This is literally one of my favourite true crime stories ever.
And it’s not even a very robust one. There’s no blood or guts or dead bodies or serial killers or murder or a known villain. But it is seriously the creepiest shit out there right now and I love it.
Since it all started it has become somewhat of an Urban Legend and landed the location on Thrillist’s list of creepiest urban legends in every state. But is it an urban legend? A media hoax? A way to drive down real estate prices? Or some very real, very creepy shit? Honestly, no one knows. But as you’ll read, it has real world implications for two families.
At this point in our earth’s history, are you even really living if you aren’t on the verge of a full-on panic attack? So let me and the Water help you live your best life by scaring the shit out of you.
Okay, here we go…
“All of the windows and doors…allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. I watch and wait for the day the young blood will be mine again.”
Westfield, New Jersey in the summer of 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus bought their dream home for the steep price tag of $1.3 million. And it’s damn gorgeous.
Buried behind decades-old trees, the 3,920 square-foot single family household, with six bedrooms and four bathrooms, was built in 1905. The home has two porches, four fireplaces, a tiled kitchen and wood flooring.
But after the SOLD sign was put up, the neighbours noticed that the house was empty all summer. The new owners, it seemed, were too scared to move in. And after putting it back up on the market in February 2015, they soon learned no one else wanted to buy it from them either.
They were stuck with this house. A house that someone claimed to be watching. But not only were they watching the house, they were interested in the children too.
A mysterious stalker, calling himself “the Watcher”, had forced The Broaddus’ to flee from their dream-million-dollar home out of fear for the safety of their children.
Three days after purchasing the property, the family received the first letter from The Watcher:
“My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming. Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them out to me.”
In two more letters, he wrote:
“Have they found out what is in the walls yet? In time they will. It is now my time; Why are you here? I will find out; Now that they have it to flaunt it, they pay the price…”
“I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me. Will the young bloods play in the basement? Who has the bedrooms facing the street? 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.”
“Who I am? I am the Watcher. And have been in control of [the home] for the better part of two decades now.”
Perhaps they could be written off as a sick prank, but then came letters in which, the Watcher seemed to confirm that he was indeed stalking the family.
“You have changed it and made it so fancy. It cries for the past and what used to be in the time when I roamed its halls. …When I ran from room to room imagining the life with the rich occupants there.”
“Let the young blood play again like I once did. Stop changing it and let it alone.”
One year after buying the home, The Broaddus’ filed a civil suit against the former owners of the home who sold it to them, for “knowingly and willfully” failing to disclose the home’s history.
In the suit, the Broaddus’ attorney, Lee Levitt, wrote that the couple “have been consumed daily by stress, anxiety and fear regarding what ‘The Watcher’ will do.” The couple said they would have never bought the house had they known about the Watcher. They claim the former owners had received a letter from the Watcher but never disclosed it. That family, The Woods, are counter-suing, stating that the letter they received was non-threatening and they are now being defamed by the Broaddus’.
Westfield police and Union County Prosecutor’s Office were investigating the chilling letters, and even the mayor had requested that the town say something if they knew something about the Watcher.
“Our police department conducted an exhaustive investigation based on the factual circumstances and evidence available,” Police said. “Although it would not be appropriate to discuss the details of the investigation. We have spoken with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to make sure no stone is left unturned.”
In October 2017, the owner’s once against put the home up for sale, listing it at $1.1 million. A significant drop from what they purchased it for just 3 years earlier, and making it the third time they’ve tried to unload the property.
You can see the Zillow listing here. It is still available!
To date there have been no arrests in the Watcher case and the civil suit remains open.
What do you think guys – would you live here?!
Until next time, booknerds…