Saginaw College, New York: Are Saginaw and Chosen, NY real places?

Bruno Cooke April 30, 2021
Photo by Matt Petit/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images

The events of new Netflix horror thriller Things Heard & Seen take place between the small Hudson Valley college of Saginaw, New York and a tiny hamlet called Chosen, also in NY. So, is Saginaw College New York a real place?

Saginaw College, New York

The in-story location of Saginaw College, New York sounds like a real place, doesn’t it? But it isn’t.

However, confusing matters is the fact that the name isn’t completely made-up. There’s a Saginaw city in Michigan, in the County of Saginaw.

The name Saginaw – as in, Michigan’s Saginaw – is thought to derive from the phrase “where the Sauk were”, in the indigenous language of Ojibwe. 

The Sauk, or Sac, are a group of Native Americans who, when the French colonialists arrived in 1667, primarily lived in what is now Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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Photo by: Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Is Saginaw College real?

Saginaw College, New York is a fictional place.

However, there is a real Saginaw Valley State University in the Kochville Township of Saginaw County, Michigan.


The only connection between the fictional college of Netflix’s Things Heard & Seen and the real life university in Saginaw appears to be… the name.

Chosen, New York is also a fictional place, but unlike Saginaw College there doesn’t seem to be a real life correlate for the name.

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Things Heard & Seen cast – who’s in it?

Amanda Seyfried (Les Misérables, Mean Girls), recognisable from the film’s poster, stars as Catherine Claire.

In the film, Catherine trades her Manhattan life for a remote home in Chosen, NY.

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Photo by Marilla Sicilia/Archivio Marilla Sicilia/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Meanwhile James Norton (Little Women, Mr. Jones) plays her husband, George.

Joining them are Ana Sophia Heger, making her feature film debut, and Kristin Griffith (The Devil All the Time).

Things Heard & Seen premiered yesterday on Netflix.

Bruno is a postgraduate student studying global journalism, with research interests in the intersection of the media, storytelling, culture and politics. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Packs Light and Forge Press, and most are readable on Medium or He is a Student Ambassador for Tortoise Media, a big fan of Freddie Mercury and a novelist – his debut novel, Reveries, is available on Amazon.