The Scariest Thing About The Watcher Is That It’s a True Story

Netflix’s The Watcher tells the story of the Brannock family, who move into their latest home in a well-to-do neighborhood only to receive ominous letters within the mail. The missives are from someone calling themselves “The Watcher,” who claims to be watching the Brannock’s house specifically.

Created by Ryan Murphy, the creepy thriller follows father Dean Brannock (Bobby Cannavale), his wife Nora (Naomi Watts), and their two children as they’re terrorized by a shadowy figure. As more letters arrive at the home from The Watcher asking about their kids and the “young blood,” the couple tries to sell their home to flee their stalker. But, based on the trailer above, their attempts to flee only appear to upset their neighbors, who’re all suspects.

A few of those neighbors are played by Mia Farrow, Richard Kind, and Margo Martindale. Jennifer Coolidge can also be in the combination, playing an actual estate agent who is perhaps greater than she seems. That is the central mystery of the show: The Watcher really may very well be anyone.

That is an awesome premise for a TV series, but a fairly terrifying one in real life, and an actual family did experience almost exactly this nightmare. That is the true story about Watcher House.

Who’re the Brannocks based on?

The Brannocks are based on Derek and Maria Broaddus, who were the topic of an intensive story by Reeves Wiedeman for Latest York Magazine in 2018. The Broadduses bought the home in Westfield, Latest Jersey in 2014 for $1,355,657. It was a colonial mansion that they decided needed a number of renovations before officially moving in.

The primary letter from The Watcher arrived at their 657 Boulevard address in June 2014 directed to “The Latest Owner.”

“Dearest latest neighbor at 657 Boulevard,” it began. “Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

The letter claimed that the author had been tasked with watching 657 specifically and that they were the third generation of their family to accomplish that. The writer continued, “Do you recognize what lies throughout the partitions of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I’ll discover.”

It was signed by “The Watcher.”

This was only the start of a horrifying experience for the Broadduses. They eventually came upon that the previous owners had received one other similar letter upon the sale of the home, but hadn’t thought anything of it.

As more letters began arriving, police investigations began, and the family eventually hired private detectives. It was difficult to maintain the story under wraps, and similar to within the show, some neighbors did activate the Broadduses. Some even theorized that the Broadduses wrote the letters themselves.

Unlike the show’s trailer implies, the family never encountered anyone of their home or found any secret tunnels, nevertheless it was definitely a creepy situation. The Watcher, whoever they were, sure knew lots concerning the Broadduses and even shared specific details of their letters concerning the kid’s names and where they were in the home.

Where are the Broadduses now?

Naturally, the family tried very hard to sell the home. Nonetheless, they insisted and prospective buyers read the letters from the Watcher for transparency. They didn’t wish to put anyone else within the position they were in. Most were scared away, even those enthusiastic about getting a deal on a pleasant house.

The Broadduses then tried to get permission to tear down the home entirely and break the lot in two with latest housing. They were unable to get the permits and their relationship with the local council and neighbors soured even further.

They did eventually sell the home and move away, though Wiedeman states in a follow-up report that the Broaddusses still live in Westfield.

What did the letters from The Watcher say?

Just some excerpts have been published, but the author insisted that there was something literally within the partitions of 657 Boulevard and infrequently spoke concerning the house, prefer it was sentient. They were especially insistent on the home needing “latest blood,” and seemed frustrated that the Broadduses didn’t settle in to be watched. That is how the second letter sounded, as reported by Latest York Mag:

657 Boulevard is anxious so that you can move in. It has been years and years because the young blood ruled the hallways of the home. Have you ever found the entire secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play within the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I might [be] very afraid if I were them. It’s far-off from the remaining of the home. When you were upstairs you’ll never hear them scream.

Will they sleep within the attic? Or will you all sleep on the second floor? Who has the bedrooms facing the road? I’ll know as soon as you progress in. It can help me to know who’s wherein bedroom. Then I can plan higher.

The entire windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to look at you and track you as you progress through the home. Who am I? I’m the Watcher and have been accountable for 657 Boulevard for the higher a part of 20 years now. The Woods family turned it over to you. It was their time to maneuver on and kindly sold it after I asked them to.I pass by repeatedly a day. 657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you might be too Braddus family. Welcome to the product of your greed! Greed is what brought the past three families to 657 Boulevard and now it has brought you to me.

Have a glad moving in day. I might be watching.

This was the primary time The Watcher referred to the Broadduses by name—but spelled their name flawed.

Was The Watcher ever caught?

No. Even after an “exhaustive” police investigation, nobody knows who The Watcher was (or is).

Did the Broadduses ever sell the Watcher House?

Finally, in 2019, the Watcher House was sold to an anonymous buyer for $959,360. The Broaddus family lost $400,000 on the sale, but they were probably pretty glad to never take a look at that house again.

Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, might be released by Dial Press in February 2022.

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