One might assume that UFOs are a modern phenomenon stemming from the Roswell incident in 1947, which triggered a wave of obsession with aliens and deep space across the US, and later the world.
But UFOs have long perplexed humans since before history was even recorded, with cave paintings found all over the world seemingly depicting alien visitors from outer space.
There are also early historical accounts from thousands of years ago that give the impression that our ancestors were more familiar with UFOs than we might think, although they might not have necessarily associated them with aliens.
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One particular example comes from the year 1440 BC in Ancient Egypt. According to disputed reports supposedly recorded by the scribes of Pharaoh Thutmose III, ‘fiery disks’ were seen floating over the skies of Lower Egypt.
The incident is said to have been documented in the so-called Tulli Papyrus, which was discovered in 1933 by Alberto Tulli, a director of the Egyptian section of the Vatican museum, in an antiques shop in Cairo.
Tulli did not have the money to buy the original papyrus from the shop, so instead he copied the hieratic script and then recopied it into hieroglyphs.
The hieroglyphs were later transcribed and translated by Prince Boris de Rachewiltz, a keen Italian-Russian Egyptologist, who believed papyrus was part of the Annals of Thutmose III.
The translation, which was made more comprehensible by anthropologist R. Cedric Leonard, reads as follows: “In the year 22, of the third month of winter, sixth hour of the day […] among the scribes of the House of Life it was found that a strange Fiery Disk was coming in the sky.
“It had no head. The breath of its mouth emitted a foul odor. Its body was one rod in length and one rod in width.
“It had no voice. It came toward His Majesty's house. Their heart became confused through it, and they fell upon their bellies.
They [went] to the king, to report it. His Majesty [ordered that] the scrolls [located] in the House of Life be consulted. His Majesty meditated on all these events which were now going on.
“After several days had passed, they became more numerous in the sky than ever.
“They shined in the sky more than the brightness of the sun, and extended to the limits of the four supports of heaven […] Powerful was the position of the Fiery Disks.
“The army of the King looked on, with His Majesty in their midst. It was after the evening meal when the Disks ascended even higher in the sky to the south.
“Fish and other volatiles rained down from the sky: a marvel never before known since the foundation of the country. And His Majesty caused incense to be brought to appease the heart of Amun-Re, the god of the Two Lands.
“And it was [ordered] that the event [be recorded for] His Majesty in the Annals of the House of Life [to be remembered] for ever.”
Naturally, there are doubts regarding the authenticity of the source as Alberto Tulli seems to be the only person who has actually seen the original papyrus. The copy that was provided to Boris de Rachewiltz also supposedly contained many mistakes.
Where the original papyrus is, or if it even exists, till this day remains a mystery.
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