A cryptic ancient Egyptian text known as the Tulli Papyrus is said to be the first ever written account of a UFO sighting. The record dates back to the reign of Thutmose III (18th dynasty) in or around 1500 BC and was discovered by Alberto Tulli, a former director of the Egyptian Museum at the Vatican.
Discovery and translation
In 1933, Tulli visited an antique shop in Cairo where the worn papyrus caught his eye. According to Ancient Origins:
“Tulli thought that the papyrus was way too expensive to buy, so instead he made a copy of the original piece, which was then recopied, replacing the original hieratic script with hieroglyphs…”
After Tulli had passed away, Italian-Russian Egyptologist and Author Boris de Rachewiltz found the papyrus among the museum director’s archives.
Rachewiltz then reportedly managed to translate it, saying the papyrus was “part of the Annals of Thutmose III” and is the “earliest known record of a fleet of flying saucers.” Rachewiltz sent the transcription to Fortean Society Magazine founding member Tiffany Thayer, who published an article about it in 1953.
Contained in the translation were various references to “fiery discs” and “circles of fire,” which have been interpreted by UFO enthusiasts to be evidence of “ancient astronaut” visitations.
The following is an excerpt of the Tulli Papyrus from Catchpenny Mysteries:
“In the year 22, in the third month of winter, in the sixth hour of the day, the scribes of the House of Life noticed a circle of fire that was coming from the sky . . . From the mouth it emitted a foul breath. It had no head. Its body was one rod long and one rod wide (one rod equals 100 cubits). It had no voice. And from that the hearts of the scribes became confused and they threw themselves down on their bellies . . . then they reported the thing to the Pharaoh . . . His Majesty ordered . . . has been examined . . . and he was meditating on what had happened, that it was recorded in the scrolls of the House of the Life. Now after some days had passed, these things became more and more numerous in the skies. Their splendor exceeded that of the sun and extended to the limits of the four angles of the sky . . . High and wide in the sky was the position from which these fire circles came and went. The army of the Pharaoh looked on with him in their midst. It was after supper. Then these fire circles ascended higher into the sky and they headed toward the south. Fish and birds then fell from the sky. A marvel never before known since the foundation of their land . . . And Pharaoh caused incense to be brought to make peace with Earth (i.e. the altar sacred to Amon-Ra) . . . and what happened was ordered to be written in the Annals of the House of Life so that it be remembered for all time forward.”
As you can see, there are several gaps in the translation. This is because the original papyrus was said to have experienced damage over the millennia, such as holes, rips, tears and natural wear.
Skeptics of the Tulli Papyrus
Even though quite a few Ufologists believe the existence of the Tulli Papyrus is absolute proof extraterrestrials have been visiting Earth since antiquity, there are still many who question its authenticity. The fact that Tulli did not obtain the original papyrus, but instead made multiple copies of it and even went to the extent of altering the written scripts with hieroglyphics has made skeptics brush the whole thing off as a hoax.
New York Times writer Richard R. Lingeman reported the following regarding his doubts about the Tulli Papyrus, and those who believe it to be true, in the 1974 hit piece Erich von Daniken’s Genesis:
“…I received a call from the publicity woman at Bantam Books about a one‐line descriptive phrase that had appeared with the listing of Erich von Daniken’s ‘Chariots of the Gods?’ on the Paperback Best Seller List. Erich had been hurt by it, she told me; perhaps I would meet him when he was in town.”
“The description referred to a peccadillo in Mr. von Daniken’s background, a matter of fraud and forgery, all public knowledge…”
“[During the meeting] I asked von Daniken how his theories might be scientifically proved. He seems to cling to the hope that the ancient astronauts left some kind of time capsule stashed away, awaiting the right generation to discover it.”
“He also says that the astonishing astronomical information ancient civilizations, such as the Mayan, had is proof that there were some space travelers around to teach it to them. This fits in with his general questioning of the ability of the Egyptians to build the pyramids, or the Easter Islanders to erect those massive stone heads…”
“He refers to ‘The Book of Dzyan,’ for example, which he helpfully adds is to be found in ‘The Secret Doctrine’ of M. Blavatsky, high priestess of theosophy. As Dr. Edward U. Condon points out in ‘Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects,’ ‘The Book of Dzyan’ exists only in M. Blavatsky’s astral thoughts. There is also a reference to the ‘Tulli Papyrus’ in one of von Daniken’s books. Dr. Condon checked the papyrus out and found it probably a fraud.”
So, is this ancient relic evidence of early flying saucers or just an elaborate trick meant to deceive the community?
The debate rages on…
Main image credit: IMDB
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