Friday, April 27, 2018

Nain Rouge: Detroit's Harbinger of Doom

Nain Rouge, or the "red dwarf" is a legendary symbolic creature of the City of Detroit. It is believed sightings of him portend some kind of catastrophe. Let's explore this legend in more detail today - 

LINKMarie Caroline Watson Hamlin's 1883 Legends of Le D├ętroit described the Nain Rouge as a dwarf, "very red in the face, with a bright, glistening eye; instead of burning, it froze, instead of possessing depth emitted a cold gleam like the reflection from a polished surface, bewildering and dazzling all who came within its focus," and with "a grinning mouth displaying sharp, pointed teeth, completed this strange face... Legend holds that Nain Rouge's appearance would presage terrible events for the city. The creature is said to have appeared on July 30, 1763 before the Battle of Bloody Run, where 58 British soldiers were killed by Native Americans from Chief Pontiac's Ottawa tribe. Supposedly, the Nain Rouge "danced among the corpses" on the banks of the Detroit River after the battle, and the river "turned red with blood" for days after. According to the tale, all the misfortunes of Governor and General William Hull leading to the surrender of Detroit in the War of 1812 are blamed on the Nain Rouge.

It is believed the seeds of the legend began with the Native people of the area and their descriptions of a legendary creature. 

Each Springtime, the City of Detroit has a Marche du Nain Rouge. 

There seem to be some comparisons of Nain Rouge with Mothman in that Mothman has popularly been believed to be a harbinger of doom, showing up before a tragic event. 

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