Netflix series The Watcher tells story of a family harassed out of their home by anonymous stalker

The real-life story behind Jennifer Coolidge’s new Netflix horror series: The Watcher reveals how family were harassed out of $1.4 million home by creepy stalker who sent chilling letters demanding ‘young blood’

  • The Watcher, starring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale, is set to air in October
  • Tells the story of Derek and Maria Broaddus who bought a home in New Jersey
  • After buying the property, couple kept receiving terrifying anonymous letters 
  • They eventually moved out – and identity of The Watcher is still unknown today

Netflix‘s upcoming horror series The Watcher is set to tell the real-life story of a couple who were harassed out of their dream home by a creepy stalker – and whose identity remains a mystery to this day.

The series, which is set to air on the streaming platform in October in the UK, is executive produced by Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, who are best known for their hit series Ratched, The Politician and Pose.  

It stars Naomi Watts, 52, and Bobby Cannavale, 51, as a married couple who have just moved into their dream home only to find themselves targeted by a stalker, as well as Jennifer Coolidge, 61, as the estate agent who sells them the property.

After they move into the New Jersey home, at 657 Boulevard, the couple are sent cryptic and threatening letters by The Watcher, who wants to force them out of their home.

The Watcher is based on a real-life story of a New Jersey couple who were menaced by a stalker; Derek and Maria Broaddus bought the home in 2014 for $1.4million. 

Netflix's upcoming series The Watcher features the story of a real life couple who moved into their dream home at 657 Boulevard (pictured) before being harassed by an anonymous stalker who branded themselves 'The Watcher'

Netflix’s upcoming series The Watcher features the story of a real life couple who moved into their dream home at 657 Boulevard (pictured) before being harassed by an anonymous stalker who branded themselves ‘The Watcher’

Derek and Maria Broaddus (pictured here with their children) received creepy letters from The Watcher which eventually forced them to sell the property

Derek and Maria Broaddus (pictured here with their children) received creepy letters from The Watcher which eventually forced them to sell the property

The series features Jennifer Coolidge as the estate agent who sold the couple their home (pictured here in a promo video for the show, in which she showcases the house)

The series features Jennifer Coolidge as the estate agent who sold the couple their home (pictured here in a promo video for the show, in which she showcases the house)

Between June that year and February 2017, the Watcher sent four letters to their Westfield home. 

The stalker’s letters claimed they had been ‘watching the house for decades’ and one of their sinister notes read: ‘I am The Watcher. Bring me your young blood.’

According to the Watcher, observance over the house had been passed down through the family.  

‘657 Boulevard has been the subject of my family for decades now and as it approaches its 110th birthday, I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming,’ the letters stated.

‘My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now 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 will find out.’

The letters kept the family on edge, with Derek revealing that he was a ‘depressed wreck’ in an interview with The Cut

John Woods, one of the owners of the house, said they had received one anonymous letter, but said that it was unthreatening

Derek Broaddus (pictured) sued the home's former owners, claiming they failed to disclose that they had received an anonymous letter from The Watcher

The Broaddus (Derek Broaddus pictured right) sued the prior owners, John Woods (left) and his wife Andrea, in 2015 claiming they also received a letter from ‘The Watcher’ but never disclosed it

Meanwhile, Maria Broaddus admitted that the letters from the Watcher left her with terrifying nightmares, including one with a man ‘wearing these boots and carrying a pitchfork and calling to the kids.’

Her fears around how The Watcher may hurt her children were justified, as they had been mentioned in one of the letters.

It said: ‘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,’ a letter read.

Police, who were unable to identify the stalker despite an extensive investigation, suspect that the letters came from someone who was within a 300-yard radius of the house – which has a new tenant.

However, some people believe it may have been the couple themselves sending the letters, a claim they have always denied.

Police suspect that the letters came from someone who was within a 300-yard radius of the house (pictured)

Police suspect that the letters came from someone who was within a 300-yard radius of the house (pictured)

Derek said: ‘There’s a natural tendency to say, “I’ve lived here for 35 years; nothing’s happened to me”. 

‘What happened to my family is an affront to their contention that they’re safe, that there’s no such thing as mental illness in their community. People don’t want to believe this could happen in Westfield.’

In June 2015, the Broadduses sued the prior owners of the house, claiming that they also received a letter from ‘The Watcher’ but never disclosed it. 

The Woods said they had only received one note, that was unthreatening. The suit was dismissed. 

Because of the letters, the Broaddus family put the mansion back on the market, and it eventually sold again in 2019 for $959,000, but the identity of ‘The Watcher’ was never discovered by police. 

Their story was at the centre of a bidding war between six studios in late 2018, before Netflix acquired the rights and decided to make a miniseries instead of a film.

The Watcher is set to air in the UK in October, on Netflix. 

10 SPOOKY QUOTES FROM THE WESTFIELD WATCHER 

1. ‘Who I am? I am the Watcher.’

2. ‘My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s. It is now my time. I have been put in charge of watching and waiting for its second coming.’

3. ‘Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out.’

4. ‘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 (prior owners) to bring me young blood.’

5. ‘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 to me.’

6. ‘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.’

7. ‘Allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house.’

8. ‘And now I watch and wait for the day when they (sp) young blood will be mine again.’

9. ‘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?’

10. ‘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.’

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