Eating white dirt is an ancient southern tradition that continues to be carried out to this day, mainly by women who crave the chalky white substance.
The extraordinary phenomenon, known as geophagy, is the subject of a new documentary film, Eat White Dirt, which explores the curious culture of earth-eating that continues to thrive in parts of the South.
The particular rock in question is called kaolin and can be found along the Atlantic Coast Fall Line that runs through southern states including Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Alabama.
It is used medically to treat diarrhea, dysentary, cholera, and is also used in paper making, paint, fiberglass, porcelains and ceramics, china, and toothpaste.
Though the practice is rarely if ever recommended by medical professionals, some nutritionists admit the habit of eating clay may have some real health benefits.