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Netflix’s “The Watcher” is based on a true story. Here’s the history of the house and its stalker.

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“The Watcher,” a new horror show about a house being stalked by an anonymous tormenter, has hit Netflix – but it’s not just a scary story, it’s a real one. A house in Westfield, New Jersey has been notoriously stalked by someone who sends harassing letters – signed by “The Watcher” – to its inhabitants.

After buying the house at 657 Boulevard in 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus decided to renovate it before moving in. As they re-did the house, “The Watcher” began tormenting them, claiming in his anonymous letters that the house was his family’s for decades and that he was put in charge of watching over it, waiting for its “second coming.”

Beryl TV  Netflix's "The Watcher" is based on a true story. Here's the history of the house and its stalker. Entertainment
This June 25, 2015, file photo, shows a newspaper resting on the driveway of the home Derek and Maria Broaddus were scared away from because of creepy letters from a stalker known as “The Watcher” in Westfield, N.J. The couple, who have children and say they can’t live in the house because of the letters, have filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the town planning board’s Jan. 4, 2017, vote rejecting the couple’s plan to raze the house and subdivide the land to build two houses. 

Julio Cortez, AP

The couple did a 2018 interview with New York Magazine, in which several of the threatening letters were printed. “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,” one eerie letter read. “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 letter continued. 

The family ultimately decided not to move into the house, and hired private investigators. The Westfield police also conducted an “exhaustive investigation,” but “The Watcher” was never identified. 

The couple even sued the previous owners in 2015, alleging they knew about the stalker but didn’t say anything when they sold the house. The suit was ultimately dismissed, according to court documents.

The Broaddus family originally bought the house for $1.3 million and after about five years of living in their own horror movie, they sold it in 2019 for $400,000 less. 

The house has not been sold since then, according to Zillow, which estimates its current value is close to $1.5 million. The public records available on Zillow also show the Broaddus family tried to sell or rent out the house multiple times since moving in.

Producer Ryan Murphy’s Netflix miniseries based on their experience stars Bobby Cannavale, Naomi Watts and Jennifer Coolidge. 

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