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"Piano Man"
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Wales Mystery Man Not From A Parallel Universe – Just Acting Peculiar


By James Donahue


Back in 2005 police in Wales were baffled over the identity of a man who was breaking into a house near Ammanford, Carmarthenshire to cook food.


The man was arrested and booked on burglary charges, although there is no evidence that he stole anything except perhaps a sewing kit. He may have used it to stitch his clothes. It was said he broke into the same house three times before he was charged.


They nicknamed this man “Piano Man” because he managed to get to a piano while being treated at a local hospital and demonstrated a “remarkable talent for classical recitals.” In other words, he entertained the hospital patients with some excellent piano works.


The man did not speak and authorities considered the possibility that he was deaf and dumb. When they gave him a pen and paper in an effort to get him to give information about himself, he drew a detailed picture of a grand piano.


Police said the stranger was found in clothes that were soaking wet on a beach near Sheerness, Kent,. He carried no identification. When shown maps and flags from various countries of the world, the man offered no response.


All of this of course presented Wales authorities with a legal dilemma. Until they could find a way to communicate with the man, and get him to respond to court proceedings, there was no legal way for him to be tried for his alleged crime in a court of law. A magistrate remanded the man in custody while attempts were made to identify him.


The story tickled our imagination and we played with it on this web site. We wrote:If we break the barriers of our narrow three-dimensional reality and turn to the creative thinking of science fiction writers or expand even farther to the world of quantum physics, there is perhaps a more creative way to explain this man’s sudden appearance and his strange behavior.


“Suppose that he somehow fell through some kind of warp in time or space and landed in this world from another parallel universe that looks somewhat like his own, but there are differences in the language and the way we function with one another socially. It just might be possible that this man does not understand what happened to him and is as confused about his situation as the Wales police are about his existence in their midst.


“Suppose, also, that in this parallel world, the house the man entered three times is identical, or it closely resembles his own home, and/or is located in the very same place his house should be located. This would explain his forced entry so he could do normal things people do in their homes, like cook a meal and perhaps stitch his clothes. He may also have slept in a bed.”


As the story circulated, we were not the only ones offering possible solutions to this mystery, although ours was certainly the most creative.


Italian television stations showed image of a concert pianist who resembled the “Piano Man,” when he performed in Italy five years earlier. An attempt was made to identify him as pianist Philip Staufen, alias Svwald Skeid. Some were sure they were on the right track when it was learned that Skeid had wandered into a Toronto, Canada emergency room in 2004 suffering from amnesia. CQ magazine even published an article identifying the Piano Man as Sywald Skeid. But alas, they were on the wrong trail.


 BBC News then reported that a Czech musician, Klaudius Krylpin, a drummer in the Czech rock band Prazsky Vyber, had identified the Piano Man as pianist Tomas Strnad, who had been a member of the band Ropotamo in the 1980s. Strnad had a twin brother living in Columbus, Ohio, who agreed that the Piano Man had a striking resemblance to his brother. Then Tomas Strnad turned up alive and well and was interviewed on Czech television.


So who was this guy?


After months of mystery, the Piano Man opened his mouth and told all. He was a 20-year-old German named Andreas Grassl who came to Britain on a train after losing his job in Paris. He was extremely depressed and was attempting to commit suicide by drowning himself. That was why police found him in wet clothes.


For some unexplained reason . . . perhaps because of his strange mental state, Grassi refused to talk to police or the hospital staff when he was admitted for examination. When they gave him a pen and paper he just drew a grand piano, thus sparking a sensational news story.


The Piano Man’s earthly links were well established after the hospital personnel made a piano available and he allegedly gave a concert, playing the works of Tchaikovsky and other masters, and even the music of The Beatles.


A story in the British tabloid The Mirror said one unnamed source said Grassi had once worked with the mentally ill and consequently was able to mimic their behavior and fool the hospital staff and Kent police.


Grassi was flown to Bavaria to the home of his father and two sisters. When contacted by a British reporter, the man’s father said his son told him he was confused. He told his father he had “no idea what happened to me. I just suddenly woke up and realized who I was.”


The father also said he was convinced that Grassi’s odd behavior was caused by some kind of psychotic episode. “I know he would never make something like this up,” he said.


The family did say that Grassi had worked with disabled people and was an accomplished pianist


Grassi was last known to be enrolled at a university in Basel, Switzerland where he was studying French literature.