Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Paranormal Pop Quiz: What's the Nain Rouge?

Is the Nain Rouge ...

a) Branded makeup for the North American Interfaith Network
b) The French translation of a British sci-fi comedy
c) A hobgoblin that haunts Detroit
d) None of the above

If you guessed "c" then you're right, although "b" is also technically correct (don't worry, I grade on a curve). Anyhow, I hadn't heard about the Nain Rouge until last week from Heckler Spray's "Awesome of Off-Putting" entry, but it turns out he's got quite a story behind him. Even respected crypto-keeper Lorne Coleman has written about the bugger and spent ink on his cinematic homages.

The story of the Nain Rouge, also known as a lutin, goes back to 17th Century France and made the leap to Quebec and then the United States in 1701. After the first white settler in Detroit attacked the little guy, the imp has supposedly been terrorizing the Motor City ever since. There are eight Detroit sightings mentioned on Wikipedia alone.

Typically most of the sightings talk about a nasty little Oompa Loompa in red who just likes to stir up trouble and screw with people. But the Nain Rouge is also the "harbinger of doom" in the city and is often seen before bad things happen.  So is he the reason behind the automotive industry's downfall in Detroit? Who knows, but if that's not creepy enough for you, the lutins are also considered the helpers of Pere Noel - you know, Santa's elves.

Of course, he's also the namesake for the "Detroit Dwarf" lager at the Detroit Beer Co., so how bad can he really be?