The man who arrived in Japan that day in 1954 was certainly a stranger in a strange land. A Westerner in the land of the East, he towered above most of the Japanese people milling about the Tokyo airport complex. But soon, amazed customs officials found the man was more than just a stranger in their midst. The impossible man was a stranger from a stranger world—a world that existed in another universe entirely!
An incident smacking of very high strangeness occured almost 60 years ago in Japan. Parts of the story were related in several books about the weird and strange published during the 1950s. A brief reference to the incident appears online at Dark Stories.
Gathering together as many of the details as possible (some may be forever lost in history), the tale takes on an eerie aspect and certainly qualifies as one more possible glimpse into the infinite worlds of the multiverse.
Japan Airlines – Haneda (Tokyo International) Airport, 1954
Flight from nowhere
The day started like any other for the men and women of the Japanese customs. They bowed to their superiors and took their places behind the counters of the facility located near the staging area of the international arrivals terminal.
As the airliners from other nations arrived and passengers deplaned, the new arrivals queued as they always did—waiting for the interviews, inspections and the anticipation of having their passports and visas stamped so they could embark on their way towards the hustle and bustle of a Toyko now back to normal nine years after the end of World War Two.
But what started out normally soon devolved into puzzlement, and then amazement, when one of the arrivals that had flown from Europe presented his passport.
The travel document claimed he was from a country none had heard of in their careers. Even the most senior customs officials were stymied by the passport that, in every other respect, looked authentic.
According to the passport, the man was from a country named Taured.
They pulled the traveler aside and escorted him to an interrogation room for an interview while they conducted a background check.
The mystery man appeared caucasian, said his country was in Europe and carried legal currency from several European countries in a well-made, oversized billfold.
Haneda Airport waiting area 1950s
Confusion and anger
While the customs officials were confused, the subject of their bewilderment grew increasingly angry. He claimed he was in Japan on business, the third such trip that year. He'd been traveling to Japan for more than five years and his company was a subsidiary of a growing international conglomerate.
While it was true that the man's passport corroborated his story—the document had many previous custom's and visa stamps—no record of his country existed. And when the company he claimed to have pending meetings with was contacted they stated categorically they never heard of him, nor of the company he said he represented.
Equally puzzling were the man's other documents: he carried a drivers license issued by his country—but the country didn't exist. He also had an international drivers license, but that too was invalid. A checkbook contained checks for an account with an unknown bank.
The hotel he insisted he had reservations with had no record whatsoever of him.
How did the strange visitor appear on the wrong Earth?
Truly a stranger in a strange world.
The man spoke several languages including Japanese. He said his native language was French and when shown a map of the world expressed what seemed to be genuine shock that his country wasn't on it.
He told officials that Taured was located where the Principality of Andorra, part of Spain, and part of France was shown on the map. He was adamant that no such country as Andorra existed and his country had existed for almost 1,000 years.
Had the entire world gone mad? he must have wondered. The Japanese wondered themselves as they stared back at the impossible man who certainly appeared well-traveled.
Right airport, wrong world
Hours passed and instead of gleaning answers, the puzzle only deepened.
Finally, the man demanded to see higher government authorities. By then he thought a massive and cruel practical joke was being played on him.
After being detained in the airport's cramped security room for almost eight hours, the customs officials took pity on him. They sent him to a nearby hotel with orders that the mystery visitor wait until a decision was reached on the matter.
Mr. X … a mysterious stranger in a strange world
At the hotel, two immigration officials were given orders not to permit the man to leave his room. After eating a small supper provided by the hotels' room service, the man without a country retired for the evening.
The guards maintained their post in the hallway outside the hotel room throughout the wee morning hours. At no time did they hear any sounds coming from within the room.
The next morning the guards discovered the odd European had vanished. The only exit from the room was the door they watched and the only window had no outside ledge and was located far above a busy street.
Did the man from another world find his way home?
Customs and immigration officials, and the Tokyo police, mounted an intensive search for the incredible traveler, but finally gave it up.
The man from the country that didn't exist was not seen again.
Hopefully, he found his way back home.