Detroit’s Devil? – Nain Rouge

About 15 years ago I assisted a local Detroit news channel with a special that they were producing for Halloween. I suggested that they do at least a small segment on The Nain Rouge. For me to say that they had no idea what I was talking about would be totally correct. I explained that there was a local legend of a little red man/demon/beast that people had reported, mostly decades ago, who was randomly seen around the city of Detroit. I pointed out the 2 or 3 modern books which had touched on the curious creature and although they did end up running the piece most of the people at the station thought it was the weakest segment.

The beginnings of Detroit’s Nain Rouge are thought to originate from the Algonquin creation myths which concern Glooskap who, after creating the Earth and men continued by forming beings, such as fairies and dwarfs. These nature spirits were to act a protectors of certain regions of the country and to ensure that Glooskap’s evil brother Malsum would cause no harm to man, man’s community, or the natural environment. When European missionaries spread throughout Michigan the tribal Gods, and supernatural creatures, were turned into demons and evil spirits in an attempt to vanquish them from memory.
Things have changed. Detroit now has a yearly “Nain Rouge” festival, the “tricky” little devil has been written about in numerous books and almost everyone around the metro Detroit area has now, at a minimum, “heard about it”. Most commonly brought up, when people discuss The Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), is a collection of local legends that was printed in 1884. Although this tome contains dozens of different stories 3 mention The Nain Rouge. Not suprisingly, most people have never read these original stories by which so much of the modern legend has taken shape. Hopefully by posting these tales people will have a deeper understanding of the legend and perhaps a more informed view of the supernatural history of Detroit.
Download the excerpted pages (PDF) here

People all around and in Detroit now believe, incorrectly, that this alleged supernatural creature is one that actually manifests fear and mischief. In reality, the creature is a herald to all upcoming “terrible” events; the original Algonquin legends see him as a protector and guardian who stands ever vigilant over the city of Detroit and it’s residents making sure that all are aware of any future calamity.

What’s in a name? A quick thought on Demonology and Demonologists

As the paranormal community becomes larger, and seemingly more outrageous, there have been quite a number of people who have recently started to refer to themselves as “Demonologists”. Now, I understand they believe that since they study “demonology,” the title fits. But we should remember that historically “demonology” and “demonologists” have little to do with each other.

Demonology is exactly what it sounds like, the study of demons or the beliefs about them. This study is first and foremost to include any and all alleged demons regardless of the theological system that they belong to. Not only does “Demonology” study “demons,” but it studies demonic forces in all of their supposed manifestations including familiars, egregores, ancestor worship, fallen angels and animal spirits to name a few. Most so-called “Demonologists” are focused on traditional Judeo-Christian demons & devils while forgetting that there are recognized demons throughout history that many believe to have been in existence long before the rise of Christianity.

The largest and most disturbing point, to me, is that the term “Demonologist” now refers to those who study demons. The usage of the word in this form is relatively modern. Historically, a Demonologist was a “witch-hunter” or someone who exposed humans who were believed to be in league with demonic forces. Traditional Demonologists such as Remy, Sinistrari, Bodin and Valderama, to name a few, were more than incidentally responsible for causing such a panic about witchcraft that hundreds, perhaps thousands of innocent people were put to death. I point this out because it, to me, shows a total disregard for the past. People heard the word “Demonology” and started calling themselves “Demonologists” without any care or concern that they had just associated themselves with some of the most closed-minded and vindictive people in our history.

I know that the word “Demonologist” makes etymological sense but we must remember that the word existed before our modern day usage and it had a meaning, and that history makes a difference. The historically recognized Demonologists of the 1600′s and 1700′s repeated anecdotal stories and rumors without basing any of their charges on facts. They were truly the demonic evil that they themselves believed they were unmasking.

“But, it’s only a word.”

Well, I say words matter.
History matters.
The fact is Demonologists were simple-minded, frightened people who helped to murder innocent people.

Even if you believe you are a “Demonologist,” I will not call you one; I wouldn’t hang that title on my worst enemy.

8 Ideas for National Paranormal Holidays

There are, of course, thousands of incidents I could have chosen for these holiday ideas, but I’ve tried to pick events which are not state specific and span across much of, if not all of, the United States. Some of these proposed holidays are serious, some are not, any of them would be great!

8. June 24, 1947 – Flying Saucer Day
In celebration of Kenneth Arnold’s report of seeing 9 strange flying objects, erroneously reported as “saucers” near Mount Rainer in Washington state and sparking a massive flap of UFO sightings.

7. July 8, 1947 – UFO day
Although the Roswell incident may have occurred on June 14, 1947, on this day in July The Roswell Daily Record reported that the RAAF had captured a “Flying Saucer”. Added to the sighting by Kenneth Arnold earlier in June of 1947 this has become a defining moment in UFOlore.

6. October 20, 1967 - Bigfoot Day
It was sometime in the afternoon on this day when Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin shot the most famous and controversial footage of a large unknown crypid. The footage to this day stirs debate about the existence of a large, as of yet, undiscovered upright-walking primate. Although reports of “Bigfoot” type creatures go back centuries this was an earth-shaking moment in cryptozoological research.

5. March 31, 1848 – Splitfoot Day
Although there are many and varying accounts of what actually happened with the spirit “rappings” that took place in the home of the Fox sisters, it cannot be denied that their story influenced the wave of spiritualism which had been growing in the United States. The spirit “Mr. Splitfoot” (the Devil) was allegedly the creator of the sounds the girls heard, and although in later years the girls admitted to some hoaxing, there can be no doubt that they left a firm impression on Americans’ social awareness of a psychical world.

4. October 5, 1967 – Cattle Day
On this day the Associated Press ran a story about the cattle mutilations happening in and around Colorado. Although strange happenings have been reported for decades, this story sparked the nation’s collective imagination and so began the wave of cattle/livestock mutilations that are reported to continue to this day. Everything from UFO’s and secret government projects to simple animal attacks have been proposed as explanations. Many people even believe it to be one of the strangest phenomena to continually occur in the United States. Plus we should honor all those poor cows.

3. September 19–20, 1961 – Abductee Day
The reported contact and or abduction of people by so-called extraterrestrials has been reported for decades, but on the night of September 19, 1967 the experiences of Betty & Barney Hill awoke the nation’s interest in the abduction phenomena. Though the events of that night remain controversial and are ascribed by many as being due to lack of sleep, stress, and false memories ‘recovered’ under hypnosis, the influence of the Hills on our nation’s psyche remains to this day.

2. July 1856 – Mad Scientist Month
Although the world has experienced thousands of “Mad Scientists” over the centuries, none have influenced the paranormal community as much as Nikola Tesla. To this day Tesla is associated with everything from Death Rays to The 1908 Tunguska event in Russia, conspiracy theorists associate his work with the H.A.A.R.P. program as well as free energy theories, and some even believe that Mr. Tesla was not from Earth!

1. September 22, 1692 – Remembrance Day
Although the dates of those murdered during the Witch Trials are many, it was on September 22 that the so-called “8 firebrands of Hell” were hanged for allegedly practicing witchcraft. Unarguably, this is one of the most outrageous events in American history, when the lives of innocents where carelessly lost due to the ineptitude and close-mindedness of people in power. The day, like many unfortunate others, is a remembrance of what can happen when religious fervor overtakes rational thinking.