His appearance is said to presage terrible events for the city. The Nain Rouge appears as a small childlike creature with red or black fur boots. He is also said to have "blazing red eyes and rotten teeth." (Skinner 1896)
The creature is said to have attacked the first white settler of Detroit in 1701, 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.
Multiple famous sightings 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.
In 2010, a community-based movement began a tradition of a costumed parade called the Marche du Nain Rouge, this event is a revival of an early tradition in the legend of the Nain Rouge. At the conclusion of the parade, an effigy of the imp was destroyed, thus banishing the evil spirit from the city for another year. Each year, parade participants and spectators are encouraged to wear costumes so that when the Nain Rouge next returns, he will not recognize the persons who once again ousted him from the city limits and thus will not be able to seek personal vengeance. - Via Wikipedia