The real-life story behind the mansion inspiring Netflix’s new ‘Watcher’ series

‘Do you know what lies within the walls of 657 Boulevard?’

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In an upscale New Jersey suburb, there is a house with an unexpected past — something dark and sinister. Now the true story has been developed into a Netflix series, which premiered Thursday. Before it was a Netflix series, though, it was a local myth. One that started with a letter.

As reported by, Derek and Maria Broaddus purchased the $1.35m dream home with hopes of raising their three children just blocks away from where Maria had grown up. It was a perfect way to return to their community, until the letter came.

Three days after closing on the home, the family received a letter from someone penned “The Watcher.”

“My grandfather watched the house in the 1920s and my father watched in the 1960s,” the letter said. “It is now my time. 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.”

It was just the first of several letters to rock the residents of 657 Boulevard.

“Who am I?” The writer asked himself in another letter. “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.”

The writer would later refer to the three children of the Broaddus family as “young blood.”

“Will the young blood play in the basement?” A letter said. “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.”

The family would go on to drop $100,000 on house renovations, but never moved into the home due to the letters. Eight months after purchasing the house, they placed it back on the market. After failing to sell the house, the family went on to sue the home’s former owners — who reportedly received a similar letter from “The Watcher” without disclosing it to the Broaddus family.

The lawsuit was tossed out, and the Broaddus family ultimately sold the house at a significant loss in 2019.

According to, police never discovered the alleged letter sender.

“The Watcher” is a seven-episode series created by Ryan Murphy and it stars Naomi Watts, Bobby Cannavale, and Jennifer Coolidge.