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origins

During the eighties the item was housed in the private collection of Beverly Hills history enthusiasts, Miles and Elisabeth Winter. During this time, it fell into the hands of their daughter, Sadie Winter, then an aspiring actor. The following is her account, from a 1992 interview.

"I was normally so bored by my parents' collection of so-called artifacts. But the pouch was different. Nobody knew exactly where it came from but there were theories. Mom thought it was related to something else in their collection - just this bunch of really old scraps of paper with Japanese writing on them.

They were supposed to be written by Ayame, a servant in the Heian Court in Japan in the 10th century AD. Normally only the upper classes could write but she taught herself. Ayame felt totally humiliated by the Heian Courtiers' attitude towards her. Because she was a servant they treated her like dirt, ignoring her or making cruel jokes about her. For revenge, Ayame wrote curses for the Courtiers she hated most on these little scraps of paper. She hid them in the pouch, which you'd normally use for money or something. She called it her 'Pouch of Secrets'.

Around the time I heard this story I had auditioned for a major role in 'The Breakfast Club'. It could have been my big break but Ally Sheedy got it. I was majorly bummed... I got a little part and when I started work on the film I just thought they - the so-called 'brat-packers' - were so cliquey. It was hell. So I started thinking that I was, like, Ayame and they were, like, the Heian Courtiers.

Anyway, what happened was I took the pouch from Mom and Dad's collection (they didn't even notice) and I made it into my own 'pouch of secrets', filled with curses for all of them. Especially Ally Sheedy. Maybe you think that's weird but it made me feel so much better.

But I guess it kind of back-fired because I accidentally left the pouch in the bathroom and somebody found it and read all these things I wrote. And the pouch got taken away from me and I got accused of mistreating rare artifacts and being 'obsessed' with Ally and had to start therapy. And then in the end my part was completely cut out of the movie. So... yeah. I guess the curses kind of back-fired on me.

It was a crazy time. I'm a lot happier now."


ABOVE: Press from the time of the Winter incident.

 

BELOW: Sadie leaving the set in disgrace after
discovery of her secret,
clutching the pouch.
Photograph provided by paparazzo Dell X
.

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