When you move into a new home, meeting neighbors is par for the course. But Maria and Derek Broaddus' experience getting to know their neighbors took a turn for the strange — and haunting.
After buying a home in Westfield, New Jersey, in 2014, they began receiving letters from an anonymous figure who signed himself "The Watcher." At least four letters were sent in a year-and-a-half span.
The letter writer said their century-old house had been a fixture of fascination for his family for decades, and that he was "put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming." The letters eagerly spoke of the house being filled with "young blood," likely referring to the Broaddus family's three kids.
The Broaddus family never ended up moving into the six-bedroom, Dutch colonial revival house on 657 Boulevard, which they had purchased for $1.4 million. Instead, they rented it out and sold it in 2019 for $959,000, resulting in a significant loss.
Now, the entire story is the subject of a new Netflix show created by Ryan Murphy called "The Watcher." Bobby Cannavale and Naomi Watts play a version of Broaddus couple.
Read a few of the creepiest excerpts from the eerie figure's real letters
In the first letter, 'The Watcher' introduced himself
The typed letter began nicely enough: "Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood."
Then quickly swerved toward the unusual, asking, “How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within?”
From there, the letter writer then gave an origin story: "657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out."
'The Watcher' teased his identity
“Who am I?” the letter-writer wrote in the first note to the Broaddus family. “There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Boulevard. Maybe I am in one.”
The letter concluded by saying, “Welcome my friends, welcome. Let the party begin," and signed his name, "The Watcher."
'The Watcher' said he was committed to, well, watching the family
In a letter sent two weeks later after the first, the writer said he (or she) was committed to monitoring the family.
“All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now.," the letter said.
‘The Watcher’ asked for ‘young blood’ to move into the house
In the first letter, the writer asked if the Broaddus family had brought the "young blood" he had "requested."
"Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them too (sic) me," the letter said.
And knew biographical details about them
In future letters, the letter writer identified Maria and Derek Broaddus by name, but misspelled their surname as "Braddus."
The writer also knew their three children's names: “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me. You certainly say their names often.”
Indicating proximity, the letter writer also knew details about the home renovations, which, according to New York Magazine, were not visible from the home's exterior.
As the family continued with renovation, 'The Watcher' said the house was 'anxious' for them to move in
The family did not immediately move into the house. Instead, they embarked on renovations while living with Maria's mother. The Watcher expressed discontent with their absence.
"657 Boulevard is anxious for you to move in. It has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. Have you found all of the secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would (be) very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream," the Watcher wrote.
And seemed upset about the renovations themselves.
"The house is crying from all of the pain it is going through. You have changed it and made it so fancy. You are stealing it’s (sic) history. It cries for the past and what used to be in the time when I roamed it’s (sic) halls. The 1960s were a good time for 657 Boulevard when I ran from room to room imagining the life with the rich occupants there. The house was full of life and young blood. Then it got old and so did my father. But he kept watching until the day he died. And now I watch and wait for the day when the young blood will be mine again."
'The Watcher' said that the house was his 'obsession'
"I pass by many times a day. 657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you are too ... Welcome to the product of your greed! Greed is what brought the past three families to 657 Boulevard and now it has brought you to me," the Watcher wrote.
'The Watcher' also sent a letter to the house's renters
Derek and Maria Broaddus eventually rented the house. The renter gave them a letter addressed to them from — you guessed it — the Watcher.
"To the vile and spiteful Derek and his wench of a wife Maria," the letter read. The letter then teased the writer's identity, saying that perhaps the couple had encountered him before.
"You wonder who The Watcher is? Turn around idiots,” the letter read. “Maybe you even spoke to me, one of the so called neighbors who has no idea who The Watcher could be. Or maybe you do know and are too scared to tell anyone. Good move."
'The Watcher' was never found
Despite investigations from the Westfield police department, the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, a private investigator and the couple themselves, the Watcher’s identity has not been found.
The investigation is not active but still open, according to the Union County Prosecutor’s Office.