The Chilling Mystery of the Watcher

Hello everyone, I’m Katie Tseselsky, and welcome to my TED Talk. You might be asking yourself, “Katie, what happened to Kaitlyn Krakowski?” Never fear, Kaitlyn Krakowski will return. I decided to not use my stupid fake last name as this article is surprisingly not focused on Peppa Pig or stock images. Instead, I’m going to be writing about a mystery that was brought to my attention a few days ago. The story absolutely fascinated me. It’s amazingly creepy, and the fact that it all takes in relatively recent times only makes it worse. Without further ado, let’s begin with the story of the Watcher.

It began in 2014, when a family of five moved into their dream house in Westfield, New Jersey. The family consisted of Maria Broaddus, her husband Derek Broaddus, and their three children-one boy and two girls. The address was 657 Boulevard, and the house costed $1.3 million. It was located not too far from Maria’s childhood home. At that time, Westfield was placed at number 3o on the list of safest town in America.

Three days after closing the sale and before the Broaddus’s moved in, a letter arrived at their home to be. On the envelope, “The New Owner” was written by hand in large letters. The typed letter began with a seemingly friendly and greeting,

“Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood.”

However, it did not remain so welcoming.

“How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within? 657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades (highlighted words/phrases will be important) now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been 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.”

“Who am I? There are 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 all the many windows in 657 Boulevard at all the people who stroll by each day. Maybe I am one.”

Another detail about the letter is the fact that it mentioned specific things about the Broaddus family.

“You have children. I have seen them. So far I think there are three that I have counted. Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names I will call to them and draw them to me.”

“In a cursive font,” says Ryan Bergara, who did a analysis on the case, “the author typed the signature, ‘The Watcher'”

After receiving the horrifying letter, the Broaddus family contacted the couple, the Woods, who had sold them the house. John and Andrea Woods claimed that they never received any sort of letter, except once, a few days before they moved out. They said they never felt watched in the almost two decades of living in the house, and rarely felt the need to lock their doors. Though the letter they received was odd, they dismissed it and threw it out.

Both families went to the police to report the letters. The police instructed them to not notify anyone in the neighborhood of these letters, as they were all deemed suspects. “Two weeks later, with the Broaddus family still not moved in,” says Ryan Bergara, “a second letter arrived.”

Disturbingly enough, this letter included more details about the new owners. It contained their name, though it was misspelled, their children’s birth order, and their nicknames. The so called Watcher also mentioned seeing their daughter painting on an easel in an enclosed porch area. They asked, “is she the artist in the family?”

Other parts of the second letter read, “it has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. Have you found all of the secrets it holds yet? Will the young blood play in the basement? Or are they too afraid to go down there alone. I would /be/ very afraid if I were them. It is far away from the rest of the house. If you were upstairs you would never hear them scream. Will they sleep in 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 in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom. Then I can plan better.”

After the second letter, Maria and Derek stopped bringing their children to the house and put their plans on moving in on hold. Weeks later, sure enough, a third letter arrived.

“Where have you gone to? 657 Boulevard is missing you.”

By the end of the year, the investigation stalled, as there was no way to unmask the Watcher. There were no digital trails, no fingerprints, and no way of placing someone at the scene of the crime. All the while, the stress was taking a toll on the Broaddus’s mental health. Derek began experiencing depression, and Maria’s therapist claimed she was suffering from PTSD, and both were impacted by “levels of paranoia that made daily life seem threatening.”

Just six months after the three letters, the Broaddus’s decided to sell the house. Though, because of rumors about the property, buyers were hesitant. Maria and Derek sued John and Andrea Woods for “failing to disclose the threatening letter they’d received.” A small story written by a reporter became a local sensation, and a “media circus swirled around the house.”

Because no one was willing to buy the house, the Broaddus’s considered selling it to a developer who would tear it down and split the property into two homes. However, the two plots of land would be three feet too small for the mandated size of the neighborhood.

As much as I hate to cut this article short, I must. Stay tuned for a second part of the Watcher story, as there’s much more to unravel. That’s all from me, thank you for coming to my TED Talk.