tedbunny:

Dirt-Eater Masks

Dirt eating (geophagy) was relatively common among slaves in the 16th–19th centuries. Many had picked up the habit in West Africa, where geophagy was so widespread that favored varieties of dirt were even gathered and traded. Slave owners supposed this practice was unhealthy and were told by physicians that it would give their slaves depression, stomachaches, dropsy, poor appetite, shortness of breath, and vertigo. So, in an attempt to protect their “property,” slave owners outfitted the dirt-eaters with disturbing, mouth-blocking masks that they had to wear even while laboring in humid, dangerously hot conditions.
Turns out, there’s no real consensus on whether or not moderate geophagy is harmful. So, this so-called “cure” was nothing but torture. (These masks may also have been designed to prevent slaves from consuming the crops they harvested.)

tedbunny:

Dirt-Eater Masks

Dirt eating (geophagy) was relatively common among slaves in the 16th–19th centuries. Many had picked up the habit in West Africa, where geophagy was so widespread that favored varieties of dirt were even gathered and traded. Slave owners supposed this practice was unhealthy and were told by physicians that it would give their slaves depression, stomachaches, dropsy, poor appetite, shortness of breath, and vertigo. So, in an attempt to protect their “property,” slave owners outfitted the dirt-eaters with disturbing, mouth-blocking masks that they had to wear even while laboring in humid, dangerously hot conditions.

Turns out, there’s no real consensus on whether or not moderate geophagy is harmful. So, this so-called “cure” was nothing but torture. (These masks may also have been designed to prevent slaves from consuming the crops they harvested.)