This story has a bit of all things that make a case truly intriguing. After all, what can be more confusing than a case in which the perpetrator could be anything from a serial killer to a ghost. Perhaps we should begin like most cases start… with a seemingly perfect family.
In June 2014, the Broaddus family including their 3 young children were getting ready to move into their new home, 657 Boulevard in Westfield, New Jersey. The 6-bedroom house was located just a couple of blocks away from Mrs. Broaddus’ childhood home and seemed like the dream home they had always wanted.
Three days after closing the sale, before the Broaddus family had even begun to move in, a letter arrived in their new mailbox. The letter was addressed to “The New Owner” and read:
“Dearest new neighbor at 657 Boulevard, allow me to welcome you to the neighborhood. How did you end up here? Did 657 Boulevard call to you with its force within? 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. 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.”
The letter made a point to mention the existence of the 3 children stating:
“So far I think there are three that I have counted. Do you need to fill the house with the young blood I requested? Better for me. Was your old house too small for the growing family? Or was it greed to bring me your children? Once I know their names, I will call them and draw them to me.”
At the bottom of the letter, the author wrote in cursive letters “The Watcher”.
After receiving the letter, the Broaddus family did the first thing most sane people would… call the previous owners and scream at them for bringing your into a potentially murderous home.
John and Andrea Woods had lived at 657 Boulevard for over 23 years. They claimed that in that time they had never received a letter and had in fact felt safe enough during their stay that most nights their door was not even locked. Nevertheless, for as quiet as their stay had been a few days before they were getting ready to move out of the house a letter did come.
The Woods family explained that even though the note was odd they had thrown it away without much concern thinking it was just a prank.
When the Broaddus had come asking questions, both families decided it was best to take the letter to the police.
The police opened an investigation and warned the families not to tell anyone about the letters, including their neighbors.
Two weeks passed and the Broaddus family had decided to postpone their move. Nevertheless, regardless of their absence a letter arrived to 657 Boulevard a few days later.
The Watcher asked “will the children sleep in the attic? Or will you all sleep on the second floor? Who has the bedrooms facing the street? I will know as soon as you move in. It will help me to know who is in which bedroom. Then, I can plan better.”
Then again a few weeks later a third letter arrived stating:
“Where have you gone to? 657 Boulevard is missing you.”
Now as far as theories go, we know what you are thinking… this sounds like an odd story. After all, how could this Watcher know so much about a family that hadn’t even moved in?
Well, after braking down the letters, theory one would point to the existence of a deranged serial killer in the making. One that supposedly watched the home and was trained to wait. A person that wanted blood and had no problem threatening the lives of kids. Perhaps someone who had simply gotten obsessed with tormenting families. Nevertheless, if the watcher was had been there for generations at the time, why the Broaddus? Some believe, the watcher took a liking to the Broaddus family and decided they would be his next victims. Specially considering he points out in his letters he has been waiting like his father and grandfather had done prior to him, for the home’s “second coming”. Was it just a classic case of wrong place at the wrong time?
The second theory focuses more on the home; 657 Boulevard. After all, when reading the letters it seems like the horrors that are prophesized will happen because of the house. Whatever energy or supernatural activity resides inside, it seems like perhaps the family had walked into a house that was a ticking time bomb. What if this 110 year old home required the move of this family into it’s cursed halls in order to fulfill its thirst for blood? What if the watcher is simply charged with feeding whatever lurks inside with the hopes of keeping it from seeing the outside? We think this story might have had more supernatural merit if there was any reports of paranormal activity from previous owners. Nevertheless, not one previous owner reported any weird activity or threatening energy while living inside the home.
Lastly, we think it is important noting that as fun as the previous theories are, there are times when things are perhaps more blank and white than we initially assume. It seems nearly impossible to review the information and not note the very weird timing issues and actions that simply don’t add up.
For instance, how could a couple who had bought a $300,000 house in Scotch Plains 10 years before, and who had a $175,000 mortgage, suddenly afford a million-dollar house. Moreover, further digging shows a total of 12 mortgages in those 10 years.
Mr. Broaddus would eventually explain this question by simply chucking it to it being the “American Way.” In his own rationality houses appreciate and you sell and buy a more expensive one. By that logic, 2004 to 2007 was a hot housing market just about everywhere. Tons of people were flipping houses. That could help explain the Broaddus family’s 10 mortgages. If their Scotch Plains house appreciated, perhaps they kept refinancing or taking out mortgages to take advantage of great low-interest rates. However, what if that was exactly what he was doing with this much more expensive home? To generate interest? Publicity? Increase its value and then sell it to a supernatural addict or oddity collector.
By the end of 2014, the case had stalled. There was no digital trail and the mental effects were taking a toll on the Broaddus family. There were no fingerprints and no way to place somebody at the scene of the crime. Only 6 months after they received the letters, they decided to sell the home. As it stands 657 Boulevard has been sold and is currently off the market while The Watcher seems to have vanished into thin air taking with him the truth and his identity.