The Tulli Papyrus

Tulli Papyrus

The so-called Tulli Papyrus is oft cited as evidence of visitations to Egypt by "ancient astronauts;" indeed, any mention of Alberto Tulli and his alleged papyrus appears to be restricted to popular UFO-related literature.

For example, in "UFOs in History," Samuel Rosenberg describes a number of supposed ancient UFO sightings including one "from a papyrus manuscript found among the papers of the late Professor Alberto Tulli, former director of the Vatican Egyptian Museum." It involves a "UFO sighting sometime during the reign" of Thutmosis III, cited by Trench (Trench, Brinsley Le Poer, The Flying Saucer Story, London: Spearman, 1966).

According to the story, the former director of the Egyptian Museum at the Vatican, one Professor Alberto Tulli (now deceased) had among his papers "the earliest known record of a fleet of flying saucers written on papyrus long, long, ago in ancient Egypt." Though the papyrus was damaged and contained several gaps, a certain Prince Boris de Rachewiltz managed to translate it and declared that the papyrus "was part of the Annals of Thutmose III." Following is a translation of the papyrus:

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.¹ 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 Earth² [...] 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.

1. One rod, or "rod of cord," equals 100 cubits.
2. I.e., the altar sacred to Amon-Ra.

Questioning the authenticity of the papyrus, Rosenberg (cited above) writes that a cable was sent to the "Egyptian section of the Vatican Museum seeking more information about both the 'papyrus' and the 'de Rachewiltz translation.'" The Inspector to Egyptian Vatican Museum, Gianfranco Nolli, sent the following reply:

Papyrus Tulli not propriety [sic] of Vatican Museum. Now it is dispersed and no more traceable.

Another inquiry was sent to Dr. Walter Ramberg, Scientific Attaché at the US embassy in Rome, who replied:

... the current Director of the Egyptian Section of the Vatican Museum, Dr. Nolli, said that Prof. Tulli had left all his belongings to a brother of his who was a priest in the Lateran Palace. Presumably the famous papyrus went to this priest. Unfortunately the priest died also in the meantime and his belongings were dispersed among heirs, who may have disposed of the papyrus as something of little value.

The papyrus is lost, its guardian Alberto Tulli was apparently at best an amateur Egyptologist, and its translator Prince de Rachelwitz remains the only authority upon whose word alone we must trust as an accurate report of its contents. I think that it is safe to say that the authenticity of the "Tulli Papyrus" can be dismissed due to a lack of any solid evidence that it ever existed at all.

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