The Red Dwarf of Detroit and Other Ghostly Tales

2011 March Du Nain Rouge, Detroit, MI

2011 March Du Nain Rouge, Detroit, MI, photo by vanessamiller.

The last Wednesday of every month is a Weird Wednesday on Absolute Michigan, a time for stories of the spooky and strange. Definitely click that link to get your Halloween on, Michigan style, with stories from the Rowdy Ghosts of the Fenton Hotel to The Ghost of Minnie Quay.

Today’s tale is one of our favorites, the story of the Imp of Detroit, the Nain Rouge who some say has plagued the city since its founding over 300 years ago. It begins:

Among all the impish offspring of the Stone God, wizards and witches, that made Detroit feared by the early settlers, none were more dreaded than the Nain Rouge (Red Dwarf), or Demon of the Strait, for it appeared only when there was to be trouble. In that it delighted. It was a shambling, red-faced creature, with a cold, glittering eye and teeth protruding from a grinning mouth. Cadillac, founder of Detroit, having struck at it, presently lost his seigniory and his fortunes. It was seen scampering along the shore on the night before the attack on Bloody Run, when the brook that afterward bore this name turned red with the blood of soldiers. People saw it in the smoky streets when the city was burned in 1805, and on the morning of Hull’s surrender it was found grinning in the fog. It rubbed its bony knuckles expectantly when David Fisher paddled across the strait to see his love, Soulange Gaudet, in the only boat he could find, a wheel-barrow…

Read on for more, including more recent tales like the 1976 sighting by two employees of Detroit Edison of a small “child” climbing a utility pole on March 1st who then leaped from the top of the twenty-foot pole and scurried away. The next day Detroit was buried in one of the worst ice/snowstorms in its history.

Every March, the people of Detroit conduct the Marche Du Nain Rouge, a celebration to drive the Red Dwarf from the city. Vanessa got this shot there – see it bigger and in her 2011 March du nain rouge slideshow.

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