The Rake – Urban Myth or Creepy Cryptid?
When I hear the phrase ‘urban myth’ my mind automatically turns to alligators in city sewer systems and Slenderman. All of these are examples of urban myths and have the same ‘what if’ background – what if they were true and not the product of overactive imagination? Until recently, I hadn’t heard of The Rake until I saw a reported encounter on Lon Strickler’s Phantoms and Monsters. My curiosity was piqued and this was what I discovered.
What is The Rake?
According to some sources, the Rake is a similar type of creature to the Slenderman, almost a reverse of the weird, tall humanoid. It is human in form but very thin and has pale grey skin. It’s face, however, shows it isn’t a human – it has small black eyes that are described as lifeless and are sunk deep into the head. These eyes sometimes glow white during the night or if the creature is seen in a dark space.
Its hands are likened to dog’s paws and it has long, sharp claws on each hand. These claws are where the creature’s name comes from – their likeness to a garden rake. Other reports remark on the creature’s limbs, which appear to twist into odd angles.
The Rake also makes a range of different sounds. It can speak and there are accounts of it speaking in English. It also makes a screechy noise like a high-pitched dog bark as well as a series of growls and whisper noises when threatened. It bares its teeth when threatened as well and there are apparently a lot of them and they are very sharp.
Some of the first documented cases of encounters with Rakes dates back to around 2003 though rooting out the original stories is a little difficult. As with many stories on the internet, original tales are lost and new ones replace them. Some believe that the website SomthingAwful.com was the first to report an encounter with the Rake while others cite CreepyPasta.com as the source.
One trend that has emerged is that many people who encounter the creature either die or kill themselves soon afterwards. Whether a mind-set that leads to suicide could explain the sighting or vice versa is unknown. Another category of encounter involves awaiting to find the creature standing over you at night or even waking to find scratches on your arms that defy explanation.
The third category of sightings are the most common, the fleeting glimpse type. The one on P&M’s is an example, where a couple were returning from San Antonio, Texas along the I-35 near Laredo. Crossing a bridge, the driver noticed what he thought was a homeless man, naked, on the side of the road. When he came closer, he had the feeling there was something wrong about the figure. It seemed more animalistic than human. His instincts as a former cop were to stop but he decided against it and kept driving. He later saw pictures on the internet of the Rake and realised that this was what he had seen at the side of the road.
As with many creatures that fall under the heading of both urban myth and cryptid, there is little firm evidence that these creatures exist. Yet sightings continue, video clips are submitted and people firmly believe these creatures are real. For some, they are an alien being living here on earth while for others they are a cryptid, perhaps some kind of mutant canine that has yet to be quantified by science. But whatever the case, if you see a weird, grey skinned naked person in the woods with arms and legs that don’t look right, it may be worth ignoring the instinct to stop and help – you might be the next victim of the Rake.