Urban Legends

The Rake Urban Legend

Urban legends circulate through communities. Many date back centuries. While they may or may not be true, they are compelling. One of those fire-side-must Urban Legends is that of The Rake. In this blog, we explore this Urban legend, its origins, and why it has captured the imagination of so many.

From this blog forward the terms Urban Legends and Creepy Pastas will be interchangeable.(ProbeNote: Creepy Pastas refer to those stories created and/or told over the web. Different from Urban Legends in that many of the creepy stories available on the internet are user generated not shared by word-of-mouth)

The Story

This is known as the Berwick Monster, but the image is often used to illustrate The Rake’s appearance.

The Rake is a creature said to be about six feet tall, with pale, smooth, hairless skin, and long  sharp claws. Individual eye-witness accounts describe it as having a humanoid shape, with a hunched back, dagger-like teeth, and glowing eyes. Some versions of the legend also suggest The Rake can shape-shift. Others say it can read people’s thoughts and communicate with them telepathically. 

The origins of the Rake legend are murky, and there is no consensus on where or when the story first began. Some people believe the legend has its roots in ancient folklore, while others think it is a modern creation via the web. Whatever its origins, The Rake has become a popular urban legend, with countless people sharing stories and sightings of the creature world-wide.

Eye Witness Account

One such sighting sent chills up and down my spine. 

In 2000, a woman and her family, returning from a trip over Labor Day reported seeing The Rake. She and her husband had put their young daughter to bed after an exhausting day. In the early morning hours, the woman woke, sensing a strangeness. She reached for her husband. He turned toward her, gasped, and backpedaled to the farthest corner of the bed.

The Rake watches you sleep.

He yanked her to his chest. Behind her, sitting on her side of the bed, hunched a hairless, faceless, white creature. It’s body movements were not those of a human. It stared at them. They stared at it. It shrieked, crawled off the bed like a disjointed apparition, and ran toward their daughter’s room.

Fearing for her child, the woman ran after it and found it squatted over her daughter. It was covered in blood, as was the daughter. “The Rake,” the daughter murmured and closed her eyes. The women screamed. 

She and the husband were racing to the hospital when their car went out of control and plunged off a bridge and into the nearby lake. The wife survived. Her husband did not. There is no other mention of the daughter. 

The Question

Was The Rake trying to warn the mother to the daughter’s danger, or had it inflicted the harm to the young girl? It didn’t try to harm the wife or husband.  


A screenshot from “The Host,” an episode of The X-Files. Fair Use Copyright Fox.

Perhaps, one reason the Rake has captured the imagination of so many is its versatility. A person, a writer, or film-maker can adapt The Rake to fit many scenarios, from a creature that stalks people in the woods to a monster that attacks people in their homes. This adaptability has allowed the legend to spread throughout the world, with people from all walks of life, and different countries, sharing their own personal experiences about the creature.

The Rake bears some resemblance to Flukeman created by Chris Carter for season 2, episode 2 of the X Files, titled “The Host.”

While there is no evidence to suggest such a creature actually exists, the stories and sightings of the Rake continue to proliferate. Whether the Rake is a product of our collective imaginations or something more sinister, this Urban Legend nudges the fringes of creepiness.

My Encounter

When I was a child, I woke one night to find this creature perched on my chest.

After researching, The Rake, I realized the creature I’d seen as a child—who I thought was an Elemental—was actually The Rake. Read the full account by clicking here.

You stand at one of them doors thinking something’s behind it — nothing’s behind it. It’s waiting for you upstairs, it’s waiting for you downstairs. It’s standing behind you.” From Michael McDowell’s classic supernatural tale, The Elementals,

Clara Bush
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