One of the most intriguing stories of a stranger from a strange land is the Mystery of the man from Taured. The story goes that in 1954, a man arrived at Haneda Airport in Tokyo after disembarking from a plane originating in Europe.
Upon arriving at the customs checkpoint the man presents a passport indicating he is from Taured. The only problem is that officials recognize that no such land exists. The man is insistent that he is from a nation over 1,000 years old situated on the border between Spain and France.
Popular tellings of the story differ with various sources at this point. Some indicate that the man is confused by Andorra and insists that this is not his homeland while the majority have the man identifying the space as Taured though he appears confused that it is being called “Andorra” and claims to have never heard of such a place.
When immigration officials take him to a hotel under guard they are shocked the next morning to find he has disappeared with no discernible means of escape. Complicating matters further is that his confiscated passport is also gone as is virtually every bit of evidence that he ever passed through Tokyo.
The story of the Taured man is a spooky favorite. The idea of a waylaid traveler finding himself in a strange land, seemingly of another world, was constantly used as fodder for mystery and horror stories throughout the last century.
The story itself could easily have been a plot for an episode of The Twilight Zone ( which, incidentally, would have aired less than five years after the Taured man stepped off that plane at Haneda ).
The Taured Man
There are a few possibilities as to what happened to the Taured man ( ordered from least to most likely ):
1. He Was a Time Traveler – Perhaps the name “Taured” was unknown to the people of 1954, as it is unknown to the people of the present year, because the land formerly known as Andorra is to be known as Taured many years in the future.
For this to be the case, a few assumptions would need to be made. First, the boundaries of Andorra and Taured would need to be nearly identical despite a thousand (or more) years difference between their existence. Very few nations have geographic boundaries that have remained completely unchanged for hundreds, let alone thousands, of years.
One must also consider the impact of rising water levels. In is possible that the Principality of Andorra would be under water in 1,000 years, let alone remaining untouched and renamed along the exact borders.
Second, if the Taured man is from the future, it would be a future where the air travel of 1954 would seem both natural and appropriate. A traveler from just a few decades later would likely not recognize the air travel experience in 1954 so it seems that someone from the future would likely be thrown off by the seemingly primitive means of conveyance afforded to professionals of that year.
2. He Accidentally Passed Through a Parallel Dimension – Perhaps, in a parallel dimension, nearly all of the world as we know it looks and feels exactly the same with technological advances following along a similar course, languages developing in the same fashion and everything, except for the name of Andorra, remaining the same as it is here.
While that might sound like a major stretch, believers in the parallel universe theory would likely be open to the possibility that our reality exists in potentially limitless dimensions. So the idea that one of those dimensions includes a nation of “Taured” in the space known to us as Andorra should not be discounted as a possibility.
3. The Game of Telephone – A woman once met an elderly German man. After attending church together for a few months and periodically having breakfast, he invites her over to his home. There, she sees a shadowbox containing the ribbons and medals of a World War II SS Officer.
He explains they belonged to his now deceased brother. As time goes on, and the woman tells others the story, the story itself begins to evolve. Then, five years later, the woman’s nephew tells the tale of how his aunt found a Nazi war criminal in hiding after uncovering his secret cache of Nazi memorabilia and learning his true identity.
Just like the game of telephone, popular among small children, people add their own embellishment to a story they like. As the story continues forward, it tends to snowball until it is unrecognizable from the original event.
Remember that this allegedly occurred in 1954. That’s less than a decade after Japan surrendered to Allied Forces in the second World War. That’s also only two years after Haneda Airport was actually open to civilian international travel. Prior to 1952, it was still an Army Airfield.
hat means that, at the time of the alleged incident, the immigration officials at Haneda had, at maximum, two years experience in an international airport working as immigration and customs officials. The story has a very certain agent who immediately identifies Taured as being a non-existent entity.
In reality, an agent at this airport at this time would likely have had very little interaction with travelers from many countries. This is years before Dr. Deming revamped the Japanese economy and helped turn it into an industrial powerhouse.
It is very possible that a new ( and likely young ) immigration agent may have encountered a country unknown to him or her and that, as the story was told, it simply snowballed into a mysterious traveler coming from a mysterious and nonexistent place.
It’s also possible that, at this time, someone was earnestly trying to traverse the globe with a fake passport issued from a nonexistent country. Maybe it was an effort to evade the law, seek adventure or perhaps born of some mental illness. Either way, it appears reasonable that a kernel of truth may have been the beginning of this multi-layered story.
4. The Urban Legend – The story can be found in hundreds of places on the internet. Some accounts include intimate details such as the color of the Taured man’s jacket and suitcase to a full accounting of the foreign currencies he had in his wallet at the time. With no documentary evidence one must consider the possibility that the event simply never occurred and was merely a work of fiction within the mind of a creative prankster.
We will likely never know the truth about the mystery of the man from Taured. But sometimes it is the fact that we will never know the answer that makes the mystery itself so enticing.