Unsettling Excerpts From The Watcher's Letters

In 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus bought their dream home at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey, for $1.3 million. The home was built in 1905 and featured six bedrooms and four bathrooms, which was perfect for the couple and their three children. Derek and Maria began renovations on the home soon after they purchased it in order to prepare for their move. According to The Cut, the couple received a letter in the mailbox a few days after they started renovating that was addressed to "The New Owner."

The first sentences were fairly normal. It seemed to be from a friendly neighbor who wanted to welcome the new family into the neighborhood. It read, "Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard. Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood." However, the letter quickly took a different turn. The sender asked odd questions, such as, "How did you end up here?" and "Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within?"

The Watcher's introduction

In the next part of the letter, the sender revealed more information. The letter-writer stated that the house has been watched by their family for decades, and they were now in charge. "My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time," (via Today). The sender then asked if Derek and Maria Broaddus knew about the history of the house and "what lies within" its walls. "Why are you here? I will find out," it read. It seemed the sender had already been observing the Broaddus family before the letter was sent. They included details about the family's car and how many children they had, even asking if they were going to have "more on the way."

The writer didn't indicate other clues about their identity but told the new owners of the house that they could be any one of the people that stroll or pass by in their cars in the neighborhood. "Who am I? There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one," the letter read, as noted by The Cut. The letter ended in an ominous note, with the sender signing off, "Welcome my friends, welcome. Let the party begin." It was signed, "The Watcher."

They attempted to track down The Watcher

Derek and Maria Broaddus alerted the authorities about the letter, and they even hired a private investigator and sought help from the FBI to help figure out the identity of The Watcher. However, they were unsuccessful. The couple decided to contact the former owners of the home, John and Andrea Woods, to ask about The Watcher. As reported by The Cut, Andrea told the new owners that they had also received a letter from The Watcher shortly before they moved out. It contained some of the same details, including information about The Watcher's family watching the home for decades. The Woods family lived in the house for more than two decades, and they only received that one letter (via CNN).

The Broadduses continued renovating the house but they never lived there. Whenever their children were around, they always made sure they were always in their sight. According to History of Hollywood, Derek and Maria became suspicious of their neighbors and were always on high alert whenever they were in the house.

The Watcher's second letter

A couple of weeks after the first letter, Maria Broaddus found another letter from The Watcher in the mailbox. This time, it was addressed directly to the couple, but the surname was misspelled as "Braddus." The sender referred to the Broaddus children as "young blood" and knew their nicknames as well. "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?" the letter read, as reported by The Cut. The Watcher asked whether the children will be playing in the basement. "It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream," the sender wrote.

The Watcher wrote that they observed the couple through the windows as they moved inside the house and revealed that he had been in charge of watching the house for about two decades. Furthermore, the writer said that they pass the house several times a day and called it their "job," "life," and "obsession." The second letter ended with, "Have a happy moving in day. You know I will be watching."

The Broaddus family sold the house

Derek and Maria Broaddus no longer brought their children to the house, and they eventually decided to rent it out instead of moving in themselves. The house that they once thought was their dream home became a nightmare. According to ATI, Maria said that they were not willing to risk the safety of their children, knowing that someone was watching and knew details about the family. A third letter arrived in the mail weeks after the second one. It read, "Where have you gone to? 657 Boulevard is missing you."

As reported by Today, the tenants also received a letter from The Watcher, who was seemingly angered by the fact that the Broaddus family didn't push forward with their move into the home. "To the vile and spiteful Derek and his wench of a wife Maria. You wonder who The Watcher is? Turn around idiots," it read. The sender even threatened them by writing, "Maybe a car accident. Maybe a fire. Maybe something as simple as a mild illness that never seems to go away but makes you feel sick day after day after day after day after day." Derek and Maria put the house up for sale six months after their purchase. They never got the chance to live in the home.

The identity of The Watcher

Efforts to track the identity of The Watcher led to dead ends. Authorities described their efforts as "exhaustive," but, still, they weren't close to knowing who the letter writer was. Residents from the neighborhood were interviewed, and they were eliminated one by one. According to The Cut, the only clue was that an unnamed woman may be involved. Investigators analyzed one of the letters and found out that the DNA from the saliva used to seal the envelope belonged to a female. However, that doesn't necessarily mean The Watcher was a woman; it just meant the envelope was sealed by a woman. The sample was tested against women in the neighborhood but there was no match.

Derek and Maria Broaddus were able to sell the house in 2019 for less than a million dollars, which was a great loss for them. As reported by Epic Stream, the new owners haven't received a letter from The Watcher. To this day, the identity of the person who sent the letters remains a mystery.