The Nain Rouge…where do I begin?
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…I agreed. After seeing the piece I asked that any of my affiliation with the segment be removed..it was.
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. In the 1896 book Myths And Legends of Our Own Land by Charles M. Skinner the original tales are retold and a few new ones added to make more shocking reading. Yet even in Skinner’s imaginings The Nain Rouge is still only a character reacting to situations brought about by others and not the creator of the problems people experience. Not surprisingly, 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.
How to help The Nain Rouge
If you would like to help fight the ill-informed masses who believe The Nain Rouge to be evil then please visit We Are Nain Rouge a group of Nain supporters who seek to restore our ancient guardian to his rightful place in Detroit’s history.