Mr. Scratch is a doppelgänger of Alan Wake. He first appeared at the end of Alan Wake and it is implied he was created by Thomas Zane, possibly as part of the balance. However in Alan Wake's American Nightmare Mr. Scratch states that after Alan disappeared all that was left were the wild stories about him allowing Cauldron Lake's ability to use art to shape reality to make the stories true, thus creating Mr. Scratch; Alan Wake as the stories portray him. The true purpose of Mr. Scratch is unknown, but it is implied that he returned to the surface of Bright Falls while Alan Wake was writing the ending to Departure at the bottom of Cauldron Lake. It is probable that Mr. Scratch was supposed to return to Barry Wheeler, Sarah Breaker, Cynthia Weaver and Alice Wake, but his reasons and purpose are still unknown. Whenever a character refers to Mr. Scratch, the sound of the word "Scratch" is muffled out, replaced by either static or appropriately, a record scratch.
Alan Wake (Season 1)
He was first mentioned in Departure after Alan destroyed the tornado. Alan saw him under the lake when Thomas Zane explained what Alan must do to defeat the Dark Presence. He appeared to Alan and the two touched hands, with Alan extremely uncomfortable at this. Mr. Scratch smiled at him, but does not say anything. Scratch then disappears. Zane offered no explanation, other than, "Your friends will meet him when you're gone".
The Writer (DLC)
In The Writer, Zane tries explaining to Alan what is happening in the Dark Place. During the conversation, Alan asks Zane if there are two of him (one in the cabin going crazy and the one you are playing as), to which Zane replies "Yes." Alan then asks if Mr. Scratch is him as well, which Zane very bluntly and darkly replies "No." Alan does not know what to make of this.
In the Alan Wake Files, Clay Steward sees a man who looks very similar to Alan Wake. When Steward chases after him, the man looks at him and smiles very secretively. The man then turns around a corner and disappears. Due to the mysterious nature of this individual, it is very likely this was indeed Mr. Scratch.
Alan Wake's American Nightmare
Mr. Scratch plays a much larger role in Alan Wake's American Nightmare, where he is the main antagonist, the "herald of darkness," as opposed to Alan, who is "the champion of light." He torments Alan throughout the game, occasionally appearing physically in Night Springs to taunt Alan, generally summoning swarms of the Taken as he does so, but more often appearing through messages he leaves for Alan inside televisions. In these short videos, Mr. Scratch is seen casually hurting, torturing, and even murdering innocent people, taunting Alan the entire time, as well as "sharing personal moments" with him, such as an examination of the weapons he uses to commit murders, and discussing his vile plans for Alice in the future. His creation is revealed in "The Genesis of Mr. Scratch" page, which explains that the power of Cauldron Lake created him from all of the dark rumors about Alan that people made up over the years. These rumors and stories, under the influence of Cauldron Lake, took on a life of their own in the form of Mr. Scratch. In the end, Alan managed to destroy Scratch with the use of a drive-in theater projector, by having it play "Sunrise" a movie Alice had created based on one of her happiest memories of Alan, spending time with him and watching a sunrise.
The purity of this happy memory, as well as the power of the light of the sun captured on the film, were enough to burn Mr. Scratch to ashes. As he died, he screams in denial, "It's my life, it's mine!", obsessed to the end with the idea of murdering the man he was based on and then taking his place, taking over and subsequently destroying Alan's life. Before he burned away, the Alan seen in the movie was dressed in the suit worn by Mr. Scratch. After the monster had died, however, the on-screen Alan was suddenly wearing the exact same outfit the real Alan wore, as he had summoned those clothes from that same happy memory in order to protect himself, as mentioned in "The Clothes".
In an interview with Sam Lake, he says the reason he is named Mr. Scratch is because his name is unpronounceable by humans as it sounds just like a bunch of scratching noises. He is the main antagonist in Alan Wake's American Nightmare and is the most sadistic and twisted character in the franchise.
- Some speculate that Mr. Scratch is inspired by the folktale "Old Scratch" and/or "The Devil and Daniel Webster"
- It could be considered that Mr. Scratch could be connected to the man from the Night Springs episode "The Man In The Mirror" due to their shared ability to take on the appearance of others.
- In Alan Wake's American Nightmare, Mr. Scratch is the main antagonist, which could lead to the fact that perhaps Thomas Zane could not control Mr. Scratch, who became darkness himself.
- Mr. Scratch could be the person that Alice created by describing Alan to Dr. Hartman. Thus, Scratch was created at Cauldron Lake, because Alice is an artist, too.
- Barbara Jagger is known by the nickname "The Scratching Hag". Could this be related to Mr. Scratch?
- Why is he filled with darkness if he was created by Thomas Zane?
- Is Mr. Scratch really gone for good or will he come back to taunt Alan again in Season 2?
- Was Mr. Scratch actually created by Thomas Zane?
- Who, or what, is Mr. Scratch exactly?
- In Alan Wake, why isn't Mr. Scratch in any of the Manuscript Pages?
- Is it possible that Alan himself unwittingly created Mr. Scratch by writing himself into his own story. The dark place creating Scratch to act in his place and after Scratch's usefulness ended he became a servant of darkness himself, as his story was over and there was no more narrative to draw on.
- Does Mr. Scratch serves The Dark Presence willingly? Is he a prisoner?
Mr. Scratch may have returned in the sequel possibly having a major role for Alan Wake alongside Thomas Zane to help Alan battle against Robert Nightingale. Unfortunately Alan Wake 2 has been put on hold due to Remedy Entertainment is presently booked for the next few years.
- In old folklore, when death is upon someone, that person will see a doppelgänger of themselves.
- Doppelgängers play a huge part in the final episode of Twin Peaks, a series Alan Wake is influenced by.
- Old Scratch or Mr. Scratch is a folk name for The Devil in the local legends of New England and pre-Civil War America.
- In American Nightmare, whenever Alan narrates manuscript page with Mr. Scratch's name, a weird disorientated scratch noise could always be heard replacing the voice over of Alan saying his name.
- In Alan Wake, when Thomas Zane first said "Mr. Scratch", a scratching played on top of his name. This did not happen when Alan mentioned his name in The Writer.
- Also, in Nightmare when the Night Springs host said "Mr. Scratch", the same weird disorientating scratch noise could be heard replacing the "Scratch".
- Sam Lake hints in an interview that Mr. Scratch is some sort of demon and that when Wake sees him, he is taking on the appearance of Alan Wake. Sam Lake also draws that when Barbara drowned in the lake, a demon came back that looked like her. All he says is that if Alan is to ever come back, he may be terrified to find out what happened in his absence and it may be best if he never does find out.
- Zane's explanation of Mr. Scratch's name is similar to the explanation given by H.P. Lovecraft for why he pronounced "Cthulhu" several different ways.
- Mr. Scratch's hints that he is a 'messenger' of sorts for the otherworldly beings that live in The Dark Place is similar to the Lovecraftian entity Nyarlathotep; a sadistic agent of the Outer Gods, who could taken on human form to cause chaos on Earth.
- Zane says "your friends will meet him when you're gone" is hinting to the fact that Mr. Scratch can enter reality and the dark place as he chooses, in American Nightmare we discover he has shown himself to Alice on several occasions but disappears before she can get a good look at him, making her think that its all in her head.
- It would seem that Mr. Scratch plays a similar role to the character "BOB" from the television show, Twin Peaks.
- In Alan Wake, Mr. Scratch is not mentioned in any of the Manuscript pages.
- Mr. Scratch is another name for the Devil, most commonly used around the time the American Civil War.