Jade Sylvester is a 25-year-old mother who craves eating toilet paper. She eats up to a roll a day. Her hankering for loo rolls began when she was pregnant, but didn't go away after she gave birth. She says that she often holds off going to the bathroom, because she knows that once she's there she'll start eating the toilet paper.
Jade's story is the kind of offbeat human-interest tale that the media loves. And sure enough, the story has now appeared on a whole bunch of sites: NY Post
, Huff Post
, The Mirror
, Lincolnshire Echo
But if you follow the story back to its original source, as The Awl
has done, it leads to a somewhat dubious source — a press agency called Sell My Story
that's in the business of supplying news stories to British papers. It actively solicits weird stories from the public, offering fairly substantial fees for good ones.
The toilet-paper-eating mom story apparently was a result of seeking out stories about weird cravings or food habits.
Now it could be that Jade really does have this craving to eat toilet paper. If so, she suffers from pica, which webmd defines
as "the persistent eating of substances such as dirt or paint that have no nutritional value." Having such a craving can be dangerous, and needs treatment, because as webmd also notes, "Eating non-food objects can interfere with eating healthy food, which can lead to nutritional deficiencies."
On the other hand, it could be that Jade made the whole thing up, or is greatly exaggerating her craving, in order to get the story fee from Sell My Story. There's no way to tell because the article offers no means for authenticating its claims. You just have to take Jade's word for it. And since Jade is getting paid for the story, there's a powerful motive for her to be spinning a fanciful, but attention-grabbing yarn.