In 1340, German pilgrim Ludolph of Sudheim met two elderly men on the shores of the Dead Sea. He was surprised to hear them speaking fluent French since Europe had withdrawn from the Holy Land half a century earlier. The men claimed to be Templars who had been captured by the Mamluks during the siege of Acre in 1291. Cut off from all contact with Europe, they had no knowledge of events in their homeland for the previous fifty years. It must have come as a shock to learn that the once powerful Templar order had been brutally disbanded thirty years earlier, the Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, tortured to extract a confession then burned at the stake. The men were eventually repatriated to France and lived the remainder of their lives in peace.
Japanese soldier Hiroo Onoda began guerilla operations against Allied forces on Lubang Island in the Philippines in December 1944. Eight months later, the Second World War ended. Onoda, believing the leaflets dropped from the air announcing the end of the war were propaganda, maintained his operations as he had been ordered. He continued to do so for twenty-nine years, living in the jungle-covered hills and subsisting on coconuts, bananas and the occasional cow stolen from a farm. Early in 1974, he met a young Japanese tourist, Norio Suzuki, who had heard rumours about Onoda’s survival and had come to Lubang to search for him. He befriended Onoda and took photos to prove his existence. Onoda still refused to surrender, so Suzuki returned to Japan with his story. Finally, Onoda’s now retired superior officer, Major Taniguchi travelled to Lubang and met with Onoda to formally order him to stand down. Fifteen years after being declared dead, Onoda returned to Japan.
Only months later, another World War II Japanese soldier, Teruo Nakamura was found living on Morotai Island, Indonesia where he had been for thirty years. In 2006, former Japanese soldier Ishinosuke Uwano was discovered living in the Ukraine. His last known whereabouts was Sakhalin Island in 1958 where he had been posted during World War II. He returned to Japan to visit his family more than sixty years after leaving.
A nazi spy was found on the Labrador coast in 1981 still sending weather information to Germany almost forty years after arrival.