Finding your dream home is hard to come by. Most people don’t get the chance to live in their dream home, or even find it.
The house the Broaddus family moved into in Westfield, New Jersey was, in fact, their dream home. They worked hard for 657 Boulevard. The wife grew up just a few blocks from their new home, and the husband had climbed the ladder in the insurance business to be able to afford it. It was in a nice neighborhood, the house was spacious enough for everyone, and the yard was more than perfect for any child.
When it came to problems with the house, the previous owners were seemingly as honest as anyone. The house was in great shape, what could be wrong with it?
Something the family probably would have liked to know is the unknown person who stalks the house.
The possibility that anyone would be watching their house first came in an anonymous letter in June of 2014. The author of the letter claimed to have been watching the house for a number of years, due to it being part of his family for decades.
Parts of the cryptic letter were released in a Huffington Post article. The author wrote, “Why are you here? I will find out. I asked the [previous owners] to bring me young blood…once I know their names, I will call to them and draw them too me.”
At first the owners shrugged off the creepy letters. In the beginning one might think it was a teenager playing a prank on the new people in town. But the letters kept coming:
“I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me. 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.”
Letters asked the family if they’ve discovered what’s in the walls. Parts of the newly renovated yard were destroyed. The children weren’t allowed to touch even the corner of the yard. One letter warned them about the basement, saying he would be terrified if his children went down there.
The family hired private investigators and former FBI agents. Their prime suspects became neighbors who had lived in their house since the 60s. After background checks and interviews, however, the family was nowhere closer to catching “The Watcher.”
The Cut released part of the letter which read: “Who am I? There are hundreds and hundreds of cars that drive by 657 Boulevard each day. Maybe I am in one. Look at all the windows you can see from 657 Boulevard. Maybe I am in one. Look out any of the many windows in 657 Boulevard at all the people who stroll by each day. Maybe I am one…Welcome my friends, welcome. Let the party begin.”
Eventually the Watcher pleaded with the family in a letter to change the house back to its original state. He said he needed young blood, he needed the house to be good again. The family was suspicious of everyone in the neighborhood, even going so far as to running background checks on neighbors’ extended family who may not have lived on the street. Anyone could be the Watcher.
Police lead an investigation to uncover the identity of the author who signed the letters as the Watcher, but when they couldn’t even find a suspect the family left the house. The family filed a lawsuit against the previous owners, claiming they had knowingly omitted mentioning the Watcher.
After six months of owning the house, the family wasn’t even living there anymore. The parents needed sleeping pills to sleep and therapy to help their paralyzing stress that one doctor considered PTSD. They were desperate to keep this dream home, but they were also desperate for their lives. Selling it became another problem for them. As soon as potential buyers became interested, the family told them about the letters. The offers were low, well below their asking price.
When the family couldn’t sell the house, they looked into demolishing it and building new structures. The neighborhood fought against this vehemently, and the family was denied. Finally, however, a couple with two large dogs agreed to rent the house. After the couple moved in, and after a long silence from the Watcher, they received a new letter threatening revenge:
“Maybe a car accident. Maybe a fire. Maybe something as simple as a mild illness that never seems to go away but makes you fell sick day after day after day after day after day. Maybe the mysterious death of a pet. Loved ones suddenly die. Planes and cars and bicycles crash. Bones break.”
Since the family has been unable to sell the house, the thought of it brings great pain and anxiety to them daily. It’s likely they think longingly and regretfully about the house daily, the place they wouldn’t raise their kids, or not even make some kind of profit from it. The family spoke of having important moments in their lives ruined because of the Watcher, like Christmas. 657 Boulevard was the most stressful name in their lives.
During Christmas time in 2017, a new letter arrived, but not to 657 Boulevard. Those who spoke the loudest on social media or to reporters received a Christmas card pleading the family’s case. These were the people who accused the family of conning their way out of the house. These were the people the family suspected most. In the Cut article, the father admitted to writer Reeves Wiedeman that he was the author. The father admitted he became obsessed with the Watcher, just as the Watcher was obsessed with 657 Boulevard. He told the writer this was “like a cancer. We think about it everyday.”
One of the last letters the father showed to the writer said, “You are despised by the house. And the Watcher won.”
This nightmare went beyond the house. It stretched into the neighborhood. When the family searched for answers, they were met with fear. To this day, the Watcher’s identity has yet to be discovered. It's unlikely it ever will.