Photo Courtesy: [Thomas Wenz/Flickr]
The man from Taured arrives
On an otherwise ordinary day in July 1954, a traveler landed at a Tokyo airport with a well-worn passport from a country that never existed. And promptly disappeared. Never to be seen again. Other than that, though, there is no reason to think anything was out of the ordinary. Even at Haneda Airport (aka Tokyo International Airport), one can imagine that planes, pilots, travelers, employees, and baggage came and went as per usual.
Amongst the travelers, it is said that there was one well-dressed Caucasian man who disembarked from a plane flying from Europe. There were dozens, if not hundreds, of others much like him.He described himself as a businessman who had traveled internationally frequently over the last five years. His wallet held currencies from many countries. He spoke several languages, including French (his native tongue) and Japanese. What brought him to Japan? He was in Japan on business, he said, for the third time that year. He had meetings set up and even a hotel reservation awaiting him.
For reasons lost to history, the traveler drew the attention of customs or security staff at the airport. Or he may have just piqued the curiosity of the immigration official who would stamp his passport for entry into Japan. Regardless, from that moment, this ordinary July 1954 day at Haneda Airport in Tokyo took a bit of a turn.
Officials interview the mysterious man
Airport officials pressed the traveler for details. He began to get annoyed and frustrated but answered their questions in fluent Japanese. The airport officials looked into some of the details
They called the company that the traveler said he was coming to meet with. They’d never heard of him.
They tried to get in touch with the company that the traveler said he worked — and was traveling — for. There was no such company.
They called the hotel where the traveler had a room reserved for the night. The hotel didn’t know who he was.
The bank who had issued the checks in the traveler’s checkbook? It didn’t exist.They asked to see the traveler’s passport. The traveler — by this point, was he tired, frustrated, annoyed, frightened, all of the above? — handed over his well-worn and seemingly valid passport.
A country that didn’t exist. And never has.
The passport looked and felt legitimate. It bore the visa stamps of his prior travels in Europe and even into Japan as he’d described.
The ‘country’ of Taured
The airport officials asked the traveler to tell them about Taured, to point it out on a map. No problem! It’s right on the border between France and Spain he said. On the map provided by the airport officials, the traveler had no problem pointing out his home country. He pointed to a small nation on the border between France and Spain.
It was not Taured. Taured didn’t exist. And never has.
It was the Principality of Andorra.
That’s what the airport officials told the traveler, but the traveler was indignant and said something to the effect of: “That’s nonsense! Is this some kind of joke? Taured has been there for 1,000 years!” He couldn’t begin to understand why Taured would be labeled as the Principality of Andorra on any map. Except, of course, that Taured had never been there at all.
The airport officials were at a loss and weren’t sure what to do. Letting the traveler go on his way did not seem like a good option. Instead, they put him up in a hotel nearby while they continued to look into things. And, just to be sure — sure of what, they probably had no idea — they posted a couple of guards outside his door. Apparently, it wasn’t much of a room. It was up a couple of floors and had only sealed windows.
The next morning, the flummoxed officials went to the hotel to collect and continue to query the Tauredian (Tauresian? Taurot?) some more, but he was gone. And so were all his personal belongings: his passport, his money, his wallet, his checkbook, his luggage, everything. It’s as if the man from Taured — the country that never was — also never was. The traveler was never seen again.
Here’s the tricky thing about legends — confirming them. The story, with tweaks around the margins of the details to be sure, has been repeated scores of times since 1954. But corroboration is scant to non-existent. No one can point to newspaper accounts of the incident. It doesn’t seem to have made the news. No one can hold up official reports or records of this hot, humid day; none appear to have been made. Reference cannot be made to the traveler’s Tauredian (Tauresian? Taurosian?) passport: it disappeared along with the traveler, unfortunately.
Many theories abound, both about the traveler and about the legend itself.
Had the traveler come from a different dimension?
You know the theory — that there are myriad parallel universes or dimensions out there, many or all populated by other not-quite-but-almost Earths. Could this traveler somehow, on that plane from Europe to Japan in July 1954, have slipped from one such parallel dimension — one where Taured and not the Principality of Andorra lay on the border between France and Spain — into our very own where there had never been a Taured? Perhaps. What, though, to make of his disappearance? But, if the traveler could cross dimensions in one direction, surely returning in the other direction was a no larger accomplishment.
Had the traveler traveled through time?
European history tells us that, as of 1954, there had never been a country called Taured on the border between Spain and France. World history tells us that, to date, there has never been a country called Taured anywhere on our planet. That covers that past. And the present. But what of the future? Could the traveler have left Europe sometime a least a thousand years from now and somehow landed in Japan in July 1954? Who’s to say it didn’t happen?
Was the traveler a dupe?
Did the traveler believe everything he said, even though none of it was ever true? Perhaps he’d been brainwashed or manipulated by nefarious forces to tell this story for reasons unknown, then extricated from that hotel room once the plot had run its course. Stranger things have happened, haven’t they?
Is the man from Taured just a conspiracy?
The story of the man from Taured appears all over the internet. And every telling of the legend contains slightly different details. Have internet re-tellings added fuel to the fire of the mysterious tale? Of course. But where did it begin? Its first telling appears to have been in a book called The Directory of Possibilities, edited by Colin Wilson and John Grant in 1981. The tale has been re-told with tweaks around the margins of the facts again and again on innumerable websites. Does that make the original tale —published before the internet was at full throttle — any more or less credible?
The story of the man from Taured, who found himself in Tokyo International Airport in July 1954, has been told in many books and films, including a short film called “The Man from Taured” from which the pictures in this story are drawn. Check the movie out on YouTube here:
Other mysterious travelers
The traveler from Taured is not the only or even the first traveler to appear from places that didn’t seem to exist.
In 1851, a man by the name of Joseph Vorin appeared in Frankfurt-an-der-Oder, Germany. He came, he said, from Laxaria on the continent of Sakria. Neither Sakria nor Laxaria existed at the time, or to date. (As for the future, only time will tell. As for other dimensions, who’s to say?)
In 1905, a young man was caught stealing a loaf of bread in Paris. He spoke an unknown language but, eventually, managed to communicate that he came from Lizbia. Authorities thought he must have meant Lisbon, but a Portuguese interpreter quickly confirmed the lad wasn’t from Portugal or speaking Portuguese. The mystery was deeper than the value of a loaf of stolen bread, so the boy was released and never seen again.
What are we to make of these tales? Are Taured, Laxaria, Sakria, and Lizbia all from parallel Earths or a future Earth? It doesn’t seem plausible to blame internet hysteria for the 1851 and 1905 tales of lost travelers, even if we do credit the internet for some tweaking and enhancement of the tale of the man from Taured.
A deeper dive – Related reading from the 101:
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