed black eyed monster” and got search results for…

Oh, well, I guess she would something on The Rake then.

I eventually located a man in the next town over who had a similar story.

Or my efforts to be clever could be thwarted by a random man.

We got in contact and began talking about our experiences.

“We then married over our shared interest on The Rake.”

He knew of two other people in New York who had seen the creature we now referred to as the Rake.

They also came up with this composite sketch based on what they all saw.

Very scary stuff.

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.

Two years and yet The Rake never came back to kill any of you? What a nice guy.

None of them gave any details, history or follow up.

Yeah, I can tell since I’ve gone through three of those accounts.

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.

Oh Jesus, you’re doing this? You’d been so good at not repeating yourself. Come on!

That was the last entry in the log.

Yeah, I figured as much.

There were, however, many instances where the creature's visit was one of a series of visits with the same person.

Because The Rake has to stake out the place it’s going to strike because it’s shy at first and has to warm up to the idea of horrifically murdering someone.

Multiple people also mentioned being spoken to, my daughter included.

It spoke about how he was called Mister Boombastic.

This led us to wonder if the Rake had visited any of us before our last encounter.
It doesn’t take a genius to come to the conclusion that yeah, it probably did.

I set up a digital recorder near my bed and left it running all night, every night, for two weeks.

Our nameless heroine here learned that she had a tendency to snore and moan in her sleep.

I would tediously scan through the sounds of me rolling around in my bed each day when I woke up.

Just like this story’s getting rather tedious to read.

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.

Because there’s no possible way you’d miss The Rake saying something that way! Right? I don’t have experience with audio like that.

(This still took almost an hour every day)

I suck at math, but I imagine it’d take a bit longer. Oh whatever, we’re almost done.

On the first day of the third week, I thought I heard something different. What I found was a shrill voice.

Yeah, so our monster has a shrill voice. Judging by its appearance, I assumed it’d have a voice like that, but is there nothing else you can do? I think by now would be the best time to state that it sounded like a male. Maybe that’s just me though.

It was the Rake.

I never would’ve guessed that. Here I figured that it was Robert the Doll.

I can't listen to it long enough to even begin to transcribe it.

This really pisses me off. It’s so cheap and lazy. You could’ve just easily told us that The Rake simply said, “Hello again”. That would’ve been a pretty ominous note to end on to be frank.

I haven't let anyone listen to it yet.

Why? I’m sure there are a lot of people who’d love to hear it and examine it.

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.

Fuck off with that shit. Just fuck off.

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.

You’re a parent. No shit it would. If you weren’t, I’d suspect this woman was really Casey Anthony.

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."

“So, I hear you’re single…”

And that’s The Rake. To be honest: while the story falls apart towards the end (quite ironic considering how I wanted the other encounters to be expanded upon), I did enjoy it. It's one of my personal favorite creepypastas; a guilty pleasure like The Expressionless. But on an objective level, it’s not a good story. Not by a long shot. It’s short, doesn’t go deep enough into the mythos that it establishes—a mythos I actually quite enjoyed from what was set up—and jumps around from entry to entry like it’s on a pogo stick. It glosses over so many important details that much of what it says amounts to little more than “I saw The Rake and then got scared and the end”. Regardless, I think there are far, far worse creepypasta out there. Until then, I hope you enjoyed this riff and until next time: have a great day/night!


  1. "I have experience the greatest terror.

    I’ll let the error slide because they established it was translated, though I would’ve appreciated the addition of [sic] after “experience” so it came across as professional.

    I have experienced the greatest terror.

    It’s like Deja-Vu all over again.

    I have experienced the greatest terror.

    It’s like Deja-Vu all over again.

    But seriously, that was crap.

  2. Honestly, this story is still really dumb to me.
    Why did nobody think to just Thrash it?!
    ~ Dark Spade Lancer♤

  3. Tyler "Bio" RodriguezFebruary 14, 2019 at 10:43 PM

    I guess I like the real life stories inspired by The Rake. The actual Rake? Eh...