When the Broaddus family bought what they thought was their dream home at 657 Boulevard in the affluent suburb of Westfield, NJ, they didn't expect a sinister presence to come with the house. Mysterious and threatening letters arrived before the family even moved into their new abode in June 2014. Signed by "The Watcher," these letters suggested someone had been keeping tabs on the house for generations - and this person did not appreciate new house guests.
The messages scared the Broaddus family away before they finished renovations on the expensive property, resulting in a million-dollar financial loss. However, they apparently weren't the only people to receive strange letters at that address. The family who sold them the house may have moved for the same reason.
The house and strange letters garnered substantial media attention, leading people to develop numerous theories about the Watcher's identity. Some say a supernatural entity is responsible for the unsettling notes; others think they were sent by the house itself. But the most plausible explanation is the letters were sent by a person who's still at large - and that's more terrifying than any creepy New Jersey legend.
The person behind the mysterious notes seemed to have eyes everywhere. The letter-writer knew all about the Broaddus family's car, the contractors who performed the home renovations, and the youngest members of the family. The Watcher also mentioned:
You have children. I have seen them... 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.
Seemingly obsessed with "young blood," the Watcher identified the children by their nicknames in another letter and suggested they should be afraid to play in the basement because it's so isolated.
The Watcher also wanted to know who would sleep in the "bedrooms facing the street." The mysterious individual claimed, "I'll know as soon as you move in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom. Then I can plan better."
In addition to knowing intimate details about the Broaddus family, the Watcher knew a lot about the house at 657 Boulevard. The entity referred to specific rooms - the bedrooms facing the street, the attic, and the basement.
The Watcher also asked about a child who used an easel on the home's enclosed porch, wondering, "Is she the artist in the family?" Passersby can't view the porch from the street, though.
The writer seemed obsessed with the New Jersey house's history, and claimed they were personally familiar with the home: "The 1960s were a good time for 657 Boulevard when I ran from room to room imagining life with the rich occupants there. The house was full of life and young blood."
Besides decrying the Broaddus family's renovations, the Watcher also asked, "Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard?"
According to a home inspector, the walls held nothing unusual. But that didn't stop the Watcher from taunting the Broaddus family, saying, "The workers have been busy... Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will."
The Broaddus family received the Watcher's first three letters fairly quickly, but then for they heard nothing for almost three years and tried to move on with their lives. The wife and husband wanted to sell the home or split 657 Boulevard into two lots, but the city planning board blocked that motion, at which point the family decided to lease it.
After new tenants moved in, Derek Broaddus visited the house to deal with squirrels on the roof, and his renters handed him a familiar envelope. The letter was addressed "To the vile and spiteful Derek and his wench of a wife Maria."
After the Broaddus family received the first threatening letter, they reached out to the people who sold them the house. The Woods family, who had lived at 657 Boulevard for about 23 years, admitted they received a letter from the Watcher shortly before selling. They called the note "odd" but claimed to have thrown it away without much thought; they also claimed the Watcher's message didn't factor into their decision to sell.
However, the Watcher implied the previous owners were complicit, stating, "I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now. The Woods family turned it over to you. It was their time to move on and kindly sold it when I asked them to."
On top of this, the Watcher also claimed to be the latest in a multi-generational line of individuals tasked with keeping an eye on 657 Boulevard and its inhabitants. "My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s, and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time."
The Broaddus family filed a complaint against the former homeowners for not mentioning the letter during the sale process.