JRR Tolkien was born in South Africa at the end of the 19th century, spending many years there as a child in blissful contentment. It was not until he discovered something he was not meant to see that the family was forced to leave South Africa, coming to England when he was in his tweens.
While on an expedition with his brother (as well as representatives from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police), he discovered a cave that had previously been hidden by overgrowth. At first, it was believed by those who were with him that the cave may have been inhabited by lions or hyenas, and they attempted to dissuade him from going inside.
He would not allow himself to be talked out of exploring the cave, and when he went inside, he did not find the carnivores that the others thought the place would be infested with.
At first, he found nothing of interest, and he almost turned back around to meet up with the others, but he was stopped by the sounds of laughter coming from further inside the cave. He decided he would investigate the sound, and he drew closer to it. As the light failed, he suspected that he may have made a mistake, and it might be a good idea for him to turn around; but then, he thought he could see a light coming from further inside the cave.
He continued on, turning a corner that led to an opening. It appeared as though he had exited the cave, but he was not surrounded by the vegetation that he believed he should have been. Instead of the dry vegetation that he was expecting, he found lush greenery all around him. There were birds in the air and the trees that he had never seen before, and there were bright fruits of various colors hanging from the trees.
Going cautiously toward the sounds of the laughter, he discovered a group of people who were different than anyone he had ever encountered before. They were tall and thin, insanely beautiful, and their ears came to a point.
When they realized that he was there, they invited him to come to their table and eat what they had available. He was reluctant to do so at first (he had heard the legend of Persephone), but they eventually talked him into sharing their food with them.
He later stated that he was there for several hours; when he would attempt to leave, he would always be stopped, and his hosts would bring him back to the table and offer him more food. It was not until after they gave him a place to sleep for the night, and he pretended to sleep for a time, that he was able to get away from them.
Hurrying back out the cave, he found that the sun was still bright in the sky outside of the cave, and his party was still waiting anxiously for him. When he described what had occurred, they claimed he had only been gone for a few minutes.
Feeling uneasy about the whole ordeal, the group of them went back to their homebase, not telling anyone what Tolkien had described; they claimed, instead, that nothing of note had happened.
Several days passed, and he had begun to forget about the cave and the things that he had found in there. It was not until he started hearing random laughter outside his home at odd hours, and fruits that should not have existed on his front porch, that he began to be afraid.
Almost a full week went by before the first attack occurred. In the dead of night, a group of the people he had met in the cave tried to break into his family’s home and take him back with them. They were held back (just barely) by Tolkien’s father, and the group left with the coming of the sun.
Attacks like these happened regularly for several weeks, and after a time, the worry caused by the attacks affected his mother’s health. At this point, his father sent the family to England, while he stayed to ensure they were not followed. They never saw him again.
The family never found out what he might have done to protect them, but the strangers did not follow them to England at that time. It was not until years later, when he began writing stories about his encounter with these strange people that they seem to have figured out where he was.
One night, two years after publishing his stories about his adventure, the neighbors phoned the police, stating that they had heard a commotion coming from Tolkien’s home. By the time they arrived, it was already too late; he was already gone. It appeared from the scene that people had broken into his house, and there had been a struggle. Blood was found on one wall, and much of the furniture was broken.
No remains have ever been found, and no one is entirely sure what happened to him; but those who had been with him at the cave believe that the people he encountered there finally found him and forcibly brought him back to their lands.