The strange mystery of the man from Taured


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.

Tokyo airport
Tokyo airport

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 man from Taured
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.

Origins of the story ?

The origins of the story could be linked to the above as reported on Aug. 15, 1960, in Vancouver’s The Province, which told the story of conman John Allen Kuchar Zegrus.  You can see the full story here

However, fact checking the article reveals a number of mistakes, and the paper responded to a request for source material with “no sources exist”

The article incorrectly states:

Mr. Zegrus wanted to travel the world. To impress officials and make his travel easier, he invented a nation, a capital, a people and a language. All these he recorded on a fake passport which he had made himself.

Zegrus claimed to be a “naturalized Ethiopian and an intelligent agent for Colonel Nasser.” The passport was stamped as issued at Tamanrasset, the capital of Taured “south of the Sahara.” Any places so romantically named ought to exist, but they don’t. John Allen Kuchar Zegrus invented them.

Zegrus’s gallant scam was unfortunately ended with his arrest by the Japanese in Tokyo. They began looking into his claims and soon decided to charge him.

It was however discovered that Tamanrasset is a real place in Algeria with a large Tuareg population. It’s therefore possible that Zegrus based the name and location of his fictional “Tuared” on the Tuareg people and the city of Tamanrasset.

Algeria and Andorra can easily be mistaken with poor translation.


In Colin Wilson and John Grant’s The Directory of Possibilities (1981) which many incorrectly claim as the first mention of Taured story – no source was given – however, (like a lot of this books content)  The story taken from the magazine “Unexplained”.  The story was mentioned in a very early edition of the Unexplained magazine that Peter Brookesmith was editing in early 1980.  Unexplained produced over 150 editions, many of them are now missing.

Similar Story to The Man from Taured

Similar happenings to the Taured mystery have occurred before. In 1851, a man wandering Frankfurt an der Oder in Germany claimed he was from a country called “Laxaria”, a state found on the continent of “Sakria”.

Another man, who spoke a completely unrecognizable language, was caught stealing bread in Paris in 1905. He said he was from “Lizbia”, and although the man did not speak Portuguese nor recognize Portugal as his homeland on a map, the authorities assumed he meant Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

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