It sounds like some scary movie or some spooky urban legend (perfect for urban legend month this month), but sometimes real life is all the scarier.
The Watcher house is very real. And very scary.
Before we begin, I ask you to not disturb, visit, or bother this house or its owners in any way… let’s continue.
According to the news, the address is 657 Boulevard,Westfield, NJ 07090. You can view it on Zillow here or Realtor.com here. It’s described as a “stately colonial designed with all the character & charm of the early 1900’s.” It was built in 1905 and boasts six bedrooms, four bathrooms, and 1.3 million dollar sales price.
It also comes with a free watcher.In 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased this house for nearly 1.4 million dollars. According to the full suit on gawker.com, three days after closing on June 5, 2014, the new owners received their first letter.
[note: there are some grammatical errors in the below citations but I have left them in tact for the purpose of accurate reporting]
It was anonymous, from someone claiming to be “The Watcher.” The Watcher claims to be a watcher of the home, in a long lineage of previous watchers. According to the letter, the home “has been the subject of my family for decades”, “I have be put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming.” “My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time.”
“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 to me. I asked the (previous owners) to bring me young blood.” The watcher reminisces about the time when he “ran from room to room imagining the life with the rich occupants there.”
“And now I watch and wait for the day when they young blood will be mine again.”
The second letter arrived on June 18, 2014.
“Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will. I am pleased to know your names and the names now of the young blood you have brought 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.”
“All the windows and door in (the house) allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house.”
“I am in charge of (the house).”
Below are screenshots from the actual suit (that you can view in full on Gawker.com).
The letters continued, each one growing more disturbing, according to the lawsuit that was filed in Superior Court by the owners. The lawsuit claims that the previous owners were aware of The Watcher, and knowingly sold the home without disclosing this, in order to rid themselves of it.
In fact, the letters were so distressing to the new owners, that they never even moved in to their new home.
The letters seem to follow a path of threatening, scary, and frankly bizarre sentiments, the most recent reported in 2017.
A Brief History of the Home
Below is a payment history of the home, straight from the Gawker, who has done a nice job covering this story.
“William H. Davies—later to become Westfield’s mayor—bought the place for a buck in 1913. The Watcher is named such for his/its penchant for “watching” the home and its inhabitants, and stated in one of the ominous missives that he’s been spying upon the house since 1920. Could the watcher be tied to Davies? Did the Watcher watch Davies? Who knows! Davies moved out in 1947, but not before it was struck by lightning in 1932, which caused some structural damage to the roof. He sold the house to his son and daughter-in-law for the same amount he bought it ($1).
Selling a spacious home to one’s son for $1 is one thing, but the pair eventually sold it to Dillard and Mary Bird in 1951 for…another dollar. In keeping with this decidedly bizarre tradition, the Birds turned it over for another $1 to the Bakeses in 1953. In 1955, they handed it off to the Shaffers, for…guess? Correct—$1. One dollar is roughly the equivalent of $8.79 today.
The home remained in the hands of the Shaffers until 1990, when it was bought by the Woods. The Woods were the owners who sold it to the Broaddus family for a cool $1.3 million, and are now facing a lawsuit for failing to disclose that the place is being surveilled by a psychopath/murder ghost.”
Welcome to the Neighborhood
This neighborhood in general, does have an interesting history.
This exact home was once struck by lightning, leading online conspiracy theorists to believe that the house must be inhabited by some dark or demonic force.
The Watcher house is also close proximity (within 2-3 miles depending on which route you take) to the Breeze Knolls murder house, where John List killed his entire family in November 1971 and ran, remaining in the wind for almost eighteen years.
The Watcher house is 1.4 miles from 522 Elm St., where Charles Addams grew up (creator of The Addams family). It’s rumored that the house at 511 Elm Street, where he walked past everyday on the way to Westfield High school, was inspiration for his spooky creation.
Many reporters have been in touch with previous residents and all of them say the same thing. That they love the house and had never experienced anything strange or suspect.
Most neighbors don’t seem to like to talk about it. Some anonymous letters have been sent to reporters claiming that it’s a local neighbor who is deranged, and people don’t like to talk about him for fear of retaliation.
But a majority of people seem to believe the same thing–that this whole thing is a hoax–an attempt to get out of the mortgage. There’s a theory here at the Gothamist.
What do you think? Is it real or is it a hoax? Is there a Watcher? Is the house alive? Would you move in despite the letters?
Let me know in the comments below.