Informant: Okay, so, I don’t really know if this is true, but I read these stories online, called creepypastas, like you. And there’s this one called “The Rake.” Have you ever heard of it?
Collector: Oh my gosh, yeah!
Informant: So The Rake is like this creepy thing that some people say looks like a dog, others say it looks like a deformed human. No one really knows. It walks on all fours, and it’s just, like, naked and scary.
Collector: Ew! I remember seeing, like, someone’s drawing of it and it scarred me.
Informant: It’s so scary! Yeah, so like apparently it’s a sign that you know he’s coming for you if you can feel him like sucking your soul out of your ear. And so, I read the story, and one night I was lying in bed and I swear, like—Something—I felt this breeze in my ear! And I was like, “What is that??” And then it was like this sucking and I was with my friend and I hit them and was, like, yelling their name!
Collector: Ah! That’s crazy!
Collector’s Notes: Creepypastas have taken the Internet by storm. I personally love them, as I’ve always been a fan of scary movies and ghost stories. Pretty much what they are, are stories where the author is very hard to find, if known at all. These stories, all scary, are passed around from user to user, and are sometimes even spoken aloud for YouTube videos, in a way that is almost like a podcast. I’ve heard of the story of The Rake, but I’ve never actually read it or listened to it being read. Every creepypasta changes a little bit over time, and different Internet users put their own spin on things, but generally what my Informant told me is what I’ve heard. In class, we talked about people transferring ghost stories into their own real-life experiences. This was called a memorate, and I believe that’s a way to explain what happened. In class, Professor Thompson talked about how people experience things that they don’t understand and so they use popular belief to make sense of it. Because the Informant had read the story, and it was late, they were more likely to apply that explanation. That being said, I believe them because I’ve always believed in ghosts and paranormal activity. It’s a widely held belief with little to no religious or scientific support, but many people believe it nonetheless. This story proves it!