Is ‘The Watcher’ based on a true story?
(Credit: Netflix)

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Is 'The Watcher' based on a true story?

Ryan Murphy is back with his newest mystery thriller called The Watcher. The story follows the real-life incident of what happened to the Broaddus family from 2014 to 2019. Starring Naomi Watts and Bobby Cannavale as Maria and Derek Broaddus. The show aired on Netflix on October 13th. Being close to the spooky season of Halloween, the show should be at the top of your watchlist.

The show is a limited series of seven parts. To understand what is true and what isn’t, we need to first get the real story of what happened on 657 Boulevard. Like Reeves Wiedeman’s article, The Haunting of a Dream House, the show is also inspired by true events. The couple, Derek and Maria Broaddus, bought their dream house on 657 Boulevard back in 2014. Soon after, they received a letter from an anonymous individual who called themself ‘the Watcher’.

The letters they received contained information private to the family. As the show finds details in New York  Magazine’s The Cut article, the series follows quotes from the real letter mentioned in the article.

Where the first letter included, “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 it in the 1960s. 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.”

Although Ryan Murphy decided to change details in the show for the sake of cinematic exaggeration, the fact remains, the Broaddus family was watched. Whilst moving into their dream house in New Jersey, the family was unaware of what was to follow. This also included the general eccentric and rather nosy neighbours they were gifted with along with the house. The letters seem to get darker with every turn. 

One of them included the following, “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?” The Watcher knew their children’s names and nicknames. What made the letters grimmer than they were at the beginning was the addition of chilling details that only an insider could have known. Someone that has been inside their house. 

Upon extensive research, the newly stationed family found out that the family they had bought the house from had also received a similar letter. They even tried to sue the previous family for keeping this piece of information in the dark whilst the deal was finalised. As the Broadduses approached the police with all the information they found on the house, an extensive investigation was initiated. This included questioning all the neighbours, including one schizophrenia 60-year-old. However, the letters never stopped coming. 

It reached a point that pushed the family to decide against moving into the house at all. In the year 2019, the Broadduses sold the house to a younger family in Westfield. Sold at only $400,000. Lesser than what the young couple had once paid for the house five years ago.

As the troubled family decided to move across the town to a smaller and more peaceful house, the mystery of The Watcher remains. To this day, no one has been convicted of being the Watcher. Weideman believes the only way to find out who the watcher was is by getting a confession or drawing in DNA samples from the house. Rather chilly. 

Ryan Murphy is quickly catching up to be the God of thrillers in this contemporary television era. Mia Farrow said in one of her interviews that she believes the true story was merely an artistic outline for the show. She added that she wished the real family would never watch the show.

The details were included for accuracy, however, the details remain Murphy’s. The show shows two instead of three children that Broadduses have. And for the sake of privacy, the names and surnames of the family have been changed. The most chilling part of the story is that it is true. Watch the trailer for the newest hot thriller on the streamer here. 

The Watcher currently streaming on Netflix here! Find out what really went on at 657 Boulevard by diving into this fine watch.