It’s a very scary house and now has its own Netflix series.
If you’ve spent any time online lately, you’ve likely seen the hype for the streaming giant’s new limited series. watcher.
But what you may not know is that the seven-episode foray into spookiness is loosely based on a true story that paralyzed a New Jersey family with terror.
the beginning of everything
In 2014, Westfield, New Jersey residents Derek and Maria Broaddas purchased a stunning six-bedroom Dutch Colonial home for $1.3 million. Their intention was to renovate it and then move in with the children.
But once they’ve completed the purchase of their dream home, anonymous unsettling letters start arriving in their mailboxes.
The first letters to the “new owners” were cordial in their opening greetings, welcoming the Broaddus family to the neighborhood. However, the response soon took an ominous turn.
“My grandfather saw the house in the 1920s and my father in the 1960s,” the letter read. “Now is my time. Do you know the history of the house? 657 Boulevard Do you know what’s inside the walls of the ? Why are you here? Find out.”
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The letter acknowledged a contract worker who had moved into the estate, hired by the Broadduses to renovate the house prior to the move-in date.
“I’ve already seen you flood 657 Boulevard with contractors to demolish the house. Tch, tch, tch… bad move. You don’t want 657 Boulevard to be unhappy,” was typed. I read the letter.
The letter referred to the couple’s three young children, calling them “young blood” and asked if they had more children.
“Do I need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? ‘It’s good for me,'” read, typing out in cursive before signing off with “Watchers.”
just the beginning
The Broaddus family was understandably horrified when they received the first letter. The next morning, Derek called the police. Unfortunately, there was nothing the officers could do for him other than testing his DNA in the letter. New York Magazine ran a feature-length article inspired by the Netflix series, reporting that police searched the walls of the house but found nothing.
Derek and Maria also reached out to the previous owners of the home, John Woods and Andrea Woods.
Mr. and Mrs. Woods said they had lived in the house for 23 years and had never heard from the Watchers, so they thought it was a prank and promptly threw the letter away.
However, the police told Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus that their new neighbors were all suspects and advised them not to tell anyone about the letter.
Two weeks passed before I received another letter.
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“Workers are busy and I have seen you unload personal belongings many times,” wrote The Watcher. “The dumpster is a nice touch. Have they found what’s in the wall yet? Soon they will.” I began to feel like I was being watched carefully and often.
The Watcher pointed out that the family had not yet moved into the house, and asked if the parents would allow their children (“young blood”) to play in the home’s basement.
“Or are they afraid to go there alone? If I were them, I would be very afraid. You’ll never hear me cry,’ they wrote.
657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you too are the Broaddus family.
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According to The Cut, Derek and Malia stopped taking children home after a second letter that identified them by nickname and birth order. and watchers have said they saw him using an easel inside the house’s enclosed porch.
Because they were away from home, I received a third letter asking, “Where have you been?” the watcher asked. “657 Boulevard misses you.”
Police were narrowing down the suspects as letters arrived at the family.
The writer’s familiarity with the family and their clear line of sight in the house drew police attention to nearby residents. Perhaps someone objected to the idea of being new to the area, or didn’t like the historic home undergoing renovations. .
Attention turned to their neighbors – a family of strange ducks named Langford, who have lived on the streets for years and have adult children in their 60s who live with their 90-year-old mother. How many people were there?
One of the sons, Michael Langford, was brought in for police questioning, but his family denied having anything to do with the letters. Police said there wasn’t much they could do for Derek and Maria.
Frustrated and increasingly frightened, the Broaddus began their own investigation. They hired a private investigator to comb the neighborhood and delve deep into the backgrounds of their neighbors.
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As noted by The Cut, all investigations have stalled. Even a priest was called to bless the house.
After six months of owning the house, the Broadduses decided to sell it because they were paralyzed by fear and unable to escape the dreadful situation. However, by that time the rumor mill in the small town was fully operational and few people wanted to move into what is now known as the Cursed House.
Running out of money, the family moved into a rental, but that didn’t stop the letters from coming.
turn for the worse
Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus were so desperate to let go of this land that they came up with an idea. What if the house was demolished and he built two brand new houses in its place?
However, when the idea was submitted to the Neighborhood Planning Commission, it was rejected. Not only was that dream dashed, some members of the community began turning on the Broadduses for bringing drama and terror to the area. Others have speculated that perhaps Derek and Maria sent the letter to themselves.
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The Cut reports that the Westfield Leader published an article at the time in which an anonymous neighbor questioned the Broadduses’ motives. Why did Maria publish her Facebook page with pictures of her own children, but the paper noted that her police DNA test did not match Maria’s.
Question remains unanswered
To date, no watchers have been identified. Derek’s private investigation dried up, as did the police, despite asking neighbors to voluntarily turn in his DNA samples for evidence, because he didn’t want to show himself to a suspect. , most of the neighbors submitted samples, but there were no matches.
In 2019, the Broaddus family sold the house for $400,000 less than they originally paid after deciding to disclose the macabre letter to prospective buyers.
The Cut reports in a new article published this week that the Broadduses sent a letter to the home’s new owners, a young family, when the deal was finalized.
“We wish nothing but the peace and quiet that we once dreamed of in this home,” they wrote, attaching a handwritten photo of Watcher in case the new family received the same threatening email.
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The cut also addresses other theories that have surfaced since the first article on 657 Boulevard was published. Several other suspects, including a local teacher, were eventually ruled out. A U.S. postal inspector investigated the case – perhaps a disgruntled mailman? – but came empty-handed. Cameras were set up in Westfield’s library and post office to try to identify the author of the letter, but nothing came to light.
The Broadduses have decided to speak out in Westfield, but still face judgment from some of the town’s population. Maria and Derek are still suffering from the mental anguish and stress of a horrific ordeal. They declined help. They told The Cut they had no plans to watch the Netflix series.
To this day, no one knows if the Watchers are still there and watching 657 Boulevard.