7 Facts About The Story That Inspired Netflix’s The Watcher – Twisted Sifter | Episode Movies

If you haven’t taken the time to watch Netflix The Observer Do yourself a favor and check it out.

It’s weird, spooky, and, perhaps most disturbingly, actually inspired by a true story.

Check out these 7 facts about the true story behind the spooky TV series.

Photo credit: Medium

Derek and Maria Broaddus bought a home in Westfield, New Jersey in 2014. The couple planned to do some home renovations before moving in with their three children.

Maria Broaddus grew up in Westfield and the new home the family bought was just a few blocks from their childhood home.

Shortly after purchasing the house, Derek checked the mail and received a letter addressed to “The New Owner”.

The letter states: “My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father in the 1960s. It’s my time now. Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what’s behind the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I am going to find that out.”

The person who wrote the letter also said he was watching the family’s three children. The letter read: ‘Must you fill the house with the young blood I’ve asked for? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? As soon as I know their names I will call them and draw them too [sic] me.”

The letter was signed by The Watcher.

Derek contacted the police. He also contacted the Woods family from whom they bought the home, and Andrea Woods admitted they received a similar letter before moving out of the home.

A few days later Maria Broaddus received a second letter giving the names and ages of the Broaddus children. Derek and Maria decided not to bring their children home after receiving the second letter.

Screenshot from 11/04/2022 at 12:35:25 7 facts about the story that inspired Netflix's The Watcher

Photo credit: Netflix

Derek and Maria found out about a family called the Langfords who lived nearby. Michael Langford lived with his elderly mother and was described in the neighborhood as a “Boo Radley character”, referring to the creepy and reclusive character in him Killing a mockingbird.

Derek believed that Michael Langford was responsible for sending the letters since his home was near a porch of the Broaddus house that had been mentioned in one of the letters and the porch was difficult to see from any other area.

Derek told police about his theory, but they were told there was nothing they could do about it without hard evidence.

Frustrated by the lack of police action, Derek began his own investigation into the letters. He set up cameras, hired investigators, and a former FBI agent named Robert Lenehan even got involved.

Lenehan believed that The Watcher was an elderly person due to the style of writing shown in the letters.

Screenshot from 11/04/2022 at 12:37:33 7 facts about the story that inspired Netflix's The Watcher

Photo credit: Netflix

Derek Broaddus believed the Langfords were behind the letters, but other clues developed. Investigators determined that two sex offenders lived near the home. And a painter who was working on the house noticed that neighbors of the Broaddus family had two chairs in their garden that were near the Broaddus house and actually faced the house.

Some people in Westfield were beginning to believe that the Broaddus family themselves were behind the letters and that they realized they could not afford the house and were trying to get out of the possession.

Some believed they were attempting insurance fraud, and other people in town posited that they were trying to stir up enough controversy to get a movie deal based on the story.

Derek Broaddus said he thinks the people of Westfield don’t want the town’s safe reputation to be ruined. He said, “People don’t want to think that could happen in Westfield.”

Derek and Maria decided that the house was not a safe place for their children and they moved in with Maria’s parents. The couple tried to sell the home six months after the letters began, but couldn’t find a buyer because of the controversy.

In 2015, the couple filed a legal complaint against the family they bought the home from for not telling them that they had received a letter before they moved out.

Screenshot from 11/04/2022 at 12:33:37 7 facts about the story that inspired Netflix's The Watcher

Photo credit: Netflix

The Broaddus family eventually found people willing to rent the house from them, but part of the deal was that the new residents could cancel the lease if another letter from The Watcher surfaced.

Two weeks after the new tenants moved in, another letter was delivered, reading “V**lent winds and bitter cold/To the vile and bosful Derek and his wench of a wife Maria.” The new tenant was also mentioned in the letter but agreed to stay after Derek installed surveillance cameras.

In late 2017, several families opposed to the Broaddus received anonymous letters signed by “friends of the Broaddus family.” Derek Broaddus later admitted he had sent those letters but insisted they were the only ones he had ever written because he was tired of his family’s treatment.

Today, authorities believe the person who wrote the letters is an elderly woman who lives near the Broaddus home. Derek and Maria sold the house in 2019 and the new residents never received letters from The Watcher.

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