The Strange Case of the Man from a Country that Did Not Exist

parallel-universe (Image: Lee Davy)

We’ll begin this one off with a disclaimer: we’re not sure what the origins of this story are, nor how it could be anything other than an urban legend arising through decades of mistelling. But, it’s Friday, and we love a good story. In all honestly, we kind of want it to be true, and we’ll leave you to be the judge.

The story begins in July of 1954, when a Caucasian man disembarked a plane in Tokyo, Japan. He stood in the queue with his fellow passengers, but when his turn came for inspection, he presented the customs officers with authentic-looking documentation that was nevertheless unlike anything they’d ever seen. The passport was a perfectly official-looking European document, except that it had been issued by a country that no one had ever heard of – Taured.

The man spoke fluent Japanese, and when questioned, he said that he had been going back and forth from Taured to Tokyo on business for years. Stamps in the passport backed up his story.

The traveller – the story goes – seemingly had other papers from Taured, too, from bank account information to business documents. He also had a driving license. But when he was asked to find his country on a map, he pointed to Andorra, a mountainous microstate sandwiched between France and Spain. He claimed that Taured was centuries-old, and that he’d never heard of Andorra.

andorra-map-taured (Image: Eric Gaba; map of Andorra, or perhaps ‘Taured’)

The company that the purported business traveller said he worked for didn’t exist, but throughout the entire interrogation, the man stuck to his story and seemed genuinely confused about what was going on. At one point, he came to believe that he was the victim of a practical joke, and grew understandably frustrated.

He was, the story goes, taken to a hotel room and placed under guard while Japanese customs debated what to do with him. The problem supposedly solved itself, though, because when they went to check on him the following morning, he was gone.

empty-interrogation-room (Image: UN Photo)

So, how true is the story of the man with a passport from a country that didn’t exist? There are no newspaper clippings or contemporaneous news articles about the incident from the time (although we’d like to think that this is exactly the sort of thing that the government would want to keep on the down-low).

The first mention of the strange tale is understood to be found in a book by John Grant and Colin Wilson, called The Directory of Possibilities. Where they got their information from, we’re not sure, and while it’s entirely possible that the whole thing was a hoax…. part of us hopes that Taured and its only known son really do reside in a parallel universe.

Related – Phantom Islands: Mystical Lands & Cartographic Confusion


About the author: Debra Kelly



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