When we think of home, we think of a personal safe place, an escape from life’s stresses. However, when married couple Derek and Maria Broadus moved into 657 Boulevard, Westfield, New Jersey, home soon became a place of constant fear. For years, they were terrorized by someone who to this day is known only as the Watcher of 657 Boulevard.
The Watcher of 657 Boulevard Sends the First Letter
In June of 2014, Derek and Maria Broadus were renovating their newly bought home—657 Boulevard—when they came across a strange letter in the mail. Sealed in an envelope with no return address or postage, its handwritten lettering simply read “the new owners.” Strange, but it could have easily been a welcome letter from one of their new neighbors. Their hearts sank when they read its contents.
“Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard,
Allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood.
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. How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within? Do you know the history of the house? Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard? Why are you here? I will find out. Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for your family?
Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names, I will call to them and draw them too me. I asked the Woods family to bring me young blood, and it looks like they listened. You don’t want to make 657 Boulevard unhappy. You have children. I have seen them. So far, I think there are three that I counted. Are there more on the way?
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. Welcome, my friends, welcome. Let the party begin.”
- The Watcher”
The Watcher’s interest in “young blood” was deeply concerning, especially for a couple with children. Naturally, Derek called the police. Authorities took interest in the case but admitted there wasn’t much they could actually do. They asked Derek the routine question, “Do you have any enemies?” to which he responded that he couldn’t think of a single one.
Derek and Maria contacted 657 Boulevard’s previous owners John and Andrea Woods, who were referred to in the letter. (“I asked the Woods family to bring me young blood…”) They told the Broaduses that they had received a letter from the Watcher in the weeks prior to moving out, but they chalked it up to a harmless prank and disposed of it. Before this, in their ~20 years of living at 657 Boulevard, they had never heard from the Watcher.
More Letters Arrive
Two weeks later, the Watcher left another letter in the Broaduses’ mailbox. It included the following:
“I am pleased to now know your names and the names of the young blood you have brought to me… You certainly say their names often… It has been years and years since the young blood ruled the hallways of the house. I noticed one of your children using an easel. Is she the artist in the family?”
This letter contained very specific details that stood out to police, one being the sentence, “I noticed one of your children using an easel.” From the street, the view of the easel was actually blocked by bushes. This meant that in order for the Watcher to have seen the child using the easel, he would have had to have been either peering directly into the window or inside the house.
Also, unless he was inside or had the house bugged, how could the Watcher have known that the couple say their children’s names often? Obviously, this didn’t sit well with the Broaduses at all.
The Investigation Hits a Dead End
As more letters arrived, the Broaduses decided to stay with Maria’s parents. Suffering from insomnia and anxiety, Derek became paranoid. He blamed the Langfords—657’s next-door neighbors—for the letters, setting his sights specifically on Michael Langford. While Michael was an odd, quiet man, there was nothing that actually connected him to the Watcher. Police soon dismissed him as a suspect.
With no leads and no hope that this nightmare would end, the Broaduses felt forced to sell the house. However, finding a buyer proved to be quite the undertaking, as families were immediately put off by the threat of the Watcher. In 2017, however, they did manage to find a renter. This renter, who identified himself publicly as “Chris,” claimed to be unfazed by the Watcher’s threats.
“That is not my issue,” he told NJ Advance Media.
Despite receiving a plethora of letters from the Watcher, no harm ever came to Chris. In fact, he confidently threw the letters away.
In 2019, the Broaduses finally managed to sell the house at a loss. The new owners have not reported receiving any letters from the Watcher.
So Who Was the Watcher of 657 Boulevard? The Prevailing Theory
Unfortunately for the Broaduses, the prevailing theory regarding this case is that they themselves were behind the letters. But why would they do this? Well, it’s thought they had over-committed themselves financially to buying 657 Boulevard and were looking for a way out (a plan that obviously didn’t work as well as they were hoping).
Let’s take a look at the facts.
- The Woods family never received letters from the Watcher prior to the Broaduses buying the house.
- For the Watcher to have knowledge of the easel, he would have had to have been peering directly into the window, which would have been difficult for him to do unnoticed.
- No harm came to the renter or current owner of 657 Boulevard.
- At no point did the Broaduses think to install a security camera nearby their mailbox, an action that could have easily identified the Watcher.
Countering the argument that the Broaduses themselves were behind the letter, many argue that if this were the case, it would have been unwise of Derek to go to the police, as this could have been potentially incriminating.
But what do you think? Do you believe that the Watcher is a real threat to residents of 657 Boulevard. Or do you think the Broaduses were behind it? Let us know in the comments!