The Watcher: House at the heart of Netflix’s True Crime series becomes New Jersey’s new tourist hotspot

On Thursday, curious viewers began to flock to New Jersey to drive down 657 Boulevard in Westfield, the home at the center of Netflix’s new real crime drama. The observer.

The series, starring Bobby Cannavale, Mia Farrow and Naomi Watts, debuted earlier in the day, telling a highly fictionalized version of a nightmare experienced by the Broaddus family, who bought the house in 2014. Derek and Maria Broaddus and their three children little ones intended to move into the house, with its purchase price of $ 1.35 million.

But a few days after closing, Mr. Broaddus says the family began receiving a series of disturbing letters signed “The Watcher”, which included details such as their children’s names and snippets of conversations that could only be known if someone was. been within sight and earshot of the house.

The Broaddus family never settled in the house.

The disturbing case was told in 2018 by Cuttingthat included the address of the house, and visitors to the street have not been uncommon since then, such as people driving past Amityville Horror House, another Dutch colonial with a sinister history just 60 miles east of Long Island.

Bobby Cannavale in The Watcher

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Bobby Cannavale in L’Osservatore

(ERIC LIEBOWITZ / NETFLIX)

But on Thursday there were “a lot more” on Boulevard, a neighbor said The independent – and that was just the first day of the series.

The observer it was the number one show on Netflix on Friday.

Westfield Police Department and Mayor Shelley Brindle did not immediately respond to requests for comment The independent.

While the Netflix series requires a huge amount of creative license – character production, detail, storyline and most of the storyline, really – the truth at the heart of the story is chilling.

The first white envelope that Mr. Broaddus discovered in the family mailbox was addressed to “The New Owner.”

“How did you end up here?” the letter read. “Did 657 Boulevard forcefully call you inside?”

He added that the house “has been my family’s subject for decades now and as he approaches his 110th birthday, I have been tasked with watching and waiting for his second coming. My grandfather looked at the house in the 1920s and my father looked at the house in the 1960s. Now is my time. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I’ll find out.”

In a total of three letters, the Broadduses claim that the writer mentioned details that presumably could only have been seen and heard in the immediate vicinity of the house.

The interior of the house as it looked under previous ownership, years before the Broaddus family moved in

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The interior of the house as it appeared under the previous ownership, years before the Broaddus family moved there

(Margaret Bakes Davis)

“I already see you’ve flooded 657 Boulevard with contractors so you can destroy the house the way it should have been,” the person wrote. “Tsk, tsk, tsk … bad move. You don’t want to make 657 Boulevard miserable.

The writer added: “You have children. I saw them. So far I think I’ve counted three ”, then he threatens her:“ Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I asked for? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed that brought your children to me? Once I know their names I will call and draw them too [sic] myself.”

The writer eventually referred to children “by birth order and by their nicknames,” even one child in particular, New York Magazine reported. Cutting.

Mr. Broaddus told the publication he was “a depressed wreck” as he and his wife figured out what to do; he said their main goal was to avoid putting children “in danger”.

That was certainly a difficult decision, given the malevolent tone of the correspondence.

“It’s been years and years since young blood ruled the hallways of the house,” wrote The Watcher. “Have you already discovered all the secrets it holds? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or they are too afraid to go down there alone. I would like [be] very afraid if you were them. It is far from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream.

“Will they sleep in the attic? Or will you all sleep on the second floor? Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I’ll know as soon as you move. It will help me know who is in which bedroom. Then I can plan better.

“All the windows and doors on 657 Boulevard allow me to observe and follow you as you move around the house. Who I am? I am the Observer and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for nearly two decades. The Woods family gave it to you. It was their time to go ahead and kindly sell it when I asked.

The Dutch Colonial at 657 Boulevard in upscale Westfield, NJ was built in 1905 and bought by the Broaddus family in 2014; it’s pictured during the time it was occupied by the Bakes family, who had no issues while living there and even considered buying it back

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The Dutch Colonial at 657 Boulevard in elegant Westfield, NJ was built in 1905 and purchased by the Broaddus family in 2014; it is pictured during the time it was occupied by the Bakes family, who had no problems while living there and even thought about buying it back

(Margaret Bakes Davis)

“I pass there many times a day. 657 Boulevard is my work, my life, my obsession. And now you are the Broaddus family too. Welcome to the product of your greed! Greed is what brought the last three families to 657 Boulevard and now it has brought you to me.

The Broaddus family asked the previous owners if they had been plagued by such letters; The Woods said they only received one in 23 years of occupying the house – and that it arrived in the mail just before they moved in.

Predecessor occupants of the Woods family also said there were no problems during their 28 years at the address. Says Margaret Bakes Davis, who grew up at home The independent the whole brouhaha was “a little weird, I think, especially because it was such a wonderful time for me, for our family … There were no problems.

“It was like Mayberry RFD. It was a beautiful place to grow up. I had a wonderful childhood. There was nothing when we lived there. Absolutely nothing. “

This had all changed years later, however, during the ownership of the Broadduses. Parents of three children contacted the police and there were more suspects; the family also hired their own investigator and consultants. But the mystery was never solved and they eventually sold the house at a loss in 2019.

The identity of “The Watcher” remains unknown to this day.

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