Why The Broaddus Family Avoided Discussing The Watcher's Letters With Their Neighbors

Imagine buying the home of your dreams, a beautiful six-bedroom early 20th-century house in Westfield, New Jersey, near Manhattan, only to then receive a threatening series of letters claiming your family is being watched, and that the house has a dark history. That's exactly what happened to the Broaddus family in 2014, and their true story is now told in a Netflix series called "The Watcher," as Esquire reports.

The Broaddus family received the first letter, addressed to the "New Owner," shortly after they closed on their home (via Elle). The anonymous letter went on to explain that the writer was one of a long line of family members tasked with "watching" the house. It also inquired if the house itself had somehow beckoned the new owners. From there, more and more letters came to the Broaddus family, each one more menacing than the last. The Broadduses, who never moved into the house (pictured), went to the police. Why, though, did they not simply turn to their neighbors for help?

Some neighbors blamed the Broadduses

As NBC News notes, after receiving the first anonymous letter from The Watcher, further letters arrived that referred to the Broaddus family's children, their former home, and renovations undertaken by the family since their new house was purchased. Alarmed, the Broadduses inquired with the former owner, who reportedly said that they, too, had received a letter from The Watcher more than two decades earlier. The Broaddus family also turned to their neighbors for help, but the reaction of some who lived nearby was not what they expected.

According to NBC News, neighbors who lived nearby the Broaddus family's new home grew angry, especially as more and more attention was drawn to the area after the family spoke openly about the letters. Via NBC News, one family wrote on social media, "I wish we could go back to the days of tar and feathers. I have just the couple in mind!" The ire of the Broaddus family neighbors only worsened after it was discovered that the Broaddus family filed a lawsuit against the former owners over not disclosing The Watcher letter they also received.

The neighbors were also suspects

The Broaddus family also largely avoided their neighbors while receiving those menacing missives because after turning to the police, they were informed that any one of their neighbors could be a suspect, and for that reason, they should be avoided (per Newsweek). Frustrated by the lack of police response, Derek Broaddus took up the investigation on his own, suspecting the Langford family who lived nearby.

Some Broaddus neighbors even suspected the family faked the notes to back out of the purchase and the required renovations to the home. The home's former owners also pushed back against the Broaddus family's claim that they also received a Watcher letter, according to NBC New York. The Broaddus case against the former owners was later dismissed (per NBC News), and the true identity of The Watcher remains unknown. The Netflix series "The Watcher" — based on the true story of the Broaddus family experience — released in October 2022.