Sometimes, real life is far more frightening than fiction.
As a man who makes his bread and butter writing about cryptids gone wild, I don’t often get the chance to delve into the things that truly give me the willies. I’m talking about flesh and blood crazies. Like what’s going on right now in a quaint New Jersey suburb.
Back in the summer of 2015, a disturbing headline hit the news. A family (Derek and Maria Broaddus) had just moved into their million dollar home in Westfield, New Jersey. We’re talking dream house. Except the dream quickly degenerated into a nightmare. Not long after moving in, the family started finding cryptic and threatening notes from someone who called himself (or herself) The Watcher. Here’s an example of one of The Watcher’s letters :
“I am pleased to know your names now and the name of the young blood you have brought me.”
The Watcher claimed to be part of a long line of Watchers, all of them keeping a close eye on the inhabitants of that particular house. In fact, today’s current Watcher is a self-proclaimed third generation stalker.
It got so strange, the family was forced to abandon their home. How could some strange notes make the Broadduses abandon their house within weeks? Consider if you found this in your home :
“Have they found what is in the walls yet? In time they will.”
“Will the young bloods play in the basement?
“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.”
This isn’t a questionable haunting like the Amityville Horror. The dread is real. To this day, no one knows who is leaving the notes. Theories range from someone in the neighborhood, possibly an older person judging by their handwriting. A disgruntled former potential buyer who lost their bid to the Broadduses. Or the Broaddus family themselves, looking to make a fast buck.I don’t know. To me, if you can afford a million dollar home, you’re not desperate for money.
Derek and Maria Broaddus tried to get permission to raze the beautiful house and construct a new one but was turned down. They are too afraid to live in it.
It’s been rented out since earlier this year, and new, even more sinister notes have turned up for the tenants. It seems that no matter who lives within the house’s walls, the terror will continue.
Somewhere out there, The Watcher keeps on watching.
A movie has been made very loosely based on this true to life horror called The Watcher. It’s on Netflix if you want to give it a…well, watch.
My take on things is presented in WE ARE ALWAYS WATCHING, available from Sinister Grin Press. Only in my version, the family can’t run from the house, nor can they hide.