Imagine you move into your dream home. The excitement that comes with it, it seems like happy times are just ahead. Then, only after you’ve bought your dream home, do you discover a dark secret about it. This may seem like the premise of a horror movie about a haunted house, but it’s not, there’s no ghosts, and the only threat here is a real living person and they want you to be scared. This is the true story of ‘The Westfield Watcher’.
In June of 2014, Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased what they thought was their dream home in Westfield,NJ. They thought that the beautiful six bedroom home located at 657 Boulevard on a half acre of land would be a great place for themselves and their young children.
Only days after closing on the purchase of the house, the couple received a letter in the mail from somebody calling themselves, ‘The Watcher’. The letter read in part; “My grandfather watched the house in the 1920’s and my father watched in the 1960’s. It is now my time”. At first, the couple didn’t know what to think and tried to brush it off. Unfortunately, the letter writer was just getting started.
The first letter the couple received was delivered on June 5th, and then after some time went by,a second letter came in July. This time the writer included even more sinister tidbits. “I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought to me” and “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.” This letter was clearly more sinister and frightening and seemed to make mention of the Broaddus children(young blood),and specifically detailed that he or she would be paying attention to which people were in which rooms. After this letter, the family was clearly unnerved and started to take things seriously. Before they could get a grasp on the situation a third letter arrived in July. This letter mentioned the home’s doors and windows; “they allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house”.
The sinister author also wanted the couple to know who they were dealing with. “Who I am? I am the Watcher.” the letter read. One of the letters that was sent read, “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.” and “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 out to me. I asked the (prior owners) to bring me young blood”. This last line set off an alarm for Mr. & Mrs. Broaddus, had the previous owner’s received letters from this same person? It turns out they had, or at least that’s what a lawsuit brought forth by the Broaddus family charges. Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus are seeking nullification of their contract, punitive damages and refund of the purchase price, with interest. The previous owners that had bought the home in 1990 before selling it to the Broaddus family, John and Andrea Woods, have not commented publicly about the incident. As far as the lawsuit against them, Mr. & Mrs. Woods responded to it by filing a lawsuit of their own against the Broadduses, accusing the new owners of frivolous litigation and defamation. They have also requested that the case go to trial. Records show that Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus paid $1.3 million dollars for the beautiful home in north Jersey. By February of 2015, the family had been through enough and placed the home up for sale listing it at $1.49 million dollars before the price dropped down to $1.25 million. Throughout the entire ordeal, the Broaddus family spooked by the entire situation, never moved into their home. The beautiful home built in 1905 remains up for sale with renters being the only residents since 2014.
Internet theories about this case abound. Many amateur sleuths think that a disgruntled potential buyer lost out on purchasing the home to Mr. & Mrs. Broaddus, and want to force them from the home. Some have theorized that Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus themselves had buyer’s remorse and went so far as to create this fake threat in an effort to unwind the purchase.
As far as the actual investigation into the letters and their author, Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus sent the letters to the Westfield Police Department who went so far as to obtain a DNA sample from one of the letters. The DNA has been identified an belonging to an unknown female. Additionally, an FBI profiler at the request of Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus, examined the letters and was of the opinion that the writing was likely done by an older person.
In a new development, a new letter was received this past February days after a new renter of the home moved into it. Not much is known about this latest letter other than it contained “specific threats”. This creepy case continues to capture the attention of Westfield residents as well as Hollywood types. There is talk of a movie or TV project in the works based on this case.
My personal take on this case; it’s creepy yes and somebody has a bad sense of humor. It’s all reminiscent of the Amityville Horror. If you’ve read that book or seen the movie, you would know that a family moved into their dream home only to abandon it less than a month later claiming that it was haunted. The key difference here is, Mr. and Mrs. Broaddus are dealing with a real live person as opposed to ghosts. I’m not sure which is worse.
UPDATE 4/4/17 at 3:38 PM, less than 2 hours after publishing this article and sharing it via social media, I got a call on my cell phone from a number I didn’t recognize. Where was it from? Westfield, NJ….and only silence on the other end. Cue the creepy music.