‘Authentic Ancient Papyrus Fragment’ Turns Out To Be Toddler’s Crayola Art

CAMBRIDGE, MA—A recently unearthed papyrus fragment, dubbed “The Gospel of Jesus’ Concubines,” was almost immediately verified and authenticated by Harvard University upon its discovery late last year. But recent research shows the gospel was actually nothing more than a crude drawing of Thomas the Tank Engine, crafted by local three-year-old Atticus Madden.

The gospel was discovered in August of 2015, as Professor Karen King of Harvard Divinity School was visiting a friend’s house and noticed the fragment hanging on her refrigerator. After asking for permission to study the ancient document, King had the piece extensively tested using a whole host of scientific methods, quickly concluding it was in fact an authentic papyrus fragment dating from the mid-first century C.E. “It’s a remarkable piece, and the contents all but prove that Jesus of Nazareth stole away on a train in a soul-searching journey to acquire a vast harem of concubines—if he existed at all, of course,” she stated at the time.

But an investigative reporter published his findings last week, stating that the gospel was in fact a forgery. He states he was tipped off after noticing the name “Atticus” scrawled in what appeared to be Crayola’s popular Razzle Dazzle Rose hue.

In an interview with USA Today, the toddler/forger let the world in on his secret for concocting the counterfeit gospel that fooled even the experts at Harvard. “Trains are fast. They big and go fast, very very fast. Thomas is the best train.”

“And I’m almost four,” he added, holding up five fingers.