One of the most perplexing events of the 20th Century did not involve flying saucers, conspiracy theories, a criminal act, or even strange creature sightings. It took place on a seemingly normal day in one of the most tedious, mundane places one could imagine: Airport. Yet to this day, no one knows exactly what happened there, or why one average business traveler became the heart of an enigma largely forgotten by our modern world.
The year 1954 was hotter than normal in Tokyo, but at Haneda Airport it was business as usual. That is, of course, until one unknown date when a routine European inbound plane dropped off its passengers. As the crowd made its way through customs, a neatly-dressed middle-aged Caucasian man stepped up and told officials this was just a normal business trip or him, one of three so far this year to Japan. His primary language was French, yet he spoke Japanese and several other languages. In his wallet was a variety of currencies from various European countries, as if to verify his frequent flyer tendencies.
When they asked him for his country of origin, things became strange. He casually stated that he was from Taured, on the border between France and Spain. The officials told him that Taured didn’t exist, but he presented them with his passport—issued by the nonexistent country of Taured—which also showed visa stamps corroborating his previous business travels to Japan and other countries. Yet when they called the company he said he was having a meeting with, they had never heard of him or his company ever before that moment. The hotel he had reserved a room at had no reservation for such a person, and the bank listed on his checkbook appeared not to exist.
The bearded man scoffed; surely, this was some elaborate practical joke for his benefit. Customs officials showed him a world map and pointed to the tiny country of Andorra. Perhaps that was his real country of origin and somehow he was either mistaken or having his own little joke? The man became irate, saying that Andorra didn’t exist but it was right where Taured should be. His proud country had existed for a thousand years. Still in shock over his misplaced homeland, the mystery man was detained by customs and given a room at a nearby hotel for the night while officials tried to figure out what was going on.
The following morning, the mystery deepened. Taured’s one and only known resident completely vanished from his hotel room which had been guarded by immigration officials all night long. And to make matters worse, all of his personal documents—including his passport and drivers license issued by the mystery country—vanished from the airport’s security room. Police and airport officials searched in vain for the mysterious man. It was as if the whole encounter had never actually happened.
No documentation verifying this story has yet surfaced, but it was mentioned in several books, including The Directory of Possibilities (1981, p. 86) and Strange But True: Mysterious and Bizarre People (1999, p. 64). And given its puzzling ending, I doubt that any official would have written up a report concluding that the man and all his documented evidence simply vanished.
Surprisingly, misplaced travelers such as the business man from Taured have appeared on many occasions. In 1851, a man was found wandering Frankfurt an der Oder in northeast Germany who claimed he was from a country called Laxaria on the continent of Sakria. Another young man who spoke a completely unrecognizable language was caught stealing a loaf of bread in Paris in 1905; he said he was from Lizbia, which authorities assumed was Lisbon—or Lisboa in Portuguese, yet his language was not Portuguese nor did he recognize a map of Portugal as his homeland.
Is Taured out there somewhere? And what about Laxaria or Liziba? Did these men fall backward through time or pass through dimensions? Or were they simply perpetrating a hoax or mentally ill?