Le Nain Rouge

Semi-legendary personage of antiquity


Quote: [guttural growling sound]

Background: The Red Dwarf (or a series of persons taking the role of the Dwarf) has been active in the Detroit area since the days of the earliest French colonists (and perhaps earlier, if certain legends of the Potawotomi are to be believed).

Appearance: One woman who claimed to have been attacked by the Dwarf in 1884 described her attacker as resembling, “a baboon with a horned head…brilliant restless eyes and a devilish leer on its face.” Other reports variously describe the Dwarf as either being covered in long, dirty red hair, or wearing a tattered red fur-coat and black boots.

Storytelling Hints:


[Le] Nain Rouge haunts Detroit, Michigan, and is feared by its residents as “the harbinger of doom.” (Skinner 1896) Its appearance is said to presage terrible events for the city [like a banshee]. The Nain Rouge appears as a small child-like creature with red or black fur boots. It is also said to have “blazing red eyes and rotten teeth.” (Skinner 18960).

The creature is said to have been attacked in 1701 by the first white settler of Detroit, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac, who soon after lost his fortune. The creature is also 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 tribe.The small tributary of the Detroit river, which still flows through what is now Elmwood Cemetery, turned red with blood for days after the battle. It is said he was seen dancing on the banks of the Detroit river.

Famous multiple sighting occurred in the days before the 1805 fire which destroyed most of Detroit. General William Hull reported a “dwarf attack” in the fog just before his surrender of Detroit in the War of 1812.

Other sightings include the day before the 12th Street Riot in 1967 and before a huge snow/ice storm of March 1976, when two utility workers are said to have seen what they thought was a child climbing a utility pole which then jumped from the top of the pole and ran away as they approached.

More recently, in the autumn of 1996, according to an article in the Michigan Believer, the Nain Rouge was spotted by two admittedly drunken nightclub patrons, who claimed to both have heard a strange “cawing sound, similar to a crow,” coming from a “small hunched-over man” who was fleeing the scene of a car burglary.

Source: Cryptomundo.com, Nain Rouge: The Red Gnome. Posted by Loren Coleman on February 2nd, 2009

Le Nain Rouge

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