One of the most puzzling events of the 20th century happened on a seemingly normal day in one of the most boring and banal places imaginable: Haneda airport in Japan, yet to date, nobody knows exactly what happened there, because a business traveller has been at the centre of an enigma largely forgotten by our modern world.
The year 1954 was hotter than normal in Japan, but an unexplained fact happened at Haneda airport after a plane from Europe disembarked its passengers. As the crowd made their way through customs, a well-dressed middle-aged Caucasian man came forward and told officials that he was in Japan only for a normal business trip.
His main language was French, yet he spoke Japanese and several other languages. In his portfolio, there was a variety of currencies from various European countries as if to demonstrate that he was a person who travelled a lot.
When asked what his country of origin was, things got strange. He candidly declared that he came from Taured, on the border between France and Spain. Officials told him that Taured did not exist, but he presented him with his passport – issued by the non-existent country of Taured – which also showed visa stamps confirming his previous business trips to Japan and other countries. When information was sought about the company with which he said he worked, it was not found and no one had even heard of it before. The hotel in which he had booked a room had no reservation for him and the bank indicated on his chequebook did not seem to exist.
Customs officials showed him a map of the world and he pointed to the small town of Andorra. Was it his true country of origin or was he somehow wrong? The man became angry and said that Andorra did not exist and that the land he indicated was Taured and had to be there. His country said he had existed for a thousand years. Still shocked by his misplaced homeland, the mysterious man was detained by customs and given a room in a nearby hotel for the night while officials tried to figure out what was going on.
The following morning, the mystery deepened. The only known resident of Taured suddenly disappeared from his hotel room, where he had been supervised by immigration officials all night. To make matters worse, it was the fact that all his personal documents – including his passport and driving license issued by the mysterious country – vanished from the airport’s security room. The police and airport officials searched in vain for the mysterious man. It was as if that event had never really happened.
No documentation could verify this story which is still unanswered, but has been 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 enigmatic ending, I doubt that any official would have drawn up a report concluding that the man and all his documented evidence had simply vanished.
Surprisingly, mysterious travellers like Taured’s businessman have appeared on many occasions. In 1851, a man was found wandering Frankfurt / Oder in northeastern Germany who claimed to be from a country called Laxaria on the continent of Sakria. Another young man who spoke a completely unknown language was caught stealing a loaf of bread in Paris in 1905; he said it came from Lizbia, the authorities assumed it was Lisbon in Portugal, 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? Do these men come from other dimensions? Or did they organize a cleverly crafted joke? hard to believe.