The Watcher is the Netflix series released in October 2022 and soon entered among the most popular visions of the moment. A story that makes you uncomfortable, especially since it is a true story that happened in America a few years ago. In this article, we will reconstruct the whole story.
You can watch the official trailer of The Watcher below.
The Watcher: the true story and the first letter
June 2014. The Broaddus family, consisting of spouses Derek and Maria and their three children, are ready to move into their new property at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey.
Purchased for 1.3 million, dating back to the early twentieth century, it is a beautiful house with several floors and a garden available. The Broaddus are over the moon to be able to buy the home of their dreams and plan to renovate it according to their needs. They don’t know someone watching them in the shadows: a disturbing and mysterious figure who wants to make their lives hell.
The family bought the apartment just three days ago when they received a strange letter with the following words:
“Dearest new neighbor of 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood. 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 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 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. … 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.”
The letter is signed “The Watcher.” The content of the letter immediately alarmed the family. There is someone who is observing them from the outside. Someone who knows the house and its history very well.
Is this a macabre joke? Or is the matter much more sinister?
Derek and Maria decide to contact the previous owners, the Woods family. The latter report having lived on 657 Boulevard for 23 years, receiving only a letter from the watcher a few days before leaving the house. The Broaddus go to the police to report the incident.
The second and third letter
Two weeks pass when the family receives a new letter:
657 Boulevard is anxious for you to move in. 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 the 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.
All of the windows and doors in 657 Boulevard allow me to watch you and track you as you move through the house. Who am I? I am the Watcher and have been in control of 657 Boulevard for the better part of two decades now. The Woods family turned it over to you. It was their time to move on and kindly sold it when I asked them to.
I pass by many times a day. 657 Boulevard is my job, my life, my obsession. And now you are too Broaddus family. Welcome to the product of your greed! Greed is what brought the past three families to 657 Boulevard and now it has brought you to me.
Have a happy moving in day. You know I will be watching.
An even more disturbing communication than the previous one. The author demonstrates that he has specific information and has learned some personal data about the family.
Investigators investigate the matter, sifting through the neighbors’ lives on 657 Boulevard. Among these is a 90-year-old lady who lives with her children. One of them is a particular type that attracts the attention of investigators. The man is interrogated, but there is no evidence of him.
Meanwhile, a third letter arrives:
657 Boulevard is turning on me. It is coming after me. I don’t understand why. What spell did you cast on it? It used to be my friend and now it is my enemy. I am in charge of 657 Boulevard. It is not in charge of me. I will fend off its bad things and wait for it to become good again. It will not punish me. I will rise again. I will be patient and wait for this to pass and for you to bring the young blood back to me. 657 Boulevard needs young blood. It needs you. Come back. Let the young blood play again like I once did. Let the young blood sleep in 657 Boulevard. Stop changing it and let it alone.
The investigation: who is The Watcher?
The Watcher is clearly contrary to the renovation of the property. The concern of the Broaddus spouses grows more and more. The couple set up cameras to monitor the property and, determined to discover the identity of the person threatening them, they will also turn to private investigators.
The general opinion is that there is a person with a particular culture and a sophisticated lexicon behind those letters. Analysis of the letters reveals the presence of unknown female DNA, and it appears that they were sent from Kearny, about 30 kilometers from Westfield.
The investigation continues, but all the leads seem to lead to a dead end. The Watcher hid his traces well.
Derek and Maria decide to put the house up for sale. However, no one comes forward. At the same time, the strange letters seem to have ceased. The DNA of the suspected neighbors is compared with that of the letters, and the result shows no correspondence, which is why they are all taken off the list of suspects.
One evening the investigators are stationed on the driveway of the house. The agents, suspicious of the presence of a parked car that has been standing still for some time, decide to track down the vehicle’s owner. She is a young woman who claims to be engaged to a boy who lives on the same block as 657 Boulevard. The police learn that the young man in question is a fan of a particular type of video game, and in one of them, there is a character called The Watcher. The investigators summon him to subject him to questioning. However, the boy will not show up for the appointment. The police abandon this theory due to a lack of elements.
The Watcher is back
In 2017 the Broaddus managed to rent the house. The situation seems unlocked, but after more than two years of silence, the Watcher comes back with a new communication.
You wonder who The Watcher is? Turn around idiots. Maybe you even spoke to me, one of the so called neighbors who has no idea who The Watcher could be. Or maybe you do know and are too scared to tell anyone. Good move. I walked by the news trucks when they took over my neighborhood and mocked me. I watched as you watched from the dark house in an attempt to find me … Telescopes and binoculars are wonderful inventions. 657 Boulevard survived your attempted assault and stood strong with its army of supporters barricading its gates. My soldiers of the Boulevard followed my orders to a T. They carried out their mission and saved the soul of 657 Boulevard with my orders. All hail The Watcher!!!
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.
A letter that sends a chill up the spine. Despite the threatening tones, the mysterious author will return to darkness again, no longer making himself heard in the following months. In 2019 the Broaddus managed to sell the house for 959,000 dollars. To date, no more messages appear to have arrived.
The Watcher left as he had arrived, leaving behind a series of question marks. What is his identity? What were his intentions? Did he have any connection with the house on 657 Boulevard? Questions that have no answer.
The story has had a great media echo and, given its peculiarity, has inspired some works, such as the film The Watcher by Ryan Rothmaier, released in 2016, and the homonymous television series distributed by Netflix starting on 13 October 2022.