Did the real stalker actually send letters?


From creators Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan, Netflix’s newest thriller series will have you hooked from the moment you hit play. The Watcher stars Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale as a married couple who buys their dream home in the rich neighborhood of Westfield, New Jersey. But not everything is as great as it seems, and they realize they might be in danger once they start receiving anonymous letters signed “The Watcher.”

Based on the letters, it’s evident this person either lived in the house or had been watching it close by for years, something that understandably frightens Nora and Dean Brannock. As they try to get to the bottom of who is stalking them, secrets about their new neighborhood begin to come out. Anyone’s a suspect in this gripping true crime series.

Without getting into too many spoilers for The Watcher on Netflix, we’re here to talk more about the real-life story that inspired it. The show is based on the 2018 article by The Cut, originally titled “The Haunting of a Dream House,” which detailed the true story of 657 Boulevard. If you’re watching the show and want to know what really happened and what was fabricated for entertainment, we highly recommend you read the piece from The Cut. But if you simply want to know the truth behind the creepy letters, we can clear that up right here!

Did The Watcher actually send letters to the New Jersey family?

A big part of The Watcher TV show is the fact that the stalker sends frightening letters to the Brannock family, and that’s not made up. In real life, the actual couple, Derek and Maria Broaddus, were harassed through anonymous letters signed “The Watcher” just like in the series.

The Cut piece reveals excerpts from several of the letters, with the stalker using language like “the young blood” referring to Derek and Maria’s children, as well as telling them details about the house. They also addressed the couple by name, though they spelled “Broaddus” incorrectly and instead wrote the phonetic spelling “Braddus,” and knew the names of their children with the correct spellings. The address on the envelopes was always handwritten while the letters themselves were typewritten.

What makes this story so terrifying is the fact that The Watcher was never caught. Though there were multiple suspects, there was never enough evidence to determine who the stalker was. It is not known what ever happened to the mysterious person, and the new owners of 657 Boulevard haven’t received any letters from them.

You can binge all episodes of The Watcher right now on Netflix.



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