Man from Taured

From Kook Science

The Man from Taured was, according to various internet sources and earlier print compilations of the anomalous, a traveller visiting Japan in July 1954 who carried a passport identifying him as a citizen of a nation called Taured. The entire story is likely inspired by the actual case of John Allen Kuchar Zegrus (ジョン・アレン・K・ジーグラス), the "Mystery Man" from Tuared (or Tuareg), who was arrested in 1960 while in Japan on a false passport.

Chronology of Accounts

"Emissary from Tuared"

from Tuared to Taured

  • Begg, Paul (1981), "Appearing People", in Wilson, Colin; Grant, John, The Directory of Possibilities, New York: Rutledge Press, p. 86, "And in 1954 a passport check in Japan is alleged to have produced a man with papers issued by the nation of Taured." 
  • Slemen, Tom (1998), "The Alençon Spaceman", Strange but True: Mysterious and Bizarre People, Who Were They and Where Did They Go?, London: Robinson, p. 64, "In 1954, the Japanese authorities detained a man trying to enter the country with a passport that revealed he was from an unheard country named 'Taured'. A thorough check was made by the customs officials to see if there was such a place anywhere on Earth, but they drew a blank. The stranger refused to throw light on the whereabouts of the mysterious nation of Taured and quickly left Japan." 

to an Alternate Reality

Origin of Story

John Allen Kuchar Zegrus

Per Natanael Antonioli,[1] the story of the interdimensional "Man from Taured" finds its origins in the true story of John Allen Kuchar Zegrus,[2] a man who was arrested in Tokyo in 1960 while travelling on a passport from Tuared. This was reported in the Vancouver Province, an English-language newspaper, of 15 August 1960 in an article entitled "Man with his own country," in which Zegrus was said to have "claimed to be a 'naturalized Ethiopian and an intelligence agent for Colonel Nasser'" and carried a passport "issued at Tamanrasset, the capital of Tuared 'south of the Sahara'," written in an invented language, and had apparently travelled the Middle East with success, but was stopped in Japan and held for holding a fake passport.[P] Nearly a year-and-a-half later, on 22 December 1961, the Tokyo-based Kyodo, a Japanese-language newspaper, reported that Zegrus had been given a one-year prison sentence for "having illegally entered Japan" in 1959 using a "bogus passport" and "passing phony checks"; it further added that Zegrus was a "self-styled American who has professedly acted as an agent for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Central Intelligence Agency."[3]

Zegrus's story also appeared with more detail in the Japanese-language newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun (読売新聞) of 10 August 1960, 「密入国の”ミステリー・マン”: 判決直後自殺図る: 架空の国籍、14か国語ペラペラ」 (The "Mystery Man" Who Tried to Smuggle Themselves Into the Country: Attempted suicide immediately after sentencing; Fictitious nationality, fluent in 14 languages.), where it was said that Zegrus (Ziegler) and his unnamed Korean wife entered via Haneda Airport from Taipei, Republic of China (Taiwan), on 24 October 1959, and in December 1959 passed fake cheques to the Chase Manhattan Bank and Bank of Korea, which is why he was arrested.[4] Zegrus, at the time of his arrest, apparently claimed to be an ambassador of 「ネグシ・ハベシ」 ("Negushi Habeshi") and an American intelligence operative, demanding he be released as this was a violation of diplomatic immunity. In the same newspaper of 27 April 1961, it was reported Zegrus had attempted suicide in the courtroom; while follow-ups of 25 July 1961 and 22 December 1961 related further details of the criminal case and a retrial of the "Mystery Man."[4][5] He was reputedly later deported to Hong Kong.

The case was referenced to the British House of Commons on 29 July 1960 in a speech by Robert Mathew, the MP for Honiton, who cited the Zegrus passport, "written in the invented language of an invented country" but which allowed its holder to apparently travel "without hindrance" (prior to his arrest in Japan), as evidence for his argument that "passports are not very good security checks."[6]

Tuared Language

According to the Province, a sample of Zegrus's apparently invented language was written in Latin characters on the passport, beneath the official stamp of Tuared: "Rch ubwaii ochtra negussi habessi trwap turapa." The meaning of this text, if any, is not entirely clear - they may have been intended to represent Amharic or Tamahaq, a Tuareg dialect.

A clue may be found by considering that Zegrus claimed to hold Ethiopian (or "Toure Ethiopian") nationality: negussi may be negus, nigusi (ንጉስ), from the Amharic for "king (of)", and habessi as a derivation from Habessinia (Abyssinia), an antiquated name for Ethiopia, which taken together gives "Negus of Habessinia," possibly suggesting Kingdom of Habessinia. This would correlate with the claims of Japanese news reports that he claimed to be an ambassador of Negushi Habeshi (「ネグシ・ハベシ」).

Press Coverage

Zegrus Case (1960-1961)

  • (in Japanese) 密入国の”ミステリー・マン” — 判決直後自殺図る — 架空の国籍、14か国語ペラペラ, 10 Aug. 1960 
  • "Man With His Own Country" (in English), The Province (Vancouver, BC, Canada): 4, 15 Aug. 1960 ,
  • "怪外人がまたも難題 — ネグシ・ハベシ国のジーグラス" (in Japanese), 読売新聞, 27 Apr. 1961 
  • "”一審にミス”と差し戻し — ミステリー・マン控訴審" (in Japanese), 読売新聞, 25 Jul. 1961 
  • "”ミステリー・マン”に懲役1年の判決" (in Japanese), 読売新聞, 22 Dec. 1961