- I'm much older than you. Older than your first work of art. I will find a new face to wear. Someone else to dream me free.
- ― The Dark Presence taunting Alan Wake
The Dark Presence is the main antagonist of the Alan Wake franchise.
It is a malevolent supernatural and sentient force that existed within the Dark Place underneath the reality-altering Cauldron Lake. It is the main antagonist of Alan Wake, pursuing Alan as he searches for Alice, and being responsible for the nightmares and otherworldly happenings in Bright Falls. The Dark Presence can inhabit inanimate objects as well as living beings such as people and animals, turning them into the Taken.
Role in Alan Wake
It is unknown if the Dark Presence was created by Thomas Zane or it was there before him.
When Zane wrote, his works were affected by the lake and began to come true. However, when he attempted to use this power to write back his deceased love, Barbara Jagger, the Dark Presence overtook her body and used it as its human mask. Realizing that what had returned was not human, Zane succeeded in sealing the Dark Presence away in the lake again, sacrificing himself in the process. It again rouses when it senses the 70's Metal band, Old Gods of Asgard, then again when it senses writer Alan Wake approaching the town of Bright Falls.
The Dark Presence most often appears as a heavy fog of black smoke and shadow, but can project itself into different forms including people, swarms of birds, or tornadoes of black "smoke".
In the 'Demo' and also 'Escape the Police', it is only heard as a loud roar and seen knocking down the trees and killing the police patrol as well as killing Rusty after his leg injury. It is also responsible for possessing Barbara Jagger after Thomas Zane wrote her back to life. After that, the Dark Presence seems to use Barbara's skin as its preferred human form when outside the confines of the Lake.
The Dark Presence has brainwashed artists and writers throughout the years to make itself stronger, abusing and corrupting the power of the lake. It seems to be in a continuous struggle with the Presence of the Light, Thomas Zane. The Dark Presence is bound to the lake and its ultimate goal is to finally free itself and set itself loose upon the world. This can only be achieved through the events of the writers' work, hence the desire of the Dark Presence to manipulate the work of artists in Bright Falls. To this end, it focuses on an artist, and attempts to manipulate them, usually done by taking a 'hostage', such as Odin's ravens or Alan's wife.
Powers & Abilities
The Dark Presence has many supernatural capabilities:
- Omnipresence - The Dark Presence may have a form of limited omnipresence as it is seemingly able to survey entire areas and watch multiple people at the same time. It can be anywhere as long as it's dark. This means that it can move through the shadows as well as the night.
- Super Speed - The Dark Presence can move freely and impossibly fast in darkness, blurring into nothingness, moving too fast for humans to shoot, and can travel great distances almost instantly.
- Super Strength - The Dark Presence can lift cars with ease and throw them a long distance.
- Super Durability - The Dark Presence can take brutal damage before being vanquished.
- Invulnerability - The Dark Presence is immune to all harm while in the dark.
- Teleportation - While in Barbara Jagger's form, the Dark Presence can literally teleport around a person or place at will, as long as there is sufficient darkness for it to appear in.
- Possession - The Dark Presence has the ability to take over human beings and use them as Taken. The Dark Presence seems to prefer to use one host as its main one. The Dark Presence is also able to take over inanimate objects, creating poltergeists. This can be an object of any size, including tractors, vehicles, farm equipment, train carts, tools, etc. It can possess objects to either control or simply throw them long distances.
- Daytime Travel - The Dark Presence may be able to travel in the daytime as well, albeit to a limited extent to (and/or) of the shadows . At the beginning of Mirror Peak on Episode 3 where you must drive to the old coal mine, walk the opposite direction to find a bridge destroyed. It prompts Alan to say that he had just crossed the bridge and that the Dark Presence even haunts him in the daytime.
- Influencing Touch - The Dark Presence can also choose to merely 'touch' a person, using a more subtle way to control the victim. The Dark Presence seems to do this if it needs the target to still think for itself. Examples of this are when Alan Wake had to write the manuscript or when Rose had to trick Alan into coming to the trailer park. This 'touch' can also happen simply by coming into contact with the Dark Presence, as seen in the case of Cynthia Weaver. The touch also has the ability to erase a person's memory, creating blackouts of the period during which the Dark Presence controls its victim. This can be seen in the miniseries Bright Falls, when Jake interviews Emil Hartman, and later on in episode 4 when he looks at the Deerfest commercial on TV and wakes up on the beach of the lake. Alan Wake also experiences this when he tries to rescue Alice and then wakes up in his car at the edge of the cliff.
- Control of Ravens - The Dark Presence uses flocks of ravens who seem to be made out of pure darkness and have seemingly infinite numbers. A possible origin are the two ravens the Dark Presence took from Odin, one of the Anderson Brothers. These could also be local ravens that have been turned into Taken.
- Intelligence - The Dark Presence is highly intelligent and uses this intelligence to create elaborate schemes. When it sees opportunities, it quickly tries to twist them to its own advantage. No matter how strong the Dark Presence is, even it seems to be bound by the powers of the Lake. It was forced to act out the manuscript of Alan, which meant the Dark Presence had to let Alan escape numerous times. The Dark Presence was quick to find loopholes though, using indirect means to try and get to Alan and using anything the writer didn't specify to its own advantage.
Below are a list of characters touched by the Dark Presence, making them go more insane or trapped in their own mind.