24

A number of different web-sites document this mysterious storey of an apparent traveller from an alternate history:

It’s July 1954; a hot day. A man arrives at Tokyo airport in Japan. He’s of Caucasian appearance and conventional-looking. But the officials are suspicious.On checking his passport, they see that he hails from a country called Taured. The passport looked genuine, except for the fact that there is no such country as Taured – well, at least in our dimension.

The man is interrogated, and asked to point out where his country supposedly exists on a map.

He immediately points his finger towards the Principality of Andorra, but becomes angry and confused. He’s never heard of Andorra, and can’t understand why his homeland of Taured isn’t there. According to him it should have been, for it had existed for more than 1,000 years!

Customs officials found him in possession of money from several different European currencies. His passport had been stamped by many airports around the globe, including previous visits to Tokyo.

Baffled, they took him to a local hotel and placed him in a room with two guards outside until they could get to the bottom of the mystery. The company he claimed to work for had no knowledge of him, although he had copious amounts of documentation to prove his point.

The hotel he claimed to have a reservation for had never heard of him either. The company officials in Tokyo he was there to do business with? Yup, you’ve guessed it – they just shook their heads too . Later, when the hotel room he was held in was opened, the man had disappeared. The police established that he could not have escaped out of the window – the room was several floors up, and there was no balcony. ?

He was never seen again, and the mystery was never solved.

Sources include:

Is this a true series of events in the reported facts? If so, was it solved? If not, was the story exaggerated or altered in a way to make it more mysterious, and what's the real story?

11
  • 31
    "The passport looked genuine, except for the fact that there is no such country as Taured " How did they determine this? By comparing his passport with genuine passports from non-existent Taured? – DJClayworth Sep 16 '15 at 18:19
  • 4
    I would say this sounds more like a sci fi short story involving alternate dimensions. – JasonR Sep 17 '15 at 12:11
  • 12
    Agreed with @user19555. Extraneous details like "it had existed for more than 1000 years!" and "the police posted two guards outside" (itself implausible) are tell-tale signs of a yarn. – Dan Bron Sep 17 '15 at 12:26
  • 3
    Quoting a ATS comment in 2012 by a user called maliceinsunderland who was responsible for a 2004 Frankenstein Sound Lab Album "The Man from Taured", "I might add that when The Man from Taured album released in 2004, I did an internet search for Taured and its variations thereof, and drew a complete blank-the story didn't seem to be on the net back then, or at least I didn't find it." – pericles316 Sep 18 '15 at 4:49
  • 2
    @DJClayworth: I have been checking passports at an airport for a while. You can not know the hundreds of passport types out there, but there are a number of details that are common to a lot of them. When you have a passport you do not recognize, you check for them, like feel of material, quality of print, previous visa stamps, possible microprints etc. and then you just say "well, looks genuine" and let the people pass... – PlasmaHH Sep 30 '15 at 13:13
18

This mystery was resolved by a Brazilian YouTuber, Natanael Antonioli, in July 2019. Further missing pieces were added by a Fortean researcher in March 2020 (article forthcoming, in Fortean Times issue 405) and a Japanese researcher in November 2020. A Reddit thread and Snopes both have details.

The "Man from Taured" was John Allen Kuchar Zegrus, who variously gave his birth nationality as American or Ethiopian. He claimed that he had acquired citizenship in the state of "Tuared" and that he was issued a passport in the city of Tamanrasset. Tamanrasset in Algeria is the real home of the Tuareg Berbers, who speak an Afroasiatic language.

According to Japanese and Canadian newspapers, Zegrus' passport bore the slogan "Negussi Habessi" which our 21st century debunkers interpret as "Kingdom of Habessinia" (Abyssinia).

In October 1959, Zegrus and his South Korean wife entered Japan using homemade Tuared passports, stamped with visas they had acquired at the Japanese embassy in Taipei. (Notably, South Korea did not have diplomatic relations with Japan at this time, so it would have been hard for a South Korean to enter Japan.) Over the subsequent year, he defrauded several banks by claiming to be an Egyptian or American intelligence agent. In August 1960, Zegrus' wife was deported to South Korea. In December 1961, Zegrus was convicted of illegal entry and fraud and was sentenced to one year imprisonment.

In November 2020, the Japanese researcher made a more detailed study in Japanese which no English speaker has mentioned up until now. (His source is this 1999 book written by a Tokyo prosecutor who handled Zegrus' case and various spy cases.) According to this very interesting post, Zegrus' actual origin was never uncovered. Zegrus maintained that Negussi Habessi was a real place and that Japan had stolen their nuclear technology. It was found that his Tuared/Negussi Habessi passport contained many legitimate visa stamps from across Southeast Asia. After he served his year in prison Japan did not know what to do with him. They saw on his passport that he entered the country from Hong Kong, so he was deported back to there. It is not known what happened to him after that.

In a sense, this story is more true than it is false because Zegrus really did stick to his guns and claim that he was from a nonexistent country, and as far as the existing sources say, his true nationality was never ascertained. He was simply deported to get rid of him, and he vanishes from known records thereafter.

13

So far, it seems to just be an internet story that's been passed along by word of mouth. There are no newspaper articles referencing it (outside of "Weird News" articles who are just passing on the internet story). It's referenced in a few books, but never with any additional information on the source of the story.

4
  • 3
    The fact that none of the newspapers in the database indexed it doesn't mean that no newspaper did. Furthermore, considering the supposed origin, the paper is likely to be in Japanese. – March Ho Sep 17 '15 at 11:22
  • 13
    Right. But when the only "proof" is an almost identical story passing through "weird news" sites, that's usually pretty indicative of a tall tale. – Sean Duggan Sep 17 '15 at 11:26
  • 1
    Quoting research by a user called Meginsanity in a reddit unresolved mysteries post for this story present in the 1981 book Directory of Possibilities by Colin Wilson and John Grant "the man from Taured gets only one sentence in the book, on page 86. It's in Part 3, "Strange Creatures and Unusual Events," under "Appearing People." None of the rest of the story seems to exist in this book. I think the rest has probably been made up as a good story." – pericles316 Sep 18 '15 at 4:14
  • 1
    Meginsanity further states, "However, I did notice that one of the contributors, Paul Begg, has another book listed in the "Further Reading" section called Out of Thin Air: People Who Appear From Nowhere. It's listed as "forthcoming" but from looking around on line I don't think it was actually printed. I don't know if the author is even alive. Only next step I can think of is to contact the publisher of his other book Into Thin Air: People Who Disappear - David & Charles, Newton Abbot, 1979." – pericles316 Sep 18 '15 at 4:16

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .