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The True Story of 657 Boulevard

Viewers of Netflix’s The Watcher will no doubt have a burning question when they binge: What the hell happened to that house?

Ryan Murphy’s series is based on the true story of a family that moves into a beautiful home in Westfield, New Jersey in 2014; but they are harassed by an anonymous letter writer called The Watcher who claimed to be watching the house. The series fictionalizes the nightmare the Broaddus family went through, but the house itself is very real. Here’s what you need to know about it.

Where is the Guardian’s House?

The now infamous Watcher House is located at 657 Boulevard in Westfield, a fairly upper-middle-class neighborhood in New Jersey.

Why is the Watcher House scary?

Once they bought the property, the Broadduses began renovating it almost immediately. Fortunately, they hadn’t completely left their old house, because shortly after the papers were signed, husband Derek Broaddus received a letter in the mail. This letter was from an anonymous person who called himself “The Watcher”.

The writer claimed that they were a watchman of many generations charged with observing the house. This is creepy enough, but the letters made very specific references to Derek, his wife Maria, and their children, even calling them by name.

As more letters poured in, the Broaddusses became increasingly maddened by police investigations, forgery allegations, and attempts to find a buyer for the house. (In an act of transparency, they insisted that potential buyers read The Watcher’s letters, which caused most sales to drop.)

How much did the Guardian’s House cost?

The colonial-style home cost $1,355,657 in 2014 for 3,920 square feet. In reality, Derek and Maria weren’t sure at first if they should just try to stay in the house, but the letters started to get even more specific. The Watcher was also often threatening, calling their children “young blood.”

Why was the Wachthuis not sold immediately?

As the police investigation of their neighbors began, it became harder for the Broadduses to keep the story to themselves, and the house gained quite the reputation. When they decided to sell, they had to lower their price. While some people thought they would have a chance to get a lot, most of them withdrew after reading The Watcher’s letters. Here’s a sneak peek:

657 Boulevard wants you to live there… It’s been years and years since the young blood ruled the corridors of the house. Have you already found all the secrets it contains? Is the young blood playing in the cellar? Or are they too scared to go down alone.

Yaks! The couple then tried to get permission to tear down the house and break the property into two building lots. They did not get the move approved by the municipality.

Who bought the Guardian’s House?

Finally, in 2019, the Watcher House was sold to an anonymous buyer for $959,000. The Broaddus family suffered a loss of $400,000. But they also no longer deal with The Watcher, which is truly priceless.

Aimée Lutkin is the weekend editor at Her writing has appeared in Jezebel, Glamour, Marie Claire and more. Her first book, The Lonely Hunter, will be released by Dial Press in February 2022.

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